Financial Bookkeeping Tips for Contractors

Should Your Child File Income Tax Forms This Year?

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should Your Child File Income Tax Forms This Year?

If your kids are growing up and earning their own money, you’re probably wondering how this affects both your taxes and theirs. It’s a good question, and here’s what you need to know. When Is a Child Required to File Taxes? If you’re claiming your child as a dependent on your taxes, they may still be required to file their own return. Generally, this is based on how much money they earn. In 2016, this threshold is $6,300 for most single dependents, no matter how young they are. If they receive Form 1099-MISC for work as an independent contractor, they generally must file if this income is more than $400. However, even if the minor isn’t obligated to file taxes, they may want to do so anyway. Why? If any federal income tax (Box 2 on Form W-2) was withheld from their paycheck during the year, filing is the only way to request a refund from the IRS. Likewise, state withholding may be refunded through filing income taxes with your state taxing authority. What About Unearned Income? The filing threshold for dependents with unearned income — things like interest, dividends, annuities, awards or prizes, and Social Security benefits — is lower. In 2016, it is $1,050. If your son or daughter has a combination of earned and unearned income, you may want to consult with a qualified accountant or tax preparer to determine if they are subject to taxes. How Do They File as a Dependent? If someone else is claiming a taxpayer as a dependent, the forms are the same when filing their own taxes. The child will choose a filing status that matches their situation. However, they will not check Box 6A on Form 1040, and will claim no personal exemptions on Line 42. They may still claim the standard or itemized deduction on Line 40. Because a dependent cannot claim the personal exemption, they may find that their tax bill is higher (if they earn enough to be required to file). How Does this Affect You? When a dependent files as a single taxpayer, it generally doesn’t affect the parent’s taxes. You may still claim them on your return if it’s appropriate. If your child must file jointly with another taxpayer, though, you may not receive as much benefit from claiming them because they can no longer be considered a “qualifying child”. Be sure your child correctly indicates in Box 6 that they are not claiming their own exemption, though. Otherwise, your own return may be affected if you claim their exemption as well. If you’re unsure how to handle your child’s first tax return, you may choose to work with an experienced accountant or tax preparer who can help you — and your kids — navigate this new world of adult responsibility. For more information, contact a business such as Alexander & Associates...

read more

Four Reasons To Integrate Accounting Systems Into A CRM

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Reasons To Integrate Accounting Systems Into A CRM

Just as large enterprises are now using data to inform their business decisions, small businesses can leverage data for greater revenue. One of the easiest ways for a business to do this is to integrate its accounting solutions directly into its customer relationship management suite. Accounting and bookkeeping software manage the company’s finances, while a CRM program manages their customer history. Together, they provide the business with all the information it needs to grow. Knowing the Customer’s History When customers contact the company, it can be extraordinarily valuable to have their purchase history at hand. By integrating a CRM solution with a bookkeeping solution, small businesses will avoid having to duplicate entries on both sides and will be able to immediately access all the information they need. This will help when providing customer support for issues such as missing orders or lost payments. Being Able to Project a Customer’s Sales As a side effect of knowing the customer’s history, the company will also be able to project whether a customer will need certain products at certain times. As an example, a customer that purchases toner every six months can be checked on every six months to ensure that the company retains their business. When customers fail to engage the company as predicted, the company can take immediate action to avoid any loss of their customer base. Scoring Potential Leads The better integrated a CRM solution is, the better potential leads can also be scored. A CRM solution will be able to track customers who have connected and engaged with the company but haven’t necessarily committed to a purchase. When these leads are compared to the company’s existing sales, the company can create a demographic of individuals who are most likely to make high value purchases. Through this, small business owners can concentrate their limited resources on the clients most likely to buy. Creating Better Financial Documents When pitching a business to an investor, it’s important to have comprehensive data regarding sales and customer information. Integrated solutions will be able to produce extremely detailed information about the customer’s financial and support relationship with the business, and they will be able to show investors that the company has taken the time to develop its relationships with its client base. Many small business accounting firms, like Teri J Henderson, CPA, P.A., now offer cloud-based solutions that can take care of both bookkeeping and CRM functionality. A small business owner doesn’t need to invest the time in learning this technology themselves — they can purchase the suite out-of-the-box and immediately begin reaping the above...

