February 15, 2018
When you are super busy running a business, it can be easy to let customer appreciation slide to the bottom of your long to-do list. The problem is, if you don’t show your customers love on a regular basis, they’re going to feel neglected, which can put their continued loyalty at risk.
February 1, 2018
With the occurrence of cybercrimes affecting businesses increasing daily, many companies are looking for outside expertise to help them mitigate their risks. If your company has never engaged a cybersecurity professional before, you may be unsure of what to look for. The IRS suggests businesses use the following four steps when evaluating and selecting a cybersecurity...
January 16, 2018
Even if you are not a New Year’s resolution maker, it’s likely that at some point in your life you’ll want to adopt healthier or more productive habits. When you do want to make a change for the better, consider trying the following tips from lifehack.org to increase your chances of making your new good habits stick:
January 3, 2018
Tax season is approaching quickly. It’s just a few weeks until the IRS officially starts accepting returns, which means now is the perfect time to use the tips below to help you net some last-minute tax-savings and tackle tax season with ease.
December 18, 2017
It’s amazing how much festive fun can be packed into a few weeks. While the holidays truly can be wonderful, they can also feel overwhelming with too much to do and too many temptations that derail us from enjoying what is truly important. To help you make your holidays feel more fulfilling and less frantic, try these suggestions...
December 4, 2017
On November 16, the House passed a new tax reform bill that moves the GOP closer to bringing the legislation to fruition. Now the Senate is preparing its own tax reform package. If passed, it must be reconciled with the House before any final legislation goes to the White House. Here is a snapshot of some of the key changes proposed in the tax reform bill:
November 14, 2017
With just days to go before Thanksgiving, the clock is ticking down to some of the most memorable meals of the year. However, for many of us, the pressure of preparing a perfect Thanksgiving feast can be overwhelming. If this is true for you, consider these tips to simplify your seasonal spread.
November 1, 2017
The end of the year is often hectic, which is why it’s important to take some time now to reduce your tax bill. Our firm can offer additional strategies to further mitigate your tax burden; however, the following 5 tips are an excellent starting point:
October 16, 2017
Whether your business needs temporary workers to get through the holiday season or you hire short-term help on a regular basis, the process of finding the right candidates can be challenging. Try applying these strategies to make seasonal staffing easier:
October 2, 2017
Because stress related to work, family issues and other events is something that affects many of us, it’s important to reset your own stress response to protect your health and productivity. Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist, offers these tips:
September 29, 2017
Tax reform, one of President Trump’s key legislative agenda items, is moving closer to fruition. Based on the outline of his proposed tax reform package, which he unveiled on September 27, 2017, we’ve compiled this brief overview of the President’s major tax proposals:
September 14, 2017
If you were a victim of the recently announced Equifax hack, you need to take action to mitigate any negative impact it may have on your finances and credit. If you’re not sure if you were affected, you can use Equifax’s Potential Impact tool to find out. You will need to input your last name and the last six digits of your social security number to use this tool.
August 30, 2017
Staff retreats can offer companies a lot of value. They can also be expensive and, unless managed effectively, not particularly productive. Before you plan your next (or first) staff retreat, review the following key factors to help you make the most of...
August 15, 2017
There likely aren’t many college students who don’t have a smart phone loaded with helpful apps. However, it is unlikely that any of these apps are dedicated to helping them build their financial fortitude. This is why we created our list below—chock-full of apps designed to make it easier for college students of any age to save money.
August 1, 2017
Did you know that your webcam and even your home or office internet router can be the gateway through which cyber criminals gain access to your most sensitive data? If not, don’t panic—we have helpful tips below from the experts at the National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure that you head off this type of malicious action.
July 13, 2017
The IRS has identified several new variations of standard tax scams involving fake tax bills and demands for payments. Many of these scams involve purchasing and transferring information using a gift card or iTunes card. Other scams to be aware of include:
June 29, 2017
Now that summer/vacation season is here, your business may be enjoying a more relaxed vibe with employees taking time off or leaving early. If you’ve ever thought about implementing a flexible work program, now may be the time to pilot one, especially if your business is a bit slower this time of year. To help, we offer the following tips...
June 15, 2017
It’s almost exactly the mid-point of the year, which makes it prime time for a mid-year financial review. If you need some monetary motivation for evaluating your financial progress so far this year, you may want to think of mid-year planning as a series of potential money-saving opportunities, for example:
June 1, 2017
The recent “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack that paralyzed several large organizations in the U.S. and Europe is a solemn reminder that the risk of cyber security breaches is real. Every business owner should take steps...
May 16, 2017
Whether from heavy rains or hurricanes, this time of year can bring with it the risk of floods across many parts of the United States. While you may not be able to predict the likelihood of a flood in your area, with these tips you can help to mitigate physical and financial damage if a flood occurs where you live.
- Treat structural damage seriously. In any...
May 4, 2017
This time of year is when you often see yard sale signs popping up. For some, holding a yard sale is a means of clearing out unwanted items. For others, it’s an opportunity to get some great “finds.” Whichever side of the yard sale fence you’re on, these tips can help you “clean up”:
Choose your timing carefully. Research continues...
April 19, 2017
Window washing, carpet cleaning, garden grooming—these are all popular spring cleaning chores for homeowners. However, with year-end and tax season behind you, this time of year is also perfect for spring cleaning at the office. These tips will help you and your staff get—and keep—that “just cleaned my office” feeling:
Start with a clean sweep of...
April 3, 2017
With just a few weeks to go until Tax Day on April 18, it’s time to make sure that you’re on track to get your individual return filed. If you haven’t already engaged our firm to help you with your taxes and you need assistance, don’t delay…it’s time to let us know!
