Retirement funds and how to care for them have been a hot topic during this pandemic. For some, it's been easy to leave them untouched. For others, retirement may no longer be an option. But with the creation of the CARES act, some incredible tools have been introduced that can help you maintain and save your retirement funds.
Hello Summerville! As you read this, we hope you continue to be safe and healthy. It's been nice to come to work every day and see a sense of normalcy in our incredible town. Let's keep it up! It is very clear to everyone that this pandemic has affected our finances in more ways than one. One of the many unsung woes during this time has been retirement plans. The CARES act of 2020, the act that has supplied us with our stimulus checks and other resources, has also been geared towards helping retirement plans stay alive. With the unemployment rate being so low, the difficulties of getting unemployment, and the need of making it through financially has put pressure on retirement plans. Many are making the decision of taking out their funds because it is necessary.
There are now options that can help you get economic relief that won't require you to decimate your retirement plans. Thanks to the CARES act, new changes have been put into place to help support those with retirement and IRA plans who are dealing with the effects of a very flimsy stock market that continues to fluctuate. With these new adjustments under the cares act, retirees are allowed to pull out as much as they would like from their retirement plans, but you don't have to if you don't want to. If you do leave your account alone for the next year or so, it will give you the benefit to recover from this flimsy market. There is a benefit to leaving your benefits alone.
These changes and opportunities are groundbreaking and will help you save your retirement and IRA while still supporting you financially now. Before the CARES act, withdrawing from your IRA and your retirement plan came with some serious repercussions. But now, that has all changed.
Allowing people to tap into their retirement accounts and giving them a few years to pay it all back is huge! These changes are providing financial assistance now from the money that is already yours, while still helping you protect and pay back into your retirement. It will still guarantee that you have retirement funds when the time comes to actually retire. Make sure to chat with us about your next steps when it comes to making these choices, even as great as they are. Make sure to include your financial advisor when making these decisions, too. They will be able to walk you through the best benefits available to you and what is going to be the most cost-effective way if you'll need to pay back these loans. They can also walk you through how to keep your retirement plan intact.
Don't forget, friends! If you're looking for the best tax accountant in Summerville, the best tax services in Summerville, the best Quickbooks services in Summerville, the best IT 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!
With the world as we know it changing every day, we have been trying to stay on top of what's happening to help our clients and ourselves. We want to use this changing knowledge to protect our finances, our employees, to know if are eligible for assistance, and how to help our clients navigate through these strange times. Today we are going to be talking about Employee Retention Credit.
Hello, Summerville! We are so excited to see our beautiful town get back to some sense of normal. Everything about our daily and professional lives continues to change, but we are relieved to see that individuals and businesses continue to move forward. One of our main focuses these past two months has been how the current pandemic is affecting our finances. There has been a lot of help thanks to tax day being pushed back, the stimulus relief fund, and the CARES act. Each has seen its ups and downs for individuals and small businesses, bringing a mixture of relief and frustration.
Most of the financial help that we hear about day to day is that for personal finances, but businesses of all sizes have needed just as much help through these difficult times. Many have been required to operate at 50% capacity due to safety protocol during the pandemic while others have been completely shut down after they were deemed nonessential. With the signing of the stimulus relief package and the CARES act, businesses of all sizes were put into consideration. Small business loans and other forms of relief were immediately put into action, although their first big wave was not received well nor handled well.
Just like you as an individual, businesses have been on top of filing and working towards a way to help their companies survive so their employees have a place to come back to when this is all over. Most employers who were able to apply for any kind of assistance did so in March, but there are still opportunities and things to apply for if your company hasn't already. In this blog, we are going to be talking about one of these forms of assistance that is still available to businesses, and that is employee retention credit.
WHAT IS IT?