read more

Evaluating Rolling Budgets for Small Business

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Evaluating Rolling Budgets for Small Business

Deciding the best way to do your budget for the year is a process that will affect how much financial information you have at your fingertips. Many companies are beginning to set up rolling budgets to give them a better forecast of the year ahead. Here is the how and why to set up a rolling budget for your small business.  What Is a Rolling Budget, Anyway? A rolling budget is a budget that is calculated to always include the upcoming year. For instance, you might start the year with a budget that includes January through December of the current year. Once January passes, you would then redo the budget to go from February of the current year through January of the following year, and so on. The rolling budget always includes an up to date picture of what the next twelve months look like. Benefits of Rolling Budgets for Small Business Rolling budgets allow you to make your decisions for the next year based on more comprehensive information. It is more detailed than a regular budget. For example, if you are doing better or worse than expected for the current year, it gives you 12 opportunities to update your budget rather than just one per year. When you’re operating a small business, your sales and costs can fluctuate greatly; rolling budgets give you the opportunity to go with the flow and reassess your financial standings more often. Drawbacks of Rolling Budgets Of course, there can be some drawbacks to using a rolling budget. If you’re used to looking at a regular budget, it can be confusing at first. It requires you to continually plan out one year from now, when you may be more used to focusing on the fiscal year at hand. This can demand more resources from you and your financial staff, so it’s a decision to consider before plunging in. How to Set Up a Rolling Budget You can make the process of setting up your rolling budgets easier by hiring a small business accounting firm to handle the process; they may be able to operate your rolling budgets on a semi-automatic process by looking at your financial statements each month and forecasting how the business will be doing in the year to come. Rolling budgets do require a bit more calculation than a standard budget, so it’s important to have a qualified accountant handle the...

read more

What Roles Do Bookkeepers And Accountants Play In Small Business?

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Roles Do Bookkeepers And Accountants Play In Small Business?

If you need to seek out some financial support for your business, you may be wondering whether it’s best to seek out an accountant or bookkeeper. Both of these professionals can play a role in small business, so read on to find out what the major differences are.  What Bookkeepers Do Bookkeepers play a role in the operational side of your business finances. They are the people to turn to if you need help with keeping your bank statements up to date, reconciling credit card bills, sending out invoices and accepting payments, and other related tasks. They are there to take some of the grunt work out of keeping the business’ checking accounts afloat.  What Accountants Do Small business accounting comes into play when you need more complicated financial advice. For instance, you might want to have an accountant look at your taxes before you send them in to see if they can crunch the numbers and reduce your tax bill. Another occasion where an accountant would be relevant is when you want to analyze your business’ financial health, or potentially change the status or direction of your business. While the education of bookkeepers can vary, accountants must be certified; you can count on the highest level of financial expertise when you hire these specialists, although the costs may be much higher.  Which Should You Choose? If you’re a small business that’s just starting out, you may have a greater need for bookkeeping services. A great bookkeeper will help to ensure that you’re presenting a professional face in your daily transactions with clients, such as during payment and invoice transactions that may occur on a daily basis. When your business first grows to a size where it makes sense to hire a financial staff member, many small businesses opt to go with an experienced bookkeeper.  You may still have some needs for an accountant, and in those cases, many small businesses like to have an accounting firm that they work with on a regular basis. This way, the firm can become familiar with how your business operates, and you’ll have to spend less time playing catch-up whenever you need their help,  Of course, there are ways to take advantage of both services. You might choose to budget for specialists in each area and use them on an as-needed basis. There are plenty of great bookkeeping services and accounting firms that accept occasional clients. For more information, contact companies like Bliss & Skeen...

read more

Meeting The Challenge — A 5 Step Financial Guide For Parents Of A Child With Special Needs

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meeting The Challenge — A 5 Step Financial Guide For Parents Of A Child With Special Needs

