Our Blog

Why you should boost your 401(k) contribution rate between now and year end

September 19, 2017

One important step to both reducing taxes and saving for retirement is to contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, contributing to that is likely your best first step.

If you’re not already contributing the maximum allowed, consider increasing your contribution rate between now and year end. Because of tax-deferred compounding...

Read More...

2017 Q4 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

September 12, 2017

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the fourth quarter of 2017. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

October...

Read More...

5 ways to dance through digital disruption

September 7, 2017

You’ve probably heard the term and wondered whether it could happen to your company. Maybe it already has. We’re referring to “digital disruption” — when new technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services.

Perhaps the most notorious recent example of this is the rise of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and...

Read More...

Watch out for potential tax pitfalls of donating real estate to charity

September 5, 2017

Charitable giving allows you to help an organization you care about and, in most cases, enjoy a valuable income tax deduction. If you’re considering a large gift, a noncash donation such as appreciated real estate can provide additional benefits. For example, if you’ve held the property for more than one year, you generally will be able to deduct its full fair market value and...

Read More...

Find the right path forward with KPIs

August 30, 2017

From the baseball field to the boardroom, statistical analysis has changed various industries nationwide. With proper preparation and guidance, business owners can have at their fingertips a wealth of stats-based insight into how their companies are performing — far beyond the bottom line on an income statement.

The metrics in question are commonly referred to as key performance...

Read More...

The ABCs of the tax deduction for educator expenses

August 29, 2017

At back-to-school time, much of the focus is on the students returning to the classroom — and on their parents buying them school supplies, backpacks, clothes, etc., for the new school year. But let’s not forget about the teachers. It’s common for teachers to pay for some classroom supplies out of pocket, and the tax code provides a special break that makes it a little...

Read More...

Ensuring a peaceful succession with a buy-sell agreement

August 24, 2017

A buy-sell agreement is a critical component of succession planning for many businesses. It sets the terms and conditions under which an owner’s business interest can be sold to another owner (or owners) should an unexpected tragedy or turn of events occurs. It also establishes the method for determining the price of the interest.

This may sound cut and dried. And a properly...

Read More...

Yes, you can undo a Roth IRA conversion

August 22, 2017

Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can provide tax-free growth and the ability to withdraw funds tax-free in retirement. But what if you convert a traditional IRA — subject to income taxes on all earnings and deductible contributions — and then discover that you would have been better off if you hadn’t converted it? Fortunately, it’s possible to undo a Roth IRA...

Read More...

Back-to-school marketing ideas for savvy business owners

August 17, 2017

August is back-to-school time across the country. Whether the school buses are already rumbling down your block, or will be soon, the start of the school year brings marketing opportunities for savvy business owners. Here are some examples of ways companies can promote themselves.

A virtual “brag book”

A creative agency posts on social media a...

Read More...

Put your audit in reverse to save sales and use tax

August 15, 2017

It’s a safe bet that state tax authorities will let you know if you haven’t paid enough sales and use taxes, but what are the odds that you’ll be notified if you’ve paid too much? The chances are slim — so slim that many businesses use reverse audits to find overpayments so they can seek refunds.

Take all of your exemptions

In...

Read More...

Rev up retirement offerings with an NQDC plan

August 10, 2017

Many business owners and executives would like to save more money for retirement than they’re allowed to sock away in their 401(k) plan. For 2017, the annual elective deferral contribution limit for a 401(k) is just $18,000, or $24,000 if you’re 50 years of age or older.

This represents a significantly lower percentage of the typical owner-employee’s or...

Read More...

Will Congress revive expired tax breaks?

August 8, 2017

Most of the talk about possible tax legislation this year has focused on either wide-sweeping tax reform or taxes that are part of the Affordable Care Act. But there are a few other potential tax developments for individuals to keep an eye on.

Back in December of 2015, Congress passed the PATH Act, which made a multitude of tax breaks permanent. However, there were a few valuable...

Read More...

4 tough questions to ask before expanding to a new location

August 3, 2017

Is business going so well that you’re thinking about adding another location? If this is the case, congratulations! But before you start planning the ribbon-cutting ceremony, take a step back and ask yourself some tough questions about whether a new location will grow your company — or stretch it too thin. Here are four to get you started:

1. What’s driving...

Read More...

A refresher on the ACA’s tax penalty on individuals without health insurance

August 1, 2017

Now that Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replacement efforts appear to have collapsed, at least for the time being, it’s a good time for a refresher on the tax penalty the ACA imposes on individuals who fail to have “minimum essential” health insurance coverage for any month of the year. This requirement is commonly called the “individual...

Read More...

Listening to your customers by tracking lost sales

July 26, 2017

“Sorry, we don’t carry that item.” Or perhaps, “No, that’s not part of our service package.” How many times a year do your salespeople utter these words or ones like them? The specific number is critical because, if you don’t know it, you could be losing out on profit potential.

Although you have to focus on your strengths and not get too far...

Read More...

3 midyear tax planning strategies for individuals

July 25, 2017

In the quest to reduce your tax bill, year end planning can only go so far. Tax-saving strategies take time to implement, so review your options now. Here are three strategies that can be more effective if you begin executing them midyear:

1. Consider your bracket

The top income tax rate is 39.6% for taxpayers with taxable income over $418,400 (singles),...

Read More...

Does your business have too much cash?

July 20, 2017

From the time a business opens its doors, the owner is told “cash is king.” It may seem to follow that having a very large amount of cash could never be a bad thing. But, the truth is, a company that’s hoarding excessive cash may be doing itself more harm than good.

Liquidity overload

What’s the harm in stockpiling cash? Granted, an...

Read More...

3 midyear tax planning strategies for business

July 18, 2017

Tax reform has been a major topic of discussion in Washington, but it’s still unclear exactly what such legislation will include and whether it will be signed into law this year. However, the last major tax legislation that was signed into law — back in December of 2015 — still has a significant impact on tax planning for businesses. Let’s look at three midyear tax...

Read More...

Make sure your company is prepared for any disaster

July 13, 2017

What could stop your company from operating for a day, a month or a year? A flood or fire? Perhaps a key supplier shuts down temporarily or permanently. Or maybe a hacker or technical problem crashes your website or you suddenly lose power. Whatever the potential cause might be, every business needs a disaster recovery plan.

Distinctive threats

Get started by...

Read More...

Own a vacation home? Adjusting rental vs. personal use might save taxes

July 12, 2017

Now that we’ve hit midsummer, if you own a vacation home that you both rent out and use personally, it’s a good time to review the potential tax consequences:

If you rent it out for less than 15 days: You don’t have to report the income. But expenses associated with the rental (such as advertising and cleaning) won’t be...

Read More...

Summer is a good time to start your 2017 tax planning and organize your tax records

July 6, 2017

You may be tempted to forget all about taxes during summertime, when “the livin’ is easy,” as the Gershwin song goes. But if you start your tax planning now, you may avoid an unpleasant tax surprise when you file next year. Summer is also a good time to set up a storage system for your tax records. Here are some tips:

Take action when life changes...

Read More...

Fine-tuning your company’s compensation strategy

July 5, 2017

As a business evolves, so must its compensation strategy. Hopefully, your company is growing — perhaps adding employees or promoting staff members who are key to your success. But other things can spur the need to fine-tune your compensation strategy as well, such as economic changes or the rise of an intense competitor. A goal for many businesses is to provide equitable...

Read More...

Why business owners should regularly upgrade their accounting software

June 29, 2017

Many business owners buy accounting software and, even if the installation goes well, eventually grow frustrated when they don’t get the return on investment they’d expected. There’s a simple reason for this: Stuff changes.

Technological improvements are occurring at a breakneck speed. So yesterday’s cutting-edge system can quickly become today’s...

Read More...

Claiming a federal tax deduction for moving costs

June 27, 2017

Summer is a popular time to move, whether it’s so the kids don’t have to change schools mid-school-year, to avoid having to move in bad weather or simply because it can be an easier time to sell a home. Unfortunately, moving can be expensive. The good news is that you might be eligible for a federal tax deduction for your moving costs.

Pass the...

Read More...

Seasonal business? Optimize your operating cycle

June 22, 2017

Every business has some degree of ups and downs during the year. But cash flow fluctuations are much more intense for seasonal businesses. So, if your company defines itself as such, it’s important to optimize your operating cycle to anticipate and minimize shortfalls.