While tax season can be stressful, Tax Day itself can be quite rewarding if you...
March 20, 2017
The average American sits a lot. Many of us sit while we work, while we relax and while we learn. Over the long term, this sedentary way of life can have a negative impact on our health, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer—in addition to shortening life spans. To counteract these negative effects, it’s important to get up, get active and get...
March 1, 2017
Spring is in the air...which means peak home-selling season isn’t far away. In fact, according to recent market data, 60 percent of all home sales in the United States will occur in the spring and summer months. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to get prepared—which includes considering how you will “stage” your home to...
February 17, 2017
For sports fans, this time of year is an exciting one. First the Super Bowl, and then the buildup toward the NCAA March Madness tournament. While tax season isn’t quite as exciting as these events, you’ll still want to make the effort to get ahead of the game—and the April 18 deadline—to score the benefits of early filing.
February 1, 2017
Although the fate of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is not yet clear, thanks to the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act at the end of 2016, employers with fewer than 50 employees can now start funding stand-alone health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) again. Employees can use HRAs to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the Obamacare health insurance...
January 17, 2017
You need only tune into the news to see that cybercrimes are a very real threat. From viruses to malware, everyday computer use and online browsing can leave you vulnerable to hackers who want your valuable information. If you have a small business, your risk of a cyberattack is likely even higher, especially if you do not have the resources or know-how to enact effective security policies....
December 28, 2016
There’s a reason why the regular New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, exercising more and sticking to a budget are popular—so many of us need to do them! There’s also a common reason why so many of us fail to meet our goals in these areas: we haven’t developed the mindset to support the changes that we want to make.
Instead of setting a big,...
December 14, 2016
The holiday season can be wonderful, but they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. Fortunately, the experts at Psychology Today also offer these simple stress relievers to put the joy back in this special time of year:
- Take a time-out. Time-outs aren’t just for toddlers who have a tantrum. In fact, rather than being a...
November 30, 2016
Just days before it was scheduled to be implemented on December 1, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the implementation of the new Department of Labor (DOL) federal overtime rule, which would have doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. According to an NPR report, this extension of overtime eligibility would have...
November 15, 2016
As a result of the highway funding extension bill signed into law by President Obama in 2015, there are important changes coming in 2017 to deadlines for business tax filings including:
- W-2 and 1099 filings are due January 31 in 2017 instead of March 31. These forms are still due employees and contractors by January 31, so it’s important to prepare and...
November 1, 2016
We’re well in to the fourth quarter of the year, which means year end is fast approaching. Here are five important areas of your business to review before the calendar turns to 2017.
- Tax planning opportunities. November and December are prime time for tax planning, which can pay big dividends when filing time arrives. Touch base with our firm now to...
October 17, 2016
If you’re like many parents and grandparents, you may already be thinking about what kind of gift to get the children on your list this holiday season. For teens and young adults especially, it can be challenging to come up with truly unique and meaningful gifts. One idea with long-lasting impact is to make a contribution to either a traditional or Roth IRA on your children or...
October 3, 2016
Many businesses need to adjust their spending to meet the reality of their cash flow during the last few months of the year. While it can be tempting to just cut expenses across the board, this strategy may actually backfire if you cut in the wrong places. Here are four budget areas you should try to preserve to avoiding derailing your long-term business goals:
September 19, 2016
With election season in full swing, you may be wondering, “Are political contributions tax deductible?” Here’s the lowdown:
Whether it’s your county mayor or the future President of the United States, the rules on taking advantage of tax deductions for political contributions are the same: Donations are deductible if the organization you give to is a 501(c)(3)...
September 1, 2016
Consider this blog post as early notice that the date by which employers must file their W-2s and 1099s with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and IRS will change to January 31 in 2017.
Previously, W-2s and 1099s were not due to governmental agencies until March 31, so this new deadline will significantly reduce the window for making any necessary changes. These forms are still...
August 16, 2016
EMV chip technology, which is the first major upgrade for credit card fraud protection in many years, is slowly being rolled out by merchants around the world, including in the United States. While this technology has the potential to provide better security for your credit card data, it still has its limits and it is not completely hacker-proof or secure. As such it is still important to be...
August 2, 2016
It’s August and children and parents everywhere are facing a grim reality: back to school season is just around the corner. At this time of year, many parents struggle to get their kids back into a regular sleep routine. To help, we offer these tips to reset your family’s alarm clock before the first school bell rings:
- Start tonight. While child...
July 18, 2016
While most couples go to great lengths to ensure that their wedding day is perfect, far fewer think about how their nuptials will impact their tax liability. The truth is, the moment you get married, no matter what time of the year it is, in the eyes of the government you are considered to have been married for the entire tax year. With this in mind, here are some tax tips to consider as you...
July 5, 2016
It’s fair to say that the recent ‘Brexit’ vote by Britons to exit the European Union (EU) has shaken global financial markets to their core, at least in the short-term. Financial analysts say that it’s too early to tell what the long-term impact of this historic vote will be. But one thing is for certain, the Brexit offers several important lessons that individual...
June 21, 2016
One of the most (if not the most) important indicators of business health is its cash flow. Even if your business is profitable and growing, if you don't have a consistent stream of cash coming in, you'll run into financial trouble. Lack of cash flow is the primary reason that more than one quarter of new businesses fail—29 percent to be exact. Here are some smart strategies...
June 10, 2016
With a rise in IRS phone scams, the Agency changed its policy on contacting taxpayers whose tax records are subject to an audit. The new policy instructs IRS agents to contact affected taxpayers only by mail—never by phone (which used to be the IRS’ go-to method of contact). As such, we urge all of our clients to adhere to the following guidelines should...