Planning for your financial future when you have children is important, but when one of those children has special needs, it becomes vital. Both before and after you pass away, there are a few key preparations to make in order to ensure your child has what they need as they grow up. Here is a primer to the 5 most important elements of your financial parenting plan. Learn about Costs. As soon as you learn about your child’s special situation, it’s a good time to begin educating yourself about his or her future requirements. By working with your doctors, therapists, parent groups, advocates, and local school personnel, you can often get an idea of what future care will call for in financial terms. Having an objective idea of what you will need to pay for over the years will help you formulate a plan to get there.  Form a Plan for Yourself. This is not the time to DIY your finances and try to go it alone. Instead, meet with a qualified financial planner with experience dealing with family financial planning. Be open and clear about your child’s long-term care needs so that the planner can help you reach your goals. But don’t forget to include your other family financial needs, such as your own retirement goals, education for any other children, and future home purchases.  Create a Special Needs Trust. Work with a lawyer to implement a special needs trust in which to place money for your child’s care and life expenses — both now and later, if you prefer. Why is a trust important? Because, if a disabled individual has more than about $2,000 in assets in their own name, it may affect his or her ability to qualify for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid benefits. Place any inherited, gifted, or other received money in this trust while you’re still alive as well. Most of the time, parents are designated as the trustee to manage this money, but you will also want to name a designated trustee to take over if anything happens to you. Write a Will. Once the trust is in place, coordinate this with your own will so that your assets will go to the trust instead of directly to your child. A will also helps reduce legal confusion and prevent any lag in between your passing away and your child receiving the benefits of your assets.  Build Savings. Beef up your own savings as quickly and regularly as possible in order to provide properly for your family. Savings provide a buffer for regular family emergencies, care and maintenance of your home, and meeting surprise challenges in your child’s care or education. Insurance may not cover everything your child needs (such as therapies, treatments, or classes), so the more you have available to work with, the less stressful it will be when these challenges arise. By following these financial steps, you can help ensure your entire family’s future, no matter whether you can be there in person or...

read more

Brotherly Love — How Caring For A Disabled Sibling Affects Your Taxes

Posted by on Aug 17, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Brotherly Love — How Caring For A Disabled Sibling Affects Your Taxes

If you are taking on the care and responsibility for a disabled or special needs sibling, caring for your finances as well can be complicated. One thing that can help tremendously is understanding how your sibling (or other disabled family member) can help reduce your taxes and increase your bottom line. Here is a handy guide. Qualification. For the purposes of claiming most tax benefits of caring for a disabled person, you will need to have certification from a doctor that your family member is permanently and totally disabled. This generally means that they cannot care for themselves either physically or mentally, cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (such as earning a living for themselves), and that this condition is expected to continue for at least a year.  Dependents. If your sibling lives with you for at least half the year and doesn’t provide more than half of his or her own financial support, you can probably claim them as a dependent. This can reduce your taxes owed or increase your refund quite a bit for several reasons. First and foremost, it may allow you to claim Head of Household instead of Single as your filing status — automatically reducing your taxable income by $3,000 in 2016.  Exemptions. Having a dependent to claim reduces your taxable income by $4,050 (the amount of the dependent exemption in 2016). This generally means you pay less in taxes based on your income. Credits. You may be able to claim certain credits if you have to pay expenses to help care for a disabled family member who lives with you. The Child and Dependent Care Credit, for example, allows you to deduct care costs if your sibling cannot care for themselves while you work or go to school. He or she may also count as a qualifying child for the Earned Income Credit, which can net you additional thousands in a refundable credit (which means that you can get the money even if you owe no taxes).  Deductions. As a dependent, some of your sibling’s expenses may be deductible for you. Medical expenses like visits to the doctor or prescriptions, mobility devices, mileage to doctors’ offices and certain therapies can often be deducted from your taxable income. You can find a list of qualifying medical expenses at the IRS’s website. If you need to hire help to file taxes while claiming any of these extra tax benefits, you can also deduct that expense if you itemize your deductions. If your dependent is paying such things as student loans, these may also often be claimed on your own taxes.  If you’re unsure about whether or not your can claim a disabled sibling on your taxes and how to gain any available tax benefits, it may be a good idea to work with a professional accountant. While you may be able to prepare your own taxes in future years, but getting off to a good start is an investment that can pay off for years to come. Contact a professional such as Kenneth L Lahner CPA for more...