A high-growth example

To illustrate: Consider a manufacturer and distributor of...

Read More...

2017 Q3 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

June 20, 2017

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the second quarter of 2017. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

July...

Read More...

You don’t have to take business insurance costs sitting down

June 15, 2017

Adequate insurance coverage is, in many cases, a legal requirement for a business. Even if it’s not for your company, proper coverage remains a risk management imperative. But that doesn’t mean you have to take high insurance costs sitting down.

There are a wide variety of ways you can decrease insurance costs. Just two examples are staying on top of facilities maintenance...

Read More...

Pay attention to the details when selling investments

June 13, 2017

The tax consequences of the sale of an investment, as well as your net return, can be affected by a variety of factors. You’re probably focused on factors such as how much you paid for the investment vs. how much you’re selling it for, whether you held the investment long-term (more than one year) and the tax rate that will apply.

But there are additional details you...

Read More...

Business owners: Put your successor in a position to succeed

June 8, 2017

When it comes time to transition your role as business owner to someone else, you’ll face many changes. One of them is becoming a mentor. As such, you’ll have to communicate clearly, show some patience and have a clear conception of what you want to accomplish before stepping down. Here are some tips on putting your successor in a position to succeed.

Key...

Read More...

Coverdell ESAs: The tax-advantaged way to fund elementary and secondary school costs

June 6, 2017

With school letting out you might be focused on summer plans for your children (or grandchildren). But the end of the school year is also a good time to think about Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) — especially if the children are in grade school or younger.

One major advantage of ESAs over another popular education saving tool, the Section 529 plan, is that tax-free...

Read More...

4 digital marketing tips for every business

June 1, 2017

You’d be hard pressed to find a company not looking to generate more leads, boost sales and improve its profit margins. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the sales and marketing opportunities offered by today’s digital technologies to do so. Here are four digital marketing tips for every business:

1. Add quality content to your website. Few things...

Read More...

Donating a vehicle might not provide the tax deduction you expect

May 30, 2017

All charitable donations aren’t created equal — some provide larger deductions than others. And it isn’t necessarily just how much or even what you donate that matters. How the charity uses your donation might also affect your deduction.

Take vehicle donations, for example. If you donate your vehicle, the value of your deduction can vary greatly depending on what the...

Read More...

Could stronger governance benefit your business?

May 25, 2017

Every company has at least one owner. And, in many cases, there exists leadership down through the organizational chart. But not every business has strong governance.

In a nutshell, governance is the set of rules, practices and processes by which a company is directed and controlled. Strengthening it can help ensure productivity, reduce legal risks and, when the time comes, ease...

Read More...

Business owners: When it comes to IRS audits, be prepared

May 23, 2017

If you recently filed your 2016 income tax return (rather than filing for an extension) you may now be wondering whether it’s likely that your business could be audited by the IRS based on your filing. Here’s what every business owner should know about the process.

Catching the IRS’s eye

Many business audits occur randomly, but a variety of...

Read More...

It may be time for your company to create a strategic IT plan

May 18, 2017

Many companies take an ad hoc approach to technology. If you’re among them, it’s understandable; you probably had to automate some tasks before others, your tech needs have likely evolved over time, and technology itself is always changing.

Unfortunately, all of your different hardware and software may not communicate so well. What’s worse, lack of integration can...

Read More...

Real estate investor vs. professional: Why it matters

May 16, 2017

Income and losses from investment real estate or rental property are passive by definition — unless you’re a real estate professional. Why does this matter? Passive income may be subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), and passive losses generally are deductible only against passive income, with the excess being carried forward.

Of course the NIIT is part of...

Read More...

Looking for concentration risks in your supply chain

May 11, 2017

Concentration risks are a threat to your supply chain. These occur when a company relies on a customer or supplier for 10% or more of its revenue or materials, or on several customers or suppliers located in the same geographic region. If a key customer or supplier experiences turmoil, the repercussions travel up or down the supply chain and can quickly and negatively impact your...

Read More...

Operating across state lines presents tax risks — or possibly rewards

May 9, 2017

It’s a smaller business world after all. With the ease and popularity of e-commerce, as well as the incredible efficiency of many supply chains, companies of all sorts are finding it easier than ever to widen their markets. Doing so has become so much more feasible that many businesses quickly find themselves crossing state lines.

But therein lies a risk: Operating in another...

Read More...

3 hot spots to look for your successor

May 4, 2017

Picking someone to lead your company after you step down is probably among the hardest aspects of retiring (or otherwise moving on). Sure, there are some business owners who have a ready-made successor waiting in the wings at a moment’s notice. But many have a few viable candidates to consider — others have too few.

When looking for a successor, for best results, keep an...

Read More...

Turning next year’s tax refund into cash in your pocket now

May 2, 2017

Each year, millions of taxpayers claim an income tax refund. To be sure, receiving a payment from the IRS for a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash. But it means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan for close to a year, which isn’t the best use of your money.

Fortunately, there is a way to begin collecting your 2017 refund now: You...

Read More...

Enhance benefits’ perceived value with strong communication

April 27, 2017

Providing a strong package of benefits is a competitive imperative in today’s business world. Like many employers, you’ve probably worked hard to put together a solid menu of offerings to your staff. Unfortunately, many employees don’t perceive the full value of the benefits they receive.

Why is this important? An underwhelming perception of value could cause good...

Read More...

Do you know the tax implications of your C corp.’s buy-sell agreement?

April 25, 2017

Private companies with more than one owner should have a buy-sell agreement to spell out how ownership shares will change hands should an owner depart. For businesses structured as C corporations, the agreements also have significant tax implications that are important to understand.

Buy-sell basics

A buy-sell agreement sets up parameters for the transfer of...

Read More...

How can you take customer service to the next level?

April 20, 2017

Just about every business intends to provide world-class customer service. And though many claim their customer service is exceptional, very few can back up that assertion. After all, once a company has established a baseline level of success in interacting with customers, it’s not easy to get to that next level of truly great service. But, fear not, there are ways to elevate your game...

Read More...

Individual tax calendar: Key deadlines for the remainder of 2017

April 18, 2017

While April 15 (April 18 this year) is the main tax deadline on most individual taxpayers’ minds, there are others through the rest of the year that are important to be aware of. To help you make sure you don’t miss any important 2017 deadlines, here’s a look at when some key tax-related forms, payments and other actions are due. Keep in mind that this list isn’t...

Read More...

Look at your employees with cybersecurity in mind

April 13, 2017

Today’s businesses operate in an era of hyper-connectedness and, unfortunately, a burgeoning global cybercrime industry. You can’t afford to hope you’ll luck out and avoid a cyberattack. It’s essential to establish policies and procedures to minimize risk. One specific area on which to focus is your employees.

Know the threats

There are...

Read More...

A timely postmark on your tax return may not be enough to avoid late-filing penalties

April 11, 2017

Because of a weekend and a Washington, D.C., holiday, the 2016 tax return filing deadline for individual taxpayers is Tuesday, April 18. The IRS considers a paper return that’s due April 18 to be timely filed if it’s postmarked by midnight. But dropping your return in a mailbox on the 18th may not be sufficient.

An example

Let’s say you mail...

Read More...

Matchmaker, matchmaker: Choosing the right lender

April 6, 2017

It’s easy to think of lenders as doing your company a favor. But business financing relationships are just that: relationships. Yes, a lender has the working capital you need to grow. But a stable, successful business represents an enormously beneficial opportunity for the lender as well. So you should be just as picky with your lender as it is with your...

Read More...

Saving tax with home-related deductions and exclusions

April 4, 2017

Currently, home ownership comes with many tax-saving opportunities. Consider both deductions and exclusions when you’re filing your 2016 return and tax planning for 2017:

Property tax deduction. Property tax is generally fully deductible — unless you’re subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT).

Mortgage interest...

Read More...

Consider key person insurance as a succession plan safeguard

March 30, 2017

In business, and in life, among the most important ways to manage risk is through insurance. For certain types of companies — particularly start-ups and small businesses — one major threat is the sudden loss of an owner or hard-to-replace employee. To safeguard against this risk, insurers offer key person insurance.

Under a key person policy, a business buys life insurance...

Read More...