June 1, 2016
While many of us appreciate the glory of a beautiful garden, there’s no denying that having one is a time-consuming endeavor. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips to help you make the most of your yard in less time:
1. Start with a plan.
A well-thought-out plan for your garden that utilizes low-maintenance plants and flowers will save you time...
May 20, 2016
President Obama, declaring that “Americans have spent too long working more and getting less in return,” ordered the Labor Department to revise federal rules on overtime pay for salaried workers that log more than 40 hours a week. The long-awaited rule change will extend overtime pay to an estimated 4.2M workers.
Under current federal regulations, only salaried employees...
May 16, 2016
We’ve likely all heard the news—Americans are incredibly sleep-deprived. However, according to recent research, achieving better quality sleep may be more important than actually increasing the number of hours of sleep. In fact, experts report that 6 hours of deep refreshing sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours of light interrupted sleep.
May is Better Sleep...
May 2, 2016
Wow! May is already here—and if you’re like many Americans your savings account balance is still stuck where it was at the beginning of the year. So what to do? You can’t make up for lost savings opportunities…or can you? We believe that you can with a little bit of discipline. For example, saving $125 a month can be as easy as:
- Renegotiating your...
April 14, 2016
A quick glance at the news is all it takes to realize that the threat of cyber attacks is increasing for businesses. So how can your business beat the odds and avoid becoming another victim of cybercrime? Try putting the following five action items at the top of your priority list:
- Encrypt your data. Whether it's bank routing digits, credit card accounts or...
March 31, 2016
Every year, American taxpayers leave millions of dollars on the table for Uncle Sam—in the form of unclaimed tax deductions. With Tax Day just around the corner, it’s time to do one final check to make sure that you are not missing out on three of the most common deductions:
- Retirement contribution deductions for single-income couples and the...
March 15, 2016
Spring is here and the season for new beginnings. This is a good time to re-think "spring cleaning" and choose snacks that can cleanse our bodies from the inside out.
These five snacks are guaranteed to feed your mind, detoxify your body, and satisfy your palate!
1. Guacamole - High in fiber and “fat” but don’t worry, it’s good fat!...
March 1, 2016
If you’re packing your bags for a spring break getaway, take a little time before you leave to implement the tips below—they’ll help keep your home safer while you’re gone, and free your mind of worry so that you can truly enjoy your trip.
- Tell your neighbors that you will be away. Inform your neighbors and friends of the dates that you...
February 16, 2016
The IRS has joined with industry and states on a public awareness campaign to provide taxpayers with easy tips to better protect themselves. For some quick tips, you can watch an informative video here.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return...
February 1, 2016
According to a recent IRS notice, due to an error, taxpayers are receiving Identity Protection (IP) PIN letters with an incorrect year listed. If you received the CP01A Notice dated January 4, 2016, be aware that the PIN contained in it is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in...
January 18, 2016
It’s a stark reality that millions of us face once the holiday season is over: the post-holiday slump. Even just a few days off can make coming back to the office seem excruciating—there’s all that work to do, the anticipation and cheer of the holidays are gone, and for many people the next vacation day is a long way off. Yes, being a working adult is tough, but getting over...
January 4, 2016
If your business engages in social media, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of customers who are posting questions on your Facebook page, tweeting comments or engaging with your company on other social platforms looking for customer service support. It’s a trend that is affecting just about every type of business—and using social media as a customer service channel will...
December 15, 2015
In an ongoing effort to keep you informed of IRS changes, we have a new and important one to report. And this time, the change eases your filing burden.
Within the last month, the IRS significantly simplified the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for small business by raising the safe harbor threshold for deducting certain capital items from $500 to $2,500. This applies to...
December 1, 2015
As cybercriminals begin to take advantage of the holiday season, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid having your money, credit card information, social security number, or identity stolen. E-commerce thieves, at this time of year especially, will try to create holiday-related websites, scams, and other phishing e-mails that can trick even the most alert consumers. The...
November 16, 2015
The countdown is on to the what retailers hype as the best shopping day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving dubbed by Americans as ‘Black Friday’—represents the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. However, given the explosion of retail competition and the Internet in the past several years, Black Friday is really not what it used to be. And if you’re not...
November 2, 2015
With just a few short weeks to go before the end of the year, it’s important to take a look at your tax situation and consider ways to decrease your tax obligations. In other words, it’s time for tax planning. We put together the following tips for you to support smart tax decisions:
- Stay apprised of potential tax provision extensions. Congress...
October 14, 2015
Ah, the sweet smell of success! Achieving goals and bringing our vision to fruition is the end-game for most of us, especially in our business lives. Unfortunately, success can sometimes elude us to the point where we have to start looking at what, exactly, is going wrong. Perhaps, though, the question we ought to be asking is this: What is going right? By honing in on what is bringing you or...
September 30, 2015
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has designated each October as National Ergonomics Month (NEM). Ergonomics is an applied science that incorporates principles of usability into the design process with the goal of making finished products more effective and safe for people to use.
In the workplace, proper ergonomic practices can play an important role in reducing pain,...
September 15, 2015
If you did any road trips over the summer—or you commute to work—you’ve likely noticed that filling up your vehicle doesn’t necessarily empty your wallet anymore. Thanks to lower gas prices, the average American is on track to save approximately $750 on gas this year.
While it’s not life-changing, $750 can make a difference to your personal finances if...
New Tax Law More Than Doubles Fines for Failure to File Information Returns and Failure to Provide Payee Statements
September 1, 2015
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 was recently signed into law. Part of this new law includes a provision that more than doubles the cap on penalties from $1.5 million to $3 million for 1) failure to file correct tax information returns and 2) failure to provide payee statements. In both cases, fines have been increased from $100 to $250.
