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Glossary of Accounting Terms

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401(k)

A 401(k) account is an employer-provided account to an employee which consists of contributions to their retirement. Contributions to this plan will appear on pay stubs; and for income tax filing, withdrawals from 401(k) plans will appear on 1099-R forms.

403(b)

A 403(b) plan is another employer-provided, retirement plan that is actually an annuity with a tax shelter. Contributions to this plan will appear on pay stubs; and for income tax filing, rollovers and withdrawals will appear on 1099-R forms.

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Account Balance

An account balance is the existing amount in an account whether it is a cash account, checking account, retirement account or another type of account. The account balance is always numerical.

Account Reconciliation

An account reconciliation means that you have calculated and determined that the income and payments from a particular account equal the account's balance.

 
Accountant

An accountant is the chief staff member in a company or corporation responsible for reporting financial activity. Pertaining to financial matters, clerks and bookkeepers are subordinate to accountants.

Accounting

Accounting is the man-made science of keeping track of, recording and reporting financial transactions among and between other humans (currently) and their business entities. Accounting always involves the appropriate currency whether it is dollars, francs, Krugerrands, lira, pesos, pounds, etc.

Accounts Payable

Accounts payable are liability accounts that a company, corporation or partnership has. These are short-term accounts that usually require complete payments in one year or less.

 
Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable are asset accounts that a company, corporation, partnership or other business entity has. These are usually short-term accounts from which business entities expect payments from other businesses, clients and customers.

Accrual Basis

The accrual basis is the sole other basis (Cash basis being the other basis.) for reporting income or expenses for a company, corporation, partnership or other, business entity. Using the accrual basis, income and/or expenses are reported when earned, not when received.

Accrued Expense

Accrued expense is an expense of which a company, corporation, or other business entity has assumed the obligation to pay, but has not yet paid.

 
Accrued Revenue

Accrued revenue is the income/revenue that a company, corporation or other business entity has received the promise of payment from another business, client or customer, but has not actually received payment.

 
Accumulated Depreciation

Accumulated depreciation is the amount after the first year, first half-year or first quarter of depreciation that a business entity can deduct from income in order to recover the cost of a business asset over a period (usually several years) in which the asset decreases its value.

 
Active-Participant Status

Relating to businesses and financial concerns, the active-participant status refers to individuals who physically participate in the work of a company, corporation or other, business entity, or make decisions for a company, corporation or other, business entity.

Actuary

An actuary is a person who works for an insurance company. He/she calculates dividends and premiums, and may also print and send tax-related statements to individuals who have insurance from that specific company.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Adjustable Rate Mortgages have variable interest rates. The interest rates often vary on a yearly basis taking into consideration the costs to the lender and other credit factors.

Adjusted Entry

An entry can be a numerical value or text on a bill, check, invoice, voucher or other financial statement. An adjustment (adjusted entry) was made to correct such an entry.

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)

On United States income tax forms, adjusted gross income is a numerical amount that appears when all, income sources are deducted from all, eligible expenses. On Form 1040, this amount appears on Line 37 and 38.

Advance

For financial purposes, an advance is where an employee gets his/her wages or salary before the date that he or she usually receives it.

 
Agent

Relating to financial matters, an agent is the person who acts in the interest of another person, and who has broad or stipulated, specific fights when acting as the other person's financial representative.

Aggressive Growth Fund

An Aggressive Growth Fund is "aggressive" using the financial methods it uses to get high capital gains for a mutual fund.

Allocation Formula

To allocate means to distribute or designate. An allocation formula can be the percentage amount of a dividend to allocate in a particular year, the percentage amount of tax to designate from a withdrawal of IRA funds, etc.

 
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

For U.S. income tax purposes, Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is an additional tax on certain income/expenses like accelerated depreciation, depletion, passive loss deductions, etc.

American Opportunity Tax Credit (Hope Credit)

U.S. Citizens filing U.S. income tax forms can "hope" to get the Hope Credit. Taxpayers who attended colleges in the freshman and sophomore years at least on a part-time basis, and had unreimbursed, eligible, education-related expenses can usually claim this credit.

Amortization

For financial purposes, amortization means to pay off periodically certain items that can appear on tax returns. Two common examples are a mortgage and bonds' premiums.

 
Annual Meeting of Shareholders

Shareholders have "shares" (financial interest) in a company's or corporation's worth. An annual meeting of shareholders occurs once per year in which all shareholders may or may not attend in-person.

 
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is a financial charge levied on credit cards and other loans on an annual basis.

 
Annual Report

An annual report is usually a business report created and distributed to executives and shareholders at the end of a business year. This report is very professional, accurate, and summarizes a company's or corporation's income, expenses and equity.

 
Annuitant

An annuitant receives the income from an annuity.

Annuity

An annuity is a source of retirement income in which an individual receives payments at regular intervals and/or yearly.

 
Annuity Certain

Such an annuity means that payments will continue to the beneficiary(s) of an individual's estate even after the annuitant's death.

 
Annuity Joint Life

Such an annuity will dispense funds until the first death among two or more annuitants.

Annuity Joint and Survivor

Two individuals can have such an annuity; and full payments continue as long as both individuals are alive. In the event of death of one of these individuals, payments continue at a pre-specified amount.

 
Annuity Modified Refund

Employees contribute their earnings to this annuity. After retirement, if such employees die before receiving all of their contributions, the balance (including interest) is distributed to their beneficiaries.

 
Annuity Payout Option

When retirees are eligible to receive payments from their annuity, they have the option of receiving all of their retirement money in a one-time total amount, or over a period of time (like monthly).

 
Application Fee

This is the fee that must be paid when an applicant submits an application. Such an application can be for employment, credit, passport creation, etc.

 
Appraisal

Individuals or groups of individuals who can assess the value of an item or service.

 
Appreciation

Financially speaking, an appreciation is the increase in value of an asset.

 
Articles of Incorporation (Certificate of Incorporation/Charter)

In the United States and Canada, this document declares the management rules by which a corporation will be created.

Articles of Organization

This document is similar to the Articles of Incorporation except that the exception that it refers to forming a LLC (limited liability company).

Asset

An asset is a company's, corporation's, individual's, or other business entity's property (intangible or intangible).

Asset Allocation

This can refer to an asset's designation or distribution.

 
Asset Class

Referring to depreciation, an asset class can be one of these: 3-year property, 5-year property, 7-year property, 10-year property, 15-year property, 20-year property, 25-year property, residential property or non-residential property.

Assignment

Referring to business and/or tax purposes, an assignment is a property transfer which will be held in trust or to benefit creditors.

 
Assumed Name

An assumed name is a false name.

 
Authorized Shares or Stock

This is the maximum amount of stock shares that a corporation or company can legally issue.

Automatic Reinvestment

Automatic reinvestment of income can refer to automatically reinvesting dividends before the dividend recipients withdraw such dividends.

 
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Bad Debts

On U.S. income tax forms, companies and proprietorships can create a liability account for bad debts, but they must have be using an accrual basis for reporting income. Other qualifications for declaring a bad debt are the debt's description, debt's, payment due date; debtor's name, relationship between the business and debtor, efforts made to collect the debt, and why the debt was deemed worthless.

Balance

The balance is the numerical amount existing in a cash or credit account, or the amount that still must be paid in a liability account.

 
Balance Sheet

This is a financial form that summarizes a company's, corporation's, partnership's, proprietorship's or other business entity's assets, liabilities and owner's equity.

