I Can Deduct That, Right?

You can deduct cat food?

By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA As the end of the year approaches, many of us are looking more intently at the things we spend money on and wondering which of them might possibly be tax deductible. While it never hurts to scrutinize financial outlays with an eye for hidden deductions, it’s easy to stretch the bounds of realism in our zeal to minimize the tax bill we know is coming. On the other hand, maybe the dividing line between fantasy and reality isn’t where you’d expect to find it when it comes to deductibility. Here are some of the more unusual things the IRS has accepted as legitimate writeoffs in recent years. Cat food. The resourceful couple who pulled off this one deducted the food they used to entice feral cats to their junkyard. While there, the cats also kept the facility more customer-friendly (and safer) by keeping down the population of snakes and rats that also liked the area. Body oil. If you’re a pro wrestler, greasing up those rippling muscles to … [Read more...]

Is an Annual Checkup with your CPA At The End of The Year All your Business Needs To Stay in Good Financial Health?

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By Candace Spencer, CPA & Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor Many times we hear business owners say that they have an internal bookkeeper who maintains their financial records, and therefore, they only check in with their CPA office at tax time. It’s also possible that your CPA office doesn’t check in with you throughout the year.  But is an annual checkup the best way to utilize your CPA’s skills. Many business owners are missing opportunities simply through a lack of understanding of the different but important roles of an internal bookkeeper and a CPA firm play. If you are among them, trust me - you are not alone. We see a great number of people who are very confused as to what each of these professionals brings to the business industry and how each one helps in the success of any business. A very simple definition of a bookkeeper describes him or her as someone who records financial transactions. This includes banking, sales and purchasing transactions.  The purpose of … [Read more...]

I Used to Feel So Special…

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By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA After recent CPA firm mergers and ownership changes, often clients end up feeling lonely and lost in the crowd. When this happens, don’t be afraid to seek out a new accounting firm. Mergers and acquisitions happen in every industry, and accounting is no exception. In fact, it has been happening with more and more frequency in the accounting industry over the last few years. So now, it’s not uncommon for a CPA firm that you’ve worked with happily for years to suddenly join forces with another firm in a bid to grow larger and more competitive. That may be good for the firms, but it’s not always good for their clients. What happens after the change may affect you only minimally, with the service you receive and access level to your trusted professionals intact. In other cases, however, you may find you’re not getting the service you deserve or no longer working with the partner or manager you used to. When you start to feel like a number rather than … [Read more...]

Financial decisions today impact tomorrow: What they didn’t tell me in medical school

I majored in accounting and learned about numbers and their interactions; not much time was spent on marketing. As a medical student, you were taught about biology, diseases and their treatment but not much about the finances. After working with doctors who are mid-way through their careers, I wish I could have spoken to them when they were first starting out. Here are a few non-medical lessons that should be covered in medical school: 1)   Control expenses: As a physician, you will have more income than most people.  However, you will also have more expenses; your student loan debt is likely substantial.  This number is too big for most people to grasp, so they take the “head in the sand” approach. But there is a better way! Consider the ratio of your monthly income to the monthly payments for your school debt, house payments, credit card bills and taxes. A monthly overview gives a better perspective than totals. For example, a $150,000 salary yields $12,500 monthly. … [Read more...]