These changes are...
August 13, 2015
As reported by The Journal of Accountancy on July 31, the short-term highway funding extension passed by the Senate—and signed by President Obama—at the end of July contains several important tax provisions (H.R. 3236). The bill was passed by the House of...
July 29, 2015
As legendary business author Peter Drucker once said, "What's measured improves." If you've been in business any length of time, you know that creating meaningful measurements that tell you how your business is doing (a.k.a. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) can be challenging. The good news is, you only need a few KPIs to really get a handle on the financial pulse of your...
July 14, 2015
For many adult children, it’s hard to contemplate the fact that their once seemingly invincible parents may now—or at some point down the road—become dependent on them to take care of their everyday needs. If you don’t feel prepared to take on these tasks, this scenario can be very stressful—especially when part of your duties involves taking care of your...
June 29, 2015
Tax season is over and one of the biggest American celebrations—the Fourth of July—is just around the corner. Maybe you’re looking forward to a little downtime this summer, so perhaps working on your financial plan has slipped to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s understandable, but putting your finances on cruise control at mid-year is not an ideal strategy....
June 15, 2015
School’s out for many kids, and if you run your own business, you may be able to turn your child’s summer break into a tax advantage—and some extra help—for you.
Hiring your offspring as an employee to do legitimate work in your business provides several tax benefits:
- You can deduct the salary you pay your child from your business income as a...
June 4, 2015
Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that a "brute force" hacking attempt compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov. In the attack, hackers utilized information gleaned from black market sources to answer identity verification...
June 1, 2015
It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are spending a lot of time online. While some of the time we spend on the Internet is productive, there’s a lot of it that’s not—and it’s crowding out some of our higher value offline activities, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
In a recent NBER study, each minute of...
May 14, 2015
When it comes to running a business, building as much efficiency as possible into your operations is the key to keeping things running smoothly and freeing up your own time to focus on the big picture. While employing the right team and the right technology are integral to boosting efficiency, so is having the right mindset when it comes to how you approach day-to-day tasks.
April 30, 2015
Yes, Tax Day has come and gone for this year, but the memory of your tax return is likely still fresh. So before you move on, consider the following three questions that may point you toward areas you want to work on before next April 15 rolls around.
Do I need to start my tax filing earlier?
Ideally, you should engage in tax planning year-round. As your trusted...
April 16, 2015
If compiling all of your tax documentation this year triggered the thought that you really should try to be more organized, then the following tips are for you. Constantly searching for things you have misplaced, missing important dates, and not feeling like you have control over your days can waste your time and increase your stress level.
The following tips will help you take...
April 1, 2015
If you’re planning to travel this spring break, you have likely already spent time planning your trip—but have you spent time thinking ahead about how to reduce the chances of a mishap while you’re traveling? While no one wants to ruin their vacation worrying excessively, it is wise to take a few preventative steps to ensure that your time away is not marred by an easily...
March 16, 2015
Some health coverage reimbursement arrangements offered by small employers (those with less than 50 full-time employees) are considered by the IRS to be non-compliant with the health coverage plan requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning January 1, 2014, employers who offer such plans were facing a significant penalty: an excise tax of $100 per employee per day, up...
March 2, 2015
With the rise of identity theft and tax and financial fraud, it is critical that we all remain vigilant about protecting our sensitive personal and financial information—especially during tax season. Being alert to any attempts by criminals to intercept your information is one important way you can protect yourself. The IRS recently issued the following alerts about a new crop of tax...
February 16, 2015
February can be a tough month when it comes to motivation and energy levels for many people. So it’s not surprising that employees may seem a little less productive at this time of year. Fortunately, the following four tips can help you put the spring back in your team’s step—and boost the productivity of your business.
Keep Sharing Your Vision
February 2, 2015
If there’s one time of the year that may inspire you to finally come up with a filing system for all of your bank statements, receipts and other important documents, it’s tax season. Not only will keeping your documents organized make it easier and less stressful for you to find what you need on a daily basis (and when you are getting ready to have your taxes prepared), it will...
January 14, 2015
Tax season is here, and there are many tax changes that were implemented in 2014 and more to be introduced in 2015. From Obamacare to tax hikes and changes to standard deductions, there's a lot to keep track of. To help you get organized for this tax season and beyond, review this summary of some of the most significant tax issues and changes.
Obamacare Penalties Kick...
December 29, 2014
With 2015 just around the corner, it’s smart to take a few minutes to plan ahead for the coming year in terms of the goals you want to achieve. If managing your money more effectively in the year ahead is one of the things you want to tackle, it helps to break your goal down into manageable steps.
Figuring out your financial plan comes down to three essential steps: managing,...
December 15, 2014
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and for many of us, it is also one of the busiest. While adding one more thing to your to-do list—like year-end tax planning—may induce a feeling of overload, it really is one task you shouldn’t skip, because it can give you the gift of a lower tax bill next April.
Here are a few tips to help you end 2014 with the...
November 25, 2014
With Thanksgiving literally right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the abundance that we have in our lives and how we might express our gratitude to the people who mean the most to us.
If you are enjoying a gathering with family and friends this Thanksgiving, here are a few unique, fun activities from that can help you create an atmosphere of genuine...
November 17, 2014
Late fall typically marks the beginning of cold and flu season, which can pose a real threat to businesses. While public health officials continue to push flu shots, the message isn’t inciting many people to act. Add to this those employees who are hesitant to take sick days, meaning they come to work and inadvertently spread germs, and the potential for a cold and flu outbreak...