read more

4 Reasons You Need A Certified Public Accountant

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Reasons You Need A Certified Public Accountant

Being a business owner is certain to bring about a lot of responsibilities for you. There are numerous things that must get done on a routine basis. One of the most important aspects of your company is the financial one. Regardless if you’re dealing with the day-to-day operations of your business or other changes, you may need to rely on the expertise of a certified public accountant (CPA). By knowing some of the crucial times to hire a CPA, this may better prepare you to do so. Reason #1: Tax laws You will want to stay current on all of your income tax filings and possible business deductions that you may be granted. However, there are typically annual changes in tax laws that you should be well-informed of to avoid making any errors or to pay less for your taxes. Reason #2: Multiple streams of income If you’re a business owner that is involved in many income earning projects, you will want to rely on the expertise of a CPA. Keeping track of all of your annual income can be a real challenge and having an expert in this area is ideal. Reason #3: Improving credit score One of the ideal ways to maintain a sound financial reputation for your business is by maintaining a high credit score. However, this can be difficult to do if you have some loans that must be repaid and all for your monthly bills. The good news is that your CPA can assist you with increasing your credit score if it is lower than it should be. This professional will know precisely what steps you should take for reaching this goal. Reason #4:  Profits Being an extremely successful business person is sure to be something your aim for with your company. However, when it comes to dealing with the Internal Revenue Service and making $200,000 in profits, you will want to rely on the assistance of a CPA to help. This is because you’re much more likely to face an audit if you earn this amount or higher. The key to being able to make the most of your business and get the advice you need is by relying on a professional to assist you. Taking the time to make an appointment with a CPA from a company like Carmines Robbins & Company PLC is sure to be worthwhile and may save you money in the long...

read more

Don’t Make These Business Tax Filing Mistakes

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Don’t Make These Business Tax Filing Mistakes

When you run a business, you are responsible for maintaining financial records and filing taxes every quarter or on an annual basis. Unfortunately, people new to filling taxes make a variety of different mistakes. Here are some common mistakes to make sure you avoid in the future. Not Paying Self-Employment Taxes The first business tax filing mistake has to do with people who are self-employed with a low profit during the year. Even if you earn a small amount each year, you will likely still need to file your taxes. Don’t assume because you aren’t pulling in a full-time wage with your home-based business it means you don’t have to file any taxes. Consult a tax accountant or the IRS directly to find out the minimum amount requiring filing taxes with self-employment. Failing to Claim the Right Deductions When it comes to deductions, you need to know which ones apply to your business taxes, and which ones should be avoided. If you try to claim too much, you could end up with a declined tax return or audit. On the other hand, you might end up paying more than necessary if you don’t keep your receipts and claim the right things. While you should talk to an accountant for specifics, some common deductions for businesses include your office or rental space, office equipment and furniture, utilities related to your business Internet or cell phone, and gas used to meet customers or clients. Making Mistakes With Your Payroll If you have employees working for you, it is essential that you have the payroll filed correctly. If you have enter the right deductions, take too much or too little out for taxes, or you don’t enter overtime correctly for your employees, it not only affects their checks, but your business as well. When tax information is incorrect with your payroll, you are the one that ends up paying for it with various penalties. It is best to hire a professional if you are not 100 percent sure how to enter payroll information. Assuming You Don’t Need an Accountant Unless you have gone to school to learn about business taxes and payroll, make sure you hire an accountant that specializes in business-related taxes. Not only did they go to school to learn proper tax filing and deductions, but they keep up on changes with IRS rates and filing rules. It gives you peace of mind knowing your taxes are taken care of properly, and gives you more time and energy to work on other aspects of your business. For more information on tax preparation, contact a company like HBE Becker Meyer Love...

read more

2 Reasons You Should Hire An Accountant In Mechanicsburg PA To Process Your Payroll

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Reasons You Should Hire An Accountant In Mechanicsburg PA To Process Your Payroll

