Now that Tax Season is officially here, there are so many things on your plate and that of your Tax Preparer. But did you know that there is a very scary potential danger lurking behind the dark doors of the internet that could ruin your life simply by getting access to your tax documents?
Happy February! We are in full swing of Tax Season here in Summerville and have been thoroughly enjoying helping our clients get their taxes prepared and sent off. The IRS has been accepting online tax submissions for over two weeks now, and we are ready for the very busy weeks ahead of us. We are here to help you with all of your tax needs in Summerville, so please don't hesitate to reach out and connect with us so we can help you file appropriately and on time!
Our company, along with many others like us, are in the busiest times of their work year. Tax season can bring the fear of making sure your tax documents are filled out appropriately and on time along with the need of avoiding any penalties and accruing penalties. But the fear of online security attacks on CPA's and Tax Preparers also needs to be added to the list of worries and concerns for everyone this tax season. Cyber crime has sadly become one of the largest and most expensive forms of crimes globally. Banks, shipping companies, medical corporations, and even dating sites have become victims of cyber attacks, causing the leak of some of the most private and personal information that someone can get their hands on to use against the company or to steal someone's identity. It looks like CPA's and Tax Preparer's are starting to inch their way further up the list of those who are attacked most frequently, especially the deeper we head into Tax Season. The reality that Tax Preparers are some of the most attacked and targeted because of the very high profile data they are in charge of is becoming all too familiar. Cyber crime is running rampant through the streets of the internet, and during tax season, the level of crime and danger has become catastrophic.
Why specifically are these cyber criminals going after your CPA's and Tax Preparers? Think about the kinds of information they are privy to and have stored on their hard drives. They have years worth of bank account numbers, social security numbers, years of previous tax returns, your Employee Identification numbers, and plenty of other documents that could lead to your whole life being stolen if taken into the wrong hands. This kind of information is the forbidden candy store that is off-limits to any prying eyes, making it even more appealing to cyber criminals. This kind of information can also be very lucrative for the criminal, as they can use it for blackmail, something they can sell, or simply ruining your credit and stealing your identity. Thankfully this is where the Financial Services Act of 1999 comes into the picture to save you and your Tax Preparers state of mind. This act legally obligated any Tax Preparer to provide protection for their clients' digital documents.
Cyber criminals know that tax season is the most stressful, busy, and difficult times of the year for any Tax Preparer, and they will take advantage of that. As much as we hope this would be common knowledge to our fellow tax preparers, there are still some out there who are not as aware or not as prepared as they should be. Even if cyber attacks have never been an issue for your company or your tax preparer before, that doesn't mean they couldn't be attacked in the future. One of the biggest issues with cyber criminals now is that they are becoming smarter and more dangerous as time goes by. They are starting to figure out how to break in quicker, stronger, and in ways they never have before. Now, many of these attacks can go unnoticed for long periods or go under the radar without ever being caught. No matter the size of a Tax Preparation company, it will be at risk and can still be targeted. To a cyber criminal, any information they can steal is a good opportunity for them, and a horrible loss for you.
We understand how difficult this time of year is for anyone involved in preparing taxes, we are doing it right alongside you. But we could not stress enough that it is past time to take your IT protection seriously. Make sure you are constantly up to date with the programs you use to keep your digital files protected and consider working with a company whose sole job it is to keep you safe from things some software can't even detect. It might seem like overkill, but when it comes to your client's personal information and your reputation as a company, you can't put a price on that! For those looking into working with a Tax Preparation company, make sure to ask about the company's IT security. Do your research and see what protection they have provided their clients. Make sure their track record is strong, and that you feel confident in the protection they offer. Don't be afraid to ask about their security measures. you're handing over your personal information and it needs to stay this way. If they can't provide this information, then they might not be the company for you. We understand that asking these types of questions might be the last thing on your mind during tax season, but asking them and getting a positive response is just as important as filing your tax documents by April 15th!
Be smart this tax season and take your protection seriously. Make sure you are prepared for whatever might come your way. Until next time, we are Pathways Consulting and we are are here for all of your tax needs here in Summerville!
The world is continually getting smarter by the minute, so it should be no surprise that our beloved Quickbooks will also be reaping the benefits of a smarter life.
Tax day is getting closer and closer. With that looming, we encourage you to visit our offices and be prepared for April 15th. Electronic submission opened on January 27th, so if you are ready to submit your tax documents electronically do so now. If you need help doing so, please visit us. If you are waiting to send everything manually, you'll have to wait a little bit longer. With the continued growth in technology, the future of tax day and the effort it takes to get there is going to become simpler and easier. Artificial Intelligence has made its way into the interface of Quickbooks, and we are very excited to see what this new development will bring to our clients, their clients, and the future of filing taxes.