October 30, 2014
For some employees, the satisfaction of doing a great job is a reward in and of itself. However, for many companies, implementing a rewards program for employees is necessary in order to maintain employee morale and productivity. While investing time and money to develop and implement an employee incentive program may seem like an inefficient use of resources that detracts from your bottom...
October 15, 2014
If you own a business, you know that your customers are its lifeblood, so customer service is key. While you may recognize this fact, it may not always resonate with your employees. So how do you ensure that all your hard work to win customers isn’t undermined by poor customer service when they come face-to-face with your employees—especially if you can’t always be there to...
October 1, 2014
In just a few short months, the calendar will read 2015—the year in which the next phase of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, will kick in for businesses with 100 or more employees. Under the law, businesses with 100 or more employees on their payroll will need to start providing health benefits to at least 70 percent of their full-time workers in 2015, and to 95 percent by...
September 16, 2014
While you may still be enjoying the last few weeks of summer thinking that it’s too early to start preparing your business for tax season, you may want to reconsider putting your tax planning on hold—after all, the peak of the tax preparation period is just a few short months away.
While it is wise to engage in tax planning strategically and consistently throughout the...
August 28, 2014
With the official start of the fall season almost here, it’s the perfect time to get your finances in shape before year-end, so you’ll be well-prepared when 2015 begins.
Increase your retirement contributions. If you’re not already saving for retirement, start now! If you know you need to save more, up the contribution you are making to your...
August 14, 2014
The back-to-school season is always an exciting time. You can feel it in the air…a time of new beginnings and opportunities. And while the kids are enjoying reconnecting with friends and teachers and the thrill of new school clothes, business owners can adopt their own form of back-to-school spirit to revitalize excitement around their business. Here are a few tips to help you get into...
July 31, 2014
As a business owner, one of the hardest—yet most beneficial skills to learn—is delegation. Many people who run businesses and have staff often find delegation of duties difficult for a number of reasons—two of the most common being a perceived lack of time (the “It’s faster to do it myself” excuse) or because they have a hard time letting go of their...
July 15, 2014
So, you have a nice website for your business—you can check “web strategy” off the to-do list, right? Not so fast! While creating a website that is easy to navigate, visible to search engines, and true to your company’s brand is no small feat, it should be just the first step in your website strategy. To maximize your organization’s web presence, you can’t...
July 1, 2014
As the number of seniors in the U.S. population continues to increase, so does the number of people taking care of an aging parent. In 2011, an estimated 10 million adult children over the age of 50 were caring for an aging parent. Having to take on this type of responsibility, especially during your prime earning years, can take a toll—not only emotionally and physically, but...
June 16, 2014
Allowing employees to telecommute, also known as working remotely, is a major trend destined to reshape the way that companies recruit and manage employees in just about every industry. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, more companies were planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than any other new benefit. And, research by Global Workplace...
May 29, 2014
While we’ve just celebrated the first official summer holiday weekend, studies show that almost 75 percent of employees do not take all of their allotted vacation time. In fact, many employees hesitate to take a break from work, and those that do often check in at least daily while on vacation, returning emails or taking calls. This may seem like true dedication to a job, but experts...
May 15, 2014
Many business owners are unaware of the Pension Protection Act passed in 2006 and its potentially costly tax implications for beneficiaries of employer-owned life insurance (EOLI) policies. This legislation enforces a tax rate of up to 50 percent on the death benefits of EOLI policies purchased after August 17, 2006. Normally, these benefits would be tax exempt—and they still can be if...
May 1, 2014
According to the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data, approximately 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older are victims of identity theft each year. While the overall percentage of Americans affected by identity theft has held steady since 2008, identity theft related to tax information is increasing rapidly. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released statistics...
April 14, 2014
Hopefully you have already filed your tax return and are anticipating at least a modest refund. But, before you get too excited about splurging with your IRS check, stop for a moment and remember that you earned that money! While many people view a tax refund as ‘bonus’ cash—it isn’t. It is simply a return of the funds that you earned and paid as tax beyond what your actual obligation...
March 31, 2014
With the business tax return deadline behind us, this is an ideal time to think about giving your business a little post-tax season tune-up with the intention of making next tax year easier and improving your financial situation. Here are a few key areas to consider analyzing now that your business taxes are filed:
Day-to-day accounting. With the rush of preparing...
March 17, 2014
There’s no disputing the fact that raising children today is a costly endeavor. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) has eased parents’ tax burden and put a few dollars back in their pockets with the Child Tax Credit, which ATRA made permanent. This tax credit can be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon a parent’s income.
March 4, 2014
A nice home office is often one of the biggest perks of being a freelancer, and it can also provide you with a significant tax deduction if you qualify for it. Up until this tax year, the calculations needed to claim the home office deduction were complex and required meticulous record keeping and a separate form (Form 8829). However, starting with your 2013 tax return, the IRS has introduced...
February 14, 2014
With tax season in full swing, you are likely busy compiling all of your tax documents and expense receipts to support the preparation of your return. When you think about it, there is a lot you can learn from preparing to file your tax return. It provides the perfect snapshot of where you stand financially, which can offer important insights into your money management habits. While there are...
February 1, 2014
With tax season here, you might be wondering just how likely you are to hear from the IRS after you file by means of an audit notice. While the chances you will be audited are relatively low if you file a straightforward personal tax return, the more complex your tax situation becomes (reporting business income or graduating to a high-income tax bracket, for example), the more likely it is...
January 17, 2014
If your business spends $600 or more for services from another business or an individual contractor during the tax year, you may have to report the amount on a Form 1099. The requirement to file 1099s applies to all types of businesses, C-Corporations, S-Corporations, LLCs, all partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Forms 1099 are normally issued to unincorporated...
