5 Resolutions QuickBooks Online Users Should Make for 2021

A painful year is drawing to a close. We’ll still be dealing with COVID-19 and a struggling economy in early 2021, but there’s hope on the horizon. There’s a lot you can’t control about the difficulties facing our country, but you can take control of your corner of it, especially in terms of how you […]

Don’t Miss the Opportunity for a Spousal IRA

Article Highlights:  Spousal IRA  Compensation Requirements  Maximum Contribution  Traditional or Roth IRA?  One frequently overlooked tax benefit is the spousal IRA. Generally, IRA contributions are only allowed for taxpayers who have compensation (the term “compensation” includes wages, tips, bonuses, professional fees, commissions, taxable alimony received, and net income from self-employment). Spousal IRAs are the exception […]

Is That Inheritance Taxable?

Article Highlights:  Estate Tax  Estate Tax Exemption  Fair Market Value at Date of Death  Step up in Basis  Community Property  Deferred Untaxed Income  Are inheritances taxable? This is a frequently misunderstood taxation issue, and the answer can be complicated. When someone passes away, all of their assets (their estate) will be subject to estate taxation, […]

Renting Your Home or Vacation Home for Short Periods

Article Highlights:  Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway  Rented for Fewer than 15 Days During the Year  The 7-day and 30-day Rules  Exceptions to the 30-Day Rule  Schedule C Reporting  Many taxpayers rent out their first or second homes without considering tax consequences. Some of these rules can be beneficial, while others can be very detrimental. If […]

SBA Questioning PPP Borrowers with Loans Over $2 Million

Article Highlights:  PPP Loans  Affected Borrowers  Loan Application Certifications  SBA Compliance Questionnaires  SBA Information Review  When Congress initially authorized the Paycheck Protection Program, it was intended to provide loans that would be partially or completely forgiven if used for the intended purposes of helping businesses affected by COVID-19 stay afloat and to help those businesses […]

What Happens if I Receive an IRS CP2000 Notice?

Few things can send a chill down your spine more than mail from the IRS. Just seeing the agency’s name on an envelope’s return address creates anxiety. If you find yourself in that position and open the mail to find a CP2000 notice inside, you don’t need to panic — but you need to know […]

Employee Holiday Gifts May Be Taxable

Article Highlights:  De Minimis Fringe Benefits  Cash Gifts  Gift Certificates  Group Meals  FICA and Wage Withholding  It is common practice this time of year for employers to give their employees gifts. A gift is infrequently offered and has a fair market value so low that it is impractical and unreasonable to account for it; the […]

Webinar: Tax Implications of PPP Loans on Thursday, December 17, at 3:00 PM (EST)

Tarlow Invites You: Tax Implications of PPP Loans The CARES Act stated that forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan would be considered tax-exempt income, but it failed to address the impact of the associated expenses paid. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2020-27 on November 18, 2020. Revenue Ruling 2020-27 provides […]

PPP Economic Uncertainty Certification: Here’s What You Need to Know

On Thursday, December 9, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury updated the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan FAQs regarding the recently imposed loan necessity questionnaires. FAQ 53 was released to address why some PPP borrowers are receiving a For-Profit and Non-Profit Loan Necessity Questionnaire (SBA Forms 3509 and […]

Preparing for 2021: Tax Planning Strategies for Small Business Owners

If you are a small business owner, every penny of your income counts. This means that you want to optimize your revenue and minimize your expenses and your tax liability. Unfortunately, far too many entrepreneurs are not well-versed in the tricks and tools available to them and end up paying far more than they need […]

Tarlow Joins Aprio, a Top 50 CPA-Led Business Advisory Firm

We are pleased to announce that Tarlow is joining Aprio, a top 50 CPA-led business advisory firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, effective on January 1, 2021. This is an exciting step for Tarlow as we look toward what’s next for our business and providing our clients with access to a breadth of new services to […]

Webinar: Tax Implications of PPP Loans on Tuesday, December 1, at 12:00 PM (EST)

Tarlow Invites You: PPP Webinar – Tax Implications of PPP Loans  The CARES Act stated that forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan would be considered tax-exempt income, but it failed to address the impact of the associated expenses paid.  On November 18, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2020-27 which […]

IRS Clarifies the Deductibility of PPP Loan Expenses

On Wednesday, November 18, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Department issued guidance in the form of a Revenue Ruling 2020-27 (Ruling) and a revenue procedure to clarify the tax implications of expenses when a loan from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has not been forgiven by December […]

How Do You Create Price Levels in QuickBooks?

You may know that when you create a product or service record in QuickBooks, you must assign a sale price to it. But did you know that QuickBooks gives you a great deal of flexibility when to comes to pricing items you sell? The software allows you to create one or more additional Price Levels that you […]

Gambling and Tax Gotchas

Article Highlights:  Winnings  Losses  Social Security Income  Health Care Insurance Premium Subsidies  Medicare B & D Premiums  Online Gambling Accounts  Gambling is a recreational activity for many taxpayers, and as one might expect, the government takes a cut if you win and won’t allow you to claim a loss above your winnings. There are far […]

Is a Living Trust Appropriate for You?

Article Highlights:  What Is a Living Trust?  Is a Living Trust Appropriate?  Establishing a Living Trust  Pros of a Revocable Trust  Cons of a Revocable Trust  You may have heard others discuss living trusts, but may not understand why you should have one. Every living trust is an estate-planning tool that is unique to the […]

There is More to Deducting Health Insurance than Meets the Eye

Article Highlights:  Itemized Deduction  AGI Limitations  What Insurance is Deductible  Above-the-Line Deduction for the Self-Employed  Income Limitation  Subsidized Limitation  Health insurance premiums, especially in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, have risen dramatically and are one of the highest expenses that most individuals pay. Although the cost of health insurance is allowed as part […]

12 Financial Metrics Small Business Owners Should Track

Operating a small business is an exhilarating and, at times, overwhelming endeavor. There are so many details and daily tasks, and it’s essential for you to stay on top of your organizations’ finances. Whether you’re assembling your financial reports or hiring a professional to do it, it’s crucial to understand which numbers are most important […]

Solar Tax Credit is Sunsetting Soon

A federal tax credit for the purchase and installation costs of a residential solar system is fading away. After 30% of the value for several years through 2019, the credit amount drops to 26% in 2020 and then to 22% in 2021, the credit’s final year.  The credit is nonrefundable, meaning it can only reduce […]

What Happens if You Missed the October 15th Tax Extension Deadline?

We’ve all been there. Life is super busy. We have to take care of our families and friends, work obligations, and other everyday responsibilities. With all of the hustle and bustle, you realize that the October 15th tax extension deadline has passed, and unfortunately, you still haven’t filed. What should you do now?  This article […]

The SBA Issues a Simplified PPP Loan-Forgiveness Application

Article Highlights:  Paycheck Protection Program Loans  Forgiveness Application  The Small Business Administration (SBA)  The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act  SBA Forgiveness Form 3508  SBA Forgiveness Form 3508EZ  SBA Forgiveness Form 3508S  If you are the owner of a small business that obtained a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, you are most likely aware that the […]

Don’t Miss Out on Year-End Tax-Planning Opportunities

Article Highlights:  October 15 extended due date for filing federal individual tax returns for 2019.  Late-filing penalty.  Interest on tax due.  Other October 15 deadlines.  Because of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the IRS postponed the original due date for filing 2019 returns to July 15, 2020. If you could not complete your 2019 tax return […]

Tarlow is a Proud Sponsor of the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s Tuesday Talks

We are proud to sponsor the NYC Hospitality Alliance’s Tuesday Talks! Every Tuesday between November 10, 2020, and December 1, 2020, industry professionals will discuss the hospitality topics you need to know from operational planning for the new year, politics, and employee engagement. PREPARE YOUR OPERATIONS FOR 2021 | Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 10:00 […]

The SBA Issued Loan Necessity Questionnaires for Borrowers of PPP Loans $2M or More

In conjunction with its review of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that total $2 million or more, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will send loan necessity questionnaires to loan recipients. The information that is collected will inform the SBA’s evaluation of borrowers’ good-faith certification of their economic need. The SBA issued two versions of […]

Actually, a Recession is a Great Time to Launch That New Startup

Many people are worried about an impending global recession due to the economic slowdown that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it – and your average entrepreneur and startup founder is chief among them. It makes sense to assume that with so many people watching what they spend and with so much uncertainty in the […]

Did You Know Unemployment Benefits are Taxable?

Article Highlights:  CARES Act  Unemployment Benefits  States Taxation of Unemployment  Will Unemployment Be Taxable?  With the passage of the CARES Act stimulus package earlier this year, the federal government added $600 to the standard state weekly unemployment benefits and increased the number of benefit weeks to a total of 39.  In many cases, workers are […]

10 Tips for Better Budgeting

If you already have a budget, it’s probably been difficult for you to stick with it for the last several months. Unless you provide products or services that have been in high demand since the COVID-19 pandemic took place, you’ve had to adjust your budget significantly.  Now is an excellent time to start doing some […]

Tax Consequences of Losing Your Job

Article Highlights:  Severance Pay  Unemployment Compensation  Health Insurance  Employer Pension Plan  Coronavirus-related Distributions  Home Sale  If you lost your job, there are several tax issues you may encounter. How you deal with these issues can profoundly impact your taxes and finances. The following are typical issues related to tax treatment:  Severance Pay – Your employer may […]

How to File Taxes After Moving to a New State

Moving to a new state can be an incredible new adventure. No matter what takes you to your new residence, you can’t forget about taxes. Here’s what you need to know about filing taxes in your new state as you settle into your new routine.  Establish Residency in Your New State Even if you haven’t […]

Webinar on Thursday, October 22, at 12:30 PM (ET): Unpacking PPP Loan Forgiveness

Tarlow Invites You: PPP Webinar Unpacking PPP Loan Forgiveness What you need to know to maximize forgiveness Your Covered Period is coming to an end and you are getting ready to complete your loan forgiveness application. But it seems like every week there’s a change in the Paycheck Protection Program rules. Have you kept up […]

The SBA and the Treasury Released an IFR to Streamline the PPP Loan Forgiveness Process

On Thursday, October 8, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury released an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to streamline the forgiveness process for recipients of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Under the new IFR, borrowers of $50,000 or less can apply for forgiveness using a simplified application form, SBA Form 3508S. PPP […]

PPP Loan Update: New Guidance for Ownership Changes

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a Procedural Notice (‘the Notice”) to provide information concerning the required procedures for changes of ownership of an entity that has received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds (a “PPP borrower”). The Notice, which was addressed to SBA employees and PPP lenders, clarifies what constitutes a change in ownership and […]

Still Waiting for the IRS to Cash Your Check?

Article Highlights: IRS’s Unopened Mail Backlog Uncashed Checks Dishonored Payment Penalty IRS Relief for Taxpayers During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has furloughed many of its employees. Other IRS employees are required to work from home to mitigate the spread of the virus. Many IRS offices remained closed for months, and a backlog of millions […]

Are You Ready for Form 1099-NEC?

