Showing posts from February, 2018

February Article: 12 Biggest Tax Scams to Avoid

The 12 Biggest Tax Scams to Avoid  1. Phishing . There are so many fake websites and emails that are created with the sole intention to steal personal information. Remember that the IRS will never start contact with an email. 2. Phone Scams. This is a well-known and still very common method used by thieves. The IRS will never threaten a Taxpayer with arrest by the police or deportation. 3. Identity Theft . Tax Season is the time when the greatest amount of identity theft takes place. Taxpayers can help to protect themselves by choosing a Tax Professional who is trustworthy, honest, and protects their personal information. 4. Tax Preparer Fraud. Sadly, there are some preparers who look to take advantage of others. Taxpayers can help themselves by never signing a blank return and making sure they clearly understand the fees before choosing a preparer. 5. Fake Charities . If a group sounds similar to a well-known organization, but not quite the same, take some time to do more r

Small Business Guidance: For Restaurants

          Every business has unique challenges to face, and choices that need to be made. There are many factors to consider. The location may need to be taken into consideration. The type of business, and the industry it is in, will play a big part in clearly understanding what decisions need to be made. We will take a look at restaurants to highlight how this is true.           Each restaurant will need to consider recurring costs for food products, payroll, rent, and utilities. Marketing is also an expense that must be considered since every business owner wants a profitable business. With that understood, there is a trend that has been growing in some areas that attempts to streamline expenses for restaurants. This is the idea of a “cash-free system”.           Having a restaurant that only deals with credit or debit cards might seem attractive. Paying would be very simple and quick. That would free up employees to focus on customer service and not doing cash reconciliation

Business Incorporation: C Corp

         One option when it comes to incorporating a business is creating a C Corporation. They are the most type of corporation. It allows for deducting employee benefits and is often very attractive to investors looking to fund a business. There are options that allow for many owners and different types of stock options. This type of business can outlive its owner and offers a tax savings to those who are self-employed, since they are considered employees of the company.           In order to qualify for this type of incorporation, Articles of Incorporation must be filed stating such a goal. The C Corporation must immediately adopt bylaws, hold a meeting of directors and shareholders, and issue stock. The Statement of Information must be updated annually . This will state the company’s activities over the last year. It will include accounting policies, cash flow statements, and an Auditor’s report. The meetings must be held and documented each year . These formalities are a pa

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Finding a Loophole

          With every year, there are new and inventive ways that are found to avoid paying the full Tax obligation owed. In the time before official guidance from the IRS is issued it can be a wild time of creative “interpretations”. When new Tax Laws are passed if one door to a loophole is closed, then a window can be opened. These are the times we find ourselves in with the Tax Cut and Jobs Act . It is especially true when it comes to what is known as the 20% pass-through deduction and some of the words used to define it.           This deduction is supposed to also apply to “service professionals”. What does that mean? There are some particular industries mentioned like health, athletics, and performing arts. In addition, there is an exclusion that applies to a business where its largest value is the “reputation or skill” of the owner or the employees. Do you understand? Most professionals are not sure and when there is a vacuum of knowledge, many try to rush in and fill it.

Business Incorporation: Profit or Non-Profit

         Most corporations provide a service for a price, and use that revenue to stay in business and keep a profit. This is certainly basic information. They have limited liability protection, meaning that directors and officers are not usually responsible for debts or liabilities of the company. This description applies almost every corporation in the marketplace today. However, there are certain organizations that have a different aim. They may have an educational, charitable, scientific, or religious purpose. In this case, they would state their directive in their Articles of Incorporation . This will define what the corporation is to the state and the IRS. This is simply the first step in creating a Non-Profit and the requirements are different in each state. It is a more complicated process and a Tax Professional will make it easier if they are there from the beginning. But, if this is the area you want to have a corporation in, the work will be well worth the effort. Antho

Taxes and Security: The New Scam

         It has been less than 1 month since the official start of the IRS accepting Tax Returns, and there is already a new scam that is wreaking havoc! It is quite devious and uses some new, as well as, old tricks in order to steal identities and money from Taxpayers. In its first stage, thieves will target the computers of Tax Preparers in order to steal completed Tax Return data from previous years. They will use this to quickly create and submit a fraudulent Return. At this stage they can be stopped. If the preparer recognizes the breach they must contact local police, the IRS, and the FBI . Doing so may prevent the Tax Return from being processed and stop this crime in its tracks. If it cannot be stopped at this point, then the scam moves into its next phase.            The illegal Refunds are being sent to Taxpayers. Soon afterward, someone will call posing as an IRS agent or a debt collector and state that the Refund should be returned to a place of their choosing. Thr

Business Incorporation: Why is it Important?

      To incorporate is the process of constituting a company or other organization as a legal corporation. It changes a sole proprietorship or general partnership into a formal company. It will from that point on be legally set apart from those who started the business. The best reason for deciding to take this step is to limit personal liability. An owner is responsible for all debts and losses, but when incorporated, usually personal assets that have not been invested in the company are protected.         If one decides to take this step, there are many more decisions to make. There are a variety of incorporation types to choose from. They each have their advantages and should be chosen carefully. It will have lasting consequences and cannot be easily changed. Our next few posts will discuss these choices to highlight the differences.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: How it Killed Cryptocurrency

           Tax obligation is based on a simple principle, that the Government has the right to a percentage of all profits from financial transactions made in this country. Although it is a fact that all understand, many do not fully agree. They therefore devote much time and energy to avoid paying their share. There have been a variety of methods used to accomplish this goal, but one that had recently gained mainstream attention was Cryptocurrency.           Whether it is called Bitcoin, Litercoin, or something else, they all had the same attraction. These forms of currency operate independent of any central bank. This means, in theory, that there could be no restriction of personal wealth and it would not be under the authority of any government because it is digital. These currencies and exchanges have been around for a few years, but have gained some prominence because more people have started to use them. With more people putting in their money into an unregulated market, va

Tax Withholding Starts Taking Shape

         With the new Tax Law in effect this year, almost every area of Tax and Finance has been changed. Some of the changes are taking place slowly, but they are happening. For example, new tax withholding information for employers simply was not available. The withholding tables have now been released and must be implemented no later than February 15.           Employees will probably see an increase in their paycheck. This is because of changes in the Tax Brackets, Tax Rates, and standard deduction. This will be true depending on the circumstance of the Taxpayer. At this point, employees have to do nothing. The IRS is working on revising the Form W-4 to reflect the changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. When this has been completed, Taxpayers will be encouraged to consider whether or not they need to update their responses on that form. Within this complicated area of Tax and Finance, patience truly is needed.

Taxes and Security: For Individuals

           The IRS is now accepting Tax Returns, so that means, Tax Season has officially begun! It’s a time that everyone knows is coming, and many people wish would end before it starts. Sadly, among the stressful details that go along with this time of year, is the knowledge that identity thieves and criminals are preparing too. They prepare to use stolen information and flood the IRS with fraudulent Tax Returns. However, there has been significant progress to fight these scams.           The IRS stopped almost 500,000 Tax Returns last year that were confirmed to have been generated by means of identity theft. This is positive news when compared to the previous year. For each step forward, there are many plotting to find a way to get around the progress made. While that may be out of our control, there are certain things that we can do to protect ourselves.           Tax Professionals are going to be a big target for criminals this year. There have already been reports of sc