The Blog Of TL Wall Accounting

Archive for July, 2013

4 Ways To Handle Hospital Bills

By now everyone knows that there’s a national health care policy being implemented at some point in 2014. Most people also know that it’s either mandatory for those without coverage to buy insurance or pay a tax of some amount because you decided against it.

Even though the amount you’d have to pay is tiny and fairly negligible, the truth is that medical bills can be higher than you’d expect, and sometimes they’re so high that it’s difficult to address them and still keep up with all your other bills.

However, there are many things you can do to help yourself take care of your medical bills. Just like taxes, there’s always things you can do to help yourself out, and there are people waiting to help you out. Here are 4 things you can do when you have to deal with hospital bills.

1. Make some kind of payment. Here’s a truth most hospitals don’t want you to know. Most computer systems can’t tell the difference between a payment of $500 and a payment of $20. If you make a payment, the majority of hospital computer systems will reset themselves to the beginning and you’ll continue to get 90 days to make a payment. This isn’t every hospital mind you, and if you owe more than $10,000 it’s possible that someone will be looking at your bill, but for the most part a payment of some kind buys you time.

2. Pick up the phone and set up a payment arrangement. Most people try to hide from bill collectors but it doesn’t work all that well. It’s better to try to work with the people at the hospital rather than waiting for your bill to go to collections and have it hit your credit report.

3. Try to see if you qualify for a discount of services. Hospitals call it charity care, and if your income isn’t all that great or you have dependents that you also have to take care of you might qualify for some kind of discount, including a full adjustment off of your entire bill. In some states you might have to apply for and be turned down for Medicaid first but all that does is takes a minor hit on your pride. Any kind of discount on your hospital bill is a good thing.

4. If all you need is a little bit more time, you can always ask for a copy of your full itemized bill, as well as an explanation of what the charges you received are for. Unfortunately, without a health care background much of what you’ll be told won’t help you, but you’ll buy anywhere from 14 to 30 days because collection efforts have to be put on hold until you get what you’ve requested and then you automatically get 10 days to address things.

Why Business Write-Offs Help You When It Comes To Taxes

In our last post on business tax write-offs, we gave 5 examples of things you can write off, along with providing links to other things you can write off. As cool as this might seem, you might wonder why it’s of benefit to do such a thing, and whether it can help anyone else who might not officially be a business.

It’s acknowledged by the federal government that businesses have expenses they have to deal with. From office supplies to office equipment to even purchasing vehicles in some cases, it can be fairly expensive to run a business.

We all hope to run our business as some kind of profit, but that’s not always the case. There are times when your expenses outweigh what you made, or times when you didn’t make enough to have to make a tax payment.

However, if you reported something like $10,000 as income, you’d have to pay something on that unless you could show that you had to pay something to try to keep the business going. So you have things like mileage, depreciation on office equipment, advertising costs, and even buying new stuff here and there that counts as write offs, as long as they impacted your business in some fashion.

Much of it counts as a one-to-one event. So if you paid $500 for a computer, you get to write off $500 on your taxes. That’s a great benefit because the government is trying to encourage you to do anything you can to improve your business. Everything doesn’t go that way though. Meal costs, whether you’re entertaining or are eating meals while out of town on business, only get you a 50% discount. Still, it all adds up.

Of course, not everything will be counted at 100%, even though I pulled out meals. If you have a home office you only get to write off a portion of that for business based on the square footage of your home and your office. If you pay for maid service or for someone to cut your lawn, the same type of thing applies.

It can get really complicated, and most people have no real idea of all the types of things they can write off to bring their tax liability down. That’s why it’s a good thing to have a tax accountant to help you figure it all out.

By the way, there’s no shame in having your business being run at a loss; that’s how many large corporations end up getting refunds every year, even those making billions. It’s all in keeping great records and finding ways to build up the expenses at the same time you’re increasing your revenue. A good accountant will help you do all of that.