 
Balloon Mortgage

This is typically a short-term mortgage with regular payments and a final, larger (balloon) payment at the term's end.

 
Bank Overdraft

A bank overdraft occurs when an individual or business entity writes a check for an amount which is more than the balance in their bank account.

Bank Reconciliation

This refers to reconciling (making certain that all entries [debits and credits, income and purchases] are correct) on a bank statement.

 
Bankrupt

An individual or business entity is bankrupt (adjective) when he/she/it can no longer meet his/her/its financial obligations.

 
Bankruptcy

This is the condition of being unable to meet financial obligations.

Basis

When referring to depreciation or capital gains, this is the monetary value of an item when it was purchased.

 
Basis Point

Often used in calculating interest rates, a basis point is one-hundredth of a percent.

 
Bear Market

This is a stock market condition in which securities and/or commodities are losing value at 20% or more from market high.

 
Beneficiary

A beneficiary is an individual who is designated to receive the monetary benefits from an insurance policy, dividends, retirement fund, etc. if and when the policyholder or account holder cannot or is unable to receive such monetary benefits.

Benefits Received

Benefits received is the amount of monetary benefits that an individual has received from a financial account.

 
Beta

Financially, beta determines an investment's volatility.

Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading is a document that a carrier gives to a shipper. This document lists the transport terms.

 
Blue-Chip Stock

This is stock (share in a company's worth) that has proven high-investment value.

 
Bond

Financially, a bond is a certificate that declares the indebtedness of a public or private nature. These bond types usually earn interest.

Book Value

Financially, book value is the numerical amount of a business entity's total assets minus its intangible assets and liabilities.

 
Book of Original Entry

Strictly speaking, financially, the first book in which an accounting entry was made can be Cash Receipts Journal, Cash Disbursements Journal, Sales Journal, etc.

 
Bookkeeping

This is the process of recording a business entity's accounts and transactions.

 
Broker

Financially, a broker typically refers to a stock broker who is a person who negotiates purchasing and selling stocks.

 
Budget

A budget is the monetary amount that an individual or business entity has designated that should not be exceeded when making purchases or paying liabilities.

 
Bull Market

This refers to a stock market condition in which commodities and securities are increasing in value.

Business Succession

This is a contingent plan for assignment of leadership positions in the event of unforeseen circumstances occurring to a business entity's regular leadership.

Business Taxes

The taxes that a business may need to pay are sales taxes on purchases, property taxes and income taxes. These are all expenses and they can be prepaid.

 
Buy-Sell Agreement

This is a legally-binding agreement between the co-owners of a business entity which declares buying and selling arrangements relating to owners' equity if an owner dies or leaves the business.

 
Buy-and-Hold

This is an investment strategy in which an investor buys stock with the intention of holding such stock for the long-term (more than 1 year).

Bylaws

These are a business entity's rules to help its members govern themselves and regulate the business' affairs.

 
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CAPS

Many programs use this abbreviation. Financially, it likely refers to assist consumers with health insurance problems.

 
Cafeteria Employee Benefit Plan

This plan relates to accident and/or health insurance obtained through your employment. When the premiums from such plans are not included in your income, the IRS deems that you have not paid such premiums and you must include any benefits you receive in your income.

 
Canceled Check

When a bank pays the payee of a check, it stops further payment by cancelling the check (usually on the front) with a stamp.

 
Capital (or Equity)

The main definition of capital or equity is the owner's interest and/or investment in a business.

Capital Asset

Property that an assessee holds.

Capital Gain/Loss

A capital gain is when an individual or business entity receives more income from an asset's or property's sale than what they paid to acquire the asset or property. A capital loss is when an individual or business entity receives less than the amount they paid to purchase the asset or property when they sell the asset or property.

 
Capital Gains Distribution

This distribution occurs when mutual funds and real estate investment trusts pay or credit money to accounts.

Capital Gains Tax

A special tax that the U.S. Internal Revenue levies on the sale of collectibles, items held for investment, etc., whereby the seller had a capital gain.

Capital Loss

A capital loss occurs when a capital asset's selling value is below its purchase price.

 
Capital Stock

The amount of stock that a business entity issues. Such stock can be common and/or preferred.

 
Cash Advance

Cash that an individual or business entity receives before the time that such cash is usually distributed or paid.

Cash Basis

The cash basis is one of two accounting methods in which a business entity accounts for its cash income. Cash is recorded when actually received instead of when earned (accrual basis).

Cash Budget

This is the monetary cash amount that an individual or business entity has designated should not be exceeded when making purchases.

 
Cash Flow

The flowing in (income) and out (expenses and purchases) of a business' cash.

 
Cash Management

These procedures refer to how a business entity collects, handles and uses its cash.

 
Cash Refund

A cash refund is often distributed when a consumer has purchased a defective item and returns such an item along with the sales receipt to the seller.

Cash Surrender Value

This term refers to the cash value of a life insurance policy when cancelled.

 
Casualty Loss

For income tax purposes, a casualty refers to the damage or destruction that a property suffers. If the person or business entity that owns a casualty receives from an insurance company less than the amount that he/she/it paid for the property, then it is a casualty loss.

Certificate of Authority

A Certificate of Authority certifies (declares) than an item or website is authentic and legitimate.

 
Certificate of Deposit

A certificate of deposit (CD) is a specific bond type that has a fixed interest rate that the owner can redeem without penalty when it matures.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

This individual has taken extensive, accounting courses; and the state has certified that he/she is qualified to perform and receive payment for most, if not all, accounting jobs.

 
Chapter 7

The bankruptcy option in which a debtor is released from paying most debtors.

 
Chapter 11

The bankruptcy option in which a debtor agrees to repay financial obligations at a reduced rate, and often over a period of time.

Check

In financial terms, this is a paper authorization/request for payment in a specific currency.

Check Register

An electronic or paper document that records checks disbursed or checks received.

 
Claim

A claim requests that the claimant has legitimate ownership rights to money, property, etc.

Claims Paying Ability Rating

Pertains to the risk of the ability of a borrower to pay back his/her loan; and the ability of an insurance company to pay its policyholders' claims.

 
Close Corporation/Closely Held Corporation

A business entity that only has a limited number of shareholders. It is also a corporation which only occasionally publicly sells its stock.

 
Closing

Financially and account-related, this is the time when a business entity verifies the accuracy and records such accuracy of various accounts.

Closing Costs

Closing costs can refer to the expenses associated with selling an item (like real estate).

Cloud on Tile

Cloud on tile would make an individual or business entity consider carefully, or verify the ownership of property that has irregularities before purchasing such property.

 
Combined Financial Statement

A combined financial statement declares the assets, liabilities and equities of two or more affiliated, business entities.

 
Commercial Loan

A loan to a business entity that conducts business by buying and selling items.

Commercial Paper

A promissory note (IOU) that is unsecured by collateral, and that will become due in 270 days or less.

 
Commission

A fee that an agent, employee, or business entity receives for performing a service or transacting business.

 
Commitment

A pledge or agreement to assume a financial obligation on a future date.

Common Stock

In the U.S., shareholders who have common stock do not have voting rights in annual shareholders meetings.

 
Compound Interest

Interest added to the principal amount (deposit amount or loan amount) that also earns interest.

Compounding

Financially speaking, compounding means adding to (like referring to interest) a financial disbursement.

