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!
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.
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!
The Pathways Team