The weekend of August 4-6, 2017 is a sales tax holiday in certain states, Florida being one of them. While you might have your toes in the water, enjoying summer vacation a little longer, this tax holiday comes in preparation for going back to school. Items that are qualified will not have any sales tax applied. This list includes school supplies selling for $15 or less per item, clothing and shoes selling for $60 or less per item, computers and certain accessories for $750 or less per item. Each item has to be less than the total amount stated here- it does not exclude that amount if the total is higher. For example, if you purchase a computer for $751 you will pay sales tax on that entire purchase because you exceeded the per item exemption amount- by $1.
Pro tip– I personally hate going to the stores this weekend. The good news is that many large stores, such as Walmart and Amazon will let you purchase online this weekend and still benefit from the sales tax holiday. Shopping online will also help you find the best price for what you need.
It’s July and the New Year’s resolutions you made have probably been long forgotten. But it is not too late to make changes to hit your goals for 2017. During the slower summer season it is a great time to reflect on how the year has been going so far and correct course for the rest of 2017. This is especially true for financial goals. I can help you see how 2017 has been so far and help you figure out what to do to get the most out of the rest of the year, whether it is to maximize retirement savings, pay down debt, or improve your company’s profitability. Contact me to set up a mid year review: http://bit.ly/2ksBpWT
- Get your bookkeeping up-to-date for the year. If you fell behind, now is the time to catch up. There is no way to make any last minute moves unless you know where you stand at this point.
- Make major purchases. If you’ve been contemplating buying a car, new computer, or other big equipment for your business, now is the time. You can take advantage of accelerated depreciation and get a full deduction for the entire cost, even though you purchase it in December!
- Check your payroll. S-corporation owners must run payroll. This is a big “red flag” for the IRS when you don’t. If you have a lot of cash maybe run yourself a bonus payroll. This is good if you need to show a higher salary on a W-2 or increase your Social Security contributions. This is also a great way to pay in additional tax if you missed your quarterly estimated payments – and avoid penalties.
- While on the subject of payroll – S-corporation owners need to make sure their health insurance premiums are included in Box 1 of their W-2. Contact your payroll company to make sure it is correct.
- Set up or make a contribution to your retirement account. Retirement contributions will reduce your tax bill and set you up for financial success for the future. Examples of these kinds of accounts are a SEP, simple IRA, or 401(k).
- Make sure you have W-9 forms for all of your contractors. The new deadline for filing 1099-MISC forms for 2016 is January 31, 2017!! Make sure you have all of this information now so you are ready to hand over that information to your CPA in the beginning of January. You need to file 1099-MISC forms for any individual, partnership, and certain LLCs that you paid over $600 to in 2016. You also need to give 1099-MISC forms to any lawyers that you paid in 2016, and possibly your landlord too.
- Write off business gifts. This is especially useful during the holidays. Just keep in mind only up to $25 can be written off.
Intuit announced that they will no longer support all versions of their 2013 QuickBooks Desktop as of May 31, 2016. What does that mean for users?
- If you do not upgrade to a newer version, don’t expect Intuit to help you if you need it, via live chat or phone.
- If you are running payroll through QuickBooks important calculations (like taxes) will be wrong.
- Access to add-on services will stop, as well as online backup and online banking.
Odds are if you are still using QB 2013 desktop you haven’t explored your options in accounting systems in quite a while. Unless you need to use QB desktop (i.e.- you have a construction company using job costing), you should really be using a cloud-based application. My personal favorite and the system I use for my own business is Xero. There are other options as well that you can read about here, but for modern businesses the most powerful and convenient accounting systems are in the cloud.
Not sure what solution is right for your business? Feel free to schedule a consultation with me.
Florida businesses need to file their annual reports by May 1 to avoid penalties. The penalties are big – $400 if you file late! – and the state won’t wave these. Go to SunBiz now to renew. You will need to know your document number. If you don’t know it, use the “Document Searches” tool to look up your company. Contact my office if you need help with this.