You may or may not be familiar with this term or what kind of help it provides. This is a business relief provision that encourages employers to keep employees on the payroll, even if they're not working. It helps provide relief to unemployment offices to limit the number of people applying for unemployment. It was also created to help guarantee that employers will have returning employees once they can open up again. Thanks to the creation of the employee retention credit, the government will reward your company for keeping your employees on your payroll and for deciding to choose this assistance. It is refundable tax credit taken against certain employment taxes that can equal up to fifty percent of an employee's wages that you, as an employer, are still providing. The tax credit is fifty percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee that has continued to be paid by the employer. This means that your company can be awarded a $5000 tax credit per qualifying employee. This was created as a business relief provision. The money your company will be receiving is a refundable payroll tax credit for qualified wages that will be paid or have been paid to your employees between March 13th of this year until December 31st of 2020.
You and your company are eligible if you have been directly affected by COVID-19. If you have been forced to work at half capacity due to safety precautions, or you have been forced to shut down entirely because you are a nonessential business, you are eligible. No matter the size of your company, you are still eligible. Your company is eligible for this tax credit if your gross receipts for this current quarter are less than what they were in the same quarter this time last year. You are NOT eligible for this tax credit if you are a governmental employer, or if you are self-employed or a small business that has taken small business loans or other small business loans created to help with issues caused by the pandemic.
WHAT TO KNOW
Once you have decided to pick this type of relief, you can begin claiming it right away by reducing your payroll taxes sent to the IRS. If it ends up that your tax credits exceed your payroll taxes, you can ask for a refund directly from the IRS. If your company has over 100 employees, the only wages that can be obtained are of those who were full time and are not working right now. If you have under 100 employees, you can claim all of your employee's wages regardless if they are working or not. Wages up to $10,000 can be claimed, and this does include how much your company pays towards health insurance for each employee. Since you can claim 50% of this $10,000, the max credit you can receive is $5,000 per employee. The tax credit will be repaid to you after subtracting your share of your employee's social security taxes, and it will be treated like you overpaid your taxes, and it will be returned to you.
In comparison, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was also created to offer similar benefits to businesses. You can't apply for both or receive benefits from both, you have to pick one or the other. When deciding which is best for you and your employees, always pick the aid that will help you and your employees the most, not one or the other. Since the applications for the PPP were suspended on April 17th of this year, this will now dictate your choice of what is available to you and your company. As the country slowly begins to reopen, pay close attention to how this will affect your business. You may be able to go back to work at full capacity, and you may not. There could potentially be more aid coming, we will just have to wait and see what the coming weeks will bring. If you and your company have been unable to receive any kind of benefits, keep your eyes open for this opportunity.
These have been difficult and confusing times. You aren't wrong in feeling overwhelmed and confused. We where are here to support you, Summerville. You are not alone in your fight. Also 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, the best IT 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!
Even though the curve hasn't flattened as much as we'd like, and we've spent a lot of time focusing on staying safe at the moment, it's time to start thinking about the future. Your company is going to overcome all of this, and we are going to talk about how!
April was gone in a flash wasn't it, Summerville? Time has a very strange and unique way of passing. It's been hard keeping the days in order. Thankfully, working from home or with a small staff in our offices has helped us keep track. Can you believe that tax day came and went with so little attention this year? That's right! Tax day has officially been moved to July 15th! If you haven't paid and filed your taxes yet, that's ok! You still have time to do so. But, we do recommend filing your taxes sooner rather than later. This will help with refunds, getting your stimulus checks, and possibly speeding your small business loan applications up. Do what you can for your small business now to help your company in the coming months.
Although things are still unknown in the current market and our personal lives, it's time to start thinking ahead. We've spent our last few blogs sharing tips and suggestions on how to keep your employees safe, how the pandemic might affect your small business, the realities of your stimulus checks, but now it's time to start preparing for the beyond. It's a heavy truth that life as we've known it could be very different after all of this settles. But, we still want your company and the future of your company to be strong and prosperous. So, let's be hopeful and work towards that, together. As the best tax accountant in Summerville, we hope these tips and suggestions help you as we move forward in this very strange and uncharted time.