 
Consignee

The recipient of an item of which he/she holds for sale. Consignees do not own the items they receive for sale.

 
Consignor

An individual who sends an item to a consignee (see previous) for sale. Consignors retain ownership of items consigned.

Consolidated Financial Statements

These statements usually state interest earned, dividends earned and the value of stocks sold.

Construction Loan Note

A construction loan note is a short-term obligation relating to disbursing money to fund a construction project.

Contingent Beneficiary

A contingent beneficiary receives the monetary benefits of an insurance policy if the main beneficiary dies.

Controlling Interest

Usually referring to shareholders, these are individuals who have more stock, or their stock is more valuable, than the other shareholders. Therefore, they can control the sale of a particular company's stock.

 
Convertible Term Insurance

If an individual has term life insurance that expires after a stipulated amount of time, he/she can "convert" it to whole insurance, which lasts for the insurer's life.

Corporate Bond

A binding obligation that a corporation holds which matures in at least one year.

Corporate Record Book

Such a book can be any book in which a corporation records its financial transactions.

 
Corporation

A business entity that is authorized to act as a single entity and recognized in law.

Correction

The written accurate adjustment to an inaccurate entry in a journal or balance.

 
Cosigner

A cosigner assumes the debt (promises to pay) of an individual in the event that the debtor cannot or will not pay the debt.

Covenant not to Compete

A formal binding agreement, so a Covenant not to Compete means that a business entity agrees not to take away earnings (relating to selling the same goods) from another business entity.

Coverdell Education Savings Account (Coverdell ESA)

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts are certain accounts that may get additional taxes levied on them if the owners of such accounts do not follow the rules.

 
Credit

A refund of the purchase amount to a consumer's debit card or credit card.

Credit Column

The right side of a balance sheet.

 
Credit Bureau

A credit bureau calculates and reports an individual's or business entity's credit rating.

Credit History

This report lists the times that an individual or business entity has applied for, received, and/or has been rejected for credit.

 
Credit Line

The total monetary amount that a credit card company will allow a credit card holder to use as credit.

Credit Note

Such a note is a memo that a seller issues to a buyer. This usually relates to the same amount or a lower amount on an invoice.

 
Credit Rating

Credit bureaus issue credit ratings, which are evaluations of credit risk for individuals and business entities.

Credits

Credits can be several transactions that refund purchase amounts to an individual's or business entity's credit card.

 
Cumulative Voting

A fairer and more proportional voting method within corporations.

Current Asset

An asset that can easily be converted to cash.

Current Liability

A liability that must be paid with cash.

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Debit

An accounting entry showing the amount owed of an account.

Debit Card

Use of a debit card authorizes the seller to immediately take purchase amounts from the cardholder's account.

 
Debt

A financial obligation that must be paid.

Debt-to-Equity Ratio

This ratio indicates the proportion of a shareholder's equity and shareholder's debt when financing a business entity's assets.

Decreasing Term Insurance

Decreasing term life insurance states that death benefits will decrease (monthly or annually) during the policy's term.

Deed

A deed is a signed document showing the legal transfer of property ownership.

Deferred Annuity

The individual or annuity payer has delayed or ceased payment of annuities until the time of agreement of certain conditions.

Deficit

A deficit shows more expenditures than revenue.

Defined Benefit Plan

Employers provide such a plan to their employees. The monetary benefits upon retirement are predetermined.

Defined Contribution Plan

Employers or employees provide such a plan. Employees or employers make regular, monetary contributions to this plan.

Deflation

The economic condition in which the amount of cash money or credit results in the general decline of prices.

Demand Loan

A loan type in which the lender "demands" immediate repayment.

Dependent

For income tax purposes, this is an individual who requires substantial financial and/or living arrangement assistance from a taxpayer.

Depletion

When referring to companies in the mining business, this is the total mining of ores in which no more is available.

Deposit

The adding of cash to a checking account or savings account.

Depreciation

The financial attempt to recover the cost of an asset over time as it loses its value.

Derivative

A contract or security that gets its value from an underlying asset.

Direct Cost

Pertaining to manufacturing costs, a direct cost can be easily and accurately defined.

Direct Deposit

A direct deposit is an electronic deposit into a an account holder's checking, savings or retirement account. A direct deposit requires the authorization of the account holder.

Direct Rollover

A direct rollover is usually electronic and is a deposit from an account holder's retirement plan to another retirement plan that the account holder has.

Direct Tax

A tax that an individual or business entity pays that does not pertain to a transaction.

Directors

Directors are individuals who supervise a business entity's planning.

Disability-Income Insurance

Income that a disabled individual receives as a result of company-related accident or illness. Such an individual must have been enrolled in the particular company's disability-income insurance plan.

Discount Broker

A discount broker charges clients lower-than-normal fees for buying and selling stocks without giving his/her clients financial advice.

Disposable Income

Relating to an individual's or business entity's income, disposable income is the income available after the payment of taxes and the income required for living expenses.

Dissolution

The condition whereby a business entity or individual terminates its business operations.

 
Diversification

The increase of items that a business entity produces and/or makes available for purchasing.

Dividend

A monetary interest disbursement from a mutual fund.

Dollar Cost Averaging

Dollar cost averaging reduces the volatility when making large purchases of financial assets.

Domestic Corporation

A corporation that practices business in its home country.

Double Taxation

This occurs when two jurisdictions (for example, two states) levy taxes on the same income or on the same item.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock market average of 30 large publicly traded companies that are trading during a certain period of time.

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Early Withdrawal

An early withdrawal occurs when a retirement account holder withdraws money from his/her retirement account before he/she has reached retirement age.

Earned Income

Income that a worker (blue collar or white collar) earns. Earned income does not include prize money or the gain from the sale of capital assets.

Earned Income Credit

A credit or amount of tax reduction that a taxpayer may qualify for if he/she has earned income, and meets certain other qualifications.

Electronic Banking

This form of banking allows cash and savings account holders to electronically deposit and electronically withdraw money.

Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce)

Electronic commerce relates to trading, buying and selling commodities via the Internet or by other electronic methods.

Electronic Filing (IRS e-file)

An option that U.S. taxpayers have to file their income taxes. Electronic filing does not require that the taxpayer mail his/her, or in the case of a business entity, its paper tax return to the IRS because the tax preparer's computer encodes the tax return and sends it electronically.

Electronic Funds Transfer System (ERTS)

A system that transfers money from one bank account to another. Such a transfer can go electronically from one bank to another without human assistance.

Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

The Employment Retirement Security Act became a law in 1974; and this act established the minimum requirements that business entities must adhere to when providing pension plans and employee benefit plans.

Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)

Some companies and corporations allow their employees to have ownership of a company or corporation by providing them with stock. Although such employees do not initially pay for such stock, this stock is related to the work such employees have done.

Endowment

The action of giving or bequeathing an item, securities or anything of value to another person or organization.

Engagement Letter

When a legal relationship exists between a professional firm and its clients, an engagement letter was likely first created and distributed to define compensation terms and/or compensation methods.

Enrolled Agent

A person with federal authority who represents taxpayers if they are called in for auditing of their tax returns.

Equity

If an owner has equity in a business entity, he/she has an ownership claim and his/her interest in such a business entity is at risk.

Equity Loan

This is a loan that uses real estate as collateral.

Escrow

Escrow means that a third party holds money, property or a deed until the intended recipient fulfills a certain condition.