This past November was the 6th annual Quickbooks Connect, an annual conference designed to bring together business owners and professionals to discuss how to run their businesses better. This year the topic was the exciting emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it will help businesses grow in ways we've not seen before. As a huge proportionate of Quickbooks, we are so excited to see the growth and change in their new applications.
This exciting new application of Quickbooks will have many other incredible tools to help your small business run better than ever before. We are so excited to see this continue to evolve and to see what these new applications will do for our clients! Don't hesitate during this busy tax season to come in and visit us if you have any questions about Quickbooks or your taxes! Until then, enjoy this new update, never let a question go unasked, and get your taxes is on time!
We've said it once and we will say it again, tax law is constantly changing. With the dawning of the Tax Cuts and Job Act, we will continue to see changes to all levels of taxes. Taxes for small businesses are no exception to these changes. So in honor of tax season officially arriving, here are some tax facts that you might not know about for your small business!
It's a new year, which of course means new changes in tax law. Tax season is finally here, so if you are looking for the best tax professionals to help you file and get ready for April 15th, we are the best company in the Summerville area. As you are starting to prepare your taxes for your small business, you might need to hit the books again or chat with one of our tax professionals to help you plan for these new changes and laws that you might not know about. To get you started on the right foot for 2020, here is a handful of some of the most important things you will need to think about and know when it's time to start filing for April 15th!
At the end of the day, some of these changes and facts might not be huge. But they will be big enough to affect your bank account, peace of mind, and how you plan on filing your taxes. It's good to know and understand that since 2018, congress has passed major adjustments to business tax laws that included a lower operation tax rate, new rules for pass-through businesses, and a tax break for some industries. It is also important to know that these changes made in 2018 are still settling and taking effect. They will be significantly affecting small businesses that work with overseas productions or individuals overseas. International taxes and regulations are a whole other beast of their own. Stay up to date on them, or work with someone who can help you change with the times.
We are here to make your tax preparations accurate, efficient, and stress free. If any of this information made you feel stressed, call us right away. We are officially ready for tax season and are happy to help you. Until then, make sure you and your small businesses are ready for the changes ahead and at hand. Until next time stay organized, educated, and ready for tax season!
It is so easy to start a new year with a power-packed list of resolutions, that come February will find itself in the bottom of your trash can. For you and for your small business, create a list of financial resolutions that you can really stick to. Let this list make 2020 be your most successful year yet!
Let's shake up the beginning of this new year with a set of resolutions that you can really and truly stick to. New Year's resolutions aren't just for dieting and working out. They can be utilized to give your finances a boost. It's a new decade and it's an exciting time for you and your small business. This new year doesn't have to be a burden for you or your company. Take 2020 and turn it on its head by beating it to the finish line with resolutions you can be proud of! Keep in mind too, that even though these resolutions have been specifically picked for your company to thrive, you can also apply them to your personal life. Let's get going!
This won't be the easiest list of resolutions to follow, but the important ones never are. We can guarantee that each one of these is worth sticking to and the will help you and your company in the long run! Cheers to 2020!
We've made it to the end of the year, but you know that doesn't mean your business slows down or stops! It's time to wrap up this fiscal year and start a new one. But what is the best way to do this and what items should you keep in mind as you are making your to-do list to end 2019?
December is here, and we hope it has been a very profitable and busy year for you and your company. Even with holiday parties, your company doesn't slow down. As tempting as it is to slow relax, there are still many things you need to do before putting this year to bed. Owning a company ourselves, we understand these struggles. One of the best tactics to stay focused during these last few weeks is to make a checklist of all those last-minute things. But what are these things you need to be keeping in mind? We are here to give you the top priorities that need to be on your end of the year checklist!
Business At Hand
In The Books
These tasks might not be difficult, but they need to be added to the top of your end of the year checklist. We guarantee a successful new year if you mark these off your list. Get to work now so you can enjoy the office Christmas party! From all of us at Pathways Consulting, we wish you a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year!
The tax season is getting closer and closer as we reach the holiday season. With the ending of the most wonderful time of the year, that also means the end of the last fiscal period of 2019. Are you ready or do you think you might need a little more time?