January 3, 2014
Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get serious about reviewing where you stand from a tax perspective. As you may recall, in 2013 Congress and President Obama made a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff which resulted in seven tax increases. In addition to these increases, the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) also included six...
December 17, 2013
With the end of the year on the horizon, many individuals with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are scurrying to spend residual funds to avoid “losing” them, in accordance with IRS regulations. However, the regulations have now changed with the IRS easing the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for health flexible spending plans. Individuals with FSAs can now carry over a maximum of $500 to...
November 27, 2013
If you’re nearing the customary retirement age of 65, you may be considering when to apply for Medicare and Social Security benefits. This is an important decision that can have significant impact on your financial situation down the road, so it is important to understand how these benefit programs work. In particular, if you are not planning to retire at the full retirement age (FRA) of 65...
November 14, 2013
The IRS recently announced that, for the second year in a row, it will delay the start of tax season. However, the April 15 filing deadline, which is set by statute, remains in place. Last year it was the fiscal cliff negotiations that pushed back the start of the tax filing period. This year, of course, it is the 16-day government shutdown that put the IRS approximately one to two weeks...
October 30, 2013
If you own a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that you are not actively managing, but you claim tax deductions, this blog post will be of interest to you. Close to 30 years ago, the IRS passive activity loss (PAL) rules (I.R.C. Section 469) were enacted to limit the degree to which money-losing LLCs could be used as tax shelters by their owners claiming losses—such as depreciation, interest,...
October 17, 2013
Halloween is just around the corner and in a few short weeks the calendar will flip to November 1—the unofficial beginning to the winter holiday season that can seriously reduce employee productivity. After all, who has time to put in a solid eight hours a day at the office when there is seasonal shopping, schmoozing, and socializing to be done?
Many business owners have a...
October 4, 2013
Employers providing healthcare insurance that includes prescription drug benefits are required to notify Medicare-eligible employees by October 15 of each year whether their drug benefit is "creditable coverage," meaning that it is expected to cover, on average, as much as the standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)...
September 30, 2013
While the end of the year may seem like it’s a long time from now, it’s only three short months away. When you factor in the hectic weeks of the coming holiday season, that really only leaves a few weeks to pull your tax information together to avoid the stress that being unprepared for tax season can bring.
Now is the time to think about what information you will need for the...
September 13, 2013
The opening of the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) on October 1 is fast approaching and with it comes a new requirement to Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act that all businesses should be aware of. By October 1, 2013 employers must provide written notices about health insurance options, including notification of the new health insurance marketplace, to their...
September 4, 2013
The beginning of September is synonymous with the back-to-school season. If you have a child attending college, or if you are a student yourself, September is also likely to be synonymous with the beginning of annual tuition payments. While attending and paying for college may be taxing in many ways, there is some good news when it comes to tax deductions and credits related to college...
August 16, 2013
Given the tough economy over the past few years, it has been particularly difficult for business owners and the individuals they employee to thrive financially. Couple the poor economic climate with the fact that many businesses, especially small ones, have few controls in place to prevent employee theft and you get statistics like these reported by the National Federation of Independent...
July 31, 2013
If you’re lucky enough to own a vacation home, or are thinking about investing in one, you should be aware of the tax implications associated with this type of property, particularly if you are planning to rent it at least some of the time. It is also important to note that the IRS definition of a vacation property encompasses not only houses, cottages, and condominiums, but also mobile...
July 16, 2013
As hard as it is to believe, the year is already half over. Although it may seem like the April tax deadline was just a few weeks ago, the reality is it’s time to start thinking about your 2013 taxes. And, if you spend some time now on mid-year tax planning, it can really pay off next April—which is only nine short months away. In addition, taking stock of where your business is halfway...
July 4, 2013
On Tuesday, July 2, the Obama administration announced that it is delaying the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. The delay extends to 2015. The announcement by the IRS comes after numerous complaints from businesses that the requirements were too complicated and difficult to implement in time.
June 27, 2013
One of the key mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare” as the law is commonly known, is the creation of health insurance exchanges in each state. The intention of these exchanges is to give individuals and small businesses a means for buying affordable health insurance. With the October 1st launch date for the new health care exchanges fast approaching, business owners...
June 18, 2013
For years, aggressive, "do-what it takes" attitudes have been attributed to achieving professional success. Having at least a little bit of the "killer" instinct is what differentiates the winners in business, right? Perhaps in some cases, but according to research conducted by Wharton Business School professor, Adam Grant, the opposite is true. Success—both personal and professional—is...
May 30, 2013
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… marketing is a key component of any successful business. So, we want to provide you with as much helpful information as we can in this area. We know marketing isn’t an easy task. It takes time and money. Of course, we understand that you have to keep a focus on the bottom line, which is why we are offering a few marketing tips for those of...
May 17, 2013
Whether your business sells seasonal products or provides services throughout the year, summer is a HOT season for marketing. The warmer weather offers some flexibility with marketing events and campaigns, and that means you can be creative. Most people like to get out during the summer months, so the potential to attract prospects and clients to your marketing events is higher. The following...
April 30, 2013
Technology is a wonderful thing. We know it in our firm because we use advanced technology to our advantage—that is, working anytime and from any device, having 24/7 access to files, and the ability to work from home, a client’s site, or the airport! And now that just about any gadget you can imagine is portable and affordable, your small business doesn’t have to be confined to your...
April 17, 2013
This was more than your typical tax season. With a plethora of changes to the tax code and a late start brought about by 11th hour congressional decisions, it was an even more harried and intense process than usual. We appreciate the good working relationships with our clients that helped us keep moving to meet the April 15 deadline—thank you!
With tax season just now moving into...