Estate

The assets and liabilities that person leaves when he/she dies.

Estate Planning

This planning can be part of a person's will in which he/she details the administration of his/her estate upon his/her death.

Estate Taxes

On U.S. Income Tax Form Schedule A, taxpayers can deduct real estate taxes related to personal property. U.S. taxpayers can deduct business-related, real estate taxes on Schedule C.

Excess Compensation

This compensation type refers to payments from an employer to an employee to determine the employee's retirement allowance.

Excise Tax

Excise taxes are paid when purchases of a certain good are included in the overall price of product. An example of an excise tax is a tax on gasoline that is include in the price per gallon. In such a case the business entity cannot deduct this excise tax.

Executor

A person and/or firm named in an individual's will who will have primary responsibility for distributing the assets of the deceased's estate.

Exempt (from tax liability)

This means that a person on business entity does not need to pay taxes.

Exempt (from withholding)

This means that an individual who earns wages or a salary qualifies not to have part of his/her wages withheld to pay for certain taxes.

Expenditure

Outlay that a business entity charges against revenue for a specific period.

External Auditor

Such an auditor is not an employee of the business entity of which he/she verifies accounting records.

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F.O.B.

The abbreviation for free on board; and it specifies the point at which a seller transfers ownership of goods to a buyer.

FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act)

This act put into law the requirement that employers must withhold a certain percentage of their employees' wages to fund Social Security and Medicare.

Form 1040EZ

A shorter form than the 1040 Form that a U.S. taxpayer may be qualified to use when filing his or her income taxes.

Form W-2

The form that an employee gives to his/her employer to authorize withholding of part of income for tax purposes.

Form W-4 (Employee's withholding allowance certificate)

The form that declares an employee is exempt from withholding/taxes.

Fair Market Value

When filing U.S. income taxes, this value is used to determine the price that at which a willing buyer would accept property ownership from a willing seller.

Family Limited Partnership (FLP)

Partners (general or limited) use these to transfer wealth from one generation to another generation.

Federal Reserve System (The Fed)

The central banking system for the United States.

Federal Tax Identification Number

A nine-digit number that the IRS assigns to business entities that operate in the U.S. FTINs are on all 1099 forms, most, if not all, W2-G forms, and many other forms.

Fiduciary

A person of business entity that holds money or property in trust.

File a Return

To send income tax forms to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Filing Status

For filing U.S. income tax forms, the taxpayer's filing status can be one of these: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household or qualifying widow/widower with dependent child.

Financial Aid

This type of financial assistance often refers to money given to individuals to complete their post-secondary school education.

Financial Statements

These statements are a business entity's formal records summarizing financial activities.

First-to-Die Life Insurance

An insurance policy for two individuals. When one of the policyholders die, the surviving policyholder receives the death benefit of the life insurance policy.

Fiscal Year

An accounting period that lasts 12 months but start and end date can be different for each organization.

Fixed Annuity

An insurance contract in which an insurance company makes regular, specified, and unchanging (same amount) payments to the annuitant until death or the contract's cancellation.

 
Fixed Assets

These assets cannot easily be converted into cash; an office building and equipment are examples.

Fixed Rate

This can refer to the unchanging, percentage amount of interest amount than business entity pays on a loan.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage states that the interest on the loan remains the same during the loan's entire term.

Floating Debt

This occurs when a business entity continually refinances a short-term debt.

 
Flood Insurance

Insurance to help repair the damage to real estate damaged by a flood, or to help pay for possessions damaged by flood.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

The owner of certain real estate property chooses to sell such property themselves instead of using a real estate agency.

Foreclosure

A legal proceeding whereby the lender attempts to force sale of real estate to recover enough money to pay the loan balance.

Foreign Corporation

A foreign corporation registers to do business in a jurisdiction or state different than the jurisdiction or state of original incorporation.

Forfeitures

The losses of money or property because legal obligations were not met/paid.

Formal Tax Legislation Process

A process whereby a tax rule or tax change may become law in the United States.

Franchise

A business entity's license and permission for another business entity to use its logo, trademark, and other intangible assets.

Franchise Tax

A tax that a municipality, state or the federal government levies on a franchise.

Fringe Benefits

Benefits that an employer gives to an employee that do not affect the employee's wages.

Front-End Load

A fee charged to an investor with the first payment to recover administrative expenses and transaction costs.

Futures

On the stock exchange, commodity futures are bought or sold with the expectation of future gain or loss.

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GAAP

This is an acronym for generally accepted accounting principles.

GAAS

This is an acronym for generally accepted auditing standards.

General Journal

A general journal has the date that a transaction occurred, the amount of increase or decrease, and a brief description of the transaction.

General Ledger

A collection of individual ledger accounts along with their balances.

General Partner

A general partner of a partnership is responsible for the business entity's actions and is personally liable for the business entity's debts and obligations.

Gift

An item or money freely given without the expectation of compensation in the form of money or property.

Gift Tax

A gift tax is nondeductible on federal income tax forms.

 
Golden Boot

This occurs when a business entity pays an employee a large severance package (usually in the form of money) to resign.

Golden Handcuffs

This occurs when a business entity pays an employee who is earning a large salary an additional financial and/or benefits incentive to remain as an employee of the business entity.

Golden Parachute

A large payment to a business entity's executive when such an executive is dismissed as a result of a merger or takeover.

Goodwill

An intangible asset representing a business entity's favorable reputation with its consumers and/or suppliers.

Government Bond

In the United States, the Treasury Department issues a government bond with the promise that it will make periodic interest payments, and will repay the face value on its maturity date.

Grace Period

In the case of a loan, this is the amount of time after the loan's balance becomes due in which the lender will not charge penalties if the borrower pays the balance.

Gross Estate

Gross estate is an estate's value before considering liabilities.

Gross Income

For a taxpayer filing a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, gross income is the total income on Form 1040, line 22.

 
Gross Monthly Income

The monthly amount of income that an individual or business entity receives before considering liabilities.

Group Life Insurance

A life insurance policy in which a group of people are insured.

Guardian

An individual who cares for a person or who cares for the property belonging to another individual.

 
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Health Savings Account (HSA)

A specific savings account created that contains money designated to pay for medical expenses. This account type cannot be a medical or dental expense deduction on Schedule A.

 
Highly Compensated Employee (HCE)

According to the IRS, this is an individual who is considered highly-compensated because he/she owns more than 5% of a business entity's interest.

Housing Ratio

Lenders use this ratio to compare a borrower's housing expenses to a borrower's gross income.

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Income

On U.S. Individual Tax Returns, all of these are income: wages, salaries, tips, taxable interest, tax-exempt interest, ordinary dividends, qualified dividends, taxable refunds, alimony received, business income, capital gains, other gains, IRA distributions, pensions and annuities, income from real estate, partnerships, S corporations and trusts, royalties, farm income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, and other income such as certain jury duty pay and prizes.

Income Statement

A business entity's income statement shows revenues, expenses, net operating profit and net income available to stockholders.

 
Income Tax

A federal tax on income that an individual or business entity receives.

 
Incorporated (Inc.)

A company that has formed a legal corporation.

Incorporator

The individual who has the authority to establish a corporation, and who files the Articles of Incorporation with a specific state.

 
Indemnify

This means to secure an individual or business entity against loss or damage, or to secure an individual or business entity against legal responsibility for their actions.

