As the pandemic continues, many businesses are dealing with the best ways they can support their employees. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help with your company and your employees.
We are now in the third quarter of the year and everyone is getting ready to head back to school. As you and your company continue to manage through the continued pandemic, we know that your employees are at the top of your priority list. We know you're exhausted and tired of hearing "we're all in this together!" and "this is the new normal". We know you are very aware of the situation because you've been dealing with it up close and personal for the last few months. You might have to figure out something new every week for your employees, you might have already found a great new work plan, or you're still searching for what the best options are. No matter where you and your company might be, we want to help as much as possible. This blog is full of different ways you can help your employees during this difficult time.
Consider your employees who have school-aged children. They are stuck in the middle of potentially working from home and homeschooling their children. This can add to their stress, affect their work, and interfere with their concentration. Consider offering flexible work hours and being more understanding if a parent needs to care for a child or handle certain situations during the workday. Help them find or offer support for childcare and help them find resources to help with homeschooling.
Video meetings and conference calls have become a necessity for our everyday work lives. You can also use these to your advantage. Host social gatherings or and support your employees to have them. As employers, you can use some of your business time to play ice breakers, do brain teasers, or play a game or two of trivia over these digital platforms. You can still celebrate milestone moments, promotions, and celebrations with your employees, too. Suggest that your employees meet for virtual lunch hours, coffee meetings, or even happy hours. These moments of connection can keep everyone in the loop, connected, and help their mental health in a safe and non-invasive way.
Being a business owner in 2020 has been an incredible challenge. There have been and will continue to be so many hurdles to overcome. Through all of this, make sure you remember your employees. Care for them like they have cared for and supported your business. If you can support them and be honest, they are more likely to hang on and support you through whatever else might be coming in 2020.
Many of us are still working from home, and some have decided to work from home for good while the pandemic remains with us. For those new to this world, what kind of tax write-offs, if any, could we be looking at for 2020?
We've made it through this unique and very different tax season. So, what does that mean? We start looking ahead to next year! Many of our clients are friends are still working from home, while others have decided to work from home for good. If this year has taught you anything new about your professional life, its if you are a fan of working from home or not. We know and recognize that it's not for everyone, and we also understand the reason why so many companies are still having their employees work from home. If anything, we appreciate the safety of it and we are trying to find the silver lining. This year has meant saving money on gas, saving money on takeout, getting rid of that morning commute, more time in comfortable clothes, spending time with our families, and for some, it has meant a whole makeover of their homes, especially their backyards! For those who don't own their own small business and don't work from home regularly, when you did move home, one thing that might have made the transition less painful was the possibility of writing off your new expenses in your 2020 taxes. Will this be a possibility? Could there be an even bigger silver lining waiting at the end of all of this?
There have been many silver linings to this experience than many of us have tried to focus on, but like it or not, it does cost extra to work from home. You're buying supplies, buying new office furniture, getting better wifi, and possibly paying a ton more in child care. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to write all of that off or at least a part of these expenses on 2020 taxes? Unfortunately, due to a tax reform in 2017, this opportunity was eliminated, according to Kiplinger and AccountingToday. Granted, this decision was made years before we knew what the coronavirus was and it was thought to be a good idea to eliminate this possibility. According to AccountingToday, the reasoning behind this change was that a "doubling of the standard deduction would help offset the pain of ending or cutting itemized deductions". That idea was nice at the time, but for all of us working from home and through the pandemic, it's not much help at all. Before this tax reform, you were able to write off your business expenses that were not paid back by your employer. These expenses included part of your home as an office, and much more. Sadly, if your company has sent you home during the pandemic, this will not be an option. With so many of us struggling with this reality, and with potentially limited funds as it is, what is the best way to recover from it? AccountingToday suggests the best route to go is to approach your company and try to negotiate with them. When it comes to federal taxes for your employers, tax code does allow them to reimburse their employees for certain costs during periods of disaster. The IRS has stated that is current pandemic does qualify. It will be up to our employer to choose what costs the will and will not cover, but if you approach them with a reasonable list of items, that can be a great place to start (i.e. wifi, child care, cost of buying new supplies).
If you're working from home for your company, but also have a second job or a small side hustle, there might be a small tax break in there for you. According to Kipling, as long as you meet all the proper requirements, you will be allowed to claim deductions for your business expenses and your at-home business expenses for your own company.
WORK FROM HOME
If you are self-employed, this might be one of the greatest advantages for you right now. Those who are self-employed are still allowed to deduct business expenses with the Schedule C Form 1040 when filing. Your small business must be your only form of income, and the space you work in must only be used for work purposes, according to H&R Block. This means that your kitchen table won't count. If you do use a small corner of your home or a specific table just for work, then that will count. One of the biggest things you must do is keep meticulous notes and records of your expenses if you plan on writing these expenses off. Many self-employed individuals get flagged when they file and get stuck with an audit. Make sure you're reading to back up your deductions at a moment's notice. If you have a building outside of your home that you use only for work (like a barn, shed, garage), it can also be written off. Also, if you work outside of your home for your own business, but have been forced back to your home for safety reasons, you are allowed to write that off on your expenses too. According to H&R Block if you own your own business under a 1099, and you meet all the standards created by the IRS, you'll be allowed to write off all of your direct expenses for your small business. You will also be able to write off a portion of your indirect expenses too! But please take caution, you will still need to keep good records of everything.
