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The Importance of Keeping Good Records

Every business owner knows the value of maintaining accurate records for tax purposes, but keeping good records also provides individuals with a measure of the health of their enterprise. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brick and mortar store or operated completely online through e-commerce, good record keeping is critical.

It’s recommended that individuals keep pertinent records for three years and that includes tax returns. Most business owners envision boxes and file cabinets full of paper documents and that can seem overwhelming. Welcoming the digital age and appropriate software programs into a business will eliminate the clutter and keep records immediately available should they be needed for any contingency.

Keeping good records provides business owners with the knowledge required to know if their endeavor is failing or flourishing. It also tells them which products are selling well, where their largest expenditures are, and any areas where changes may need to be made.

Business owners have a legal obligation to maintain full and accurate records about their enterprise. They’ll need those records if they’re audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or asked to explain any items on their tax returns.

Maintaining detailed records enables individuals to prove income, deductible expenses for tax purposes, and make projections about their tax liability. Those records will also be utilized to prepare a variety of financial statements and balance sheets that will be essential when working with banks and creditors.

Good record keeping allows business owners to ascertain where the majority of purchases are originating, along with the reliability of the vendors with which they regularly conduct business. The receipts provide a record of who pays promptly and who doesn’t.

All of those records provide a health check on the business, allowing owners to make critical decisions about issues such as expansions, new product lines, vendors, and employees. Keeping good records is the key to operating any business more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Accounting Software can Save you Time

Time is your most valuable asset. Accounting software can save you time that can be invested back into the business or on pleasurable pursuits. The software provides greater accuracy and multiple record types that can be recalled at any time for any reason. Accounting software is equally applicable whether you’re operating a large corporation, small business, brick and mortar store, or online enterprise.

Even your accountant utilizes software to minimize the potential for errors and automate tasks. You’ll find that today’s options for accounting software is affordable, easy to use, and provides capabilities and functionalities of which you may not be aware. It’s ready to use straight out of the box and typically doesn’t require much in terms of setting it up.

One of the great things about accounting software is the ability to automate the repetitive tasks that take up your time. The software is able to automate invoicing, payment reminders, collections and budgeting, just to name a few. The software is also able to integrate with multiple departments.

Invoicing, statements and other documents can be created automatically and sent to clients electronically via email or printed out and faxed. The feature saves you a substantial amount of time and facilitates payment collection without the need to rely upon time-consuming Excel spreadsheets.

Most accounting software will allow you to automatically transfer and import data from spreadsheets into the program. If you offer credit accounts, the software can identify contact information for those that owe you money and provide a detailed account of the transaction. Financial reports can be prepared for yourself and you’ll have the option of being able to send them to other recipients as needed.

Today’s modern accounting software will have powerful analytics, the ability to create custom reports, and delve deep within your company’s structure to determine where any improvements or changes should be made. With accounting software, you’ll spend less time on repetitive tasks and have the tools to plan for your company’s health and future.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Keeping your Business up to Date with Tax Laws

Tax laws change quickly and often with very little warning. It can seem like an impossibility to keep track of all the changes and utilize them to your business advantage. You have three choices when preparing your taxes – do them yourself, use tax preparation software, or have a professional do them.

No matter which option you choose, changes in tax laws will ultimately affect your business in some way. It’s much better to engage the services of a professional accountant than be surprised at tax time. It’s an accountant’s business to know about changes, inform clients, and help them develop a strategy to minimize tax liability.

Your business will need to remain legally compliant with all state laws – which will depend on where you live – along with federal tax laws. There will be different requirements, depending upon your business structure and you’ll need to ensure all certificates, licenses, and permits are current.

As a small business owner, you’ll be subject to a variety of different taxes unless you’re in a partnership – in which case you’ll be required to file an information return. You’ll be required to pay self-employment taxes and employment taxes on employees. Sole proprietors, S corporation shareholders, and partners will pay estimated taxes and you’ll need to have withheld a sufficient amount to meet tax liabilities.