 
Index

In the world of the stock market, an index is a list of companies that publicly trade and their respective stock prices.

Indirect Tax

Examples of an indirect tax are sales tax, value added tax or goods and services tax. Retail stores collect indirect taxes from consumers.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

These are retirement accounts that an individual contributes money to for their eventual retirement.

Inflation

Inflation occurs when prices rise because of an increase in the volume of money and credit in relation to goods and services.

 
Informal Tax Legislation Process

A process in which U.S. citizens attempt to influence tax legislators by holding meetings, signing petitions and contributing to advocacy groups.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

An initial public offering occurs when investors purchase a company's shares, and then, for the first time, sells them to the public.

 
Insolvency

Insolvency occurs when a business entity cannot pay its debts when due.

 
Installment

This is commonly an agreement between a purchaser and a seller for the purchaser to pay for the item's cost over a period of time instead of all at once.

Insufficient Funds

This typically occurs when a financial institution declares that an account holder lacks enough money to pay a check that he/she wrote.

Insurability

The determination as to whether a certain loss type can be insured, or whether an individual or business entity can be insured.

Insurable Interest

If a person or business entity benefits financially by the continuous existence of an insured item that is not damaged or impaired, then this particular individual or business entity has insurable interest for the insured item.

 
Insured

The state and/or condition of a person or business entity when it has insurance.

Intangible Asset

An asset that one cannot touch when such assets are in their operative states like goodwill, copyrights, patents, etc.

 
Integrated Plan

In the business world, an integrated plan is a plan participation of all stockholders and the respective departments.

Intellectual Capital

A business entity's intellectual capital is an intangible asset referring to the value of its employees.

Interest

(1) An additional charge (usually a percentage) on the amount of money lent.

(2) When invested capital earns profit, such profit is interest.

Interest Income

When referring to savings accounts and mutual funds accounts this is income that account holders receive if they keep money in such accounts for a specified amount of time.

Interest Rate

The interest rate can refer to the percentage amount, based on the amount borrowed, that a lender will charge over a specified time period.

Internal Auditor

An employee of the company or corporation of which he/she examines and verifies accounts.

Internal Control

In accounting and auditing, this is the process whereby a business entity assures itself that it will achieve its objectives.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

This is the interest rate at which the net present values from a business entity's cash flows relating to a project or investment equal zero.

Inventory

The is a collection of unsold merchandise that a business entity may have in its warehouse or store.

Investment

If an individual or business entity makes an investment, he/she/it outlays money to earn money from the invested property.

Investment Objective

This occurs when an investor has a financial goal.

Invoice

An itemized statement listing items sold or services rendered; and this statement typically requests payment for the goods sold and/or services rendered.

 
Irrevocable Trust

A type of trust that can only be changed or cancelled with the beneficiary's permission.

 
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Joint Products

Joint products occur when manufacturers produce different products from the same manufacturing process at the same time.

Joint Tenancy

Type of shared, property ownership in which each owner has undivided interest in a property.

Journal

In accounting, a journal is an accounting record of business transactions that includes the date on which the transaction occurred, and the amount and type of transaction.

Journal Entry

An entry in a journal that includes the date of occurrence, type of transaction and a brief description of the transaction.

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Keogh Accounts

Accounts that self-employed individuals can set up.

 
Keogh Plan

A qualified retirement plan from which a distribution is fully taxable.

 
Key Employee

A key employee has most ownership and/or most decision-making role for a business entity.

Key Person Insurance

If a business entity purchases a life insurance policy on a key employee's life, it is key person insurance.

 
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Lapsed Policy

The declaration of a lapsed policy occurs when an insurance company cancels a policy because of nonpayment of premiums on due dates or nonpayment of premiums during grace periods.

Lease

A contract for renting real estate or other property allowing an individual or business entity to live in or conduct business in a piece of real estate.

 
Lease-Purchase Agreement

A contract given to individuals who intend to lease property so that they may have the option to purchase such property during the lease's term.

 
Leaseback (Sale and Leaseback)

A financial transaction in which an individual or business entity sells an asset, and then leases it back for a long-term period.

 
Leasehold Improvements 

Improvements (not repairs) on leased property that increase the value of such leased property.

 
Ledger

An accounting book containing an account which has debits and credits.

 
Letter of Credit

A bank issues a letter of credit guaranteeing that a seller will receive a payment as long as the seller follows certain, delivery conditions.

 
Level Premium Term Insurance

In a term insurance policy, premiums remain level (the same amount) throughout the policy's term.

 
Liability

Relating to business entities, a liability is a debt.

Life Annuity

An annuity that has a predetermined payout amount until the annuitant's death.

 
Life Cycle

When referring to a business entity, this is the period between such an entity opens to conduct business, and when it ceases to conduct business.

 
Life Expectancy

Insurance companies make this estimate to determine the average life span of an individual.

 
Life Insurance

Insurance that a company provides to an individual in which such a company will pay monetary compensation to the insurer's beneficiary when he/she dies.

Lifetime Learning Credit

When filing a U.S. Individual Tax Return, a taxpayer may be eligible to claim this education credit if they have a filing status that is other than Married Filing Separately, and if they meet other educational qualifications.

Limited (LTD.)

This refers to a company in which its members and/or subscribers are limited to what they have invested or guaranteed to the company.

Limited Liability Company

In a limited liability company, the owners have limited personal liability for the company's debts.

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

A limited liability corporation has the same personal liability limits on its owners for the corporation's debts that a company has.

Limited Partnership

In a limited partnership, the limited partner is usually not responsible for the partnership's debts that exceed his/her amount of capital investment.

Liquid Asset

Cash or property, life insurance policy, or security that can easily be sold for or converted to cash.

Liquidation

The process that a business entity takes to convert its assets to cash in order to pay debtors and/or creditors.

Liquidation Value

An asset's likely value when it has insufficient time to be sold on the open market.

Liquidity

The degree to which an asset can be bought quickly or sold quickly without affecting its value.

Liquidity Ratio

A ratio used to determine if a business entity can pay its short-term debt obligations.

Living Trust

An arrangement whereby a trustee holds legal title to the property of another person who is the beneficiary.

Living Will

Such a will gives directions to physicians regarding their wishes for medical care, often at the end of life.

 
Local Tax

Municipalities and counties impose this tax on business entities.

 
Locking In

This can refer to declaring an unchanging percentage with regard to a discount on an item for sale.

 
Long-Term Care Insurance

This type of insurance is generally similar to accident and health insurance. Provisions are made and expenses are paid for chronically-ill individuals; such a policy will not reimburse expenses that Medicare would reimburse.

Loss

A loss could refer to a piece of real estate that is completely destroyed, and from which the owner receives no compensation for its loss. A loss could also refer to the income state of a sole proprietorship when it files its taxes wherein its expenses exceeded its income.

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Management Accounting

Mangers use accounting information to learn more about income, expenses and equity before deciding matters within their business organizations.

 
Management Buyout

This occurs when a business entity's existing managers acquire ownership of a large part of the business entity from the parent company or from private owners.

Management Fee

Regarding investments, this is the periodic fee paid by an investment fund to the fund's, investment advisor.

Manager

An individual who directs the actions of a business entity's blue-collar and white-collar workers.

Mandatory Employee Contribution

A contribution that an employee must make to a retirement plan, such as in the case that an employee has a 403b plan.