March 29, 2013
Hopefully, you are part of the more than 80% of taxpayers that take advantage of e-filing. If you’re not, we want to remind you WHY you should. Take a moment to read our short (but very convincing) list. The April 15th tax deadline is just around the corner, so we wanted to dedicate one last post to remind you of the value of e-filing your return.
- Safe &...
March 18, 2013
The tax deadline always seems to sneak up on taxpayers. Don’t fall into this trap and cause yourself added stress. If you’ve yet to pull things together…start preparing now. The following are four easy tips to be sure that you are ready for the April 15 tax deadline:
- Locate Last Year’s Tax Return—Previous years’ returns serve as an excellent...
March 1, 2013
As we look forward to the end of winter and the launch of spring, that also means the April 15th tax deadline is that much closer. Being prepared is the best way to ensure a smooth tax season and minimize any surprises. So, if you’ve yet to dig in and give some dedicated focus to your taxes, here are a few suggestions to get you going:
- Begin Gathering Source...
February 19, 2013
More than 80% of taxpayers file electronically…and for good reason. Or rather, good reasons (plural)—four to be exact. E-filing offers an efficient and highly secure method for filing your tax return. And if that’s not reason enough, take a moment to read through our Top 4:
- Accurate & Complete—E-filing is the best way to ensure that you file an...
January 31, 2013
As of January 30, 2013, the IRS will begin processing individual income tax returns for the majority of United States taxpayers. Be sure to get your tax documents organized now. You can use our Client Center on our website to securely upload your documents to our office.
A few items to note as we move into February:
- E-file and direct deposit are the fastest ways to...
January 5, 2013
With the passing of the new ‘Fiscal Cliff” Act, taxpayers need to be aware of how it may affect them in the coming years. As such, we’ve compiled detailed information for you within this blog post.At a high level, the act...
December 27, 2012
The IRS continues to challenge S Corporation shareholders regarding proper methods for paying themselves. That said, it’s critical that your S Corporation structure is set up appropriately and that compensation is paid and reported correctly. For example, in a recent court appeal case, an attorney was slapped with penalties and interest after failing to remit payroll taxes for his...
December 18, 2012
It’s year end already, and with it comes the race to get ready for tax season. Traditionally, December marks a time for giving generously to charities, family, and friends. It’s also a time that can have a major impact on your upcoming tax return. But fear not, we’ve compiled a few helpful “Season of Giving” tips for you (courtesy of the IRS), covering everything from charity...
November 22, 2012
With the election behind us, we now have a much clearer picture of how taxes will be affected in 2013 and beyond. With this insight, we can better help our clients create strategic, fiscally responsible tax programs for the coming year.
Under the Obama administration, the objective is to maintain the old tax rates for taxpayers with adjusted gross income below $250,000. (The old tax...
October 26, 2012
You may have already noticed some changes to your personal portal. To ensure that you are able to continue to easily navigate within your portal, we’ve compiled the following list that explains recent core enhancements.
What you will see when you log in:
- A more streamlined look and feel offers more direct access to your documents and other frequently used home...
October 16, 2012
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that social media is not one size fits all. Every small business is different and will have different social media needs. For example, some may be looking to acquire new clients while others may want to use social media channels to strengthen customer relationships or educate their audience.
No matter the reason, social media is a...
October 1, 2012
To ensure success, it’s important to consistently evaluate your business and identify possible areas for enhancement. Of course, because you are an integral part of daily operations, it’s sometimes hard to visualize what enhancements may be needed or to come up with that next BIG idea.
With this in mind, we want to provide you with a few tips to help jumpstart innovation in...
September 17, 2012
With year end fast approaching, it’s a good time to slip in another push for portals. We understand the immense value online access offers, and we just want to be sure that you do too. First and foremost, portals support immediate, real-time exchange of data and documents, which translates into ultimate convenience for our clients. Your information is always at your fingertips, 24/7…when...
September 1, 2012
Summer is coming to a close, and the end of summer is a good time to start thinking about getting your tax information together. Before you know it, year end will be here, which can leave you scrambling to get organized. Starting a little early will help ensure that you are prepared—avoiding the all-too-familiar last minute cram session that can cause disruption and stress in your personal...
August 17, 2012
The effects of the new healthcare law are different for individuals and business. We’ve compiled the following information for you and provided a succinct explanation of specific changes. This list is certainly not all-inclusive, so please contact our firm for more detail and to inquire how ObamaCare might affect your 2013 year taxes.
July 31, 2012
Portals are everywhere. When you access your financial portfolio or bank account, you are using portals. Online access to information is critical these days, allowing instant access to data and documents when you need them—the ultimate in convenience.
At our firm, we also want to provide our clients with the convenience of web-based access, which is why we offer our advanced and...
July 19, 2012
Because military personnel have unique challenges in relation to duties, expenses, and transitions, the IRS offers active members of the U.S. Armed Forces special tax benefits. The following are a few of these benefits of which you may not be aware:
- Moving Expenses—If you are a member of the Armed Forces on active duty and you move because of a permanent...
July 3, 2012
What parent isn’t concerned with their children’s future? And part of this concern relates to ensuring our children’s financial well-being. So, IRA’s for kids? Yes, really! The opportunity for retirement savings begins as soon as kids start to earn money, so why not begin educating them now on saving for their future?
IRA’s, whether traditional or Roth, are available to...
June 19, 2012
Whether you're trying to grow your current business or have plans to start one, finding the cash needed can be overwhelming. There are many options to consider from traditional bank loans to “crowd funding.”
To help you narrow down the choices, there are a few good online tools to consider:
June 3, 2012
Advertisements for easy-to-use tools and low-cost tax preparation services leave the impression that tax prep and planning can be mastered by novice preparers and those with no tax planning experience. Tax preparation is complex on its own, but planning requires a slew of other skills and adequate experience and education.