Article Highlights: 1099-NEC Has Been Resurrected Non-Employee Compensation Combating Fraudulent Filings Due Dates Form W-9 Penalties 1099 Worksheet The Internal Revenue Service has resurrected a form that has not been used since the early 1980s, Form 1099-NEC. NEC stands for non-employee compensation. This form will be used to report non-employee compensation in place of the […]

Foreign Account Reporting Due October 15

Article Summary: Foreign-Account Reporting Requirement Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Penalties for Failure to File Types of Accounts Affected Form 8938 Filing Requirements United States entities with financial interests in, or authority over, one or more foreign financial accounts (e.g., bank accounts and securities), need to report these relationships to the U.S. Treasury if the aggregate […]

October’s Extended Tax Deadline: Due Date Is Fast Approaching

Article Highlights: October 15 extended due date for filing federal individual tax returns for 2019. Late-filing penalty. Interest on tax due. Other October 15 deadlines. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS postponed the original due date for filing 2019 returns to July 15, 2020. If you could not complete your 2019 tax return by […]

IRS Cancels Stimulus Checks Issued to Decedents

Article Highlights: Stimulus Payments to Deceased Individuals Stop Payments Being Made on Checks Already Issued IRS Authority to Deny Stimulus Payments to Deceased Individuals History of Stimulus Payments IRS Q&A Dealing with Deceased Individuals and the Return of the Payments According to the recently updated IRS FAQ page, the Treasury Dept. has canceled outstanding Economic […]

How States are Reshaping Nexus Laws for Remote Employees Due to COVID-19

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began impacting the United States, businesses around the country have responded by instituting work-from-home policies. While it is unclear how much longer the nation will be in the grips of the crisis, social distancing is likely to remain in place for many organizations. Some of the country’s most recognizable brands, […]

Individuals Have a New Opportunity to Receive $500 Economic Impact Payments for Their Children

Article Highlights: $500 Per Child Stimulus Payment Non-Filer Tool Those Who Have Already Used the Non-Filer Tool Those Who Haven’t Used Non-Filer Tool How Payment Will be Made Get My Payment Tool Non-Filers The Internal Revenue Service has announced it will reopen the registration period for federal beneficiaries with children who didn’t receive a $500 […]

The SBA Releases New PPP Forgiveness Guidance: Interim Final Rule, “Treatment of Owners and Forgiveness of Certain Nonpayroll Costs”

On Monday, August 24, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury Department released an interim final rule (IFR) entitled, “Treatment of Owners and Forgiveness of Certain Nonpayroll Costs.” This IFR addresses important guidance related to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan expenses eligible for forgiveness, owner-employee compensation, the eligibility of nonpayroll costs, including […]

Pre-Election and Year-End Planning Strategies for Individuals and Corporations to Address Now

Since the Presidential Election is only ten weeks away, we would like to share pre-election and year-end planning strategies that individuals and corporations can address now. To begin, the following tax changes are included in Joe Biden’s published proposals: Increase the top income tax bracket from 37% to 39.6%. Tax capital gains at ordinary income […]

Wealthy Taxpayers May Want to Strategize for Potential Tax Increases

Article Highlights: Skyrocketing Government Spending Federal and State Deficits Tax Increases in Our Future Tax Strategies The outcome of the November elections could have a significant impact on taxes for the wealthy. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy, as the government’s tax revenues have declined while government spending has soared. Although the […]

Charity Volunteer Tax Breaks

Article Highlights: Away-from-home travel Lodging and meals Entertaining for charity Automobile travel Uniforms Substantiation requirements If you volunteered your time for a charity or governmental entity during the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably qualify for some tax breaks. These rules apply to all charity volunteers, not just COVID-19 volunteers. Although no tax deduction is allowed for […]

How to Protect Yourself Against Coronavirus-Related Fraud

The Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies have noted a rise in scams and other fraudulent activities surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. There are individuals and groups, both in the United States and in countries across the world, who are attempting to take advantage of unwitting taxpayers and business owners. Let’s take a look at […]

Don’t Throw Away IRS Notice 1444

Article Highlights: IRS Notice 1444 You May Qualify for Additional Credit on the 2020 Return Tax Records The IRS is mailing all recipients of Economic Impact Payments a Notice 1444 that provides information about the amount of their payment, how the payment was made, and how to report any payment that wasn’t received. If you’ve […]

President Trump Signs an Executive Order and Three Memoranda to Provide or Extend COVID-19 Relief to Individuals and Businesses

On Saturday, August 8, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order and three Memoranda to provide or extend COVID-19 relief to individuals and businesses.  Although the Executive Orders are not currently operational, at Tarlow, we feel that it is important for us to communicate this update. Payroll Tax Deferral The Executive Order directs the Secretary […]

Important Reminder from Tarlow: The Deadline to Apply for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan is Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. The PPP resumed accepting applications on July 6, 2020, in response to President Trump signing the program’s extension legislation. As an important reminder from Tarlow, the deadline to apply for a Paycheck […]

Tips to Keep Your Business Afloat During COVID-19

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of American businesses, but perhaps none have been as severely affected as small business owners. Surviving this disaster will require more than just time: you will need to take a pragmatic view of what has happened and what steps you are willing and able to take […]

3 Ways to Receive Payments in QuickBooks Online

If you crafted 2020 business goals in 2019, you’ve probably had to revise them due to COVID-19. Despite the disruption of the last six months, we hope that you have managed to stay healthy and keep your small business running. It’s more important than ever to conscientiously record all of the money coming into your […]

A Novel Way to Make COVID-19 Relief Donations

Article Highlights: Donating unused vacation time, sick leave and personal time Employer’s Function Great Donation Opportunity On March 13, 2020, the President issued an emergency disaster declaration under the Stafford Act as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The disaster area covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. As a […]

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED: Important Tax Filing Information for July 15, 2020

The Supreme Court has taken up a case that will determine the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will retroactively deem this Act unconstitutional, the decision to strike down the ACA would likely also invalidate two taxes on high-income individuals, including the net investment income […]

Here’s What Could Happen If You Try to Short-Change the IRS

Article Highlights: Self-employed taxpayers Underreported income Unscrupulous tax preparers Phony deductions or credits Inflating the Earned Income Tax Credit Taking fake education credits Petty cheating Some refer to it as “creative accounting” or just “a little fudging here and there.” However, if your tax return is missing some income that should have been reported or […]

U.S. House of Representatives Passes the PPP Extension and The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act is Introduced

On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application period by five additional weeks until August 8, 2020.  The U.S. Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, less than four hours before the PPP application window was scheduled […]

The U.S. Senate Approved a Vote to Extend the Paycheck Protection Program Application Period

On Tuesday, June 30, 2020, the U.S. Senate approved a vote to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application period by five additional weeks until August 8, 2020.  The vote was passed by unanimous consent less than four hours before the PPP application window was scheduled to close with more than $130 billion in unspent […]

Unique IRA Opportunities for 2020

Article Highlights: 2020 Tax Saving Opportunities Traditional IRA to Roth IRA Conversions Paying the Conversions Tax Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) 2020 RMD Waiver Coordinating Distributions with 2020 Income As bad as it has been financially for many individuals, 2020 does provide some unique tax opportunities for those who have traditional IRA accounts. These range from […]

Post-Pandemic Trends Shifting the Economy for Small Businesses Everywhere

While it’s true that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for small and large businesses alike, there are also some opportunities resulting from this “new normal.” Behaviors have changed during the Coronavirus outbreak, and some of these could end up being favorable for small businesses. There are a few core trends, in particular, […]

The IRS Is Issuing Some Stimulus Payments by Debit Card; Some Are Being Mistaken as Junk Mail and Thrown Out

Article Highlights: Junk Mail Stimulus Payment Debit Card If you are like most Americans, you probably receive tons of junk mail, which you tend to discard without reading. However, if you haven’t already received your stimulus payment from the federal government, it’s important to look through those envelopes carefully. The government has begun sending out […]

The July 15th Deadline Is Fast Approaching, and It Isn’t Just for the 2019 Individual Tax Return

Article Highlights: Extensions  Contributions to IRAs  Estimated Tax Payments for the First Two Quarters of 2020  Individual Refund Claims for the 2016 Tax Year  Foreign Account Reporting Requirements  Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the IRS provided taxpayers with an automatic three-month extension to July 15 to file their 2019 tax returns and pay the 2019 […]

Business Loan Program Temporary Changes: The SBA and Treasury Provide New Guidance on Interim Final Rules to Clarify the Loan Forgiveness Application Timeline and Owner Compensation

On Monday, June 22, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury released new guidance about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Revisions to Loan Forgiveness Interim Final Rule and SBA Loan Review Procedures Interim Final Rule. This new guidance outlines two significant changes affecting PPP loan borrowers: Application Timeline: When can […]

The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department Announce Streamlined Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Applications

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Treasury Department unveiled a streamlined loan forgiveness application for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The new five-page “borrower-friendly” application, which can be found here, provides more flexibility to small businesses to receive forgiveness on their SBA-backed loans. The original eleven-page application was released in […]

Senate Passes the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act to Provide Direct Relief to Small Businesses, Proceeds to President Trump to Sign into Law

On the evening of Wednesday, June 3, 2020, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to fix the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by providing direct relief to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., requested a unanimous consent vote and the vote was nearly unanimous at 417-1. The bill, which […]

Tarlow Update: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act Passed the House

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act passed the House on Thursday, May 28, 2020. The PPP Flexibility Act extends the time businesses need to spend funds and alters the rule that they must contribute 75% of the funds on payroll for full forgiveness (that level would be reduced to 60%). The House bill proposes […]

Rebates Are Finally Flowing – Did You Get Yours; Was It Correct?

Article Highlights: Economic Impact Payments What Rebates Are Based Upon Non-Filers Get My Payment Auto-Deposit and Addresses Family Makeup & Income IRS Q&A The IRS has finally started making those much anticipated Economic Impact Payments, aka “Recovery Rebates.” However, not everyone who was expecting one has received theirs, and some may not be the amount […]

SBA Releases Final Rule on Loan Increases for Partnerships

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released Interim Final Rule 9 (“IFR 9“), which provides important guidance for partnerships on loan increases. As an update, partnerships that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and only included the partnership’s employees in the loan amount calculation are given the option of submitting […]

Tarlow Update: SBA Announces Additional Guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program Certification Requirement

We would like to provide an update released today, May 13, 2020, by the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding how the SBA will review borrowers’ required good-faith certification concerning the necessity of their loan request. According to the SBA, “When submitting a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) application, all borrowers must certify in good faith that […]

What’s in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act?