Market Risk

Referring to the stock market, this is risk of loss that could occur if stock prices decline.

 
Market Timing

A strategy referring to the stock market whereby investors attempt to predict future market prices.

Market Value

This is the price at which an asset would trade in a competitive auction.

Materiality

Materiality is an accounting and auditing concept referring to the significance of an amount transaction or discrepancy.

 
Maturity

When referring to a savings bond this is the time when the owner of such a bond can redeem it for the bond's face value plus interest.

Medicaid

This is a program of federal medical assistance that wage earners contribute to by employers withholding a certain amount of income from their pay.

Medicare

Medicare includes parts A, B and D, of which some of these plans will pay for voluntary prescription drugs, supplemental medical insurance and in-patient care in a qualified medical facility, etc.

 
Medicare Part D

In this Medicare Plan an individual who enrolled can deduct medical expense premiums on their U.S. Income Tax Returns.

Member

A member can be an inorganic section of a business entity.

Merger

A merger occurs when a business entity absorbs another business entity to form a new business entity.

 
Minimum Participation Requirements

Regarding retirement plans that employers contribute to, this can be the minimum amount that they must contribute.

Minority Interest

Minority interest, or non-controlling interest, is the portion of a subsidiary corporation's stock that is not owned by the parent corporation.

Minutes

The official record of a business entity's meeting.

Money Market

When money becomes commodities, this market becomes a part of financial markets as it relates to short-term borrowing, short-term lending, short-term buying and short-term selling.

Monthly Housing Expenses

Monthly expenses that an individual may have if he/she has a mortgage or leases an apartment or home.

 
Mortality Table

A table that displays, according to each age, the probability that an individual will die before his/her next birthday.

Municipal Bond

Cities, towns and/or counties issue this bond.

 
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Name Reservation

Relating to business entities, such an entity may reserve a name through its state of incorporation.

National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ)

U.S.-based stock exchange, the second largest in the world.

Net Income

The income amount after the consideration and/or payment of liabilities.

 
Net Worth

An individual's or business entity's total assets minus its total outside liabilities.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New York Stock Exchange

The American stock exchange which is the largest stock exchange in the World.

No-Par-Value Stock

Investors determine the price they will pay for no-par-value stock.

 
Noncontributory Retirement Plan

A pension plan to which an employer contributes money that does not require contributions from its employees.

 
Nonforfeitable Benefit

A benefit given to employees which employers cannot take away.

 
Nonqualified Plan

A key executive and a certain employee may have a nonqualified retirement plan to meet his/her specialized retirement needs. Such a plan is not covered by ERISA guidelines.

Not For Profit Corporation

A not for profit corporation is one formed for another purpose other than operating a profit-seeking business. A not for profit corporation is a type of non-profit organization.

 
Notary Public

A public official who attests and/or certifies certain documents like affidavits, depositions, etc.

Note Payable (Promissory Note)

A note payable requires that the business entity's officers sign a formal loan before the lender will loan money.

Note Receivable

Such a note is an asset for a business entity; this note requires full payment over a period that is 30 days or longer.

 
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Offering Price

The price at which new issues of stock are made available to the public for purchasing.

Officers

A business entity's employees and/or executives who have authority to sign certain specified documents and who have authority to perform certain specified actions.

Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI)

The official name for Social Security Insurance in the United States.

Operating Agreement

A limited liability company may have an operating agreement that governs its members' financial and managerial rights.

Option

When referring to stock, an option is a privilege sold from one individual to another gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation to buy or sell such stock at the agreement price within a certain specified time period.

 
Ordinary Income

An example of ordinary income from the IRS definition is a paycheck that an employee receives periodically.

Organizational Meeting

The first meeting that a business entity has after it is officially formed.

 
Over-the-Counter (OTC)

Referring to the stock market, over-the-counter means that no one supervises the trading between two parties.

Overhead

An unidentified operating expense.

Owner's Equity

The risk interest that an owner has in a business.

 
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PITI

Referring to a mortgage, this acronym pertains the total of monthly principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

 
Paid-in Capital Requirements

Investors pay this capital amount during stock (common and preferred) issuances.

Paid-Up Additions

Insurance policy riders that allow the insured to quickly accumulate a policy's cash value.

 
Par Value

A stock's value, determined by a corporate charter.

Parent Company

When a parent company has enough voting stock in another company so that it can influence or elect is board of directors.

Partnership

When a proprietorship, a business that a single individual owns, joins with another proprietorship to combine their resources in order to have a better chance of success.

 
Pass-Through Taxation

This type of taxation means that taxes get passed to the business owners' tax returns instead of being levied on the businesses.

 
Past Due

This can occur if an insured does not pay his premium on an agreed upon date.

Patent

An intangible asset claiming ownership of an invention and/or process.

Payable

This can refer to an asset like accounts payable which means that customers owe a company payments through installment plans.

 
Payroll

A listing of employees who have earned money by working for a business entity.

Payroll Taxes

In the U.S., these are taxes that employers must withhold from employees' wages.

Pension

A qualification to receive income when an individual retires.

Permanent Life Insurance

A life insurance plan that does not expire and combines a death benefit with savings.

 
Personal Income Tax

The tax on an individual's personal income.

 
Plan Administrator

An individual who manages the common regular affairs and decisions associated with a group pension plan.

 
Plan Sponsor

An individual or company that sets up a healthcare or retirement plan.

Policy

Referring to insurance, this is a contract between the insurer and the insured.

Policy Dividend

A company decides whether it will pay its profits to an employee as a dividend or retain such profits as earnings.

Policy Exclusion

This occurs when an insurance policy will not cover the loss or damage for a certain property or certain item.

 
Policy Loan

This occurs when an insurance company uses as collateral the cash value of an individual's life insurance policy.

Policy Reserves

The pro rata of the total reserve for many policies.

Policy Rider

An addition to an insurance policy that provides additional benefits, but also requires that the insured pay an additional price.

Policyholder

The insured (individual or group) named in an insurance policy.

Portability

Referring to health insurance and retirement benefits, a benefit an employee can keep when switching employers and/or retiring.

 
Portfolio

All of the investments that a business entity has.

 
Posting

An entry transfer from a book of original entry to the proper account in a ledger.

Power of Attorney

The legal authorization that an individual gives to another to manage financial affairs in his or her stead.

Preemptive Rights

The rights of current shareholders to keep the value of their fractional by buying a proportional amount of shares (common stock only) on a future date.

 
Preferred Stock

This stock type is more valuable than common stock.

Premature or Early Distributions

When an individual withdraws money from his/her retirement account before he/she has reached the eligible retirement age.

Premium

An amount that an insured individual pays to an insurance company to keep an insurance policy active.

Premium Loan

When an insurance company gives a loan to the policyholder so that they can pay a due premium. The policy's cash value is the loan's security.

Prepaid

When an individual or business entity paid a bill or expense before its due date.

Prepayment

The actual act of paying a bill or expense before its due date.

Prepayment Penalty

Lenders for mortgage contracts may include this penalty to reduce the loss of income when there is a risk that the lender will refinance.

Present Value

On the date that an item is valued, this is the expected income if sold.

Price/Earnings Ratio (P/E)

A ratio used to value a company that is based upon its stock price in relation to its earnings per share.

 
Primary Beneficiary

If an insurance policy lists several beneficiaries, this is the individual who will be first to receive death benefits.