There are also excise taxes, which can often seem very vague but cut across multiple industries. You’ll be liable for these if you operate certain types of businesses, sell specific products, offer certain types of services, or use specific types of equipment, facilities or products. Some classic examples are alcohol, fuel and tobacco, but the list is extensive.

Of special interest for business owners are changes for net operating losses, first-year depreciation, pass-throughs that include sole proprietorships, S corporations, and LLCs, and those that have significant operations overseas. Many individuals outsource their marketing and other functions when applicable through the gig economy and accounting for that can be a headache for you and the person that provided the services.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Tips for Preventing a Tax Audit

Despite what individuals may have been told in the past, an audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t random. The IRS utilizes a state-of-the-art software program to flag tax returns for auditing. The software is called Discriminate Income Function (DIF). It flags returns for investigation by comparing the deductions an individual or business takes compared to others that are within the same income bracket.

There’s no reason taxpayers should be afraid to take the deductions to which they’re legally entitled, as long as they have the appropriate documentation to support what they’re claiming. There’s no foolproof way to be protected against an IRS audit, but there are steps individuals can take to minimize the potential.

Targeting Factors

Some jobs, careers, tax brackets, and geographical locations are more likely than others to be targeted for an audit, along with the very rich and the very poor. Individuals with an annual income of less than $25,000 have an audit rate of about 0.69 percent, a figure that’s 50 percent higher than all others.

Areas with a large African-American, Hispanic, Native American, and poor population are audited more. People that regularly receive tips such as hairdressers, waitresses, and bartenders are audited with more frequency, along with accountants, doctors, and attorneys that typically keep their own books. It’s a good idea for anyone in these categories to avoid miscellaneous deductions.

Self-Employed & Small Business

Small businesses and the self-employed are favorite IRS targets. Many choose to incorporate or form a limited liability company as they’re audited less often. File any pertinent worksheets, avoid amendments, know when to file, and hire a professional to prepare tax returns.

Know What’s Questioned

Keeping exemplary records is critical. Home office deductions, medical expenses, casualty losses, and business costs for travel, entertainment, and meals are some of the most often questioned.

Neatness Counts

Being neat really does make a difference. Returns that are difficult to read or have blank lines are more likely to be audited. It’s better to use a zero on a line than to leave it blank.

Do the Math

Use a calculator, double check the math, and make sure federal and state returns match. For those that use online tax preparation software, if it says there’s a problem and something needs to be revisited – pay attention.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Accounting Experts can Save your Business Money

Business owners mistakenly believe they’re saving money by attending to their accounting task themselves. What they’re actually doing is taking time away from their families and other business tasks such as planning for future growth. Hiring an accounting firm to care for your finances saves time, money, and enables you to focus on other priorities.

Business Planning

Professional accounting firms work with businesses at all stages of development – from startups to long-established endeavors. They have a wealth of experience they can utilize to help you advance your business to the next stage in its evolution and provide guidance on managing monetary growth. They can also assist if you need to make changes in its structure.

Informed Decisions

Your accountant will be able to advise you on multiple issues to help you make better informed decisions about your business. They can advise you on a variety of topics ranging from strategies to provide the best return on your investment to endeavors that are risky for your business.

Streamlining

A professional accountant can streamline your books, establish better bookkeeping practices, and “find” money you never even knew you had. You’ll know exactly where your money is going, how much, and discover ways to save your business money. A professional can also assist with strategic spending and saving money with vendors and others with which you regularly conduct business.

Tax Penalties

An accounting professional will be cognizant of all the current tax laws to save you money and avoid errors or omissions that lead to tax penalties. The firm’s professionals will know your business and meet all applicable deadlines, while minimizing taxes and maximizing benefits for greater profitability.

Exit Strategies

There will come a time when you decide to retire and an accounting firm can help you define the best time to exit or what you may need to do before selling the business.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Tax Penalties you Need to Avoid

It doesn’t matter whether it’s time to pay your personal taxes or your business taxes, it’s easy to run afoul of the IRS. There are some common types of tax penalties that you may incur if you don’t stay focused. The following are the most common tax penalties you need to avoid.