Happy November everyone! We hope you enjoyed our most recent blog about safe shopping tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday! As we are still heading towards all of these wonderful holidays, there is still so much to think about. Taxes need to start making their way to the top of your priorities list. With the end of 2019 looming so close, tax season will be here before you know it. Are you ready for this next tax season or do you think you might need a little more time? There is no problem with needing that extra time - that's why tax extensions can be such a relief. Do you know the pros and cons of filing a tax extension? If you're new to the process, you've come to the right place. In this blog, we will be discussing the pros and cons, which will hopefully help you decide the best route for you before April 15 is here! To begin with, you file an extension request using the IRS form 4868. You fill it out and mail it right to the IRS.
There you have it! The pros and cons of filing a tax extension. If you have any more questions or need to talk with us, please don't hesitate to pick up the phone. We are here to answer all of your questions and get you ready for the next step in your taxes.
It's so easy to get caught up in the sales and excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But remember hackers and other scams will be out there waiting for you, to prey on this excitement and your joy of wanting to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping. Enjoy all of the great online deals out there, but remember to be safe while doing so!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and for many, the real excitement is in the rush and excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Deals are just waiting to be discovered, picked up, and purchased. One of the best parts? You can do a lot of this shopping from the comfort of your home, still eating Thanksgiving leftovers. But these shoppers aren't the only ones who are excited about the holidays. Hackers, Phishing Scams, and other dangerous lurkers are out there waiting to prey on anyone who will take the bait for a good deal. You should enjoy these opportunities and sales if that's something you enjoy doing. But if you're going to be participating in some of the biggest shopping days of the year, you need to be smart and stay safe while doing so. Please consider this list of tips and things to do as you are reaching for your credit card this year.
Being hacked, opening and falling into a phishing scam, or getting your identity stolen should be the last thing you need to worry about this holiday season. But you need to be proactive and prepared to make sure you don't fall victim to these things. Use this list as a guide to stay safe, protected, and be able to enjoy your cyber shopping without fear of someone ruining the best part of the year!
Running a business is hard, anyone can acknowledge that. Today, one of the biggest downfalls of any company is its bookkeeping. Simple mistakes and errors can not only make the running of the business difficult but it can also be its downfall. Try and avoid these easy bookkeeping mistakes to make your business run smoothly.
Bookkeeping is something that all businesses, big or small, have to do. The pen to paper bookkeeping for many is a thing of the past thanks to amazing online programs and applications, like Quickbooks, that do a lot of the hard work for you. For some, making and keeping a note of everything by pen and paper is still preferred. But your bookkeeping and how you handle it is just as uniquely personal as your business model and strategy. But the biggest factor, however you decide to do your bookkeeping, is to avoid some of the most simple and common mistakes out there. Today we will be discussing how to avoid these common mistakes to keep your small business working smoothly no matter what!
The First Steps
When it comes to the point where your small business can grow and expand, that is so exciting! But it's so easy to overlook the important steps of your full bookkeeping to successfully make those steps. Many new business owners will just do the bookkeeping themselves. They rush the process, they don't account enough time or attention to the process, and completely mess up a good chunk of all of it by doing so. Our first recommendation is to work with a professional. If you don't want one full time or on staff, at least learn from them how to properly do everything that needs to be done. Take more classes, attend seminars, or even bend the ear of professional bookkeepers. Or hire someone like us at Hoods, who can help you understand Quickbooks and how to properly use it for your company! Most importantly when you sit down to do your bookkeeping, take your time and breathe.
This might be obvious, but it still needs to be said. You have to budget for your small business or the outcome could be a disaster! You raised and created the fund to create the company in the first place. So you know that your bank account doesn't have unlimited spending for the year or years to come. You need to plan how the money of the company will be spent, or in other words, what will your budget be. A budget will help you track your accounts and records, any issues can be corrected quickly, you can plan for any emergencies, keep the company running, and pay your employees. In 2018 alone, 61% of small businesses didn't create a budget. How scary is that? A lot of young companies don't have a full appreciation of what a budget can do for the company itself. Without one there is no way to evaluate the performance or even the goals for the company. You also can't continue to develop the business without one, and you can't see any growth either.
One of the most important steps in bookkeeping is the reconciliation of your books. This is making sure all of the bank accounts, credit cards, and all the reports match and you have proof to show that they do. This is a huge step when it comes to paying your taxes based on how much the company made, how much was spent, and how much was paid to the employees. These factors will all factor in how much you owe the IRS come tax season. Not doing this properly can lead to over or underpaying your taxes. This might have you re-doing your taxes, owing more, and possibly accruing late fees. Not to mention the hours spent on the phone and in front of your computer to fix these issues. You can also become a victim of fraud, have bank withdrawals that were not authorized, several other bank errors, and the disappearance of money you can't account for.