2017 Q2 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

March 28, 2017

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the second quarter of 2017. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

April...

Read More...

Offer plan loans? Be sure to set a reasonable interest rate

March 22, 2017

Like many businesses, yours may allow retirement plan participants to take out loans from their accounts. Such loans are governed by many IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) rules and regulations. So if your company offers plan loans, your plan document must comply with current laws — including setting a “reasonable” interest rate.

Agency...

Read More...

Who can — and who should — take the American Opportunity credit?

March 21, 2017

If you have a child in college, you may be eligible to claim the American Opportunity credit on your 2016 income tax return. If, however, your income is too high, you won’t qualify for the credit — but your child might. There’s one potential downside: If your dependent child claims the credit, you must forgo your dependency exemption for him or her. And the child can’t...

Read More...

Getting your money’s worth out of a company retreat

March 16, 2017

Company retreats can cost enormous amounts of time and money. Are they worth it? Sometimes. Large-scale get-togethers can involve considerable out-of-pocket costs. And if the retreat is poorly planned or executed, participants’ wasted time is the biggest expense.

But a properly budgeted, planned and executed retreat can be hugely profitable, producing fresh ideas, renewed...

Read More...

2016 IRA contributions — it’s not too late!

March 14, 2017

Yes, there’s still time to make 2016 contributions to your IRA. The deadline for such contributions is April 18, 2017. If the contribution is deductible, it will lower your 2016 tax bill. But even if it isn’t, making a 2016 contribution is likely a good idea.

Benefits beyond a deduction

Tax-advantaged retirement plans like IRAs allow your money to...

Read More...

Listen and trust: The power of collaborative management

March 9, 2017

Many business owners are accustomed to running the whole show. But as your company grows, you’ll likely be better off sharing responsibility for major decisions. Whether you’ve recruited experienced managers or developed “home grown” talent, you can empower these employees by taking a more collaborative approach to management.

Not employees — team...

Read More...

When an elderly parent might qualify as your dependent

March 7, 2017

It’s not uncommon for adult children to help support their aging parents. If you’re in this position, you might qualify for the adult-dependent exemption. It allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to $4,050 for each adult dependent claimed on their 2016 tax return.

Basic qualifications

For you to qualify for the adult-dependent exemption, in most...

Read More...

Don’t make hunches — crunch the numbers

March 2, 2017

Some business owners make major decisions by relying on gut instinct. But investments made on a “hunch” often fall short of management’s expectations.

In the broadest sense, you’re really trying to answer a simple question: If my company buys a given asset, will the asset’s benefits be greater than its cost? The good news is that there are ways —...

Read More...

Tangible property safe harbors help maximize deductions

February 28, 2017

If last year your business made repairs to tangible property, such as buildings, machinery, equipment or vehicles, you may be eligible for a valuable deduction on your 2016 income tax return. But you must make sure they were truly “repairs,” and not actually “improvements.”

Why? Costs incurred to improve tangible property must be depreciated over a period of...

Read More...

What can a valuation expert do for your succession plan?

February 24, 2017

Most business owners spend a lifetime building their business. And when it comes to succession, they face the difficult decision of whether to sell, dissolve or transfer the business to family members (or a nonfamily successor).

Many complicated issues are involved, including how to divvy up business interests, allocate value and tackle complex tax issues. Thus, as you put together...

Read More...

Deduct all of the mileage you’re entitled to — but not more

February 21, 2017

Rather than keeping track of the actual cost of operating a vehicle, employees and self-employed taxpayers can use a standard mileage rate to compute their deduction related to using a vehicle for business. But you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes, including medical, moving and charitable purposes.

What are the deduction rates?

The...

Read More...

An EAP can keep your top players on the floor

February 16, 2017

A good basketball team is at its best when its top players are on the floor. Similarly, a company is the most productive, efficient and innovative when its best employees are in the right positions, doing great work.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for good employees to battle personal problems, such as substance dependence, financial and legal woes, or mental health issues....

Read More...

Do you need to file a 2016 gift tax return by April 18?

February 14, 2017

Last year you may have made significant gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs as part of your estate planning strategy. Or perhaps you just wanted to provide loved ones with some helpful financial support. Regardless of the reason for making a gift, it’s important to know under what circumstances you’re required to file a gift tax return.

Some transfers...

Read More...

Envision your advisory board before you form it

February 9, 2017

Many companies reach a point in their development where they could benefit from an advisory board. It’s all too easy in today’s complex business world to get caught up in an “echo chamber” of ideas and perspectives that only originate internally.

For many business owners, an understandable first question about the concept is: What should my advisory board look...

Read More...

What you need to know about the tax treatment of ISOs

February 7, 2017

Incentive stock options allow you to buy company stock in the future at a fixed price equal to or greater than the stock’s fair market value on the grant date. If the stock appreciates, you can buy shares at a price below what they’re then trading for. However, complex tax rules apply to this type of compensation.

Current tax treatment

ISOs must...

Read More...

PTO banks: A smart HR solution for many companies

February 2, 2017

“I’m taking a sick day!” This familiar refrain usually is uttered with just cause, but not always. What if there were no sick days? No, we’re not suggesting employees be forced to work when they’re under the weather. Rather, many businesses are adopting a different paradigm when it comes to paid time off (PTO).

Under the “PTO bank” concept,...

Read More...

The “manufacturers’ deduction” isn’t just for manufacturers

January 31, 2017

The Section 199 deduction is intended to encourage domestic manufacturing. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “manufacturers’ deduction.” But this potentially valuable tax break can be used by many other types of businesses besides manufacturing companies.

Sec. 199 deduction 101

The Sec. 199 deduction, also called the...

Read More...

Is your business committed to its cost-control regimen?

January 26, 2017

At the beginning of the year, many people decide they’re going to get in the best shape of their lives. Similarly, many business owners declare that they intend to cut costs and operate at peak efficiency going forward.

But, like keeping up an exercise routine, controlling costs takes an ongoing effort. You need to not only review expenses now, but also commit yourself to doing...

Read More...

The investment interest expense deduction: Less beneficial than you might think

January 24, 2017

Investment interest — interest on debt used to buy assets held for investment, such as margin debt used to buy securities — generally is deductible for both regular tax and alternative minimum tax purposes. But special rules apply that can make this itemized deduction less beneficial than you might think.

Limits on the deduction

First, you...

Read More...

Succession planning and estate planning must go hand in hand

January 19, 2017

As the saying goes, nothing lasts forever — and that goes for most companies. Then again, with the right succession plan in place, you can do your part to ensure your business continues down a path of success for at least another generation. From there, it will be your successor’s job to propel it further into perpetuity.

Some business owners make the mistake of largely...

Read More...

Deduction for state and local sales tax benefits some, but not all, taxpayers

January 17, 2017

The break allowing taxpayers to take an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes was made “permanent” a little over a year ago. This break can be valuable to those residing in states with no or low income taxes or who purchase major items, such as a car or boat.

Your 2016 tax return

How do you...

Read More...

Identify all of your company’s retirement plan fiduciaries

January 12, 2017

Your company probably offers its employees a retirement plan. If so, can you identify all of your plan fiduciaries? From a risk management perspective, it’s critical for business owners to know who has fiduciary status — and the associated liability. Here are some common, though in some cases overlooked, plan fiduciaries:

Named fiduciaries. The Employee...

Read More...

Help prevent tax identity theft by filing early

January 10, 2017

If you’re like many Americans, you might not start thinking about filing your tax return until close to this year’s April 18 deadline. You might even want to file for an extension so you don’t have to send your return to the IRS until October 16.

But there’s another date you should keep in mind: January 23. That’s the date the IRS will begin accepting...

Read More...

4 principles of competitive intelligence

January 5, 2017

We live and work in the information age. As such, the opportunity to gather knowledge about your company’s competitors and industry as a whole has never been better. This practice — commonly known as “competitive intelligence” — can help you stay more nimble in the marketplace and avoid getting left behind as innovation surges forward.

Before you dive...

Read More...

2017 Q1 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

January 4, 2017

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2017. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

January...

Read More...

Considering a spinoff? Think it through

December 29, 2016

In popular culture, the word “spinoff” usually refers to a television show whose main characters originated from an already established show. But the word applies to the business world, too. Here it describes a division or subsidiary of a company being sold off to a buyer as a separate entity.