President Trump has signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPP & HCE Act), a $484 billion package that was passed by both the Senate and the House the week of April 20, 2020. PPP & The CARES Act Following the passage of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act stimulus package at the end of […]

Employers Can Defer Payroll Taxes

Article Highlights: Applicable Payroll Taxes Deferral Period Payback Times Self-Employed Individuals SBA Loan Forgiveness One of the benefits included in the COVID-19 epidemic stimulus package is the ability for an employer to defer payment of the employer’s share of certain federal payroll taxes. The deferral applies to the employer’s 6.2% share of the Social Security […]

Unemployed by COVID-19? Special Benefits May Apply to You

Article Highlights: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Benefit Extensions Self-employed Coverage Taxability Withholding – Estimated Payments The CARES Act includes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provisions that extend and supplement state-provided unemployment insurance. These provisions are intended to lessen the financial burdens on individuals who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 emergency by allowing states to […]

Tax Credit Pays for Keeping Employees on Payroll

Article Highlights: Refundable Employer Retention Credit Employer Qualifications Categories Conflict with Paycheck Protection Loans Credit Amount Qualifying Wages Payroll Reimbursement Advance Credit Payment Planning Considerations To help businesses retain employees and keep them employed during the COVID-19 crisis, Congress has provided a refundable employer retention credit available to all qualifying employers regardless of size, including […]

When Will I Get My Stimulus Check?

Article Highlights: Direct Deposit Stimulus Payments Reasons You May Not Be Receiving a Stimulus Payment Stimulus Payment Phase-Out Payment Schedule by Check Non-Filers The IRS has already sent out 80 million stimulus payments to taxpayers that included their direct deposit information on their most recently filed 2019 or 2018 return. So, if you had filed […]

SBA Extends the Loan Repayment Date: PPP Loan Recipients Now Have Until May 14, 2020, to Return Funds

On May 5, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued additional guidance regarding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans by publishing FAQ 43, which extends the repayment date under the safe harbor provision to May 14, 2020.  Previously, borrowers were required to return funds by May 7, 2020, and they do not need to apply […]

Webinar on Tuesday, May 5, at 3 PM (ET): Unpacking the New Main Street Lending Program Loans and Expanded Eligibility Requirements

Tarlow Invites You: COVID-19 Webinar Unpacking the New Main Street Lending Program Loans and Expanded Eligibility Requirements On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at 3:00 PM (ET), our CPA channel affiliate partner, Aprio, will host a complimentary webinar to unpack the new Main Street Lending Program loans and expanded eligibility requirements. The Federal Reserve announced new guidance […]

Tarlow COVID-19 Update: IRS Released Guidance Related to Forgivable Loans Through the Paycheck Protection Program

Late on Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance stating that expenses related to forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will not be tax-deductible. The notice clarifies that no deduction is allowed under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) for an expense that is otherwise deductible if the payment of the […]

Tarlow COVID-19 Update: President Trump Signs $484 Billion Coronavirus Relief Bill to Deliver Aid to Small Business and Hospitals and Expand Testing

Today, Friday, April 24, 2020, President Trump signed a $484 billion coronavirus relief package into law to provide aid to small businesses and hospitals and expand COVID-19 testing. The relief package allocates $370 billion to small businesses to help keep employees on payroll, $75 billion to aid hospitals struggling to cover costs during the crisis, […]

COVID-19 Update: Congress Reaches Deal on Coronavirus Relief Bill and President Trump is Expected to Sign

On April 21, 2020, Lawmakers and the White House reached a bipartisan agreement on a nearly half-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill. This deal is a new round of coronavirus aid, which would deliver $484 billion to small businesses and hospitals, and for testing. The legislation includes money for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 […]

Tarlow Update: Save Small Business Fund Created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Help Small Businesses Struggling During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce established the Save Small Business Fund, a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories. The Fund provides short-term relief grants of $5,000 to companies employing 3-20 people. The application to apply for these grants will be available online beginning at 3:00 pm […]

Webinar on Friday, April 17, 2020, at 1 PM (ET): Unpacking the Main Street Lending Program for Mid-Sized Businesses

Who Benefits from the Fed’s $600 Billion Direct-Lending Program? On April 9, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of a new lending program to help mid-sized businesses access capital due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed will make up to $600 billion in loans available through the Main Street Lending Program […]

The Federal Reserve Will Backstop the SBA’s Emergency Loan Program

The Federal Reserve will backstop the Small Business Administration’s emergency loan program, as lenders continue to work through logistical challenges in disbursing money to Main Street amid the coronavirus shutdown. The Fed released a two-sentence statement on Monday committing the central bank to provide financing to lenders processing the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program signed […]

Important Tarlow Tax Update: President Trump Extends Tax Filing Deadline

In a tweet on Friday, March 20, 2020, President Trump has directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to extend the tax filing deadline to July 15, giving taxpayers more time to file their taxes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. “At @realDonaldTrump’s direction, we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15,” said […]

Tarlow Tax Update for March 18, 2020

The Treasury Department and the IRS have decided on an extension for the time to make payments of federal income taxes; however, the April 15 filing deadline remains in effect. Taxpayers can request a six-month filing extension to Oct. 15, 2020. Individuals and corporate taxpayers have 90 days to remit tax payments due with their […]

NYC and U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance Update

Tarlow is in contact with NYC Small Business Services and other regulators to remain updated and understand how state and local responses to COVID-19, such as shutdowns or restrictions, may affect small businesses. We wanted to ensure you knew that there is potential help from both New York City and the federal government. NYC has the following […]

Tarlow:  Here for You and Doing Our Part to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

At Tarlow, we are closely monitoring the CDC’s developments regarding the spread and impact of COVID-19. Our Firm is working within the CDC’s recommended guidelines, and the guidelines of health departments in the regions in which we operate. Although our offices are currently closed, we are open for business and are here to help.  All Tarlow Partners and […]

Mortgage Insurance Premium Deduction Retroactively Extended

Article Highlights Appropriations Act of 2020 Amended Return for 2018 Qualifications for the Deduction Qualified Mortgage Insurance On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, which included several tax law changes, including retroactively extending specific tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about to expire, some retirement and […]

IRS Letters: Tax Scam or Something You Need to Address?

Your taxes contain an array of sensitive information, from financial data to your Social Security number or tax ID number. Because of this, scammers often attempt to impersonate the IRS or another tax authority to obtain your information. It can be challenging to tell when the IRS is really seeking information versus when you may […]

New Twist for Kiddie Tax with a Refund Opportunity

Article Highlights: Appropriations Act of 2020  Children’s Tax-Filing Requirements  Two Methods for 2018 and 2019  Amendment Possibility for a Dependent Child  Standard Deduction  Wages  Self-employment Income  Investment Income  Parents’ Election  Who Is Responsible for Filing?  Retirement Savings Opportunity  Signing the Return  On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, […]

No Employees This Quarter? You Still May Need to File IRS Form 941

As an employer, you have plenty of obligations when it comes to filing taxes. Among these is the need to file IRS Form 941, the Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, on the last day of each month following the end of a quarter. Sticking to these deadlines — April 30, July 31, October 31 and […]

Did You Pay Tax on Home Mortgage Debt Relief in 2018? You May Be Entitled to a Refund

Article Highlights: Appropriations Act of 2020  Cancellation-of-Debt (COD) Income  Retroactively Extended Special Exclusion  Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)  Amended Return  On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, which included several tax law changes, including retroactively extending specific tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about to expire, […]

Improve Your Financial Health with a Healthy Savings Fund

To stay afloat during tough times, financial experts recommend that you keep three to six months’ expenses in a savings account. But, if you are in the majority, you likely only have less than $1,000 in your savings account at any given time. Thankfully, 2020 is here to provide you with a chance to start anew and get your […]

Budget Tips for Covering A Surprise Tax Bill

Tax time is always a bit unnerving, but when you’re hit with a large, unexpected tax bill, it can be shattering. Few people have the resources to pull out their checkbook and write a check for thousands of dollars, yet it can feel like that’s your only choice. The truth is that even people who […]

The Difference Between an Audit, a Review, and a Compilation

When it comes time for financial documents to be corroborated, the three options available are a compilation, a review, and an audit. Each of these represents a very different degree of effort and investigation, and therefore each provides differing levels of confidence for investors and lenders. Let’s take a closer look at all three. The […]

Don’t Be Duped by Clever Scammers

Article Highlights: Scammers disguise emails to look legitimate. Legitimate businesses and the IRS never request sensitive personal and financial information by email. Don’t become a victim. Stop – Think – Delete Be alert for phony letters and phone calls It is necessary to protect yourself against identity theft and tax scams. Having your identity stolen […]

Employer’s Pension Startup Credit Substantially Increased

Article Highlights: Eligible Plans Eligible Expenses Qualification Rules Credit Amount On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, which included a number of tax law changes, including retroactively extending certain tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about to expire, a number of retirement and IRA plan modifications, […]

Understanding Tax Lingo

Article Highlights Filing status Adjusted gross income (AGI) Taxable income Marginal tax rate Alternative minimum tax (AMT) Tax Credits Underpayment of the estimated tax penalty When discussing taxes, reading tax-related articles, or interpreting instructions, it’s helpful to understand the lingo and acronyms used by tax professionals. It can be difficult to understand tax strategies if […]

Divorced, Separated, Married or Widowed This Year? You May Face Complications at Tax Time

Article Highlights: Separated Taxpayers Divorced Taxpayers Recently Married Taxpayers Widowed Taxpayers Filing Status Joint and Several Liability Who Claims the Children Alimony Community Property States Affordable Care Act Taxpayers are frequently blindsided when their filing status changes because of a life event such as marriage, divorce, separation or the death of a spouse. These occasions […]

Will Independent Contractors Become Extinct?

Article Highlights: New California Legislation Employee or Independent Contractor Dynamex ABC Test Impact on Employers Impact on Workers Safe Harbor The California legislature recently passed landmark labor legislation that essentially makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to legally classify an employee as an independent contractor (self-employed). Governor Newsom was quick to sign it into […]

Congress Allowing Higher Medical Deductions for 2019 and 2020

Article Highlight: Appropriations Act of 2020 Medical AGI Limitations Sometimes Overlooked Deductions Deductible Health Insurance Above-the-Line Health Insurance Deduction for Self-Employed On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, which included several tax law changes. The changes include extending specific tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about […]

Do I Have to File a Tax Return?

Article Highlights: When You Are Required to File Self-Employed Taxpayers Filing Thresholds Benefits of Filing Even When Not Required to File Refundable Tax Credits Around this time of year, taxpayers often find themselves wondering whether or not they have to file a tax return. Determining this can be quite complicated. To fully understand, we need […]

Repairing Your Business’s Bad Credit Score

The creditworthiness of your business is measured by its credit score. This number is issued by Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, Equifax, and FICO SBSS, and is an essential reflection of your company’s payment reliability and timeliness. Why is Your Business Credit Score Important? Your company’s overall financial health is of key importance to any lenders, […]

Understanding Your Annual Social Security Letter

Article Highlights: Medicare B Premiums Medicare D Premiums Modified AGI 2020 Premiums Table Effect of Recreational Gambling Appealing the Social Security Administration’s Decision If you are receiving Social Security, then you have just recently received your annual letter from the Social Security Administration letting you know that your Social Security benefits for 2020 have increased […]

The 1099-MISC Filing Date Is Just Around the Corner – Are You Ready?

