Should you outsource your accounting?

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By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA Has your business needs outgrown the capabilities of your bookkeeper? Do you spend more time that you’d like supervising her? Were you surprised (and unprepared) by unexpected CPA fees and expensive surprises at tax time because your books weren’t in the shape you thought they were? When you are running a business, it’s often tempting to keep a tight rein on your operations by keeping services like accounting in-house. After all, you’re one smart cookie and should be able to handle a few simple debits and credits, right? Not so fast. What often gets owners and managers in hot water at tax time is that, unfortunately, business accounting isn’t always straightforward and very rarely is it simple. For many, outsourcing their internal accounting can be a great way to keep their books balanced and in order while allowing them to focus on providing the best products and services to their clients. Call it leading with your strengths, sticking to your … [Read more...]

QuickBooks 2013: Just Another Upgrade or a Must Have?

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By Candace Spencer, CPA & Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor QuickBooks is by far the most widely used accounting software for small businesses and individuals. Each year Intuit releases a new QuickBooks’ edition with additional improvements, enhancements and let's not forget…some really cool features. This article will provide you with the tools to decide whether it’s time to upgrade your QuickBooks. It will also highlight the major improvements as well as the new features in QuickBooks 2013. As of May 31, 2013, QuickBooks 2010 is scheduled to be “sunsetted.” This is Intuit’s fancy way of saying that as a new version is released, they will no longer support or provide technical assistance for a particular version that is several years older. Also, certain features in the older, sunsetted versions will no longer function. These include bill pay, online banking, accountant’s copy file transfer, payroll services, credit card processing and emailing of customer invoices through … [Read more...]

You Can’t Transfer Tax Attributes – Or Can You?

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Did you pay a lot in state taxes this year? You can potentially save 10% or more. Sounds like one of those too good to be true commercials, doesn’t it?  The majority of my blogs try to dissuade tax myths and educate business owners and individual taxpayers on some of the nuances of tax law, but this unlikely-sounding scenario is no myth. Normally, the income, expenses and credits you earn are yours and can’t be transferred to someone else – not even your children. However, there is one situation where one taxpayer can acquire the tax attributes of another: state tax credits. Georgia has a law that allows certain tax credits earned by one taxpayer (usually a company) to be purchased at a discount and used by another taxpayer (usually an individual). That’s right, you can purchase tax credits. For example, an individual taxpayer can purchase $50,000 of GA Entertainment Tax Credits for $45,000. You write a check for $45,000 but a credit of $50,000 gets reported on your Georgia … [Read more...]

2012 IRS Tax Season Fun Facts

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By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA It’s tax time again, so why not get to know the IRS on a personal basis? Well…maybe that’s too big a step, but we might as well learn a little more about this fixture in our lives, because it’s not going away. On March 25, the IRS announced the release of its 2012 Internal Revenue Service Data Book which includes information about returns filed, taxes collected, enforcement actions, taxpayer assistance and more, from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012. Highlights of this treasure trove of data include: Out of the 146 million individual income tax returns filed, almost 81 percent were e-filed. E-filing is so popular because not only does it remove the need to deal with stamps and minimize the risk of your return being lost, it gets your refund into your bank account within just a few days. More than 120 million individual income tax return filers received a tax refund, which totaled almost $322.7 billion. Of course, this is money that already … [Read more...]

Happy 100th Birthday, Form 1040!

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By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA  In March 1913, Form 1040 as we know it today was first issued for income tax reporting. Here’s a basic 1040 income tax return history from the Library of Congress: “The origin of the income tax on individuals is generally cited as the passage of the 16th Amendment, passed by Congress on July 2, 1909, and ratified February 3, 1913… March 1st was the [filing deadline] specified by Congress in 1913, after the passage of the 16th amendment. In 1918 Congress pushed the date forward to March 15th, where it remained until the tax overhaul of 1954, when the date was again moved ahead to April 15th.” Included in this post is an image of the first page of the original form from 1913, as supplied via OurDocuments.gov through the National Archives & Records Administration. Additionally, here is a link to a recreated pdf of a complete 1913 1040 form that is, get this, a whopping four pages long including the form and all instructions. Today’s form and … [Read more...]

5 Tax Myths That Won’t Go Away

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  I get a lot of questions this time of year. They come from clients, from friends, from the cleaning crew at the office, and from my mechanic. I don’t mind; I actually enjoy what I do and consider educating the taxpaying public part of my job. I get excited when I get to talk about tax law over dinner with friends. However, it still amazes me to see the tax myths that just won’t die. If I could create a public service announcement, I would tell people that: 1)    Most taxpayers will get synergy and tax savings by having one appropriately qualified CPA prepare both their individual and business returns. Many people are under the impression that to spread risk and save costs they should have different preparers handle personal and businesses tax returns. This can’t be further from the truth. The proper professional will help you with tax planning for your entire financial picture – not just pieces of it. Most small businesses are flow-through entities, which means that … [Read more...]