The process is hardly simple. As a seller, you need to not only get a good price...

Read More...

Few changes to retirement plan contribution limits for 2017

December 28, 2016

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low, most of the limits remain unchanged for 2017. The only limit that has increased from the 2016 level is for contributions to defined contribution plans, which has gone up by $1,000.

Type of limit                          ...

Read More...

Build consensus before you buy business software

December 22, 2016

Business owners get to make executive decisions. It’s one of the perks of the job. But acting unilaterally when buying business software can be a risky move. Because new technology affects the entire team, the entire team (or at least key members) should have input on the choice. And while it may be impossible to please everyone, it’s possible to come...

Read More...

Want to save for education? Make 2016 ESA contributions by December 31

December 20, 2016

There are many ways to save for a child’s or grandchild’s education. But one has annual contribution limits, and if you don’t make a 2016 contribution by December 31, the opportunity will be lost forever. We’re talking about Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).

How ESAs work

With an ESA, you contribute money now that the...

Read More...

Your company’s balance sheet makes great reading this time of year

December 15, 2016

Year end is just about here. You know what that means, right? It’s a great time to settle in by a roaring fire and catch up on reading … your company’s financial statements. One chapter worth a careful perusal is the balance sheet. Therein may lie some important lessons.

3 ratios to consider

In a nutshell, a balance sheet summarizes a...

Read More...

Why making annual exclusion gifts before year end can still be a good idea

December 13, 2016

A tried-and-true estate planning strategy is to make tax-free gifts to loved ones during life, because it reduces potential estate tax at death. There are many ways to make tax-free gifts, but one of the simplest is to take advantage of the annual gift tax exclusion with direct gifts. Even in a potentially changing estate tax environment, making annual exclusion gifts before year end can...

Read More...

Keeping your family business in the family

December 8, 2016

A successful family business can provide long-term financial security for you as its owner, as well as for your loved ones. To improve the chances that your company will continue to benefit your heirs after you’re gone, take steps now to keep it in the family.

Staying in-house

Careful estate planning can ensure that a business continues to benefit family...

Read More...

Can you pay bonuses in 2017 but deduct them this year?

December 7, 2016

You may be aware of the rule that allows businesses to deduct bonuses employees have earned during a tax year if the bonuses are paid within 2½ months after the end of that year (by March 15 for a calendar-year company). But this favorable tax treatment isn’t always available.

For one thing, only accrual-basis taxpayers can take advantage of the 2½ month rule...

Read More...

Roth 401(k) conversions may suit your Millennial employees

December 6, 2016

Could your company’s benefits package use a bit of an upgrade? If so, one idea to consider is adding an option for employees to convert their regular 401(k)s to Roth 401(k)s.

Under a Roth 401(k), participants make after-tax contributions to a qualified plan and receive tax-free distributions, provided the funds are in the plan for at least five years from the date of the initial...

Read More...

There’s still time to benefit on your 2016 tax bill by buying business assets

December 6, 2016

In order to take advantage of two important depreciation tax breaks for business assets, you must place the assets in service by the end of the tax year. So you still have time to act for 2016.

Section 179 deduction

The Sec. 179 deduction is valuable because it allows businesses to deduct as depreciation up to 100% of the cost of qualifying assets in year 1...

Read More...

Ensure your year-end donations will be deductible on your 2016 return

December 1, 2016

Donations to qualified charities are generally fully deductible, and they may be the easiest deductible expense to time to your tax advantage. After all, you control exactly when and how much you give. To ensure your donations will be deductible on your 2016 return, you must make them by year end to qualified charities.

When’s the delivery date?

To be...

Read More...

There’s still time to benefit on your 2016 tax bill by buying business assets

November 30, 2016

In order to take advantage of two important depreciation tax breaks for business assets, you must place the assets in service by the end of the tax year. So you still have time to act for 2016.

Section 179 deduction

The Sec. 179 deduction is valuable because it allows businesses to deduct as depreciation up to 100% of the cost of qualifying assets in year 1...

Read More...

Setting sail into the global marketplace

November 29, 2016

For many of today’s companies, going global seems like a quick and trouble-free growth strategy. Technological advances and expansive supply chains make doing so easier than ever. But business owners who make this move impetuously may soon find themselves on stormy seas, taking on waves of debt and unanticipated expenses.

Chart your course...

Read More...

A brief overview of the President-elect’s tax plan for individuals

November 23, 2016

Now that Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States and Republicans have retained control of both chambers of Congress, an overhaul of the U.S. tax code next year is likely. President-elect Trump’s tax reform plan, released earlier this year, includes the following changes that would affect individuals:

  • Reducing the number of income tax brackets from...

Read More...

Accelerating your property tax deduction to reduce your 2016 tax bill

November 23, 2016

Accelerating your property tax deduction to reduce your 2016 tax bill
Smart timing of deductible expenses can reduce your tax liability, and poor timing can unnecessarily increase it. When you don’t expect to be subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT) in the current year, accelerating deductible expenses into the current year typically is a good idea. Why? Because it...

Read More...

Year-end tax strategies for accrual-basis taxpayers

November 22, 2016

The last month or so of the year offers accrual-basis taxpayers an opportunity to make some timely moves that might enable them to save money on their 2016 tax bill.

Record and recognize

The key to saving tax as an accrual-basis taxpayer is to properly record and recognize expenses that were incurred this year but won’t be paid until 2017. This will...

Read More...

Are your employees trained to guard against risk?

November 17, 2016

Many companies, especially smaller ones, minimize in-house training to cut costs. But the current business environment — with its hard-to-predict changes, external threats and regulatory demands — is causing some owners to rethink this strategy. A strong training program can not only help you attract and retain quality talent, but can also help you reduce operational...

Read More...

A quick look at the President-elect’s tax plan for businesses

November 15, 2016

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States could result in major tax law changes in 2017. Proposed changes spelled out in Trump’s tax reform plan released earlier this year that would affect businesses include:

  • Reducing the top corporate income tax rate from 35% to 15%,
  • Abolishing the corporate alternative minimum tax,
  • Allowing...

Read More...

Final DOL Overtime Rule Released

November 10, 2016

Dear Clients,

On May 18th, 2016 the Director of Labor (DOL) released a final rule that radically increases the thresholds for overtime rules, expanding the number of employees eligible for overtime pay.  Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees who work more than 40 hours in a week are entitled to overtime pay, unless they meet the requirements of certain wage and...

Read More...

3 ways to get started on next year’s budget

November 10, 2016

As the year winds down, business owners have a lot to think about. One item that you should keep top of mind is next year’s budget. A well-conceived budget can go a long way toward keeping expenses in line and cash flow strong. The question is: Where to begin? Well, to answer this question, we don’t have just one suggestion — we have...

Read More...

There’s still time to set up a retirement plan for 2016

November 8, 2016

Saving for retirement can be tough if you’re putting most of your money and time into operating a small business. However, many retirement plans aren’t difficult to set up and it’s important to start saving so you can enjoy a comfortable future.

So if you haven’t already set up a tax-advantaged plan, consider doing so this year.

Note: If you have...

Read More...

Mentoring can make your succession plan better

November 4, 2016

The owners of many companies launch their enterprises with a business plan — a written document outlining the company’s strategic objectives and practical means of accomplishing them. Likewise, many owners leave their businesses via a succession plan, a written document outlining how the company’s ownership will transition.

Often, however, these two documents never...

Read More...

It’s critical to be aware of the tax rules surrounding your NQDC plan

November 2, 2016

Nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans pay executives at some time in the future for services to be currently performed. They differ from qualified plans, such as 401(k)s, in that:

  • NQDC plans can favor certain highly compensated employees,
  • Although the executive’s tax liability on the deferred income also may be deferred, the employer can’t deduct...

Read More...

Ensure your retirement benefits provider is truly providing

October 27, 2016

Many retirement plan sponsors consider converting to new providers starting with the new plan year. For calendar year plans, that means January 1. If this is the case for your company, now is a good time to ensure your service provider is truly providing.

Basic questions

A good provider should have demonstrable experience in your industry. Check to see whether...

Read More...

Beware of income-based limits on itemized deductions and personal exemptions

October 25, 2016

Many tax breaks are reduced or eliminated for higher-income taxpayers. Two of particular note are the itemized deduction reduction and the personal exemption phaseout.