Article Highlights:  Independent Contractors Non-employee Compensation 1099 Filing Requirement Due Dates Penalties Form W-9 and 1099 Worksheet If your business engages the services of an independent contractor, and you pay them $600 or more for the calendar year, then you are required to issue that person a Form 1099-MISC to avoid penalties and the prospect […]

Congress Passes Last-Minute Tax Changes

Article Highlights:  Discharge of Qualified Principal Residence Indebtedness Mortgage Insurance Premiums Above-the-Line Deduction for Qualified Tuition and Related Expenses Medical AGI Limits Residential Energy (Efficient) Property Credit Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave Maximum Age Limit for Traditional IRA Contributions Penalty-Free Pension Withdrawals in Case of Childbirth or Adoption Increase in Age for […]

How to Clean Up QuickBooks for 2020

The new year is here, and you may still have a lengthy to-do list full of tasks from 2019. There’s one task, or rather, a series of tasks that you should definitely add to that list: QuickBooks cleanup for 2020. Following the guidelines provided here will do three things. It will:  Ensure that you’ve processed […]

Did You Just Get an IRS Notice of Deficiency? Here’s What to Do Next

Nobody likes getting mail from the IRS, especially when it’s something you weren’t expecting.  One minute, you’re minding your own business and aren’t even thinking about that return you filed months ago. The next minute you open your mailbox and see something called a “Notice of Deficiency” — and your anxiety immediately goes through the […]

The IRS Is Hot on the Trail of Unreported Virtual Currency

Back in 2018, Coinbase, a company handling virtual currency (also referred to as cryptocurrency) transactions, released the data of 14,000 of its users to the IRS after the information was subpoenaed, and virtual currency traders held their breath about what the IRS would do with the information related to those 14,000 users.  Although it took […]

Tax Benefits for People with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities as well as parents of disabled children are eligible for a number of income tax benefits. This article explains some of these tax breaks.  ABLE Accounts – A federal law allows states to offer specially designed, tax-favored ABLE accounts to people with disabilities. Qualified ABLE programs provide the means for individuals and […]

Cofounder Conflict Could Be One of the Biggest Threats to Your New Business

If you asked brand-new entrepreneurs to make a list of everything they think might one day pose a threat to their startup, you’d probably hear a variety of answers with similar themes.  Some might be (rightfully) worried about ultimately developing a product in search of a marketplace. Others may be worried about how they’re going […]

Year-End Tips for Charitable Contributions

As the end of the year and the holiday season approaches, we will all see an uptick in the number of charitable solicitations arriving in our mailboxes and by email. Since some charities sell their contributor lists to other charities, frequent contributors may find themselves besieged by requests from all sorts of charities with which […]

Holiday Gifting with a Tax Twist

Some holiday gifts you provide to members of your family, employees, and others may also yield tax benefits. Here are some examples:  Employee Gifts – It is common practice this time of year for employers to give employees gifts. Although gifts are generally excluded from the recipient’s gross income, an employee cannot exclude gifts from […]

Tax Changes For 2019

As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to review the various changes that impact 2019 tax returns. Some of the changes are likely to apply to your tax situation. In addition, be aware that various tax-related bills currently in Congress may or may not pass this year. If any of […]

How to Create Projects in QuickBooks Online

You already know how to determine whether your business is making or losing money overall: you run a Profit and Loss report. But what if you want to break this data down further? How can you tell whether the specific jobs you do for customers, with all their related income and costs, are profitable? This kind of […]

Deducting the Costs of Modifications for Senior-Proofing a Home

Article Highlights Improvements for Medical Care or Treatment Improvements That Increase the Home’s Value Improvements That Do Not Increase the Home’s Value Medical AGI Limitations While Americans may argue about any number of hot-button political topics, there’s no disagreement on one issue: the country’s population is aging fast. According to the Social Security Administration, 10,000 […]

Employer-Offered Benefits That Can Save You Money and Taxes

Article Highlights: Health Insurance Retirement Plans Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) Group Term Life Insurance Qualified Employee Discounts Employer-Provided Education Assistance Adoption Expenses Child and Dependent Care Benefits Health Savings Accounts Tax law includes several tax- and financially favored benefits that employers can offer or provide to their employees. This article is […]

3 Common Personal Income Tax Problems and How to Respond

Common tax problems can go far beyond the numbers that you report, and they can require additional evidence that your bank statements and paychecks can’t provide. Additionally, the IRS isn’t the only source of those problems. State tax authorities are hungry for revenue, and if you divide your time among different states, you may find […]

Are Solar-Powered Batteries the Answer to Power Outages?

Article Highlights: Wildfires Planned Power Outages Solar Batteries Solar Tax Credit Over the past few years, several wildfires have been blamed on power lines downed during periods of low humidity and gusty winds, which typically occur in the fall. The 2018 Camp Fire, sparked by downed power lines, was the deadliest in California history, claiming […]

Crowdfunding Can Have Unexpected Consequences

Article Highlights: Crowdfunding Sites Gifts Charitable Gifts Business Ventures SEC Registration Raising money through Internet crowdfunding sites prompts questions about the taxability of the money raised. Several sites host money-raising projects for fees ranging from 5 to 9%, including GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. Each site specifies its own charges, limitations, and withdrawal processes. Whether the […]

Is It Better to Have a Tax Credit or a Deduction?

Article Highlights: Itemized Deductions Above-the-Line Deductions Business Deductions Asset-Sale Deductions Refundable Credits Nonrefundable Credits Carryover Credits Business Tax Credits People often say that an expense is a tax write-off and interpret this to mean that the expense will have a tax benefit. Generally, such a benefit takes the form of either a deduction or a […]

Child Daycare and Taxes

Article Highlights: Daycare Providers Simplified Food Deduction Special Rules for Business Use of the Provider’s Home Home Sale Consequences Other Expenses Other Daycare Provider Issues Daycare User Credit Employer Dependent Care Benefits Other Credit Criteria When discussing daycare for children so their parents can work, there are two primary areas of discussion: one from the […]

Don’t Overlook These Essential Small Business Tax Credits

At their core, tax credits are a very particular type of benefit designed to offset the actual tax liability associated with small businesses around the country. Tax credits are not the same thing as a tax deduction, which lowers that business’s actual income. Tax credits are typically offered to incentivize everything, from hiring more workers […]

Should You Have an Identity Protection PIN?

Article Highlights: Taxpayer First Act Taxpayer Notification when a SSN is Fraudulently Used Purpose of an IP PIN Obtaining an IP PIN Is an IP PIN Right for You? With the passage of the Taxpayer First Act in mid-2019, the Treasury Department (i.e., the IRS) is required to establish a program to issue an identity […]

Who Owes You? 5 QuickBooks Online Reports That Can Tell You Fast

How many of your invoices are unpaid? Have any of your customers gone over 30 days past due? Did you bill all of the time and expenses for that project you just completed for a customer? If you’re doing your accounting manually, there’s simply no way to get that information quickly. Depending on your bookkeeping […]

Life-Changing Events Can Impact Your Taxes

Article Highlights: Marriage Buying a Home Having or Adopting Children Getting Divorced Death of Spouse Throughout your life, there will be significant occasions that will impact not only your day-to-day living but also your taxes. Here are a few of those events: Getting Married – If you are getting married, it is essential to understand that […]

Tax Issues Related to Hobbies

Article Highlights: Hobby Losses Not-for-Profit Rules Determining Factors Trade or Business Presumption Hobby Tax Reporting Self-Employment Tax Generally, a hobby is an activity an individual enjoys for leisure, and without the goal of making money. A hobby is a way to describe an activity that is not known to create any income. Tax law generally […]

In a Divorce, Who Claims the Children: You Or Your Ex-Spouse?

Article Highlights: Custodial Parent Dependency Release Joint Custody Tiebreaker Rules Child’s Exemption Head of Household Filing Status Tuition Credit Child Care Credit Child Tax Credit Earned Income Tax Credit If you are a divorced or separated parent with children, a commonly encountered, but often misunderstood issue is, who claims the child or children for tax […]

The Extended Tax Filing Due Date is Today, October 15, 2019

Article Highlights: October 15 is the extended due date for filing federal individual tax returns for 2018. Late-filing penalty Interest on tax due. Other October 15 deadlines. If you could not complete your 2018 tax return by the normal April filing due date and are now on extension, that extension expires today, October 15, 2019. […]

Disaster-Related Tax Losses May Be Less Than Expected

Article Highlights: Limitation to Losses within Disaster Areas Cost versus Market Value Home Tax Losses Home Tax Gains Replacement Properties Home Gain Exclusion The late-2017 tax-reform package changed the rules for personal casualty losses, which now are only deductible if they occur in a federally declared disaster area. As a result, if a home is […]

Earned Income Tax Credit: Used, Abused and Altered

Article Highlights: Purpose of the Earned Income Tax Credit Qualifications Earned Income Qualified Child Credit Phaseout Computing the Credit Investment Income Limit Combat Pay Election Fraud Safeguards Any discussion of the earned income tax credit (EITC) needs to begin with a discussion of why Congress created it in the first place. It has a twofold […]

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Unpaid Taxes?

If you have unpaid taxes that you haven’t yet been making payments toward, it might make you fearful that the IRS will come a-knocking one day to collect on what you owe. Tax debt can quickly snowball from interest, penalties, late fees, and the amount of the taxes due. However, a lot of the scaremongering […]

How Business Owners Can Improve Cash Flow By Thinking Profit First

Entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need to be ‘numbers people’ in order to succeed. You need drive, passion, the ability and will to follow things through, and the hustler’s spirit that enables you to constantly try new things or relentlessly chase big opportunities. Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or simply looking to grow your small business to […]

Five Tips You Should Know About the Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks Online

You probably didn’t expect you’d have to become an accounting expert when you started your small business. You knew you’d have to deal with recording income and expenses, maybe track your inventory and process a payroll. But you may not have understood just how complex financial bookkeeping could be. That’s why you decided to use […]

See the U.S. Tax System Illustrated in One Complex Map

Not sure whether you should hire a tax professional to file your taxes? Thinking that maybe this year you’ll do it yourself? You may want to think again after taking a look at a new graphic released by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). The organization, which is dedicated to helping taxpayers resolve tax problems, releases a […]

Earn Tax-Free Income from Working Abroad

Article Highlights: Tax-Free Income from Working Abroad Foreign Earned Income and Housing Exclusions Foreign Self-Employment Income Claiming or Revoking the Exclusion U.S. citizens and resident aliens are taxed on their worldwide income, whether they live inside or outside of the U.S. However, qualifying U.S. citizens and resident aliens who live and work abroad may be […]

Tax Ramifications Related to an Old Vehicle

Article Highlights: Trading in a Vehicle Selling a Vehicle Gifting a Vehicle Donating a Vehicle to Charity If you are planning on buying a new car, you may be wondering what to do with the old one. There are a number of options, some of which have tax implications and some of which don’t. These […]