This year has brought its fair amount of challenges. Many of these challenges could reappear when filing your 2020 taxes. Make sure you speak with your company about your expenses before just assuming they won't help you. If you're self-employed or work under a 1099, make sure you keep excellent records and understand everything about your writeoffs to avoid an audit. Hang in there everyone! We know this is a personal and financially difficult time for all of you. We are always here to help. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
Now that the stimulus checks have all been sent out, many Americans are hesitant on using the funds. They aren't sure if the rumors they're hearing about the strings attached to them are accurate or not.
Now that we have all received our stimulus checks, we are now facing a slew of rumors and myths about the money we have received. This money was welcomed with open arms, helping pay bills, and keeping food on the table for many. Thanks to Social Media and other media outlets, and just the sheer amount of information (correct or not) that's available, rumors and misinformation have been spread about the realities of our stimulus checks. We are here to set the truth straight, calm your worries, and get rid of these myths once and for all.
According to AARP, once the CARES act went into action, the IRS sent out over 140 million stimulus checks. As this relief arrived and people started spending it, some hesitation did arise. The question if we will need to pay back the IRS and if these funds will be counted as part of our income in our 2020 taxes are at the forefront of this hesitation. With income and employment being so unstable, these are very understandable questions. Yes, this money is a blessing now. But, will it turn into a curse later?
First and foremost it is very important to know that you will not be paying back your stimulus checks. The IRS has even come out and said on multiple occasions that this will not be something that you will have to pay back. The stimulus check, according to CNBC, did get the nickname "recovery rebate" which is one of the main reasons why this concern began. Why won't you have to repay the IRS? That is due to the nature of tax credit the IRS is considering our stimulus checks. There is a certain type of tax credit, says Wealth Hacker Report Jeff Rose, called an Earned Income Tax Credit. These credits are completely refundable. Even if you don't owe any taxes at the end of the year, if you have any earned income tax credits, you will still be receiving a tax refund. This is how the IRS is treating your stimulus checks. It is something you're owed, not something you will have to repay. This is how those who don't file for taxes, like those who receive social security, disability, and railroad retirement benefits were eligible for a stimulus check. As long as you have a social security number and you meet the income requirements to receive a single or joint filing stimulus check, you will receive a stimulus check, with no strings attached.
Since the IRS is treating your stimulus check like earned income tax credit, it also will not be counted as part of your income when you file your 2020 tax return. You've received this money and it is taken care of, nothing else is required for you to do about it. Ironically, there is an opportunity for you to receive more money if your stimulus check wasn't calculated correctly by the IRS. These mistakes will most likely be caught when filing your 2020 tax return, or if you didn't claim a dependent child on your tax forms, or alert the IRS to a dependent child. You won't, on the other hand, be receiving any extra stimulus money when you file your 2020 tax return if you received the proper amount. The only way that will happen is if there is another stimulus check released, which for now is just a myth and rumor.
Also, know that the stimulus check will not reduce your refund that you're owed on your 2020 taxes. You will receive every penny that you're owed, and your stimulus check will not be deducted from it or even affect it. The stimulus check will also not lower the amount you owe in taxes, either. That can be confusing since other tax credits can reduce how much you owe. But, the stimulus check will not be one of them. At the end of the day, your stimulus check will not be affecting your 2020 taxes at all.
There have been some situations, according to CNBC, that some individuals have been overpaid and given more stimulus money than they should have received. If this happens, you will not have to pay that back either. This is incredibly rare though, and more often than not, is actually a scam. As we have mentioned in recent blogs, scams regarding the stimulus checks have become rampant since they were first released. If you receive a very official-looking check in the mail for more than your stimulus amount, and it is requested of you to pay back the difference in cash, certified check, money order, or in gift cards, that is without a doubt a scam. The IRS will not contact you via phone, social media, email, or texting. If you receive any messages about your stimulus checks through these platforms make sure to report them and then delete them right away.
We hope this insight helps you better understand your stimulus check, and what you are expected to do with them now that you've received them. If you have any further questions about them, or about the 2019 tax date that just passed us on July 15th, please don't hesitate to reach out. We will be very busy over the next couple of weeks, as we have been leading up to the 15th, but we will try and get back to you as quickly as possible. Don't forget! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, and the best payroll services in Summerville, we are still here for you. Tax season may be over for some and just starting for others, and we will be here for you no matter what!
The Pathways Team