2014 – IRS Standard Mileage Rates Announced

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By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA It’s time to reveal the long-awaited IRS standard mileage rates for 2014. And they are (drumroll, please): 56 cents per mile for the optional business standard mileage rate 23.5 cents per mile for qualified medical and moving expenses 14 cents per each mile driven for charitable purposes Let the celebrations begin! But wait – aren’t some of those numbers lower than last year’s rates? Yes, your memory does not deceive you. The IRS has reduced the optional business standard and medical/moving expense rates from their 2013 levels of 56.5 and 24 cents per mile, respectively. (The charitable miles rate remains the same.) With gas prices generally trending lower than they have been in recent years, the IRS thought it prudent to reduce mileage cost deduction rates to reflect the change. … [Read more...]

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...]

If You Fail to Plan…Plan to Pay Taxes!

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By Candace Spencer, CPA, MAFM and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor Have you ever been surprised with a large tax bill? When is the last time you received tax planning and/or projections and knew where you stood before year-end? Do you realize that those two questions are closely related? By getting solid financial information and acting on it in a timely fashion, you can prevent unpleasant surprises come filing season. With December right around the corner, time is running out. The good news is that it’s not too late; however, it’s now a race against the clock. If you need more motivation to start thinking about such annoyances as taxes this far before April 15, here are three reasons why you may want to consider tax planning. First, if you haven’t already heard, there have been major changes in the tax law for 2013. Therefore, you can expect the 2013 tax year will NOT be like last tax year. Here are just a few changes you need to be aware of: In 2012 100% of itemized deductions … [Read more...]

Is Your CPA Just Checking Boxes and Filling In Blanks?

SJ Gorowitz CAS Technology

By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA Taxes are the first thing most people think of when they think of their CPA. In fact, the need for help completing their annual returns most likely drove them to seek the assistance of an accountant in the first place. It’s an important task, without a doubt. At the same time, preparing tax returns can almost be viewed as a commodity in some cases. Filling in the blanks is all it amounts to, sadly, from many service providers. Finding someone to fill in the blanks on the right generic forms for your business or personal return isn’t a challenge. Finding someone who really gets to know you and your company, however, isn’t so easy. It’s worth it to make the extra effort and search until you’ve found the right fit though, because with a well matched CPA who’s motivated and knowledgeable, the difference is astounding. By putting in the time and attention to understand the nuances of your financial situation – your goals, your unique business, your … [Read more...]

Client Accounting Services Are Changing Where You Focus Your Time

SJ Gorowitz CAS Technology

By Stacey Gorowitz, CPA, MBA If you own a small business, you’ve no doubt been astounded at the changes you’ve seen to the technological and economic landscape over the past decade. There are so many more choices and options in this post-internet, digital world that it can make your head spin! Adjusting may be hard, but the possibilities are fantastic news for business owners. One such change is referred to as Client Accounting Services (CAS). This paradigm offers the benefits of the three mega-trends of digitalization, virtualization and transformation, and it can help all small businesses see bigger profits. By using new technology, your financial professionals can access your accounting records virtually, of course, but they can also interact in real time with you. They now have easy online access to banking records, payroll – anything needed to complete your financial processes and accounting. This means nearly all information can now be transmitted and downloaded – … [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...]