Receiving Tips Can Be Taxing

Article Highlights: Collecting Tips Tip Splitting Service Charges Record Keeping Employer Reporting Allocated Tips Anyone who collects gratuities must include them in their taxable income. This requirement applies to restaurant servers, rideshare drivers, beauticians, concierges, porters, baristas, and delivery people. Gratuities, or ‘tips’ are amounts freely given by a customer to a person providing a […]

Watch Out for Fake IRS Letters

Article Highlights: Matching Season IRS Letters Fake Letters Demand for Immediate Payment Every year, the vast majority of taxpayers file their returns with the IRS between the end of January and the April due date. However, the IRS does not just take taxpayers’ word regarding the information on their returns. For this reason, tax season […]

Foreign Account Reporting Requirements (FBAR)

Article Summary: Foreign Account Reporting Requirement Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Penalties for Failure to File Type of Accounts Affected Form 8938 Filing Requirements U.S. citizens and residents with a financial interest, signature, or other authority over any foreign financial account need to report that relationship by filing FinCEN Form 114 if the aggregate value of […]

The IRS Has Cryptocurrency on Its Radar

Article Highlights: IRS Focus About Cryptocurrency Tax Treatment IRS Compliance Program Letters Being Sent If you own cryptocurrency, you should know that the IRS has owners of cryptocurrency in its sights because many cryptocurrency owners are not reporting or paying taxes on their cryptocurrency transactions. In fact, the IRS is so focused on this issue […]

The Checklist Every Small Business Owner Needs for New Hires

Growing your business to the point that you need to start hiring employees is exciting. However, it can be challenging to hire the right people and small businesses face additional challenges when it comes to compliance, cash flow, and keeping operations on track. Use this new hire checklist to make your onboarding process as smooth […]

Is It Time for a Payroll Tax Checkup?

Article Highlights: Tax Reform Underpayment Penalties W-4 Modifications for 2020 Withholding Estimator Penalty Abatement Was your 2018 federal tax refund less than normal, or did you owe taxes despite usually receiving a refund? If so, this was most likely due to the last-minute passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of […]

Get Those Kids a Job, and Take Advantage of Tax Breaks

Article Highlights Higher Standard Deduction IRA Options Self-Employed Parent Employing Your Child Tax Benefits Children who are dependents of their parents are subject to what is commonly referred to as the kiddie tax. This generally applies to children under the age of 19, or full-time students between the ages of 18 and 24. The kiddie […]

Need Advanced Time-Tracking? Connect QuickBooks Online to An App

You can track the hours employees work in QuickBooks Online. But if your time-tracking needs are complex enough, you’ll need an integrated app.  If your company has a staff and sells services, you know better than anyone that time is money. It’s critical that you track every minute that employees work, as well as those […]

Does Your Tax ID Number Need to be Renewed?

Article Highlights: Expiring ITINs IRS Currently Accepting Renewal Applications Family Renewal Options How to Renew Common Errors to Avoid According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), about two million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are set to expire at the end of 2019. ITINs are used by people who file taxes or have payment obligations […]

What Are My Chances of Being Audited and How Can I Reduce Them?

Audits are relatively rare, as fewer than 1% of taxpayers grouped by income level will get that dreaded notice on their IRS letterhead. Statistics show that for the average American who earned $50‒70K per year, only about half a percent of those tax returns were audited. If you made between $25‒50K or between $75‒100K, less […]

Facing a Huge Gain from a Real Estate Sale?

Article Highlights: Adjusted Basis Passive Loss Carryovers Installment Sale Tax-Deferred Exchange Tax on Net Investment Income Qualified Opportunity Fund Home Sale Exclusion If you are contemplating selling real estate property, there are a number of issues that could impact the taxes that you might owe. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the […]

All the Expert Tips You Need to Properly Manage Cash Flow for Your New Business

Handling the cash flow for your new business is exactly what it sounds like ‒ you’re trying to get the clearest level of visibility into “money coming in versus money going out.” However, managing cash flow is about a lot more than that, too. It’s about making sure that you not only have the funds […]

How to File Taxes After Getting Married

Article Summary: Filing Options Married Filing Jointly Unpleasant Consequences Pleasant Consequences Married Filing Separately Notifying SSA, IRS, employers Other Issues to Consider A taxpayer’s filing status for the year is based upon his or her marital status at the close of the tax year. Thus, if you get married on the last day of the […]

Small Business Owners May Qualify for a Home-Office Deduction

Article Highlights: Qualifications Actual Expense Method Simplified Method Home Office Expenses for Renters vs. Homeowners How Moving Affects the Home-Office Deduction Other Issues Gross Income Limitation “Home office” is a type of tax deduction that applies to the business use of a home; the space itself may not actually be an office. One of the […]

Looking Ahead to 2019 Taxes

Article Highlights: Solar Credit Plug-In Electric Vehicle Credit Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance Medical Deduction Restrictions New Alimony Rules Standard Deduction Increase Increased Retirement Contributions Federal Tax Brackets Increase You have your 2018 tax return filed, or perhaps on extension, and now it is time to look forward to the changes that will impact […]

How Does Combining a Vacation with a Foreign Business Trip Affect the Tax Deduction for Travel Expenses of a Self-Employed Individual?

Article Highlights: Primarily Business Primarily Vacation Special Circumstances Foreign Conventions, Seminars and Meetings Cruise Ships Spousal Travel Expenses Effective for years 2018 through 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended the deduction of miscellaneous itemized expenses that must be reduced by 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. Employee business expenses, including […]

States’ SALT Deduction Workarounds Shot Down

Article Highlights: Limit on Tax Allowed as an Itemized Deduction States’ Attempted Workarounds Supreme Court Ruling Final Regulations Notice 2019-12 The Treasury Department and the IRS have essentially shot down efforts by several states to help their residents circumvent the $10,000 cap on the itemized deduction for state and local taxes (SALT). When the Tax […]

How to Organize Spending Priorities for Your Newer Growth Startup

According to a recent study conducted by U.S. Bank, over 80% of all newly formed businesses that ultimately fail do so due to cash flow problems. If you needed a reason to believe that getting your spending in order and dedicating the time to drafting a proper budget for your new startup is important, look […]

School’s Out – Who Is Going to Take Care of the Kids?

Article Highlights: Child Age Limits Employment-Related Expense Married Taxpayer Earnings Limits Disabled or Full-Time-Student Spouse Expense Limits Summer has just arrived, and working parents should know about a tax break. Many working parents must arrange for care of their children under 13 years of age (or any age if disabled) during the school vacation period. […]

Would a Mid-Year Tax Checkup Benefit You?

Article Highlights: Procrastination Can Lead to Unnecessary Taxes & Penalties Events That Create Tax Problems & Opportunities Mid-Year Tax Checkup If you are inclined to procrastinate until the end of the year or, even worse, until tax-filing season to worry about your taxes, you may be missing out on opportunities to reduce your taxes and […]

The Life of an Estimate in QuickBooks Online

Estimates-or quotes, or bids-are useful tools when you’re pitching a sale of products or services. Here’s how QuickBooks Online handles them. Sales estimates are standard procedure in many professions. You wouldn’t authorize a car repair without one. Nor would you OK a remodeling job on your kitchen or a summer’s worth of yard landscaping without […]

Gift Tax Treatment of Tuition Plans

Article Highlights: Purpose of Qualified Tuition Plans Gift Tax Implications Special Five-Year Election Change of Beneficiary Eligible Expenses Direct Payment of Tuition Qualified tuition plans (QTPs) provide a means for family members and others to save for the future educational needs of children. Investment earnings within a QTP account are tax deferred and not taxable […]

Electric Vehicle Credit on the Decline

Article Highlights: Tax Credit Credit Phase-Out Tesla General Motors Determining the Credit Off-Road Vehicles and Golf Carts Allocation Between Business and Personal Use Credit Reduces Basis Business Standard Mileage In 2009, Congress created a tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles as a stimulus for car companies to manufacture “green” vehicles, and as an […]

What is an IRS Penalty Abatement and Am I Eligible for One?

There are different types of IRS penalties that can be assessed against you. The most common penalties include those for failing to file a tax return, filing your return late, or accuracy-related penalties if you didn’t correctly state items on your tax return. But were you aware that sometimes, the IRS can issue penalty abatements if you […]

Protecting Yourself from Scams, ID Theft and Cyber Criminals

Article Highlights: ID Theft What’s in Your Wallet or Purse Phony E-mail Pop-up Ads Only Access Secure Websites Avoid Phishing Scams Security Software Educate Children Passwords Phony Charities Impersonating the IRS Back Up Files If It Is Too Good to Be True As much as the Internet has changed our lives for the good, it […]

Eldercare Can Be a Medical Deduction

Article Highlights: Nursing Homes Meals and Lodging Home Care Nursing Services Caregiver Agencies Household Employees Because people are living longer now than ever before, many individuals are serving as care providers for loved ones (such as parents or spouses) who cannot live independently. Such individuals often have questions regarding the tax ramifications associated with the […]

What to Do If You Receive a Dreaded IRS Letter

Article Highlights: IRS Notices CP Series Notice Automated Notices Frequent Errors ID Theft What You Should Do What We Will Do Now that most tax refunds are deposited directly into taxpayers’ bank accounts, the dream of opening your mailbox and finding an IRS refund is all but gone. However, the IRS still sends letters that […]

Why Tax Basis Is So Important

Article Highlights: Definition of Tax Basis Cost Basis Adjusted Basis Gift Basis Inherited Basis Record Keeping For tax purposes, the term “basis” refers to the original monetary value that is used to measure a gain or loss. For instance, if you purchase shares of a stock for $1,000, your basis in that stock is $1,000; […]

Top Ten Startup Business Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Answer

Starting a small business can be one of the most exciting and rewarding events in someone’s life. But it can also be extremely stressful. If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, you might have more questions swirling around in your mind right now than you can count. Don’t despair. This is completely normal. After all, […]

Forget Something on Your 2018 Return?

Article Highlights: Tax Reform Problems Corrected 1099s and K-1s Overlooked Income and Deductions Marital Issues Mitigating Penalties The Need for Prompt Amendments If you forgot to include necessary information on your 2018 return, you are not alone. Additionally, you may have received a revised 1099 or K-1 since filing your return. The IRS has struggled […]

How QuickBooks Protects Your Data, and How You Can Help

The data in your QuickBooks company file contains some of the most sensitive information on your computer. Make sure it’s secure. Your customer list is gold. And those Social Security and bank card numbers in your payroll, client, and vendor records need to be protected from intruders and only viewed by authorized employees. It’s not […]

So, You’ve Made a Mistake on Your Tax Return. What Happens Now?