Bad Checks

If you write a check to pay your taxes and the funds aren’t available when the IRS tries to withdraw the money, you can be penalized a set amount or the full amount of the check you wrote.

Charitable Contributions

Anyone caught operating for-profit activities while claiming the endeavor as a charitable organization will face considerable penalties. Non-profits that are caught operating for-profit activities can lose their tax exempt status.

Failure to File

There are some taxpayers that aren’t required to file a return, but if you do have to file, you need to do so by a specific date or file for an extension. An extension gives you six more months to file, but won’t absolve you from the need to pay any taxes owed by the usual deadline.

Failure to Pay

When you owe taxes to the IRS, you have 21 days to pay the entire amount. If you don’t, the IRS will charge you ½ of 1 percent per month on the amount you owe.

Fraud

Fraud occurs when you don’t report all your income or inflate the number of deductions you have to lower your taxes. The IRS can penalize you by 75 percent of what you actually owe and/or have you jailed. The IRS receives a copy of your earnings every year, just as you do.

Late Payments

If you fail to pay a balance owed the IRS by the filing deadline, there will be financial penalties that will be added to what you already owe. Those penalties accrue compound interest each month that they go unpaid.

Social Security Number

You have to provide a Social Security number for yourself, spouse, and anyone you claim as a dependent. You must disclose those numbers or face penalties for each instance of non-compliance.

Underpayment

For individuals that estimate their tax burden, you’ll incur a fine if you fail to pay the entire amount. There is also a fine for underestimating what you owe. The fine will be added to the amount you owe the next time you’re required to file.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Smart Things to do with your Tax Refund

It can be extremely tempting to use your tax refund to reward yourself with a mini-vacation or buy something you’ve been wanting. Unfortunately, when the money is spent it’s gone for good and you’ll still be looking at the same debts as before while trying to make ends meet. The following is a list of the smartest things that anyone can do with their tax refund.

Debt

Pay off any credit card debt if possible or a significant portion of it. Depending upon your individual circumstances, you may choose instead to pay down student loan debt.

Education

Consider an educational fund for your children. Costs continue to increase and an education fund will lessen the student loan burden when they seek a degree. You may want to take advantage of continuing education for yourself and the fund may even be tax deductible.

Emergencies

A major car repair, medical expense, or job loss can happen at any time. An emergency fund will help meet those challenges without breaking into the rent money.

Home Improvements

There are dozens of home improvement projects that are necessary, but it may be difficult to handle the cost all at once. A new roof, more efficient air conditioning, or a bathroom or kitchen update is a good investment, especially if you’re thinking of selling your home.

Life Insurance

A life insurance policy is one of the most overlooked precautions for families. A term policy can provide for final expenses and pay off debt upon your death.

Mortgages

Make extra payments on your mortgage. More of your monthly payments will begin going toward the principal instead of interest.

Retirement

The time for retirement will arrive sooner than you think and you need to be prepared. Consider putting your tax refund into a traditional or Roth IRA where it will stay safely tucked away when you’re no longer working.

Savings

Establishing a separate savings account from your primary savings and checking will keep the money out of sight and out of mind. You won’t be tempted to spend it on impulse buys.

Start a Business

If you’ve ever dreamed of being an entrepreneur with your own business, a tax refund can help you realize that goal. The best part is that you don’t have to quit your regular job while you’re building your brand.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Tax Saving Tips for Millennials

Many Millennials are struggling when it comes to their taxes. They don’t have access to the wide variety of tax deductions that their parents have been claiming for years. They’re at a unique point in their life where they’ve just graduated, started a new job, or are just struggling with day-to-day expenses. The following are some tax tips specifically for Millennials.

Filing Fees

Anyone that makes less than $64,000 per year is eligible to file for free. The IRS website can lead filers to companies and organizations that provide the online software to complete their federal and/or state taxes and for e-filing.

Education

Students and graduates should write off every possible educational deduction, including a tuition and fees deduction. It could result in a deduction of up to $4,000. To do so, Millennials will need to save every receipt that may apply. Young taxpayers can also claim their student loan interest up to $2,500.

