Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Can the Tax Code Become Simple?

          Most people would prefer simple tasks and activities over anything complex. Is the same true of taxes and finance? Most would give a resounding “Yes!” to that question. However, it has been said that over the past 30 years, that Federal Tax law has grown from 26,000 pages to 70,000 pages. Why has this taken place?

          One theory is that the Tax code is stuck in what can be called the “Rinse. Wash. Repeat.” cycle. In this situation, a law is passed, but Taxpayers and professionals do their best to comply with the law while paying as little in tax as possible. When this is observed, Congress will pass another law to prevent these tactics, and the process starts again. It highlights how complicated things can get when many different groups are trying to represent their own interests, including the US government. Perhaps a balance can be reached, but it will be difficult to say the least.

Friday, September 15, 2017

How to Know if it's the IRS - Part 2

          This is the time when the IRS will increase its notices to many Taxpayers about different matters. Unfortunately, this means that there are many others who try to take advantage and defraud others by pretending to representatives of the US Treasury. So it’s up to each of us to know what will distinguish a genuine officer or agent from a con artist.
          The In-Person visit. These can happen for various reasons, and from different branches of the IRS. No matter what the case may be, IRS representatives will always have a pocket commission and Personal Identity Verification Credential. They will describe the authority and responsibilities of the person to whom they belong. A Revenue Officer often makes visits to discuss Tax debt. These visits are usually not scheduled. They can request payment, but it will always be to the US Treasury. A Revenue Agent of the IRS handles audits, and will schedule time with a Taxpayer or Qualified Tax Professional to do so. At times, they can make unscheduled visits to discuss matters.
          Those who make up the Criminal Investigative branch of the IRS are Federal Law enforcement agents. They will carry a badge and law enforcement credentials. When dealing with them, they will never request any sort of payment. They will often arrive at a business or a home unannounced while conducting an investigation. It is a crime to lie to them, but you may choose to not speak with IRS Special Agents without an attorney present. No matter which part of the IRS you may have dealings with, you can be informed and know what rights you have. A Qualified Tax Professional can guide you along the way, and perhaps help you to avoid these situations.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How to Know if it's the IRS - Part 1

          Now is especially the time of year when the IRS will contact Taxpayers about different financial issues. There are standard practices that will be followed, so one will know that they are actually dealing with the IRS. This 2 part series is meant to serve as a cautionary reminder of the times we live in, and show how we can keep our most sensitive financial information safe.
          Phone Calls. The first contact from the IRS will usually be in the form of a letter in the mail. They will never send text messages or use social media. An IRS Agent or Revenue Officer may call a Taxpayer or the Tax Professional to confirm an appointment or items for an audit. In some cases, a private debt collection firm can be used for outstanding tax amounts. However, this will only be done after written notice has been given. Any and all payments will always be to the US Treasury.
          The IRS and its contractors will never ask for payment over the phone. They will never insult or threaten a Taxpayer with a lawsuit, deportation, or something similar for not making a payment. A Taxpayer always has the right to question or appeal the amount given, just like they have the right to a Tax Representative. Our next post will focus on how to know if it’s the IRS when being visited in person.

Friday, September 1, 2017

When Starting A New Business - Part 3

        Now that ideas have taken shape, preparations are being made. These will set the stage for how the business will function in a practical way moving forward. A critical decision that must be made at this point is what accounting method will be used. Once the choice about how to report income and expenses is made, it must be used consistently. This is a serious decision and must be well researched.
       Cash. Using this method, income would be reported and expenses deducted, in the year they are received or paid. This is not to be confused with the Accrual method. Here, a business would report income or expenses in the year they earn them, even if they are paid in a different year. A Qualified Tax Professional is essential at this point to help set up the framework of what can become a solid and successful business.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When Starting A New Business - Part 2

          When ideas start to become practical plans, reality begins to set in. There are crucial choices that need to be made. They will set the stage for the beginning of a new business venture. To make sure this is done in the best way possible, we will continue our series looking at helpful new business tips.

          Business Taxes. The structure chosen for the business, will directly affect how the business is taxed. The options available are: employment tax, excise tax, income tax, and self-employment tax. A Qualified Tax Professional is essential at this step. Their guidance in choosing the correct Tax to pay will save a lot of stress. Most businesses will need to make Estimated Tax Payments. Here, a Qualified Tax Professional will make sure there are no underpayments to the IRS. This is will only lead to stiff penalties and a lack of stability.

          Employer Identification Number. This is what a business would typically need for its IRS forms. A Tax Professional can assist in getting an EIN and help to make clear who the responsible person(s) in the business may be. Our next post will show how the internal practices of the business can be formed in the best way.

Friday, August 18, 2017

When Starting a New Business - Part 1

         This may be the time of year when business ideas, become plans. This can be the time, when those plans are put in motion and a new business is started. When this decision is made, it is always an exciting time. However, it is also a time when many questions need to be answered. It would be appropriate to seek the guidance of a Qualified Tax Professional to firmly establish your business. Our series will look at 5 ways this can be done.
          Structure. The way a business is structured will affect every other tax, finance, and legal aspect of the business. There are 5 options. They each have details that must be considered carefully before making a choice. The options are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, S Corporations, and Corporations. The fifth option of Limited Liability Corporation is allowed by state statutes. A Qualified Tax Professional would be an essential advisor at this stage. Our next post will explain why.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Value of A Small Business - Part 3

          There are many factors that all businesses have in common, however when looking at the details, there are usually more differences. This series has looked at the area of determining the value of a small business. It is a core service that Anthony Sykes &Co Accounting provides for its small business clients.
          Evaluate the risk and determine the market. Every business has some risk, but that usually depends on the market. Some have a stable outlook with little to no competition. Others may have regular challenges and great opportunities for growth. It is sometimes true that, the greater the risk, the greater the reward will be. Each business is unique and must be looked at such.