Income thresholds

If your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds the applicable threshold, most of your itemized deductions will be reduced by 3% of the AGI amount that exceeds the threshold (not...

Read More...

Thinking big is the first step toward growing your business

October 20, 2016

Nearly every business owner wants to grow his or her company. But with growth comes risk, and that can keep you from taking the steps necessary to move forward. Yet if you don’t think big and come up with a long-term strategic plan, you’ll likely continue to spin your wheels.

Eyes on profits and value

Public companies answer to investors who...

Read More...

What the self-employed need to know about employment taxes

October 18, 2016

In addition to income tax, you must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on earned income, such as salary and self-employment income. The 12.4% Social Security tax applies only up to the Social Security wage base of $118,500 for 2016. All earned income is subject to the 2.9% Medicare tax.

The taxes are split equally between the employee and the employer. But if you’re...

Read More...

How can your business make the most of the cloud?

October 13, 2016

Like many companies, yours probably stores at least some of its business files, documents and information in “the cloud.” This is the widely used term referring to the seemingly infinite data storage capacity of the Internet.

Using the cloud generally means lower IT costs, because you don’t have to deploy a lot of expensive hardware and software on-site and...

Read More...

Are you timing business income and expenses to your tax advantage?

October 11, 2016

Typically, it’s better to defer tax. One way is through controlling when your business recognizes income and incurs deductible expenses. Here are two timing strategies that can help businesses do this:

  1. Defer income to next year. If your business uses the cash method of accounting, you can defer billing for your products or services. Or, if you use the...

Read More...

5 ways to speed up collections

October 6, 2016

Turning receivables into cash is among the most important things a business must do. Of course, it’s easier said than done. Here are five ways to speed up collections:

1. Streamline the billing process. You can’t collect what you don’t bill. Invoice customers promptly — as soon as the product ships, if possible. Or, if your company provides...

Read More...

Tax-smart options for your old retirement plan when you change jobs

October 4, 2016

There’s a lot to think about when you change jobs, and it’s easy for a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan to get lost in the shuffle. But to keep building tax-deferred savings, it’s important to make an informed decision about your old plan. First and foremost, don’t take a lump-sum distribution from your old employer’s retirement plan. It...

Read More...

Business owners, help your estate by gifting company stock

September 29, 2016

Everyone needs a solid estate plan to distribute assets according to their wishes and benefit their heirs. But this necessity is especially keen for business owners, many of whom have spent years working hard to build up the values of their companies.

If you can relate to this statement, one effective way to reduce estate taxes is to limit the amount of appreciation in your estate...

Read More...

Get 2 tax benefits from 1 donation: Give appreciated stock instead of cash

September 27, 2016

If you’re charitably inclined, making donations is probably one of your key year-end tax planning strategies. But if you typically give cash, you may want to consider another option that provides not just one but two tax benefits: Donating long-term appreciated stock.

More tax savings

Appreciated publicly traded stock you’ve held more than one year...

Read More...

Proper education can drive retirement plan participation

September 22, 2016

Employers who offer retirement savings plans are already helping their workforces. But not all employees take advantage of these plans. And many who do still don’t contribute enough to retire comfortably. As a business owner, you can help your employees even more — and drive plan participation — by providing proper education on retirement planning.

Here are five ways...

Read More...

Prepaid tuition vs. college savings: Which type of 529 plan is better?

September 20, 2016

Section 529 plans provide a tax-advantaged way to help pay for college expenses. Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Although contributions aren’t deductible for federal purposes, plan assets can grow tax-deferred.
  • Some states offer tax incentives for contributing in the form of deductions or credits.
  • The plans usually offer high contribution limits,...

Read More...

Innovate or acquire? That’s the strategic question

September 15, 2016

Many companies reach a point in their development where they have to make an important decision: Innovate themselves or acquire a competitor? Of course, it isn’t always an either/or decision. Nonetheless, business owners should consider the pluses and minuses of both approaches.

Innovating to grow

Innovation is a broad term that encompasses many...

Read More...

Documentation is the key to business expense deductions

September 13, 2016

If you have incomplete or missing records and get audited by the IRS, your business will likely lose out on valuable deductions. Here are two recent U.S. Tax Court cases that help illustrate the rules for documenting deductions.

Case 1: Insufficient records

In the first case, the court found that a taxpayer with a consulting business provided no proof to...

Read More...

Climbing the “hierarchy of needs” to find employee engagement

September 9, 2016

Climbing the “hierarchy of needs” to find employee engagement
In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow set out his “hierarchy of needs.” This theory suggested that human behavior is a response to a variety of needs ranging from physical survival to self-actualization.

At this point, you may be wondering, “What does any of this have to do with my...

Read More...

Tax impact of investor vs. trader status

September 6, 2016

If you invest, whether you’re considered an investor or a trader can have a significant impact on your tax bill. Do you know the difference?

Investors

Most people who trade stocks are classified as investors for tax purposes. This means any net gains are treated as capital gains rather than ordinary income.

That’s good if your net gains are...

Read More...

Speed up business decisions with dashboard reports

September 2, 2016

Would you drive a car without a functional dashboard? Perhaps once a month someone could tell you how fast you were going and how much fuel you had left. Sound good? Probably not. Yet this is how many business owners run their companies.

The good news is there’s a solution. With the right software and some help from our firm, you can regularly receive dashboard reports that...

Read More...

Are frequent flyer miles ever taxable?

August 30, 2016

If you recently redeemed frequent flyer miles to treat the family to a fun summer vacation or to take your spouse on a romantic getaway, you might assume that there are no tax implications involved. And you’re probably right — but there is a chance your miles could be taxable.

Usually tax free

As a general rule, miles awarded by airlines for flying...

Read More...

An effective succession plan calls for decisive action

August 25, 2016

The prospect of leaving your company in the hands of someone else likely brings mixed emotions. You’ve no doubt spent a substantial amount of time and a great degree of effort in getting your enterprise to where it is today. So, as the saying goes, parting will be such sweet sorrow.

Yet, when it comes to creating and executing a succession plan, decisive action is critical....

Read More...

Now’s the time to start thinking about “bunching” — miscellaneous itemized deductions, that is

August 23, 2016

Many expenses that may qualify as miscellaneous itemized deductions are deductible only to the extent they exceed, in aggregate, 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Bunching these expenses into a single year may allow you to exceed this “floor.” So now is a good time to add up your potential deductions to date to see if bunching is a smart strategy for you this...

Read More...

Should you offer spousal health care coverage?

August 18, 2016

When looking to manage benefits costs, employers have many ideas to consider. One in particular is whether and how to offer health care insurance to their employees’ spouses.

The Affordable Care Act doesn’t require spousal coverage. It only requires coverage for dependent children. But many employees may frown on seeing spousal coverage suddenly become expensive or vanish...

Read More...

Combining business and vacation travel: What can you deduct?

August 16, 2016

If you go on a business trip within the United States and tack on some vacation days, you can deduct some of your expenses. But exactly what can you write off?

Transportation expenses

Transportation costs to and from the location of your business activity are 100% deductible as long as the primary reason for the trip is business rather than pleasure. On the...

Read More...

4 pillars of robust business growth

August 11, 2016

Many businesses start life small and simple. But with growth comes the need for a stronger company infrastructure and increased operational sophistication. As you pursue a more robust business, focus on these four pillars:

1. Organizational management

Implement a formalized system for measuring performance that begins with written job descriptions and...

Read More...

3 strategies for tax-smart giving

August 9, 2016

Giving away assets during your life will help reduce the size of your taxable estate, which is beneficial if you have a large estate that could be subject to estate taxes. For 2016, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $5.45 million (twice that for married couples with proper estate planning strategies in place).

Even if your estate tax isn’t large enough for estate...

Read More...

Please go home: The problem businesses face with presenteeism

August 4, 2016

What keeps business owners up at night? Many would say sluggish productivity or escalating expenses. An employee coming to work every day usually doesn’t make the list. But a staff member who never takes a day off can cause problems by showing up sick, distracted or too stressed out to be effective. There’s a name for this problem: presenteeism.

What’s the...

Read More...

Don’t roll the dice with your taxes if you gamble this year

August 2, 2016

For anyone who takes a spin at roulette, cries out “Bingo!” or engages in other wagering activities, it’s important to be familiar with the applicable tax rules. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk for interest or penalties — or missing out on tax-saving opportunities.