All of the financial help and small business loans that have been created and promises may or may not come through for your company. Some companies have received these benefits, while some might never see a cent of help. It's constantly changing, and we aren't sure what these new changes could or couldn't mean. We are following the news just as closely for these updates. Hang in there. This pandemic has affected every industry, and the best way to get through this is to stand strong and to support one another. We are here for you, Summerville. Take these tips to heart, they could help you in the long run.
We understand your concerns and worries. We hope this list inspires you to keep working and to keep your hopes up. We will get through this and will continue to work hard together. Also 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, the best IT 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!
During one of the worst times in recent history, scams should be the last thing we should be worrying about. But, the truth of the matter is that new scams surrounding the stimulus checks and government bailout programs for small businesses are starting to come to life daily, and are more powerful than ever before.
Almost all of us have been anxiously awaiting the financial relief checks since the approval of the COVID-19 Relief Bill was passed. When will they get here? Who will receive them? How much will you get? On top of all these questions its a sad fact to share that during this terrifying time when we should all be standing together, stronger parties are trying to take advantage of those who have been the most affected by this devastating pandemic. Following in the footsteps of our recent blog about social security scams, we wanted to do a followup blog on the very real reality and the possibility of scams and frauds appearing right now. They could look like the relief checks, the key to getting your check quicker, small business loans, loans to help out larger companies, and even promising the cure for the pandemic all in exchange for your personal information.
Waking up every day to the news right now is difficult. The unknowns are overwhelming and the lines to get toilet paper are still ridiculous. In this time that has brought so many of us together, it is almost impossible to think that yet another attack could be upon us. While many are still working or now working from home, the hauntingly large numbers of those who are now facing unemployment due to the coronavirus are staggering. This is leaving thousands upon thousands of people without a paycheck, unable to provide for their families or even pay their simple bills. Businesses, even if they are still operating on a very small level or have been forced to close or made the conscious decision to close, are also losing money by the day. When the news came that the stimulus package had been approved and relief checks would soon be on their way, a collective sigh of relief was felt among all of us. New small business loans and other relief options for companies are now in place as well. We all will slowly be getting back on our feet, in very small steps one way or another. But, while we wait for these checks, scammers could be and are now rearing their very ugly heads saying that they have your funds and to receive them you must supply them with very personal and private information. Let us stop you right now, and say that is NOT how the stimulus checks will be handled.
You, the American citizen, don't have to do anything or file any kind of paperwork or to receive your stimulus check. The economic impact payment will automatically be deposited into your bank account that was connected to your 2018 and 2019 tax returns. Even if you have received your tax returns in the past as a paper check, the IRS will still deposit the funds into the account they have on file for you automatically. They will also calculate the amount you need based on your income over your 2018 and 2019 tax returns and your personal need. You won't have to do any calculations or send in any kind of paperwork. The IRS will not be contacting you in any way. The IRS did just announce that they will be releasing a brand new website that will allow you to see the status of your stimulus check when it will arrive, and it will also allow you to check the bank account or it is headed to. If there is a problem with the bank account number, you will need to change that right away on the IRS website. The IRS is making updates to their website almost daily, so if you have any questions make sure you visit their website.
We hate that these scams and schemes are very real right now. Since they are, we wanted to make sure that you are on high alert. All of these warnings also apply to small businesses and companies receiving financial support during this time. Please take comfort in the fact that the Department of Justice is forming a legal and integrative response to deal with these frauds. The US Attorney General's office has also developed a special task force along with appointed COVID-19 fraud coordinators to help deal with this situation. Here in the Lowcountry and throughout the state of South Carolina, our District US Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr has also stated that his office and the department of justice are making this type of fraud a priority.
Scary times can become scarier. But, we are here to help all of you through it. Stay alert, stay safe, and stay home. We will get through this Summerville, we know it!
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!
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!
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.
The Pathways Team