Today is April 15 but it isn’t Tax Day. The deadline for filing your 2015 taxes is actually Monday, April 18. That’s good news if you’ve been procrastinating because you get a few more days!
The reason for the deadline being moved is because today is Emancipation Day in Washington DC. Emancipation Day is a holiday in marking the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which president Abraham Lincoln signed on April 16, 1862. Normally it is held on April 16th, but being a Saturday this year it is being observed on April 15. Government employees in DC enjoy the day off today, including those at the IRS. The filing deadline had to be moved to the next business day – April 18.
April 1 is the deadline for filing the Tangible Personal Property tax for businesses in Florida. Tangible personal property (TPP) is stuff you can feel or touch that is moveable – basically anything that is not real estate or attached to real estate. Inventory is not included in tangible personal property tax, and it should not be confused with intangible property, which is assets you can own that have no physical substance, such as investments, trademarks, patents, etc.
TPP returns are filed with the county your business is located in. If you aren’t ready to file your TPP return, you can request an extension for 30 or 45 days, depending on the county. Check with your county for more information on extensions, forms, and other filing information.
If you aren’t located in Florida this website gives you a list of personal property tax deadlines by state.
Contact me if you need help with filing your business tangible personal property tax form.
A question I get a lot this time of year is, “If I didn’t make any money do I even need to report it on my taxes??” And my answer is YES! Here’s why:
1. If you put money into starting a new business you can deduct the startup expenses. There can be a lot of costs to get a business off the ground. It is important to keep track of all of these expenses so they can offset income later.
2. Certain losses, such as those from rental properties, can offset other types of income. For example, if you have a rental condo that lost $5,000 and you have a job where you get $40,000 on a W-2, your income would net out to $35,000.
3. Sometimes businesses can generate what we call net operating losses. This is when the business’s deductions are bigger than it’s income. While it stinks to lose money in business, these losses can be applied to other years and offset income- or even generate tax refunds!
4. Investment losses – up to $3,000 in capital losses can offset other income (similar to the rental property example above). If you have more than $3,000 in capital losses you can carry them forward until they are used up.
The key to taking advantages of these money losing situations is to have good documentation, and the help of a knowledgeable CPA. Contact me for a free consultation!
2015 might be over but the last estimated payment can be still be made! The last quarter estimated tax payment is due January 15, 2016. Postmark your check by that date, and make your payment using the Form 1040-ES.
2015 is almost over but there are still some ways to make the best of your tax situation before New Year’s is here. Spoiler-number 6 is the most important!
1. Do your 2015 bookkeeping now. If you aren’t current with your bookkeeping, now is a great time to catch up. You can’t know what your tax situation looks like if you don’t know what your income – or loss – is for the year.
2. Run bonus payroll. If your company is sitting on some cash consider running a bonus payroll. Didn’t make those quarterly estimated tax payments? Put all or part of the bonus to federal withholding to help catch up what you owe.
3. Set up a retirement plan. If you own a small business there are some easy ways to put away money for retirement. SEP and Simple IRAs make a lot of sense for micro and small business owners. There aren’t a lot of paperwork headaches or complicated filings required, and the contributions are tax deducible to the business. This is another good move if your company has some cash at the end of the year.
4. Buy equipment. On the fence about purchasing a computer or other office equipment? Take advantage of Section 179 and fully deduct big ticket items (aka fixed assets) in 2015, even if you only have them for a few days. Right now the deduction is limited to $25,000 but congress might change this.
5. Spend some money. Buy supplies and other business related items now for next year. Spend the money now and take the deduction now.
6. Find a fantastic CPA to work with. CPAs can do so much more than prepare tax returns! My firm offers a wide range of services such as bookkeeping, contract controller and CFO, financial modeling, and more. Take a look at my packages and services. Contact me for a free consultation!