law enforcement tax preparation
Serving Law Enforcement Since 1980
The first clients of Molen & Associates came mainly from the law enforcement field. Word spread from officer to officer of the Molen’s tax service. Those clients came to the Molen home and watched cartoons with their children, while waiting for their tax appointment.
Now, more than 35 years later, Molen & Associates has expanded its client base to include those from many different professions but we are proud to still be the experts for Law Enforcement tax returns.
Totally geared to work with complicated law enforcers needs! I’ve been going to them for YEARS and I get the same quality service over and over. I’ve personally recommended them to over 100 brother police officers who have switched over. In my opinion, there is no other choice. AND they got jokes!
Matt Ochoa, Lt. – Texas DPS
Tailored to You
We aren’t your average tax firm. We specialize in helping officers maximize their tax situation and earn more profit.
We guarantee you will learn something new. If you are looking for an average experience, we probably aren’t the firm for you.
We started business 40 years ago out of the Molen’s home and to this day, we still treat our clients like family.
Your New Trusted Advisor
Our primary goal as a trusted advisor is to be available to provide insightful advice to enable our clients to make informed financial decisions. We do not accept anything less from ourselves and this is what we deliver to you.
We feel it is extremely important to continually professionally educate ourselves to improve our technical expertise, financial knowledge and service to our clients.
We will answer all of your questions, as they impact both your tax and financial situations. We welcome you to contact us any time.
We have used Molen & Associates for the last three years and are extremely pleased. We would recommend them and their excellent staff to anyone!!
A Few Free Resources…
15 Minutes Free
Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation. We would love to be one of your trusted advisors.
Law Enforcement Income Tax Checklist
Use our tax preparation checklist that has been designed specifically for realtors.
Browse Blog Posts
We have dozens of blog posts to catch up on the new tax laws and give you insights into deductions and credits to help your tax bill.
How Law Enforcement Professionals
Can Save Thousands in Taxes
When Working Extra Security Jobs
To understand these concepts, we need to clarify a few important points. While “Saving Thousands” may come across like click-bait, in reality we’ve had countless experiences of preparing tax returns for new Law Enforcement clients who didn’t understand the important points of their tax situation. Let’s make some clarifying assumptions:
- You or someone you know are a Law Enforcement (LE) Professional either currently working, or looking to pick up, security extra jobs.
- These extra jobs are not coordinated through the Police Department (PD) and the pay is not included in your PD W-2.
- You are considered a contractor and are paid on a 1099 basis. (If you are paid on a W-2, please see one of our blog posts)
Now that these points have been clarified let’s talk strategy!
The most common mistake we see when reviewing LE tax returns is little to no expenses being claimed. As this is the most common, we need to at least touch on it. The law refers to deductible business and professional deductions in the following way: They must both be ordinary and necessary to be considered deductible. Easy enough, right?
However, there has been several court cases required to define the words ordinary and necessary regarding the law. On irs.gov, their definition is provided:
“To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.”
There isn’t a strictly defined list somewhere in the tax code that dictates what is tax deductible and what isn’t in regards to business expenses. What is or isn’t tax deductible is based on your individual facts and circumstances and the application of ordinary and necessary. You should seek the advice of a tax professional when determining your deductions.
In the scenario of little to no expenses being claimed, we can easily save you thousands of dollars just making sure all of the appropriate expenses are applied to your return.
The second most common LE tax return mistake we see is one where 1099 extra job income is reported on the form Schedule C, but expenses are reported as itemized deductions. There is a tremendous amount of minutiae and detail that we could cover here. In the interest of directness, we’ll limit this to just one point. Claiming expenses on the form Schedule C helps reduce self-employment income, and the self-employment tax that comes with it. The self-employment tax is approximately 15%. This 15% extra tax is based not on gross earnings, but profit, and goes towards paying for Social Security and Medicare.
Therefore, by claiming the expenses as itemized deductions, you don’t help to reduce the self-employment tax. If your net profit on security extra jobs is $10,000, then your self-employment tax could be $1,500 more than it ought to be. This may seem too obvious to be a common occurrence, but it truly is the second most common mistake we see when other professionals prepare a LE tax return.
Neither Last nor Least
The third most common LE tax return mistake we’ll share has the worst possible outcome. In the other scenarios, you pay too much tax to the federal government, money that you ought to have kept. However, in this scenario you’ve claimed everything you can think of. Your entire cell phone family plan bill, that new extra job car you bought from another officer or at an auction, your mortgage payment, and your health insurance. We’re glad you were thinking out of the box! Unfortunately you didn’t apply ordinary and necessary correctly and you’ll end up paying for it in penalties, interest, audit fees and most importantly, your time. Now all of the deductions we mentioned may surprise you. We selected them because they are on the line of what is and what isn’t deductible. Let’s explain:
- Your cell phone bill may be deductible. However, you first have to determine which portion of it is attributed to your specific number and what percentage of it is used for work. A family plan including a spouse and two children could run you $240 per month. Your phone is the primary phone on the plan, so all of the surcharges and taxes apply to your line. This means of the $240, your phone accounts for $130 of the plan. You use your phone 75% of the time for work, which would then allow $97.50 per month to be deducted.
- You bought an extra job car for $6,500 from another officer. It’s a Crown Vic and it’s already rigged with lights and decals and is immediately ready to use. You don’t write this off all in one year! The vehicle may need to be depreciated over a five year period or we may elect to just claim the mileage driven on the vehicle for a larger deduction. Remember, facts and circumstances.
- Your mortgage payment is not tax deductible. The mortgage interest is, as well as the property taxes. You may qualify for an office-in-home deduction but even still the total payment cannot be written off.
- Your health insurance is paid through your check with the PD. It’s taken pre-tax and has already been deducted before you ever see your check.
The third most common LE tax return mistake feels great at first, but you’ve overstepped and claimed too many deductions. You are now more susceptible to IRS scrutiny and run the risk of having to spend thousands of dollars because you thought to save a few bucks preparing your own tax return, or hiring someone who didn’t truly understand your industry.
How Molen & Associates Saves You Thousands
We sit down with you, interview-style, going over many of the most common LE expenses. We’ve created a LE Checklist for your use during the year, to help you keep up with the things you’re purchasing. We understand your industry and have specialized in LE tax return preparation since 1980. We prepare more than 1,000 LE returns each year. We will help you avoid all of the common and not so common mistakes in tax return preparation and make sure you pay the least amount of tax allowable by law.
If you’re reading this and you’re an EJ coordinator, or you’re part of an EJ Facebook group, please share this page with other Law Enforcement Professionals. It could mean thousands of dollars in savings, and in your chosen industry, you know how much that can mean. In addition to saving them money, we also offer a $25 referral fee for any new clients you bring to us!
Save Your Time
Save Your Dime
Get Peace Of Mind
11555 Champion Forest Dr.
Houston, TX 77066
Phone: (281) 440-6279
Fax: (281) 716-6000
Building Relationships that Last Generations