Tax return mistakes are a lot more common than you probably realize. Taxes are naturally complicated, and the paperwork required to file them properly is often convoluted. This is especially true if you’re filing your taxes yourself — and all of this is in reference to a normal year as far as the IRS is […]

Tax Benefits for Members of the Military

Article Highlights: Service Member Residence or Domicile Service Member Spouse’s Residence or Domicile Non-Taxable Allowances Combat Zone Exclusion Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Home Property Tax Deduction Home Sale Gain Exclusion Moving Deduction Death Gratuity Payments Child Credit Earned Income Tax Credit IRA Contributions Reservist’s Travel Expenses Qualified Reservist’s Pension Withdrawals Retired Military Disability Compensation Military […]

Tax Treatment of a Room Rental

Article Highlights: Vacation Home Rental Rules Order of Deductions Loss Limitations Expense Prorating With the shortage of affordable housing these days, many homeowners are renting out rooms in their homes, providing themselves with some additional cash. Questions that are often raised regarding room rentals include: Is the income taxable? If so, how is it reported? […]

Tax Reform Muted the AMT: Holders of Incentive Stock Options, Take Note

Article Highlights: Alternative Minimum Tax Deterrent to Tax Shelters Tax Reform Changes Tax Deductions and Preferences Incentive Stock Options Tax Planning Opportunity Although Congress, as part of the recent tax reform, promised to do away with the alternative minimum tax (AMT), it only did so for C corporations; as a result, the AMT still applies […]

Court of Appeals Rules for Clergy

Article Highlights: Internal Revenue Code Section 107 Court Ruling Employee Status Self-employed Status Parsonage Allowance Self-employment Tax Exemption from Self-employment Tax If you read our previous article related to a Wisconsin District Court ruling, you will recall that the judge in that case had ruled that Sec. 107(2) of the Internal Revenue Code was unconstitutional. Section 107 […]

Employees’ Fringe Benefits after Tax Reform

Article Highlights: Qualified Parking Transit Passes Bicycle Commuting Commuting Moving Deduction Achievement Awards Group Term Life Insurance Dependent Care Benefits Qualified Educational Assistance Programs Tax reform made a lot of changes, some of which impacted employees’ fringe benefits. This article reviews the most frequently encountered fringe benefits, including those that were and were not impacted […]

Gift and Estate Tax Primer

Article Highlights: Exemptions from Gift and Estate Taxes Annual Gift-Tax Exemption Gifts for Medical Expenses and Tuition Lifetime Exemption from Gift and Estate Taxes Spousal Exclusion Portability Qualified Tuition Programs Basis of Gifts The tax code places limits on the amounts that individuals can gift to others (as money or property) without paying taxes. This […]

Is Your Small Business as Profitable as It Can Be?

There is an excellent chance that even if you’re an expert in your particular industry, you’re probably not an expert in small business finances. This may not seem like that big of an issue on the surface; however, in order to make the best decisions possible for your company, you need work from complete and […]

Read This before Tossing Old Tax Records!

Article Highlights: Reasons to Keep Records Statute of Limitations Maintaining Record of Asset Basis If you are a neat-nick and your tax return for last year has been completed and filed, you are probably thinking about getting rid of the tax records related to that return. On the other hand, if you are afraid to […]

Receive Payments the Right Way in QuickBooks: Your Options

One of the reasons we like QuickBooks is because it uses language and processes that are familiar to small businesspeople. Instead of using the term “accounts receivable,” it has a menu label that says Customers and menu items that use phrases like Create Invoices and Receive Payments. You would have to go into the Chart […]

What Are the Differences Between an IRS Tax Lien and a Tax Levy?

If you’re reading this, the chances are high that you’re one of the many, many people who have received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service. Some level of correspondence with the IRS is natural ‒ particularly leading up to and in the immediate aftermath of tax season. But if you’ve received notification that the […]

Tax Tips for IRA Owners

Article Highlights: Early Withdrawals Excess Contributions Multiple Rollovers No Traditional IRA Contributions in the Year Reaching age 70½ Failing to Take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Late Contributions Switch the Type of IRA Backdoor Roth IRA Alimony as Compensation Spousal IRA Saver’s Credit IRA-to-Charity Direct Transfers There are both opportunities and pitfalls for IRA owners, […]

Defer Gains with Qualified Opportunity Funds

If you have a large capital gain from the sale of a stock, asset, or business and would like to defer that gain with the possibility of excluding some of it from taxation, you may want to check out the new investment vehicle created by tax reform, called a qualified opportunity fund (QOF). Congress, as […]

How to Pay Your Federal Taxes

If you aren’t one of those lucky Americans who gets a tax refund from the IRS, you might be wondering how you go about paying your balance due. Here are some electronic and manual payment options that you can use to pay your federal income tax: Electronic Funds Withdrawal – You can pay using funds […]

Checking the Status of Your Federal Tax Refund Is Easy

If your 2018 federal return has already been filed and you are due a refund, you can check the status of your refund online. “Where’s My Refund?” is an interactive tool on the IRS website at IRS.gov. Whether you have opted for direct deposit into one account, split your refund among several accounts, or asked […]

The Major Reasons a Virtual CFO Can Help Your Business Thrive

On a basic level, a virtual CFO (or vCFO for short) is exactly what it sounds like. This is someone who performs all of the services normally associated with a chief financial officer, only in a third-party capacity. Instead of going to the trouble (and expense) of hiring, training and bringing someone with these qualifications […]

Start Off on the Right Foot for the 2019 Tax Year

Individuals and small businesses should consider various ways of starting off on the right foot for the 2019 tax year. W-4 Updates – If you are employed, then your employer takes the information from your Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form W-4 and applies it to the IRS’s withholding tables to determine the amount of income […]

The Tax Filing Deadline Is Around the Corner

As a reminder to those who have not yet filed their 2018 tax returns, April 15 is the due date to either file a return (and pay the taxes owed) or file for an automatic six-month extension (and pay the an estimate of the taxes owed). Caution should be exercised when preparing the extension application, […]

Could Your Sales Invoices Be Better? How QuickBooks Online Can Help

Every interaction with your customers can enhance your image. Here’s how QuickBooks Online contributes to that. Getting paid by your customers—on time, and in full—can take some effort on your part. You set smart due dates and enforce them. Price your products and services so they’re both reasonable and profitable. Accept online payments. But are […]

A Government Shutdown Isn’t Going to Save You from an IRS Audit

Yes, it’s true that we’re just coming out of the longest government shutdown in the history of the United States. It will take many government agencies – including the Internal Revenue Service – a significant period of time to get back up to speed. But if you think that all this means that the chances […]

Tax Reform Has Substantially Altered the Tax Benefits of Home Ownership

As part of the recent tax reform, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the deduction for home mortgage interest and property taxes has undergone substantial alterations. These changes will impact most homeowners who itemize their deductions each year. Mortgage Interest – Prior to the tax reform, a taxpayer could deduct the interest he […]

Vacation Home Rentals: How the Income Is Taxed

If you have a second home in a resort area, or if you have been considering acquiring a second home or vacation home, you may have questions about how rental income is taxed for a part-time vacation-home rental. The applicable rental rules include some interesting twists that you should know about before you begin renting. […]

Disappointed in Your Tax Refund?

If your tax refund is less than you anticipated, you are not alone. In a report issued by the Treasury Department on February 14, the average refund it is paying in 2019 has dropped to $1,949 from $2,135 in the prior year. In addition, the number of returns filed so far has dropped from 13.5 […]

Increased Business-Vehicle Deductions Due to Tax Reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 and other tax reforms have brought about significant changes in the way that vehicle use is deducted for business purposes. Before getting into these changes, it is appropriate to first provide a review of the two methods for deducting the use of a business vehicle. It is […]

Relief from the Affordable Care Act Penalty for Not Being Insured

Thanks to the tax reform, beginning in 2019, the penalty for not having adequate health insurance, which the government refers to as the “individual shared responsibility payment,” will no longer apply. The elimination of this penalty as of 2019 does not impact the health care subsidy for low-income families, which is known as the premium […]

Filing a 1099-MISC May Now Apply to Landlords. Are You Collecting the Needed W-9s?

If you use independent contractors to perform services for your business or your rental that is a trade or business, for each individual whom you pay $600 or more for the year, you are required to issue the service provider and the IRS a Form 1099-MISC after the end of the year, to avoid losing […]

Your Small Business Survival Guide for If (and When) the Economy Slows Down

According to one recent study conducted by the Small Business Administration, there are approximately 28.8 million small businesses in the United States that are collectively responsible for about 99.7 percent of all economic activity in this country. In many ways, they represent the “canary in the coal mine” for a nation. When small businesses are […]

It’s Not Too Late to Make a 2018 Retirement Plan Contribution

Have you been ignoring your future retirement needs? This tends to happen when people are young; because retirement is far in the future, they believe that they have plenty of time to save for it. Some people even ignore the issue until late in life, which causes them to scramble to fund their retirement. Others […]

How Does QuickBooks Online Handle Mobile Expenses?

If you purchase several items and services away from the office, QuickBooks Online can help you record them while you’re out and about. QuickBooks Online’s mobile app, available at the Apple App Store and Google Play, can do many of the same tasks that it performs on your office desktop. You can, for example: Check […]

Several Ways to Defer the Tax on Gains

When a sale of a business or investment property results in a gain, the seller is typically taxed on that gain during the year of the sale, even when the gain was generated over many years. However, the tax code provides opportunities to spread this gain over several years, to postpone it by deferring the […]

Don’t Be a Victim of Cybercrooks

The season to prepare tax returns has begun. Unfortunately, it is also the season for scammers who are out to steal your identity, swindle you out of your money, and even file tax returns in your name. All of this can make you poorer, ruin your credit rating, cause financial havoc, and cost you hours […]

Unforced Errors – The 8 Most Common IRS Tax Penalties and How to Avoid Them in 2019

You know the old line about the inevitability of death and taxes? It’s still true. What isn’t inevitable, however, is the need to pay penalties to the IRS. It happens, but it doesn’t have to, and the main reason that it does is because taxpayers don’t educate themselves about the rules. When you get hit […]

Short-Term Rental, Special Treatment

With the advent of online sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway, many individuals have taken to renting out their first or second home through these online rental sites, which match property owners with prospective renters. If you are doing that or are planning to do so, there are some special tax rules you need […]

Big Tax Changes for Divorce Decrees after 2018

Welcome to 2019 and a delayed provision of the tax reform, also known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). For divorce agreements entered into after December 31, 2018, or pre-existing agreements that are modified after that date to expressly provide that alimony received is not included in the recipient’s income, alimony will no […]

Getting the W-4 Right Is Important

As they do at the beginning of every year, employers will request that employees complete the IRS Form W-4. Its purpose is to provide employers with the information they need to determine the amount of federal income taxes to withhold from an employee’s paycheck. So, it is very important that the form is completed correctly. […]

Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs an Employer Identification Number

Entrepreneurs often shrug off the idea of obtaining an employer identification number, or EIN, believing that their small business really doesn’t need one. Though there are some cases where a solo business can get away with merely utilizing the business owner’s Social Security Number, doing so is not necessarily the best idea, even if you […]

IRS Giving a Break to Some Taxpayers Who Under-prepaid Their 2018 Taxes

Taxpayers are required to pre-pay their taxes for any tax year through payroll withholding, estimated tax payments or a combination of the two. Employees and retirees generally accomplish this through withholding, and self-employed individuals and those with investment income by paying quarterly estimated payments. The late-2017 passage of tax reform that became effective for 2018 […]

Important — Rental Owners! Guidance Related to the 20% Pass-Through Deduction

Ever since tax reform was passed over a year ago, taxpayers have been uncertain whether rental property will be classified as a trade or business for purposes of qualifying for the new IRC Sec 199A 20% pass-through deduction (commonly referred to as the 199A deduction). Finally, on January 18, 2019, the IRS issued a notice […]

Tax Time Is Around the Corner! Are You Ready?

