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.
The Easy Failings of Bookkeeping
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