Another deduction is Lifetime Learning Credits. The deduction can be taken for continuing education even after graduation and has the benefit of making individuals more attractive to employers.

Healthcare

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a fund to which a taxpayer can contribute on behalf of their medical expenses. Up to $6,150 can be deposited each year and it’s all tax-free money that can be used toward any medical expense.

Retirement

Millennials should start saving for retirement as soon as possible. A Roth IRA, for example, allows individuals to take money from the original principal without penalties if needed while continuing to yield monetary results.

Working

Expenses associated with moving to start a new job may be deductible as a work-related expense if the relocation is at least 50 miles. For Millennials that may be working from home, a portion of their living space may qualify as a home office and be eligible for the home office deduction.

Amazon, eBay, and Etsy are all great ways to make extra cash and those avenues may qualify as a home business. Some individuals that are working in positions in which they can offer consulting services can change their filer status from employee to entrepreneur, which opens up new savings possibilities when filing.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Preparing for tax audit

Reduce Your Chance for a Tax Audit

Everyone fears the dreaded tax audit – and with good reason. It means that the algorithm scoring formula used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has found what it deems to be an irregularity on your tax return. Few audits turn out well for the individual or small business being questioned and the following are just a few of the ways that people can help mitigate the chance of being audited.

Hire a Professional

Nothing can compare to the personalized service and expertise available with a tax professional. It’s tempting to use online tax software. It’s easy and convenient, but the software may not be able to account for special circumstances and you may be leaving money on the table that could go in your pocket. Hire a professional if your tax return is complicated or complex in any way.

File on Time

Seeking an extension or filing an amended return can activate you for review by IRS systems, particularly for high-end earners. The same is true for those that file paper returns. It’s always best to e-file and makes sure they’re filed before the deadline.

Documentation

When dealing with the IRS, documentation is everything. If there’s a chance that the IRS may not understand expenses you’ve claimed or deductions, the onus will be on you to provide documentation to prove your right to make the claims. A professional tax preparer will know what documentation you’ll need.

Deductions

Another instance that will red-flag your tax return is the deduction-to-income-ratio. Deduction amounts that are unusually high compared to stated income may be a symptom of claiming the same deductions twice in the eyes of the IRS. Stay away from dubious deductions.

Exemptions

A high number of exemptions and dependents will bring unwarranted attention from the IRS. There are specific rules about what dependents are eligible for you to claim. For example, in some instances, a dependent may be required to file their own return, which means you can’t claim them.

Compliance

Remaining in compliance with your responsibilities in regard to withholding taxes, filing status, deductions, and exemptions will significantly reduce the potential for a tax audit. If you do get audited, having a professional file your tax return will ensure you have knowledgeable backup should you need it.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Great Ways to Keep Track of your Finances

In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to monitor and manage your financial health. Keeping track of your finances involves more than simply knowing how much is in your account or making sure you pay the rent or mortgage on time. There are a number of ways that anyone can utilize to better manage their money that includes the following, in no particular order.

Accurate Budgeting

A budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend for fun. It does mean that you need to account for the must-pay expenses first, such as rent, car payments, utilities, groceries, and insurance premiums. The remainder will provide information on major expenditures ad areas where you might save.

The Little Things

Small expenses are the bane of a budget. They nibble away at money that you could be saving and they account for a significant amount of money each day. Some of those small expenses include eating lunch out, whether it’s by yourself or with co-workers, or designer coffees and juices. Start saving receipts from each purchase and total them up at the end of the month or use a debit card for each purchase so you can go back and identify each one on your bank statement.

Savings

Everyone should have a savings goal whether it’s for a major purchase or for retirement purposes. If your budget doesn’t have a category for savings, create one. It can be any amount you want, but financial advisers recommend a set percentage of your income. Don’t be tempted to draw upon your savings. If you have extra money at the end of the month, shift it to your savings.

Software

There are dozens of software programs that will help you budget your money, track expenditures, and even send you alerts via mobile device so it’s easy to manage your money on the go with today’s busy lifestyles.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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