Tax time is just around the corner, and if you are like most taxpayers, you are finding yourself with the ominous chore of pulling together the records for your tax appointment. The difficulty of this task depends upon how well you have maintained your tax records throughout the year. No matter how good your record […]

Resolve to Dig Deeper into QuickBooks Online This Month with Three Tips You Need to Know

‘Tis the season for making resolutions and setting goals. Try exploring these three areas to dig deeper into QuickBooks Online. By now, many New Year’s resolutions have already been made. Though they’re usually created with the best of intentions, they’re often just too ambitious to be realistic. For example, you might decide to learn more […]

Are You an S Corporation Stockholder? Are You Taking Reasonable Compensation in the Form of Wages?

S corporation compensation requirements are often misunderstood and abused by owner-shareholders. An S corporation is a type of business structure in which the business does not pay income tax at the corporate level and instead distributes (passes through) the income, gains, losses, and deductions to the shareholders for inclusion on their income tax returns. If […]

If You Are a Recreational Gambler, Here Are Some Tax Issues You Need to Know

Gambling takes many forms: casino games, horse racing, sports book betting, lotto tickets, scratchers, bingo, etc. For virtually everyone, gambling is a recreational activity and, as such, is done for fun. For most gamblers, their losses for the year will exceed their winnings, and since losses in excess of winnings are not deductible, most gamblers […]

Will Gifts Now Using the Temporarily Increased Gift-Estate Exclusion Harm Estates after 2025?

Individuals with large estates generally want to gift portions of their estate to beneficiaries while they are still living, to avoid or lessen the estate tax when they pass away. That can be done through annual gifts (up to the inflation-adjusted annual limit for each gift recipient each year – $15,000 for 2019) and/or by […]

Do I Qualify for an IRS Offer in Compromise?

If you’re facing outstanding tax debt that you cannot pay, you may want to consider looking into an Offer in Compromise from the IRS. Specifically, an Offer in Compromise is an option offered from the IRS to qualifying individuals that allows them to settle tax debt for less than what they actually owe. Unfortunately, there […]

Six Common Small Business Accounting Problems That Are Killing Your Growth

If you’re a small business owner, you want your organization to do far more than survive: you want it to thrive! Unfortunately, to make sure that customers are happy and the lights stay on there are a lot of details that need attention, and some end up being overlooked. The intricacies of accounting are neither […]

When To Claim a Disaster Loss

Tax reform eliminated the deduction for casualty losses but did retain a deduction for losses within a disaster area. With the wild fires in the west, hurricanes and flooding in the southeast and eastern seaboard, we have had a number of presidentially declared disaster areas this year. If you were an unlucky victim and suffered […]

The 1099-MISC Filing Date Is Just Around the Corner – Are You Ready?

If you engage the services of an individual (independent contractor) in your business, other than one who meets the definition of an employee, and you pay him or her $600 or more for the calendar year, then you are required to issue that person a Form 1099-MISC to avoid penalties and the prospect of losing […]

2019 Standard Mileage Rates Announced

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) computes standard mileage rates for business, medical and moving each year, based on a number of factors, to determine the standard mileage rates for the following year. As it does annually around the end of the year, the IRS has announced the 2019 optional standard mileage rates. Thus, beginning on […]

Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online, Part 2

We covered a lot of ground last month, but there are still some things to know about working with transactions you import from your banks. Last month, we went over the basics of managing financial transactions once you’ve downloaded them into QuickBooks Online. We walked you through the mechanics of connecting to banks and credit […]

Don’t Overlook Tax Credits

Tax credits are a tax benefit that offsets your actual tax liability, as opposed to a tax deduction, which reduces your income. Congress provides tax credits to individual taxpayers for a number of reasons, including as a form of assistance for lower-income taxpayers, to stimulate employment, and to stimulate certain investments, among other things. Tax […]

Twelve Common Tax Problems to Avoid

If you’re one of those who gets worked up over filing your tax return, there are specific steps you can take to help ease the struggle and avoid the most common tax issues that are reported each year. Here are the top 12 tax issues, broken down into categories for business owners and individual taxpayers, […]

Big Changes to College Savings Plans

Tax reform added some new taxpayer-advantageous changes to college savings plans. These plans are also known as qualified tuition programs (QTPs) or Sec. 529 plans, named after the part of the Internal Revenue Code that established them. Background: Sec. 529 plans allow taxpayers to put away larger amounts of money than other tax-advantaged education savings […]

Wonder What a Tax Deduction Is Worth?

Individuals are always looking for tax deductions that can reduce their tax liability. But what is the actual tax benefit derived from a tax deduction? There is no straightforward answer because some deductions are above the line, others must be itemized, some must exceed a threshold amount before being deductible, and certain ones are not […]

Expecting Your Taxable Income to Be Low This Year? Take Advantage of It

If your taxable income is exceptionally low this year, or even if you expect not to be required to file a tax return this year, a number of tax opportunities may be available to you. But time is running short, since these opportunities will require action on your part before year’s end. However, before we […]

Ten Ways to Improve Profits in the Coming Year

In the U.S., the economy is thriving and expected to grow over the next few months. Businesses are expanding. The Federal Reserve has inched up interest rates, creating investment opportunities, and lenders are offering small business loans. All of this points to a promising outlook for the coming months. As a small business owner, this […]

Legitimate Tax-Deductible Charity or Scam?

With the holiday season approaching, and with the great need for aid in the wake of the recent hurricanes and wildfires, you no doubt are being solicited for donations. However, do not be fooled by the scammers who come out from hiding whenever there is a disaster and during the holiday season. The last thing […]

Year-end Tax Planning Is Not Business as Usual: Things You Need to Know

This has been a tumultuous year for taxes, with the tax reform that passed in late 2017 generally becoming effective in 2018, often with significant changes for both individuals and businesses. This is the first major tax reform legislation in more than 30 years. To implement it, the IRS will have to create or revise […]

Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online was built to work with transactions downloaded from your online financial institutions. Here’s how to work with them. The ability to import transactions from financial institutions into QuickBooks Online is definitely one of the best things about the site. You may have even signed up for that very reason. By now, you’ve probably […]

Most Common Types of IRS Tax Problems

Receiving a notification from the Internal Revenue Service that there’s some kind of problem is one of the most disturbing situations an American taxpayer can experience. Just receiving an envelope with a return address from the IRS can strike fear. There are many different reasons that the IRS might reach out, but some are more […]

Making Two IRA Rollovers in One Year Can Be Costly

Tax law allows you to take a distribution from your IRA account, and as long as you return the distribution to your IRA within 60 days, there are no tax ramifications. However, many taxpayers overlook that you are only allowed to take a distribution once in a 12-month period, and violating this rule can have […]

Hardship Exemption Rules

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) included a “shared responsibility payment,” which in reality is a penalty for not having health insurance. Along with this penalty came a whole slew of exemptions from the penalty, including some that were designated as “hardship” exemptions. However, the hardship relief from the penalty required pre-approval from the government health […]

Tax Reform Enables Deferral of Taxable Gains Into Investments in Opportunity Zones

Those who have a large capital gain from the sale of a stock, asset, or business and who would like to defer that gain with the possibility of excluding some of it from taxation should investigate a new investment called a qualified opportunity fund (QOF), which was created as part of the recent tax reform. […]

Mitigating the Effects of Employee Burnout: What You Need to Know

Make absolutely no mistake about it: Not only is employee burnout very real, it’s probably costing your business a lot more money than you realize. It’s also not a problem that you’re necessarily going to be able to buy your way out of, either. According to one recent study, a massive 70 percent of the […]

Three Common Family Tax Mistakes

When it comes to transactions between family members, the tax laws are frequently overlooked, if not outright trampled upon. The following are three commonly encountered situations and the tax ramifications associated with each. Renting to a Relative – When a taxpayer rents a home to a relative for long-term use as a principal residence, the […]

Rejoice — Business Meals Are Still Deductible

f you are a business owner who is accustomed to treating clients to sporting events, golf getaways, concerts and the like, you were no doubt saddened by part of the tax reform that passed last December. A part of the tax reform did away with the business-related deductions for entertainment, amusement or recreation expenses, beginning […]

Will You Get a Refund or Owe for 2018?

As a result of tax reform, most taxpayers will be paying less tax for 2018 than they did in 2017. But that may not translate into a larger refund. Your refund is the amount that your pre-payments (withheld income tax, estimated tax payments, and certain credits) exceed your tax liability, and if the pre-payment also […]

How to Enter Bills in QuickBooks

It’s not as much fun as creating invoices, but the bills must be paid. Here’s how QuickBooks helps. We’re in a bit of a transitional period with business bill-paying. Some paper bills still come via the U.S. Mail, however you may also be getting some through email. Others don’t come at all: You might get […]

Understanding Tax-Deferred Investing

When you are attempting to save money for your children’s future education or your retirement, you may do so in a number of ways, Strategies include investing in the stock market, buying real estate for income and appreciation, or simply saving money in education savings accounts or retirement plans. Knowing how these various savings vehicles […]

Reasonable Compensation and S Corporations

Unlike a C corporation, which itself pays the tax on its taxable income, an S corporation does not directly pay taxes on its income; instead, its income, losses, deductions, and credits are distributed across its shareholders’ individual tax returns on a pro rata basis. These distributions are not subject to self-employment (Social Security and Medicare) […]

Surrogacy Fees and Taxes

Articles about the taxability and deductibility of surrogacy fees are rare because there are far fewer surrogacies than conventional births. Surrogacy is a legal arrangement in which a surrogate mother, new parents and (often) a surrogacy agency enter into a binding contract. In the event of a breach of that contract, any party can be […]

Five Reasons to Amend a Previously Filed Tax Return

The most recent data from the IRS on individual tax returns indicates that of 131 million returns filed, about 5 million were expected to be amended. This comes to less than 4 percent, but that projection still affects a significant number of taxpayers. Filing an amended tax return can be a hassle that you definitely […]

The Key Steps to Take BEFORE You Start a New Business

Very few people think that starting a new business is easy. But at the same time, there are few first-time entrepreneurs who realize just how involved things are from the moment you start trying to bring that idea that previously only existed in your head into the real world. There’s a massive amount of commitment […]

Disabled Taxpayer Tax Benefits

Taxpayers with disabilities may qualify for a number of tax credits and other tax benefits. Parents of children with disabilities may also qualify. Listed below are several tax credits and other benefits that are available if you or someone else listed on your federal tax return is disabled. Increased Standard Deduction – Tax reform substantially […]

Do You Own a Specified Service Trade or Business? If So, Your 20% Pass-Through Tax Deduction May Be Limited

As part of its recent tax reform, Congress included a new 20% deduction of pass-through income for trades or businesses other than C-corporations. This pass-through income is referred to as qualified business income (QBI); for trades or businesses, it generally includes bottom-line profits, and for S-corporations and partnerships, it includes K-1 flow-through income. This new […]

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

This year’s wildfires, record rains, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes and potential for earthquakes should all act as reminders that you should be prepared for a disaster. Sure, it will take some effort on your part and you may never be affected by a disaster, but if you are, you will sure wish you had been prepared. […]

Not Using QuickBooks Online? What You’re Missing Out On

If you dread every minute of the time you spend on accounting, you should know how QuickBooks Online can change your outlook. How long would it take you to determine: What your total expenses for this quarter are? Whether or not your business is profitable as of today? How much you’ve sold every month this […]

States Sue U.S. to Void $10,000 Cap on State and Local Tax Deduction

Four states – New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey – have sued the federal government to void the tax-reform cap on the federal itemized deduction for state and local taxes, contending that limiting the deduction is unconstitutional. The taxes at issue include state and local income taxes, real property (real estate) taxes and personal […]

What Are The Penalties For Not Filing Your Tax Return?