 
Prime Rate

The interest rate that commercial banks charge their customers who have the best credit.

 
Principal

An individual who has controlling authority or the leading position.

Private Letter Ruling

When the U.S. Internal Revenue Service responds to a taxpayer's guidance request.

 
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private insurance companies provide this mortgage insurance on conventional loans.

Professional Corporation

A corporate business entity that has special considerations; notably, they can be attorneys, architects and other licensed professionals.

Profit

Simply defined, the amount of income received that exceeds an item's cost.

Profit and Loss Statement

This financial statement shows a business entity's revenues and expenses for a specified period.

Profit-Sharing Plan

An incentive plan that a business entity may provide to its employees to directly or indirectly distribute some or all of the business entity's profits.

Progressive Tax

A tax in which the tax rate (percentage) increases as the taxable amount increases.

 
Prohibited Transaction

Relating to Individual Retirement Accounts, the IRS deems any of these as a prohibited transaction: borrowing money from them, selling property to them, using them as security for loans, and using the money in them to buy property for personal use.

Property

A piece of real estate or an item that an individual owns.

Property Tax

This is a monetary charge that a municipality, state and/or federal government levies on the ownership and/or use of property.

Proportional Tax

The opposite of a progressive tax; the tax rate is fixed.

Prospectus

For the benefit of potential buyers, this is a disclosure statement describing a business entity's financial security.

Proxy

Referring to an individual who has common stock in a U.S. corporation, this individual can vote (proxy) in-person, by mail, phone or online.

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Qualified Plan

A qualified plan has these qualities: business entities may deduct the taxes on contributions; participants do not need to pay taxes on contributions; creditors cannot take money from these plans; and earnings on contributions increase without being taxed.

Quorum

In a business meeting, a quorum is the minimum number of members needed to conduct the meeting's business.

Quotation

Regarding a service, this is the amount that an individual or business entity estimates will be the cost for performing the service.

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Rate of Return

The loss or gain that an investment has during a specified time period.

Rated Policy

An insurance policy in which the insured pays higher than normal premiums due to the insured's risky occupation.

 
Ratio

A relationship, often percentage, between two or more amounts, sizes and/or quantities.

Real Estate Investment Trust Fund (REIT)

A fund that a company who owns and operates income-producing real estate has.

Recapitalization

This occurs when a corporation substantially changes its capital structure.

 
Receivable

When a business entity makes a legally enforceable claim for payment from a client and/or customer.

Redemption

The noun associated with redeeming (removing an obligation) for payment like the redemption of a U.S. Savings Bond.

Refinancing

An individual who has a home mortgage may refinance (get a newer and lower interest rate) it.

Refund

A person who buys defective merchandise may get the money they paid for the merchandise returned (refund) from the seller if they return the defective merchandise to the seller.

 
Registered Agent

The person designated to receive federal and state documents for a business entity.

 
Registered Office

A business entity's official address.

 
Regressive Tax

The tax rate of regressive tax decreases as the taxable amount increases.

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)

This is the minimum amount that retirees must receive from their traditional retirement, Simple IRAs and SEP plans by April 1 in the year after they reach 70½ years old.

Resolution

Referring to a business meeting, this is the formal expression of opinion or intention.

Retained Earnings

When a business entity has net income, it sometimes keeps (retains) these earnings instead of distributing this income to shareholders.

Revenue

The total income that a specific source produces.

 
Reverse Mortgage

This is a home loan usually secure over a property that enables the borrower to access the value of the property. The loads are typical marketed to older homeowners and normally do not require monthly mortgage payments.

Review Engagement

When a public accountant reviews a business entity's financial information at the request of a client. Such a review consists of inquiries, analytical procedures and discussions.

 
Review Engagement Report

The formal findings from a public accountant after they conduct a review engagement.

Risk

In business, this is the chance for loss, usually for income loss.

 
Risk Tolerance

The extent of money that an investor is willing to risk on an investment.

 
Rollover

One example of a rollover is transferring funds from one retirement account to another retirement account without needing to pay taxes on those funds.

 
Roth IRA

Interest earned on the contributions in a Roth IRA, which is a specific type of retirement plan is usually not taxable.

Roth IRA Conversion

This is a rollover of contributions from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.

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S Corporation

The IRS classifies an S Corporation as a corporation among whose shareholders share income and losses. This corporation type does not pay federal income taxes.

SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) Plan

This plan allows employers and employees to contribute to a traditional IRA, with employees matching some or all of the employee's contribution.

Salary Reduction Plan

Employers sponsor this plan for their employees and put part of their employees' wages directly into this plan. Such a reduction can be before or after the employees' taxes.

 
Sales Taxes

Taxes a seller charges to customers on the type of goods that customers purchase.

Savings Account

A type of bank account for an individual. Money in a savings account earns interest.

 
Schedule

A schedule is a special IRS form that U.S. taxpayers use when filing their taxes. These are some of the most common schedules: A, B, SE, C, D, E, F and R.

Section 162 (Executive Bonus)

A nonqualified plan to which an employer pays the premiums on a permanent life insurance policy that has an employee as the insured.

Secured Card

A credit card that an individual who has a poor credit rating can qualify for if they deposit the credit limit amount with the particular credit card company.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

An agency of the U.S. federal government that enforces security laws, proposes security rules and regulates the security industry.

 
Security

A financial asset that can be traded.

 
Security Deposit

An individual with a poor credit rating interested in obtaining a credit card deposits this amount with the credit card company and this amount is their credit limit.

Self-Directed IRA (SDA)

Some U.S. financial institutions provide this type of retirement account that allows alternative types of investments like limited partnerships, precious metals, etc.

Self-Employment Tax

On U.S. Income Tax Returns, this is a tax on individuals who are self-employed. The taxes go on Schedule SE.

Self-Select Pin

U.S. taxpayers choose a five-digit number to represent their signature when filing tax returns electronically.

Seller Financing

A loan that a seller of a property or business provides to the purchaser.

 
Settlement Costs

Concerning the purchase of a home, settlement costs include: loan origination fee, appraisal fee, points, title search, insurance, survey, taxes, deed recording fee, credit report charge, etc.

Share

A single unit of stock.

Shareholder

An individual or organization that owns interest (stock) in a public or private corporation.

 
Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP)

Such a plan provides business owners with a simplified method for contributing to their employees' retirements.

 
Situs

The place where something like property exists.

 
Small Business Association (SBA)

A U.S. government agency that assists entrepreneurs and individuals to establish small businesses.

Smart Card

A debit card and/or credit card that has a computer chip embedded in it.

 
Social Security

The U.S. government established this program in 1935 to include old-age and survivors insurance.

 
Social Security Tax

A mandatory tax that employers must withhold from their employees' wages.

Sole Proprietorship

In this business type, only one person owns and operates it.

 
Split-Dollar Life Insurance

A type of life insurance policy that benefits employer and employee.

Spousal IRA

In this IRA a working spouse can contribute to the non-working spouse's retirement savings.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index (S&P 500)

This index lists the 500 best performing stocks.

 
Standard Deductions

Amounts on Form 1040, line 40 that reduce the amount of income on which individuals are taxed if they do not choose to itemize their deductions.

State Taxes

Taxes which individuals and business entities must pay to U.S. state governments.

Stated Capital

The amount of capital that a business entity must hold to pay dividends and other payouts.

 
Statement

An example of a financial statement is a Profit & Loss Statement.