Wins

You must report 100% of your wagering winnings as...

Read More...

Prevent expense account padding with the right policies

July 28, 2016

Ask employees whether padding expense account reports is wrong and just about everyone will say “yes.” Yet inflated expenses continue to cost businesses thousands of dollars annually. For this reason, every company must establish the right policies to stop it.

How it works

To stop expense padding, you need to know how it works. Expense inflation...

Read More...

Should you make a “charitable IRA rollover” in 2016?

July 26, 2016

Last year a break valued by many charitably inclined retirees was made permanent: the charitable IRA rollover. If you’re age 70½ or older, you can make direct contributions — up to $100,000 annually — from your IRA to qualified charitable organizations without owing any income tax on the distributions.

Satisfy your RMD

A...

Read More...

Estate tax deferral offers relief to some business owners

July 22, 2016

If a substantial portion of your wealth is tied up in a family or closely held business, you may be concerned that your estate will lack sufficient liquid assets to pay estate taxes. In such cases, heirs may be forced to borrow funds or, in a worst-case scenario, sell the business in order to pay the tax.

For some business owners, Internal Revenue Code Section 6166 provides welcome...

Read More...

To deduct business losses, you may have to prove “material participation”

July 19, 2016

You can only deduct losses from an S corporation, partnership or LLC if you “materially participate” in the business. If you don’t, your losses are generally “passive” and can only be used to offset income from other passive activities. Any excess passive loss is suspended and must be carried forward to future years.

Material participation is determined...

Read More...

HSA + HDHP = Your ideal benefits strategy?

July 15, 2016

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were created as a tax-favored framework to provide health care benefits mainly for small to midsize businesses and the self-employed. So, assuming your company falls into one of these categories, have you considered the strategy of using these accounts with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP)?

Tax benefits

The tax benefits of...

Read More...

There’s still time for homeowners to save with green tax credits

July 12, 2016

The income tax credit for certain energy-efficient home improvements and equipment purchases was extended through 2016 by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act). So, you still have time to save both energy and taxes by making these eco-friendly investments.

What qualifies

The credit is for expenses related to your principal...

Read More...

Streamline your sales staff’s workflow

July 7, 2016

Do you know how much time your salespeople spend actually selling? In many cases, sales reps spend too much time doing reporting, administrative tasks and other nonsales responsibilities assigned to them. If you can streamline your sales staff’s workflow to keep them better focused on selling, your profitability may benefit.

Emphasize strengths

To get...

Read More...

3 mutual fund tax hazards to watch out for

July 5, 2016

Investing in mutual funds is an easy way to diversify a portfolio, which is one reason why they’re commonly found in retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s. But if you hold such funds in taxable accounts, or are considering such investments, beware of these three tax hazards:

  1. High turnover rates. Mutual funds with high turnover rates can create income...

Read More...

Outsourcing an IT function? Ensure the dollars make sense

June 30, 2016

Many of today’s businesses have taken to outsourcing various IT functions. The goal of doing so is usually to save money. But rushing into such an arrangement could mean losing money on the project itself while diminishing employee morale and even compromising your reputation. Here are a few best practices to follow to help ensure the dollars make sense.

Ask the...

Read More...

Awards of RSUs can provide tax deferral opportunity

June 28, 2016

Executives and other key employees are often compensated with more than just salary, fringe benefits and bonuses: They may also be awarded stock-based compensation, such as restricted stock or stock options. Another form that’s becoming more common is restricted stock units (RSUs). If RSUs are part of your compensation package, be sure you understand the tax consequences — and a...

Read More...

3 keys to strong business financials

June 23, 2016

3 keys to strong business financials
Businesses fail for many reasons — dysfunctional management, insufficient working capital, insurmountable competition. Why they succeed, on the other hand, is often easily explained. Regardless of size and sector, most healthy companies share the following three characteristics when it comes to their...

Read More...

Throw a company picnic for employees this summer and enjoy larger deductions

June 22, 2016

Many businesses host a picnic for employees in the summer. It’s a fun activity for your staff and you may be able to take a larger deduction for the cost than you would on other meal and entertainment expenses.

Deduction limits

Generally, businesses are limited to deducting 50% of allowable meal and entertainment expenses. But certain expenses are 100%...

Read More...

Today’s asset purchase could turn into tomorrow’s tax break

June 21, 2016

Shopping, anyone? If your business is in need of office equipment, computer software or perhaps an HVAC system, the purchase you make today could provide you with a tax break tomorrow — or, more specifically, when you’re ready to file your 2016 taxes. The Section 179 expensing deduction remains a solid potential tax-saving value for today’s...

Read More...

Finding the right tax-advantaged account to fund your health care expenses

June 14, 2016

With health care costs continuing to climb, tax-friendly ways to pay for these expenses are more attractive than ever. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) all provide opportunities for tax-advantaged funding of health care expenses. But what’s the difference between these three accounts? Here’s an...

Read More...

Business owners: Put your successor to work before you set sail

June 9, 2016

A hastily chosen or ill-prepared successor can lead a company astray or, in worst cases, mismanage it into bankruptcy. Before you set sail into retirement or perhaps on to your next great professional adventure, make absolutely sure that your chosen replacement is ready to, well, succeed.

Build stakeholder confidence

Perhaps the simplest, most important thing...

Read More...

Combine business travel and a family vacation without losing tax benefits

June 7, 2016

Are you thinking about turning a business trip into a family vacation this summer? This can be a great way to fund a portion of your vacation costs. But if you’re not careful, you could lose the tax benefits of business travel.

Reasonable and necessary

Generally, if the primary purpose of your trip is business, expenses directly attributable to business...

Read More...

Offer deferred compensation? Be careful about compliance

June 2, 2016

Congress enacted Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code more than 10 years ago in response to scandals involving Enron and other corporations. If you offer employees deferred compensation as a benefit, it’s critical to stay familiar with Sec. 409A and its many requirements.

Applicable plans

Sec. 409A applies to most nonqualified deferred compensation...

Read More...

Stock market volatility can cut tax on a Roth IRA conversion

May 31, 2016

This year’s stock market volatility can be unnerving, but if you have a traditional IRA, this volatility may provide a valuable opportunity: It can allow you to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA at a lower tax cost.

Traditional IRAs

Contributions to a traditional IRA may be deductible, depending on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and...

Read More...

Cultivating your company’s strategic plan

May 26, 2016

Most companies start life as a business plan. Eventually, that plan should evolve into a formal strategic plan document that lays out key initiatives for the business over the next three to five years.

Unfortunately, even when said document is created, that seed planted in the ground often ends up largely ignored, untended and malnourished. So how can you make sure to cultivate your...

Read More...

How many employees does your business have for ACA purposes?

May 24, 2016

It seems like a simple question: How many full-time workers does your business employ? But, when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the answer can be complicated.

The number of workers you employ determines whether your organization is an applicable large employer (ALE). Just because your business isn’t an ALE one year doesn’t mean it won’t be the next...

Read More...

How to retain your best employees to keep profitability strong

May 19, 2016

Whether the job market is hot or cold, employers owe it to themselves to actively work at employee retention. Good workers can maintain operational stability and keep profitability strong. Plus, the cost of finding and hiring new employees remains steep. Here are some ideas for keeping your best and brightest on staff.

Trust training

Employees whose job skills...

Read More...

How summer day camp can save you taxes

May 17, 2016

Although the kids might still be in school for a few more weeks, summer day camp is rapidly approaching for many families. If yours is among them, did you know that sending your child to day camp might make you eligible for a tax credit?

The power of tax credits

Day camp (but not overnight camp) is a qualified expense under the child and dependent care credit,...

Read More...

Streamline your inventory management to boost cash flow

May 12, 2016

Inefficient inventory management is one of the biggest cash drains on many businesses, depriving them of valuable working capital. Excess inventory is literally cash wasting away in your warehouse or on your shelves. So every company needs to do everything it can to minimize its inventory investment.

Manufacturing tips

If you’re a manufacturer, one of...

Read More...

Putting your home on the market? Understand the tax consequences of a sale

May 10, 2016

As the school year draws to a close and the days lengthen, you may be one of the many homeowners who are getting ready to put their home on the market. After all, in many locales, summer is the best time of year to sell a home. But it’s important to think not only about the potential profit (or loss) from a sale, but also about the tax...