Everybody knows the old saying about death and taxes, yet a surprising number of people fail to file an income tax return. If you’re one of those people and you think you’ll be able to slide by, you need to reconsider your position. Even if you’re unable to pay your taxes, you need to file […]

Kiddie Tax No Longer Based on Parents’ Tax Rate

Some years back, it was not uncommon for parents to put their investments in their dependent children’s names to take advantage of their children’s lower tax rates. Although the Uniform Gift to Minors Act legally made a child the owner of money put into his or her name, this didn’t stop parents from routinely putting […]

IRA Missteps to Avoid

If you have an IRA account or are considering one, there are a number of potential missteps you will want to avoid. Some of them can lead to unwanted taxes and penalties, and of course, we are talking about your retirement funding, so it is an important issue. Here are a number of issues to […]

Do You Need to Renew Your ITIN?

The IRS has announced that more than 2 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are set to expire at the end of 2018. An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to individuals who are required for U.S. federal tax purposes to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have […]

After Tax Reform, Which Is Right for You: S Corp or C Corp?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has left many of today’s businesses with big questions. Incorporation remains a hot topic, but this law is shaking things up. It’s quick to assume your company should be one or the other, but without careful consideration of the facts, your organization may end up facing financial loss, hefty […]

Tax Reform Eases the Alternative Minimum Tax – But It’s Still There

Although Congress has been promising to repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT), they failed to do that when they passed tax reform in 2017. Instead, they lessened the effects of the AMT by increasing AMT exemptions (an amount of income exempt from AMT taxation) and raising the income thresholds for when the exemptions are phased […]

Tax Reform 2.0 Is in the Works

The dust has not yet settled from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), passed into law in December 2017, and the House Ways and Means Committee is already considering another round of tax changes. The committee chair, Kevin Brady, Republican from Texas, wants to include input from stakeholders such as business groups, think tanks […]

How QuickBooks Online Can Improve Your Company’s Financial Health

QuickBooks Online is more than just an online bookkeeper. It can help improve your cash flow, your customer relationships, your inventory readiness, and your future. If you’re already using QuickBooks Online, you know how much impact its bookkeeping abilities have had on your company’s accounting operations. You’re saving time, which in-turn saves money, and you’re […]

Offer in Compromise FAQs

We’re all responsible for paying our fair share of taxes each year. But what happens when the amount that you owe is simply out of reach? What happens if you failed to make payments in a timely manner and your financial circumstances have shifted to the point where your cumulative debt is beyond your ability […]

10 Mistakes Most Small Business Owners Miss When Starting Out

The process of starting a small business can be an arduous one; there are numerous steps that need to be taken — and often in a precise order — to legally establish a business. As a result, the process can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to overlook some important details and steps along the […]

Clergy Tax Benefits Under Fire

Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that a minister of the gospel’s gross income doesn’t include the rental value of a home (parsonage) provided; if the home itself isn’t provided, a rental allowance paid as part of compensation for ministerial services is excludable. The benefit is generally referred to as a parsonage allowance. […]

Big Changes for Vehicle Tax Deductions

In the past, the business use of a vehicle was determined either by using the standard mileage rate for business or using actual expenses plus vehicle depreciation limited by the luxury auto caps. That continues to be the case, except the luxury auto depreciation limit has been substantially increased. In addition, there are other changes […]

How Some High-Income Taxpayers Can Maximize the New 20% Pass-through Business Deduction

Taxpayers with higher 1040 taxable incomes who are self-employed but are not “specified service businesses” may find it beneficial to structure new businesses, or restructure an existing business, as an S corporation to avoid taxable income limitations that apply to the new 20% Sec. 199A pass-through deduction. To make up for the tax reform’s reduction […]

Has Tax Reform Taken Away Your Home Mortgage Interest Deduction?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, more commonly referred to as tax reform, substantially altered the itemized deduction for home mortgage interest. It affects just about everyone who has been deducting their home mortgage interest as an itemized deduction on their tax returns. Background: To fully understand the impact of the law changes, […]

A Mid-Year Tax Checkup May Be Appropriate

Taxes are similar to vehicles, in that they sometimes need a check-up to make sure they are performing as expected. That is especially true for 2018, with all of the changes brought about by tax reform. One area of major concern is the amount of taxes individuals are withholding from their wages. Tax reform was […]

5 QuickBooks Online Reports You Should Run Regularly

There are numerous QuickBooks Online reports that you should consult at regular intervals; however, you need to review the following five reports at least once a week: QuickBooks Online’s Dashboard, the first screen you see when you log in, provides an effective overview of your company’s finances. It contains at-a-glance information about your recent expenses, […]

How Long Should You Hold On To Old Tax Records?

This is a common question: How long must taxpayers keep copies of their tax returns and supporting documents? Generally, taxpayers should hold on to their tax records for at least 3 years after the due date of the return to which those records apply. However, if the original return was filed later than the due […]

Taxpayers Find Gift Tax Reporting Confusing

Gift taxes were created to prevent wealthy taxpayers from transferring their estates to their beneficiaries via gifts and thus avoid estate taxes when they pass away. But that does not mean only wealthy taxpayers need to be concerned with the gift tax provisions as, under many circumstances, even lower-income taxpayers may find they are liable […]

Why Am I Being Audited by the IRS?

With the 2017 filing season currently behind us, notices have started to appear in mailboxes. While the IRS letterhead strikes fear into the hearts of most Americans, a vast majority of those notices are nothing to fear, since most of them are computer-generated and referring to outstanding tax bills you haven’t paid yet or errors […]

The Most Common Accounting Mistakes Small Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

Most small business owners are an expert in their field, but not necessarily in the accounting aspects of building a business. And, with this comes a few common mistakes. Yet, even simple small business accounting mistakes can prove to be financially limiting and costly down the road. With the help of an accounting professional, it […]

Is an Inheritance Taxable?

A frequent question is whether inheritances are taxable. This is a frequently misunderstood question related to taxation and can be complicated. When someone passes away, all of their assets will be subject to inheritance taxation, and whatever is left over after paying the inheritance tax passes to the decedent’s beneficiaries. Sound bleak? Don’t worry, very […]

Credit for Family and Medical Leave Benefits

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed last year included a new tax credit for employers that allows them to claim a credit based on wages paid to qualifying employees while they are on family and medical leave. To qualify for the credit, an employer must have a written policy that provides at […]

Procrastinating on Filing Your Taxes?

If you have been procrastinating about filing your 2017 tax return or have not filed other prior year returns, you should consider the consequences, including the penalties, interest, and aggressive enforcement actions. Plus, if you have a refund coming for a prior year, you may end up forfeiting it. If you haven’t filed your return […]

Don’t Have a Budget? QuickBooks Online Can Help

The hardest part of creating a budget is getting started. QuickBooks Online provides tools that can jump-start the process. You know you should have a budget. You’re aware that it can help you stay on track with your company’s income and expenses throughout the year. Maybe you’ve even tried to make one before, but you […]

Solar Tax Credit – The Dark Side

There are TV ads, telemarketing phone calls and sales people at your front door all promoting the benefits of solar power, and one of the key considerations and a frequently mentioned benefit is the 30% federal tax credit. What isn’t included in the ads — and something most potential buyers are unaware of — is […]

Should I Use a Credit Card to Pay My Taxes?

With tax filing season out of the way, paying off those tax bills that weren’t paid by April 18th is the next major concern for people. While there are a few options for payment agreements if you can’t afford to write a check for the full amount immediately, there’s also the option of paying your […]

Is a Roth Conversion Right for You? Be Careful, They Can No Longer Be Undone!

Roth IRA accounts provide the benefits of tax-free accumulation and, once you reach retirement age, tax-free distributions. This is the reason why so many taxpayers are converting their traditional IRA account to a Roth IRA. However, to do so, you must generally pay tax on the converted amount. After making a conversion, your circumstances may […]

Summer Employment For Your Child

Summer is just around the corner, and your children may be looking for summer employment. With the passage of the most recent tax reform, the standard deduction for single individuals jumped from $6,350 in 2017 to $12,000 in 2018, meaning your child can now make up to $12,000 from working without paying any income tax […]

Choosing Your Accounting Method Under New Tax Laws

Businesses today must take a closer look at their accounting methods. Since the passage of new tax laws, with changes to thresholds for choosing accounting methods, all companies need to take an inward look at their current accounting methods to determine if they are the most beneficial permissible method applicable. It is important to work […]

Big Changes to the Kiddie Tax

Years ago, to prevent parents from transferring their investment accounts into their children’s name to avoid taxes, Congress created what is referred to as the kiddie tax. This counteracted the strategy of taking income from the parents’ higher tax bracket and shifting it to their children’s lower tax bracket. The kiddie tax plugged that tax […]

Good and Bad News About The Home Office Tax Deduction

“Home office” is a type of tax deduction that applies to the business use of a home; the space itself may not actually be an office. This category also includes using part of a home for storing inventory (e.g., for a wholesale or retail business for which the home is the only fixed location); as […]

Preparing for Taxes for 2018 and Beyond

Tax reform has changed the way most taxpayers need to think about and plan for their taxes. It is no longer business as usual, and those who think it is are in for a rude awakening come tax time next year. For most taxpayers, the most significant change is the increase in their standard deduction, […]

QuickBooks Tip: Customizing QuickBooks’ Forms

The invoices and other forms you send to customers and vendors should reflect your company’s attention to detail, accuracy, and consistency. Every opportunity you have to interact with your customers and vendors is critical. Whether it’s a phone call, an in-person connection, or an email, how you present yourself reveals a lot about you. Are […]