There is a major difference between tax preparation and tax...
May 23, 2012
Every business owner has at least one employee that they wish they could clone. You know, the one that always clocks in on time, goes the extra mile, and is loved by your customers. Retaining your best employees is simply a smart business move. Turnover is costly on many levels, so it's worth the extra effort to ensure employee satisfaction. The following 5 tips will help you. Your Employees...
May 23, 2012
The tax deadline may have just passed, but preparing for next year can start right away. Being organized and planning ahead can save you time, money, and the stress associated with scurrying to get organized at the last minute. The following are seven tips offered by the IRS to get you going with your 2013 planning efforts: Adjust Your Withholding—Why wait another year for a big...
May 23, 2012
There’s never a bad time to improve customer service, but for some reason, spring always feels like the right time. It must be that feeling of renewal. Whatever the reason, we want to offer you a few good tips on how you can elevate service for your customers.Make a Great First Impression—First impressions count…setting the stage for the customer experience. The first...
May 23, 2012
If you are going to tackle one social media project this year…Facebook is the one. Encroaching on one billion users, it’s a great way to keep in contact with existing clients and reach the broad community (prospects). Facebook is an essential place to build connections with people, connect with “fans,” announce new products or services, share news, and gather...
May 23, 2012
The IRS has provided nine useful tips to help taxpayers avoid an emerging tax scheme. This new scam tempts senior citizens and other taxpayers to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds. These schemes promise refunds to people who have little or no income and normally don’t have a tax filing requirement. Promoters claim that they can obtain a tax refund or nonexistent...
February 2, 2012
Championing a Worthy Cause—Bringing Bullying Prevention Program, Operation Nice, to Local Schools and Giving back to the community, I feel, is an important part of any organization’s business model. There are so many positive groups, programs, and entities out there that work for the betterment of society. Recently, Watkins & Associates decided to champion one of these programs as our...
January 5, 2012
We hope that your holidays were both relaxing and joyous! The New Year is here, and with it brings resolutions. Our resolution is to continue to improve client services so that your experience with our firm is always rich. Enhancing our services means many things to us—from upgrades in technology to expanding and enhancing service offerings.Over the past year, we’ve had a steady focus on...
December 19, 2011
Now that we are well into the month of December, it’s time to offer another friendly reminder to start getting your tax documents together. It’s also a good time to remind you to use your portals for both uploading your documents and receiving your tax return. Wouldn’t it be great to go completely paperless this year? And you can’t beat the convenience. No dropping off papers or disks,...
December 3, 2011
The IRS recently posted a reminder to homeowners that there is still time this year to make energy-saving and green-energy home improvements and qualify for credit.The first of these credits, termed “The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit”, is aimed at homeowners who install energy-efficient improvements such as insulation, windows, and furnaces. The credit is more limited than in the past...
November 18, 2011
Several key business tax breaks will expire on December 31, 2011. You may be eligible, so we wanted to ensure that you were aware of certain credits before they expire at the year’s end (2011). If you believe you are eligible, contact us to discuss further.Research Credit—offers a credit of up to 20% of qualifying research expenditures, and applies to amounts paid or accrued before January...
November 4, 2011
First and foremost, we hope everyone had a Happy Halloween. Costumes, cool weather, and loads of candy…what’s better than that? While you may have been concentrated on ghosts, goblins, and more than a few Power Rangers, remember that the end of October means that year-end is coming fast. Very soon you’ll want to begin preparing for tax season to eliminate any possible terror on April...
October 20, 2011
Tax season can be overwhelming, especially when you consider all the paper and manual tasks involved. We’ve worked hard in our firm to go paperless—creating a digital filing system that puts clients’ documents at our fingertips…so when you ask, we can send needed files to you immediately.Working with electronic files is far more efficient, so this year we encourage you to provide your...
October 5, 2011
It may seem a bit early to ask this question, but trust that tax season will be upon us before you know it. October is just, well, hours away! That means that it’s officially “year end,” which is when you want to start getting things in order for the upcoming tax season.Our firm has certainly started to prepare. Let us help you do the same. The following are a few tips to get you going.Let...
September 22, 2011
Many taxpayers enjoy giving back to the community by donating cash or goods to their favorite charitable organizations. In addition to the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from helping others, you may also be able to take a deduction for the donation on your 2011 tax return. But before you start tallying up your good deeds, take a look at the top nine things the IRS wants every taxpayer to know...
September 2, 2011
Social media is part of business…a permanent part. It can’t be ignored; it’s just too powerful—especially when you look at the shear number of people using it, the millions of conversations taking place, and the ability to reach anyone, anywhere.For small businesses, social media is a valuable marketing tool. It can be used to promote your business, build your brand, and sell product....
August 18, 2011
While most Americans receive a refund each year from the IRS, there are those who owe and cannot pay the full amount due. For those that find themselves in this situation, the IRS offers alternatives for paying your tax bill. Named the Fresh Start initiative, the IRS developed this program to help individuals and small business meet their tax obligations without adding unnecessary burden. The...
July 31, 2011
Every business has an obligation to promote their goods and services in order to consistently attract new customers and maintain their existing customer base. Of course, this isn’t always easy when cash flow is a concern. The following tips offer sound marketing ideas for small businesses with a “cash-strapped” marketing budget.1. Build a Network—Whether online or in person, networking...
January 2, 2011
We are happy to announce that our website has evolved once again. In 2011 we are launching our Next Generation website, designed to offer you convenient access to our advanced online platform, helpful resources, newly branded marketing materials, and much more. The investment in our updated website represents our ongoing commitment to adopting best practices and embracing technologies that...