It Doesn't Mix
Many small businesses start in garages or home offices. Some of the greatest companies of all time have started this way. But don't make the mistake of mixing your home and business bills, expenses, or taxes. Make sure you know exactly how to write off business expense items and what they are before doing so. The IRS is very well versed in what you can and cannot call business expenses from your home, so don't try and fool them. Even if you make an honest mistake, it can still hurt you come tax time. Separate your credit cards, your living space from your workspace, your landlines, and cell phones. Keep meticulous records of expenses and receipts, mileage, and time. Don't muddy or blur the lines between home expenses and business expenses. This will make your life and dealing with the IRS much simpler!
There are a lot of small moving parts to bookkeeping, but all of them have to be well oiled to keep the machine running. Don't rush, make sure you know what you're doing, and never be afraid to ask for help. We are here to offer you the best tax services for your business and to help you do your bookkeeping with Quickbooks. Don't let your small business become prey to these easy mistakes. Take the time to educate yourself and keep your bookkeeping focused and accounted for.
For some companies it's a choice and for other's a necessity. We are going to be discussing the benefits of estimated quarterly taxes, and why it might be one of the best ways to tackle your taxes head-on.
We have talked about how to prepare for your taxes, where to get help to prepare your taxes, how to save money for your taxes, and the best ways to do so. Now it's up to you to decide how you will file your taxes. Paying once a year vs. quarterly is just as unique as your financial situation and your company. The choice on how to pay for your taxes depends on your preference and financial situation. It's very common to wait until the end of the fiscal year and fill out the tax forms and pay for everything by April 15th. But, for others, this isn't an option or is the worst option for them personally. For this group of people, their best option is to pay estimated quarterly taxes. So, instead of paying in one large chunk, you pay four small chunks throughout the year. It might sound intimidating and more of a hassle than its worth. But you might be surprised to find that it's more beneficial than you think!
So, who does estimated quarterly taxes benefit? By IRS ruling, you have to file your taxes quarterly if you are expected to owe over $1000 in taxes for the current year or you expect your withholdings and refundable credit to be less than 90% of the tax shown on your current tax return or 100% of the tax shown on last year's return. Sounds a little harsh, right? But for a lot of businesses and even those who are self-employed, there are many benefits to filing taxes this way. Contracted persons or independent contractors and people who receive dividend income or real estate and rental income receive all of their pay upfront and no taxes are taken out of this pay. But that doesn't mean taxes won't be taken out of this pay. These persons are the perfect candidates to pay quarterly taxes instead of paying on a giant lump sum at the end of the year. They can live well off of their earnings, but a lot of the time one giant tax bill is more than this type of lifestyle can afford. If you cut it up into four smaller payments, it is much easier to handle.
These lists are heavy. Even though the list of Pros is much longer than that of the Cons, the shorter list might outweigh its component. But however you decide to pay your taxes, or how they are dictated that you must pay, just be very smart in preparing. Stay educated, stay prepared, stay organized, and stay alert. In this case, with so many moving parts, having someone do your taxes for you just might be the best way to go. We are here to help you no matter what. Until next time, prep well!
You can research ways to save money, make more money, support your employees, and help your business grow. But did you know one of the best tools to help your business grow and flourish are blogs?
Have you spent time reading some of the most popular blogs for small businesses? Can you name three? Don't laugh, but the world of blogging isn't going anywhere. If anything, it's coming back stronger than ever. Newspapers and magazines have been slowly disappearing in paper form and reappearing online. Just like any website, you do need to dig to find credible sources, BUT when you do find them - you are being handed some of the best in the moment 'need to know' information that can help your business grow.
Blogs can help you stay up to date and in the know for your industry. It can help you stay educated (for free!) on new trends, and it can even help you stay creative as you are being inspired by others in your industry. Take the time to research some of the most popular and influential blogs in the world of your business and make time to read them. Use this blossoming tool to help your company grow. Maybe even use this inspirational too to help create your own blog! Having a blog of your own helps those magical SEO (Search Engine Optimization) numbers grow. Blogs make you and your company look more attractive on search engines. Blogs can help you become an online traffic target and they can further push the idea that you are an expert in your industry.
If you're still a little skeptical, here are some of the most popular business blogs out there today. Some of them might even sound familiar!
Harvard Business Review
Google Small Business
This is a very very very small number compared to the number of business blogs out there. We would recommend starting with these three, just to get your feet wet. Then see what happens next! You just might find the exact blog you're looking for with these recommendations or with a number of others waiting for you. You have a lot of material to catch up on, so get to reading!
The Pathways Team