As a business owner, it is tempting to take care of as much of professional matters on your own as much as possible, in the interests of saving money. Unfortunately, the IRS reports that about 33% of businesses make mistakes when processing payroll that result in fines and other financial punishments. Due to that, and the complexities of payroll, it is a good idea to consider outsourcing payroll services to an experienced accountant,  so that you never have to worry about making an unfortunate and expensive mistake. It will be helpful to note that accountants have many other tasks other than simply helping you file your taxes, such as payroll services and other tasks often handled by the human resources department. By outsourcing those tasks to an accountant, your human resources specialist can spend time on more important duties. #1-An Accountant Can Help You Plan For Tax Payments It can seem as if tax forms seem to get more complicated each year and failing to file even one form on time or correctly can be a pricey error. For instance, it is not unusual for accountant that provide payroll services to use online services to simplify the tasks. That takes less of your time and makes mistakes less common, since the computer programs are able to catch most mistakes. #2-An Accountant Can Process Any Payments That Need To Be Deducted From Paychecks The laws about payroll garnishment can vary tremendously, based on The dollar amount that is owed The sum that is past due The reason for the garnishment Current family situation For instance, some states permit past due debts (that are not child support) to be subtracted from an employee’s pay. If your state does, in general, only about 25% of their wages can be taken after taxes to pay approved debts. One exception to that is child support, which all of the states enforce through paychecks if necessary. Both past-due and current child support can be garnished from pay. Back child support can take as much as 50% of an employee’s paycheck and that goes up 60% if there is not another dependent currently being supported by the worker. One obvious benefit is that when outsourcing those tasks, the employer has plausible deniability. Specifically, when an employee is paid and realizes that half or more of their paycheck has been taken, you are not the one that did it. Instead, you can refer them to your accountant and that person needs to answer their questions. You will be informed of it and must tell the employee of it, but you are not the one actually doing it, which can make for a more comfortable working relationship.  In conclusion, the use of an accountant can help you limit the job tasks of your human resources department and comply with new or on-going tax laws. In addition, you will also note that the uncomfortable issue of garnishing an employee’s pay for past due debts or child support can now be handled by an expert, with little intervention from you. For more information, talk to a payroll service like Waggoner Frutiger & Daub...

read more

How To Claim A Qualifying Relative As An Income Tax Dependent

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How To Claim A Qualifying Relative As An Income Tax Dependent

For federal tax purposes, there are two types of tax dependents. A qualifying child is the most widely recognized type. The other dependent type, a qualifying relative, includes more than just immediate family members. In some situations, an unrelated household member may be eligible to be claimed as a qualifying relative. The tax advantage of a qualifying relative is considerably less than that of a qualifying child. None of the income tax credits are applicable to a qualifying relative. The only advantage to claiming a qualifying relative is that your taxable income is reduced by the amount of the exemption for the dependent. Extended family For extended family members to be claimed as a dependent, they must have received over half of their support for the year from you. Also, their income for the year must have been under $3,950. Extended family members possibly eligible to be claimed as a qualifying relative include the following: Parent or grandparent Stepmother or stepfather Aunt or uncle An in-law Dependents who are typically qualifying children may sometimes be qualifying relatives if they fail to meet all the requirements of a qualifying child. The IRS definition of a qualifying child is somewhat imprecise because it also includes siblings and their descendants. A related family member who is a qualifying relative does not have to live with you to be claimed. For tax purposes, a cousin is not considered a family member. However, a cousin may possibly be claimed in the same manner as an unrelated household member. Unrelated household member The IRS definition of a qualifying relative is also a bit imprecise. An unrelated person who lives with you for the entire year may be claimed as a qualifying relative if the following conditions are also met: You provide over half the person’s support The individual earned less than $3,950 Adult children When children become too old to be claimed as a qualifying child, they sometimes become eligible to be claimed as a qualifying relative. However, their earnings must be under $3,950, and they must receive the majority of their support from you. As a related family member, they are not required to reside with you to be a qualifying relative. A qualifying relative does make a tax filer eligible to file as head of household. Even so, the additional dependent included on your tax return helps offset the cost of their support. Contact a certified public accountant for more information about tax issues concerning...

read more