Read More...

Need a silver lining? Try the NOL deduction

May 5, 2016

The year’s not half over. But if your company is off to a rough start, know that a silver lining may exist in the net operating loss (NOL) deduction.

The rules

A net operating loss occurs when a business’s operating expenses and other deductions for the year exceed its revenues. To qualify for the deduction, you must have business expenses in...

Read More...

QSB stock offers 2 valuable tax benefits

May 3, 2016

By investing in qualified small business (QSB) stock, you can diversify your portfolio and enjoy two valuable tax benefits:

1. Tax-free gain rollovers. If within 60 days of selling QSB stock you buy other QSB stock with the proceeds, you can defer the tax on your gain until you dispose of the new stock. The rolled-over gain reduces your basis in the new stock. For...

Read More...

Choosing a funding method for your buy-sell agreement

April 28, 2016

Anyone who owns a closely held business with at least one other partner needs to take certain steps to guard against business disruption. If one partner departs suddenly, or becomes disabled or dies, serious confusion and conflicts can ensue. Among the most important steps is to create a buy-sell agreement, which stipulates precisely how ownership interests will be valued and...

Read More...

Unexpected retirement plan disqualification can trigger serious tax problems

April 26, 2016

It’s not unusual for the IRS to conduct audits of qualified employee benefit plans, including 401(k)s. Plan sponsors are expected to stay in compliance with numerous, frequently changing federal laws and regulations.

For example, have you identified all employees eligible for your 401(k) plan and given them the opportunity to make deferral elections? Are...

Read More...

Why it’s a good idea for employers to encourage 401(k) rollovers

April 21, 2016

Why it’s a good idea for employers to encourage 401(k) rollovers
Many people collect “orphan” 401(k) plan balances as they move from job to job. Why should employers care? Helping new employees roll over their accounts from former employers can be beneficial for both parties. The same is true of assisting former participants (who have left your...

Read More...

Why it’s time to start tax planning for 2016

April 19, 2016

Now that the April 18 income tax filing deadline has passed, it may be tempting to set aside any thought of taxes until year end is approaching. But don’t succumb. For maximum tax savings, now is the time to start tax planning for 2016.

More opportunities

A tremendous number of variables affect your overall tax liability for the year. Starting to look at...

Read More...

Contemplate your company’s compensation philosophy

April 15, 2016

Without a good pay and benefits structure, you can’t attract and retain the best employees. But devising a compensation strategy is tougher than it looks — many factors go into paying competitively without breaking the bank. One such factor is your compensation philosophy.

Considering your peers

A good way to start is to consider the practices of...

Read More...

What 2015 tax records can you toss once you’ve filed your return?

April 12, 2016

The short answer is: none. You need to hold on to all of your 2015 tax records for now. But this is a great time to take a look at your records for previous tax years and determine what you can purge.

The 3-year rule

At minimum, keep tax records for as long as the IRS has the ability to audit your return or assess additional taxes, which generally is three...

Read More...

Would gamification play at your company?

April 7, 2016

“Gamification” — it’s not the easiest word to say. But the concept is catching on with many businesses. In its most general sense, the term refers to integrating elements of game-playing into business-related tasks as a way to better engage the people involved.

Recent trend

Many businesses have applied gamification to customer...

Read More...

Filing for an extension isn’t without perils

April 5, 2016

Yes, the federal income tax filing deadline is slightly later than usual this year — April 18 — but it’s now nearly upon us. So, if you haven’t filed your return yet, you may be thinking about an extension.

Extension deadlines

Filing for an extension allows you to delay filing your return until the applicable extension...

Read More...

Making your case for a business loan

March 31, 2016

From afar, the commercial lending process may appear comical. On one side of the desk you have the lenders, who want to manage their risk by loaning money to only successful business owners. On the other side of the desk, you have the business owners — many of whom believe they can’t truly become successful until they get the money!

To avoid this disconnect, you have to...

Read More...

Entrepreneurs: What can you deduct and when?

March 29, 2016

Starting a new business is an exciting time. But before you even open the doors, you generally have to spend a lot of money. You may have to train workers and pay for rent, utilities, marketing and more.

Entrepreneurs are often unaware that many expenses incurred by start-ups can’t be deducted right away.

How expenses are handled on your tax...

Read More...

4 facts about the Section 199 tax deduction

March 24, 2016

The Section 199 deduction is often overlooked by business owners, perhaps because they’re not sure what it is. You may see it referred to as “the domestic production deduction,” or the “domestic production activities deduction” or “the manufacturers’ deduction.” Here are four more facts about this potentially valuable tax break:

1....

Read More...

Tips for deducting losses from a disaster, fire or theft

March 22, 2016

If you suffer damage to your home or personal property, you may be able to deduct these “casualty” losses on your federal income tax return. A casualty is a sudden, unexpected or unusual event, such as a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, etc.), fire, accident, theft or vandalism. A casualty loss doesn’t include losses from normal wear and tear or...

Read More...

Who’s helping you with your succession plan?

March 17, 2016

Every business owner needs to spend some time planning how to either sell the company or pass it along to the next generation. Yet no one should try to create a succession plan alone. One idea to consider: Form a succession planning advisory board.

Multifaceted benefits

Such a board can serve as a voice of reason among the often cacophonous tumult of a business transition....

Read More...

3 income-tax-smart gifting strategies

March 15, 2016

If your 2015 tax liability is higher than you’d hoped and you’re ready to transfer some assets to your loved ones, now may be the time to get started. Giving away assets will, of course, help reduce the size of your taxable estate. But with income-tax-smart gifting strategies, it also can reduce your income tax liability — and perhaps your family’s tax liability...

Read More...

Yes, a benefits plan audit could happen to you

March 10, 2016

Many business owners worry about an income tax audit. But, if you sponsor an employee benefits plan, the IRS could audit it as well. Here are some common questions that plan administrators and sponsors might ask about plan audits.

Where’s the bull’s-eye?

The IRS targets plans in one of four ways:

As part of a special IRS initiative focusing on a specific...

Read More...

Make a 2015 contribution to an IRA before time runs out

March 8, 2016

Tax-advantaged retirement plans allow your money to grow tax-deferred — or, in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free. But annual contributions are limited by tax law, and any unused limit can’t be carried forward to make larger contributions in future years. So it’s a good idea to use up as much of your annual limits as possible. Have you maxed out your 2015...

Read More...

Take a shot at a SWOT analysis

March 3, 2016

Many business owners have used strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analyses to frame their strategic planning. If you’re looking to map out your company’s next big move, now might be a good time to take a shot at it yourself.

Think about your customers

A SWOT analysis starts by spotlighting internal strengths and weaknesses that affect the...

Read More...

2 benefits-related tax credits just for small businesses

March 1, 2016

Tax credits reduce tax liability dollar-for-dollar, making them particularly valuable. Two valuable credits are especially for small businesses that offer certain employee benefits. Can you claim one — or both — of them on your 2015 return?

Retirement plan credit

Small employers (generally those with 100 or fewer employees) that create a retirement plan may...

Read More...

Your accounting software should be a many-splendored thing

February 25, 2016

You’ve probably heard the song, “Love is a many-splendored thing.” Well, your company’s accounting software should be, too. That is, you’ve got to make sure your system does all of the big and little things necessary to efficiently and accurately track your financials.

It’s not only about revenue

Annual revenue...

Read More...

What’s your charitable donation deduction?

February 23, 2016

When it comes to deducting charitable gifts, all donations are not created equal. As you file your 2015 return and plan your charitable giving for 2016, it’s important to keep in mind the available deduction:

Cash.

This includes not just actual cash but gifts made by check, credit card or payroll deduction. You may deduct 100%.

Ordinary-income...

Read More...

5 ways to cut costs and improve cash flow

February 18, 2016

When business owners start to feel the choking effect of a slow cash flow, they often blame their customers. “Why aren’t we getting paid on time?!” But it’s important to remember that cash flow is affected by a variety of elements. For example: Operating expenses and overhead can have a significant impact. Here are five often-missed ways to cut costs and improve cash...

Read More...

