Category: For BusinessTags: Business Expenses, Employee Article Highlights: Reporting employees as independent contractors Not reconciling bank accounts regularly Forgetting to record payments against open invoices Not understanding the differences between cash flow and profit When you decided to open for business, you had a vision for the future. You identified a need and came up with a solution you could provide and sell, and you invested your time, your money, your knowledge, and your drive to make it into a reality. The only problem in this scenario, if you’re like a lot of small business owners, is that you did not anticipate having to handle your business’s accounting needs.
Category: For Business, Health Care ReformTags: Insurance, Medical Article Highlights: Under the 50-Employee Threshold Determining the 50-Employee Threshold Full-Time Employee Equivalent Full-Time Employees Information Return Requirements SHOP Marketplace Small Business Health Care Credit When Congress came up with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they carved out two basic categories of businesses, those with 50 full-time employees and/or full-time equivalent employees (FTEEs) and those with fewer than 50 employees. Under the ACA, businesses in the first category have a requirement to offer affordable insurance to their full-time employees and their dependents. If you are an employer with fewer than 50 full-time employees or FTEEs, you are not subject to the insurance
Category: For Business, Tax CentralTags: Tax Planning Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on tax extenders, aptly named “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015”. Much to everyone’s surprise, some were made permanent while others were only extended for a period of time. Congress also modified several provisions and added new ones to reduce tax fraud. Here is a look at some of the key provisions included in the legislation that pertain to individuals, small businesses, and certain energy-related provisions: INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS: Child Credit – This credit was made permanent; it provides a $1,000 credit for each dependent child who is under the age of 17 at year’s end,
Category: Education PlanningTags: Tax Planning Article Highlights: Coverdell Education Savings Accounts Qualified State Tuition Programs (Sec 529 plans) Savings Contribution Limits Gift Tax Issues The tax code provides two primary advantageous ways of saving for your children’s education. We frequently get questions about the differences between the programs and about which program is best-suited for a family’s particular needs. The Coverdell Education Savings Account and the Qualified Tuition Plan (frequently referred to as a Sec 529 Plan) are similar; neither provides tax-deductible contributions, but both plans’ earnings are tax-free if used for allowable expenses, such as tuition. Therefore, with either plan, the greatest benefit is derived by making contributions
Category: Retirement Planning Tags: Retirement Article Highlights: Distribution Hazards Trustee-to-Trustee Transfers Rollovers Taxability Withholding Requirements Early Withdrawal Penalty When an individual retires or leaves an employer’s service, the individual will be required to take a distribution from the employer’s retirement plan (if the employer had a plan). Depending on the employee’s age and the plan’s terms, a distribution may not be required immediately, but when it’s time to take the distribution there are a number of tax pitfalls that can create some very big tax headaches for the employee. This article will explore those hazards and discuss how to avoid them. First and foremost, if the employee does not transfer
Category: Education Planning Tags: Tax Planning Article Highlights: Sec. 529 plans Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. The Lifetime Learning credit Qualified Education Loan Interest. Going to college, and figuring out how to pay for it, can be stressful for students and parents. In recent years, Congress has provided a variety of tax incentives to help defray the cost of education. Some require long-term planning to become beneficial, while others provide current tax deductions or credits. The benefits may even cover vocational schools. If your child is below college age, there are tax-advantaged plans that allow you to save for the cost of college. Although providing no tax benefit for contributions to
Category: Tax Central Tags: Taxes Article Highlights: Pay-as-you-go System Safe Harbor Payments Situations Triggering Underpayments True Safe Harbors Congress considers our tax system as a “pay-as-you-go” system. To facilitate that concept, the government has provided several means of assisting taxpayers in meeting the “pay-as-you-go” requirement. These include: Payroll withholding for employers; Pension withholding for retirees; and Estimated tax payments for self-employed individuals and those with other sources of income not covered by withholding. When a taxpayer fails to prepay a safe harbor (minimum) amount, he or she can be subject to the underpayment penalty. This nondeductible interest penalty is higher than what might be earned from a bank and is
Category: Looking to Invest Tags: IRA Article Highlights: One rollover per 12-month period Tax consequences Difference between a rollover and a transfer Relief Although this subject has been brought up before-and, yes, we are harping on the subject because of the profound tax consequences-this is a reminder that, beginning this year, individuals are only allowed one IRA rollover in any 12-month period (this includes SEP and Simple accounts, traditional and Roth IRAs). That is, 12 months must have elapsed from the date a rollover iscompleted before another rollover can be made. Failure to abide by this rule can be expensive. And the rule applies no matter how many IRAs an
Category: Health Care Issues, Tax Central Tags: Charity, Medical, Taxes Article Highlights: Itemized Versus Standard Deductions Medical Expenses Taxes Charitable Contributions If your tax deductions normally fall short of itemizing your deductions or even if you are able to itemize, but only marginally, you may benefit from using the “bunching” strategy. The tax code allows most taxpayers to utilize the standard deduction or itemize their deductions if that provides a greater benefit. As a rule, most taxpayers just wait until tax time to add everything up and then use the higher of the standard deduction or their itemized deductions. If you want to be more proactive, you can time the
Have a Financial Interest in or Signature Authority over a Foreign Financial Account? Better Read This!
Category: Friendly Reminders, Tax Central Tags: Taxes, Compliance Article Highlights: Reporting Threshold FBAR Filing Due Date Penalties Overlooked Accounts Each U.S. person who has a financial interest in or signature or other authority over any foreign financial accounts (including bank, securities, or other types of financial accounts in a foreign country) must report that relationship to the U.S. government each calendar year if the aggregate value of these financial accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. The government uses this reporting mechanism as a means of uncovering hidden foreign accounts and ensuring that investment income earned in foreign countries by U.S. taxpayers is included on their U.S. tax