 
Statement of Changes in Financial Position

One of the four main financial statements for a business entity. The others are the balance sheet, retained earnings statement and the income statement.

 
Statement of Earnings

This statement verifies the beginning and ending retained earnings for a business entity relating to a specified period.

 
Statement of Financial Position

A financial balances summary for a business entity.

Statement of Retained Earnings

This statement should show retained earnings for a beginning date, plus net income, minus dividends, and then the retained earnings for an ending date.

 
Stock

The equity stake of a business entity's owners.

Stock Certificate

A legal document that certifies ownership of stock.

Stock Dividend

This is a payment from stock in the form of additional shares.

Stock Market

In which shares of publicly-held companies are traded.

Stock Option

This option gives the stock buyer the right not the obligation to buy or sell underlying assets on or before a specific date.

Stock Purchase Plan

In reference to a stock purchase plan for employees, such a plan gives employees the opportunity to buy its company's stock at a discounted price.

Stock Split

This occurs when a corporation divides its existing shares into multiple shares.

 
Stock Transfer Book

This book records the transfer of stock from one individual or business entity to another individual or business entity.

 
Stockholder

Such an individual or business entity can have capital interest in another business entity.

Straight-Term Mortgage

A mortgage loan in which the borrower only pays interest during the loan term.

Subsidiary

Such a business entity is controlled by a larger related business entity.

Survivorship Life Insurance

In these life insurance policies, the insurance company pays death benefits when the second insured person dies.

 
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Tangible Asset

A tangible asset has a physical form.

 
Tariff Duty

A tax on exported items.

Tax Avoidance

A business entity may use tax avoidance to legally avoid paying taxes on income.

 
Tax Credit

On U.S. income tax forms, any of these can be a tax credit: Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Credit, The Lifetime Learning Credit, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled, Foreign Tax Credit, Mortgage Interest Credit and Residential Energy Credit. Tax credits can be listed on lines 64a-71 of Form 1040.

Tax Deductions

Amounts that may be subtracted to reduce taxable income.

Tax Evasion

The illegal avoidance to pay taxes.

Tax Exempt

An item or amount which does not need to have taxes paid upon it.

Tax Liability

Money that a business entity owes to a municipal government, state government or to the federal government.

Tax Lien

A legal claim to satisfy a debt such as with the failure to pay property income taxes.

Tax Shelter

A business entity may use a tax shelter to reduce taxable income.

 
Tax Shift

If a business entity uses a tax shift, it eliminates or reduces taxes while keeping the same revenue amount.

 
Tax Withholdings

Amounts (mandatory or otherwise) that employers withhold from their employees' wages.

 
Tax-Exempt Bond

An example of a tax-exempt bond is a municipal bond.

Tax-Sheltered Annuity

A 403(b) retirement plan is a tax-sheltered annuity.

 
Taxable Income

The base income upon which states and the federal government imposes taxes.

Taxes

Monetary charges that governments (municipal, state or federal) charge individuals or business entities for performing public services.

Tenants by the Entirety

When a married couple has equal undivided rights to a property.

Tenants in Common

If this informal method is on a title, it means that each owner owns a specific percentage of a property.

Term Certain

Referring to insurance, this means that an insurance policy guarantees a periodic payment at a specific amount for a fixed term.

Term Insurance

This insurance provides coverage at a fixed payment rate for a limited time.

Time Horizon

The time period in which a business entity might make and hold for an investment before it liquidates it.

Tips

Monetary considerations given to individuals who perform services.

Title

The right or claim to property ownership.

Title Insurance

In the U.S., this is insurance that insures against financial loss because of defects in real estate property titles.

Title Search

A search to determine who has ownership (deed) to real estate property.

 
Total Disability

This means that an individual cannot work in their occupation, or any occupation, because they have a specific condition, sickness or injury.

 
Total Return

Referring to an investments portfolio, a total return considers the capital appreciation and the income received.

Transaction Fee

An example of a transaction fee is the fee a broker would charge to purchase stock for an investor.

 
Transaction Taxes

These taxes refer to taxes on brokered dealings between foreign governments.

 
Treasuries

U.S. government obligations which our government backs with its full faith and credit.

 
Treasury Bill

The U.S. government issues this short-term promissory note to regulate the money supply.

 
Treasury Shares

A business entity's treasury shares pay no dividends and have no voting rights.

 
Trial Balance

The next-to-final verification of financial transactions before accountants and book-keepers post such transactions in ledgers.

 
Triple Net Lease

In this lease type, the lessee is also a tenant who is responsible for all costs relating to the leased property.

Trust

This is confidence that a person places in a person or organization when it hands over his/her property for holding.

Trust Fund

Cash, stocks, bond and other property types can be in a trust fund.

 
Trustee

This is an individual or board member who can control or administer property held in trust.

 
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Ultra vires

This is a legal term in Latin meaning "beyond the powers."

Unanimous Written Consent

Referring to a proposal in a board of directors meeting, all present must give written assent for the proposal to be implemented.

 
Underwriting

Referring to insurance, this means to sign, accept liability, and guarantee payment if loss or damage occurs for the insured.

 
Unemployment

The state of not earning wages from a job.

 
Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA)

Some U.S. states have this act which allows custodians to hold securities that would benefit minors when the donors have given up possession and control.

Universal Life Insurance

A type of life insurance that has a cash value.

Unsecured Debt

A debt type that has no collateral, or has protection by a guarantor.

 
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Valuation Day

The date on which an appraisal is made.

Variable Interest Rate

A credit card, bond and loan may have this rate in which the interest amount varies.

 
Variance

Relating to financial concerns, this is the spread between amounts as in several price amounts.

Vertical Equity

This equity type includes progressive taxation and proportional taxation.

Vesting

This can mean informing an employee that he/she will unconditionally receive a share or pension.

Volatility

This is the degree variation of a trading price series during a specific, time period that measures the standard deviation of returns.

Voluntary Compliance

This is an alternative for a business entity's behavior with regard to state-imposed regulations.

Voluntary Employee Contribution

This can be when an employee gives money to a charity without expecting anything in return.

 
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

This program offers free tax assistance to individuals who earn less than $53,000 per year, disabled persons, elderly persons, and individuals who have difficulty speaking English.

 
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Waiver of Premium

This is a rider in an insurance policy that allows the insured to not pay any further premiums if he/she becomes seriously ill or disabled.

 
Walk-In Electronic Filing

When a U.S. taxpayer is able to electronically file his/her tax return after walking into a tax preparation company.

 
Whole Life Insurance

This insurance policy has a guarantee to remain in force for the insured's entire life as long as premiums are paid.

 
Withholding (Pay-as-you-earn taxation)

This type of tax payments allow individuals and business entities to pay their expected tax liabilities in installments.

 
Withholding Allowance

Employees claim this allowance on Form W-4, and give this form to their employers so that such employers can withhold earnings from their wages to pay estimated federal income taxes.

 
Working Capital

This represents a business entity's ability to convert assets to cash.

Write-off

In accounting, this is the recognition of an asset's zero value.

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Yield

Financially, this is the cash amount that a security owner receives in cash, percentagewise.

Yield to Maturity (YTM)

This could be a bond's book yield or redemption yield assuming that the bond will be held until it matures.

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Zero Coupon Bond

This is a bond that when purchased, the price was lower than its face value. The face value will be repaid when it matures.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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