How to max out education-related tax breaks

February 16, 2016

If there was a college student in your family last year, you may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2015 return. To max out your education-related breaks, you need to see which ones you’re eligible for and then claim the one(s) that will provide the greatest benefit. In most cases you can take only one break per student, and, for some breaks, only one per tax...

Read More...

Is it time to get accountable with your employees’ expenses?

February 11, 2016

Many companies start out, and get pretty far down the road, using the “per diem” approach when reimbursing employees for lodging, meals and incidental expenses. Doing so involves the use of either IRS tables or a simplified high-low method to reimburse workers up to specified limits.

The per diem approach is relatively simple and doesn’t involve too much record...

Read More...

Deduct home office expenses — if you’re eligible

February 9, 2016

Today it’s becoming more common to work from home. But just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it.

Eligibility requirements

If you’re an employee, your use of your home office must be for your employer’s convenience, not just your own. If you’re self-employed, generally your...

Read More...

The tragic tale of a troubled business succession

February 4, 2016

It’s a tragic tale that plays out in many businesses across the country. The owner of the company believes he’s finally ready to trigger his succession plan and retire. So he names his daughter as his successor, enjoys his retirement party and departs for his vacation home.

Reluctant retiree

For six months of the year, the now-former business...

Read More...

Extension means businesses can take bonus depreciation on their 2015 returns – but should they?

February 2, 2016

Bonus depreciation allows businesses to recover the costs of depreciable property more quickly by claiming additional first-year depreciation for qualified assets. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act) extended 50% bonus depreciation through 2017.

The break had expired December 31, 2014, for most assets. So the PATH Act may give you a tax-saving...

Read More...

Fortify your benefits plan with fiduciary liability insurance

January 28, 2016

Among the most contested areas of employee benefits litigation is an employer’s fiduciary duty to its plan participants and beneficiaries. The cost of defending yourself can be steep — regardless of fault. That’s where fiduciary liability insurance fits in.

Who’s a fiduciary?

ERISA defines a plan fiduciary as an individual...

Read More...

File early to avoid tax identity theft

January 27, 2016

If you’re like many Americans, you may not start thinking about filing your tax return until the April 15 deadline (this year, April 18) is just a few weeks — or perhaps even just a few days — away. But there’s another date you should keep in mind: January 19. That’s the date the IRS began accepting 2015 returns, and filing as close to that date as possible could...

Read More...

Why investing in small-business stock may make more tax sense than ever

January 20, 2016

By purchasing stock in certain small businesses, you can not only diversify your portfolio but also enjoy preferential tax treatment. And under a provision of the tax extenders act signed into law this past December (the PATH Act), such stock is now even more attractive from a tax perspective.

100% exclusion from gain

The PATH Act makes permanent the...

Read More...

4 keys to telecommuting success

January 14, 2016

If your company is getting aboard the telecommuting trend, consider the following four keys to success:

1. Set a trial period. Begin with a two- to six-month period during which the employee and his or her manager can get a feel for just how (and whether) this arrangement will work. If either side is unhappy at the end of the trial period, make adjustments or scrap...

Read More...

Could you save more by deducting state and local sales taxes?

For the last several years, taxpayers have been allowed to take an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes. This break can be valuable to those residing in states with no or low income taxes or who purchase major items, such as a car or boat. But it had expired December 31, 2014. Now the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH...

Read More...

2 extended credits can save businesses taxes on their 2015 returns

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) extended a wide variety of tax breaks, in some cases making them permanent. Extended breaks include many tax credits — which are particularly valuable because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar (compared to deductions, for example, which reduce only the amount of income that’s taxed).

Here are two extended...

Read More...

No changes to retirement plan contributions for 2016

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low, the limits remain unchanged for 2016:

Type of limit 2016 limit
Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1)...

Read More...

Congress passes “extenders” legislation reviving expired tax breaks for 2015

Many valuable tax breaks expired December 31, 2014. For them to be available for 2015, Congress had to pass legislation extending them — which it now has done, with the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act), signed into law by the President on December 18. The PATH Act not only revives expired breaks for 2015 but also makes many breaks permanent, generally extends...

Read More...

7 last-minute tax-saving tips

The year is quickly drawing to a close, but there’s still time to take steps to reduce your 2015 tax liability — you just must act by December 31:

   1 - Pay your 2015 property tax bill that’s due in early 2016.
   2 - Make your January 1 mortgage payment.
   3 - Incur deductible medical expenses (if your deductible...

Read More...

Avoid a 50% penalty: Take retirement plan RMDs by December 31

After you reach age 70½, you must take annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRAs (except Roth IRAs) and, generally, from your defined contribution plans (such as 401(k) plans). You also could be required to take RMDs if you inherited a retirement plan (including Roth IRAs).

If you don’t comply — which usually requires taking the RMD by December 31...

Read More...

Don’t miss your opportunity to make 2015 annual exclusion gifts

Recently, the IRS released the 2016 annually adjusted amount for the unified gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption: $5.45 million (up from $5.43 million in 2015). But even with the rising exemptions, annual exclusion gifts offer a valuable tax-saving opportunity.

The 2015 gift tax annual exclusion allows you to give up to $14,000...

Read More...

PTO contribution arrangements can help prevent the year-end vacation-time scramble

From the Thanksgiving kick-off of the holiday season through December 31, many businesses find themselves short-staffed as employees take time off to spend with family and friends. But if you limit how many vacation days employees can roll over to the new year, you might find your workplace to be nearly a ghost town as employees scramble to use their time off rather than lose it.

A...

Read More...

You’ll get more from your business data if you benchmark

You probably track a variety of data to determine where your business stands. Monitoring both financial and nonfinancial key performance indicators (KPIs) — such as debt to equity ratio and customer service response times — can help you spot problems and set objectives. But a great way to take your business data one step further is to see how your KPIs stack up against previous...

Read More...

Achieving your succession and estate planning goals via recapitalization

Like many business owners, you probably have much of your wealth tied up in your company. And this fact may be creating a conflict between the desire to transfer ownership to the next generation and the desire to stay in control. One potential solution: Recapitalize your business into voting and nonvoting shares.

From an estate planning perspective, the sooner you transfer ownership...

Read More...

They’re back! Depreciation breaks extended

For much of this year, uncertainty surrounded whether Congress would extend relief in the area of depreciation-related tax breaks. On December 18, clarity finally arrived with the passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act). Here’s a look at the impact on two “classic” depreciation breaks:

1. Enhanced Section 179 expensing...

Read More...

You still have time to set up your 2015 retirement plan

As a business owner, you shoulder many responsibilities — but have some perks as well. One benefit worth considering is setting up your own retirement plan that allows you to make larger contributions than you could as an employee.

For example, the maximum 2015 employee contribution to a 401(k) plan is $18,000 — $24,000 if you’re age 50 or older. Compare these limits...

Read More...

Are you overwhelmed by the concept of risk management?

When you start envisioning all of the potential threats to your company, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. A good way to get a handle on risk management is to break down the overall task into focus areas. Examples include:

Competitive risk. Identify your top three to five competitors. Then devise the strategy it will take to get or stay ahead of them. Think in terms...

Read More...

Win over Millennials with the right management approach

Skilled workers are invaluable and often difficult to find. Increasingly, well-qualified job candidates in today’s workforce are “Millennials” — that is, between the ages of 18 and 35. As you welcome this generation into your organization, you’ll get more out of them with the right management approach. Winning moves include:

Plenty of...

Read More...

3 places to look when searching for next year’s budget

When it comes to next year’s budget, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But you should do more than simply recycle this year’s version. Your financial statements can help. They offer three places to start looking for the right numbers:

1. Your income statement. Here you’ll see information on sales, margins, operating expenses, and profits or...

Read More...

Our New Website!

November 11, 2015

Evenhouse & Co., P.C. is excited to announce the recent launch of our firm’s new website. We’ve been working very hard to enhance our website and give our firm a fresh look. We’ve also continued to research and identify the latest and greatest technologies to improve the services we provide and ensure we continue to meet your needs.

Take a moment to look...

Read More...

Client Center

- Individual Clients
- Business Clients

(Cloud9)

Using Your Client Organizer
How to Review My 1040
Using File Exchange
Remote Payroll

Go Mobile!

...and get what you need, when and where you need it!

Phone: (630)832-3225 • Fax: (630)832-5520
Email: info@evenhousecpas.com