Brain on vacation – Back to normal

Finally tax day has come and gone, and now my brain can vacate for a few days. It’s been a busy few weeks but was well worth it. Now to relax into a more steady work schedule.

mental-vacation

I can never say this enough having your accounts in order whether they’re done by you or a bookkeeper/accountant, it’s so much easier when it comes to taxes and annual accounts. Doing your accounts ever month, every quarter or even six months will be beneficial to you the business owner/independent contractor in that it helps you keep track of what your income and expenses are.   It also lessens the stress when it comes to doing your annual accounts and your profit and loss statements and other reports that you need at the end of your financial year.

So if you haven’t done your first quarter accounting, now would be a good time to get it done or hire a bookkeeper to do it for you.

Enjoy the week.

Althea – VYPA

Enjoy Spring

It’s Spring and already a very busy year for many of us. In the States we all know that it’s tax season and you’re either getting your accounts in order, or have passed our receipts, statements, etc., on to our CPA or tax preparer for tax purposes, or for those of you who are able have already done it yourself. For those of you who haven’t done your taxes yet, the deadline is Tuesday April 18, less than four weeks away.

It’s March and as my work schedule begins to slow down to normal I have an observation that I’m sure many small business owners might have been struggling with, how to track all your business accounts and expenses, and keep my business accounting accurate. Over the next few weeks I will be looking at some tips, options and solutions available for the small business owner to utilize to help make their accounting less stressful and more accurate, and hopefully by the end of the series will prove helpful to a few people out there.

So until the first installment in the upcoming blog series, Small Business Solutions,  enjoy spring and brighten up your surroundings with some beautiful flowers. Have a wonderful day.

 

 

 

Are you ready for Tax Season?

Tax Season
Are you ready?

It’s that time of year again that we all have to prepare for, if you live and work in the United States. So to make it a little easier here’s a checklist of what you need to gather before you head off to your tax accountant or sit at your computer to do it yourself. And remember there have been some changes for 2017 which you can read more on here. It’s also good to note that the IRS won’t be making payments on refunds until February 15 if you have Earned Income Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.

Tax Preparation Checklist

Personal information:

The IRS needs to know exactly who’s filing and who is covered in your tax return. To do this, you will need Social Security numbers and dates of birth for you, your spouse, and your dependents:

Information about your income:

  • Income from jobs: forms W-2 for you and your spouse
  • Investment income – various forms 1099 (-INT, -DIV, -B, etc.), K-1s, stock option information
  • Income from state and local income tax refunds and/or unemployment: forms 1099-G
  • Alimony received
  • Business or farming income – profit/loss statement, capital equipment information
  • If you use your home for business – home size, office size, home expenses, office expenses.
  • IRA/pension distributions – forms 1099-R, 8606
  • Rental property income/expense – profit/Loss statement, rental property suspended loss information
  • Social Security benefits – forms SSA-1099
  • Income from sales of property – original cost and cost of improvements, escrow closing statement, cancelled debt information (form 1099-C)
  • Prior year installment sale information – forms 6252, principal and Interest collected during the year, SSN and address of payer
  • Other miscellaneous income – jury duty, gambling winnings, Medical Savings Account (MSA), scholarships, etc.

Adjustments to your income:

The following can help reduce the amount of your income that is taxed, which can increase your tax refund or lower the amount you owe.

  • IRA contributions
  • Energy credits
  • Student loan interest
  • Medical Savings Account (MSA) contributions
  • Moving expenses
  • Self-employed health insurance payments
  • Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE and other self-employed pension plans
  • Alimony paid
  • Educator expenses

Itemized tax deductions and credits:

The government offers a number of deductions and credits to help lower the tax burden on individuals, which means more money in your pocket. You’ll need the following documentation to make sure you get all the deductions and credits you deserve.

  • Advance Child Tax Credit payment
  • Child care costs – provider’s name, address, tax id, and amount paid
  • Education costs – forms 1098-T, education expenses
  • Adoption costs – SSN of child, legal, medical, and transportation costs
  • Home mortgage interest and points you paid – Forms 1098
  • Investment interest expense
  • Charitable donations – cash amounts and value of donated property, miles driven, and out-of-pocket expenses
  • Casualty and theft losses – amount of damage, insurance reimbursements
  • Other miscellaneous tax deductions – union dues, unreimbursed employee expenses (uniforms, supplies, seminars, continuing education, publications, travel, etc.)
  • Medical and dental expenses

Taxes you’ve paid:

Properly documenting the taxes you’ve already paid can keep you from overpaying.

  • State and local income taxes paid
  • Real estate taxes paid
  • Personal property taxes – vehicle license fee based on value

Other information:

  • Estimated tax payment made during the year, prior year refund applied to current year, and any amount paid with an extension to file.
  • Direct deposit information – routing and account numbers
  • Foreign bank account information – location, name of bank, account number, peak value of account during the year.

 

 

How to Make Your Bookkeeper Really Work for Your Business

In this article by Dean Bassal it looks at what you should look for when choosing a bookkeeper for your business.

Bookkeepers are an integral part of any business and at some point we all need to choose one. The article below by Dean Bassal gives you a good start in looking for the right bookkeeper for you. Have a read.
bookkeeping
As the owner of a business, you are constantly pushing yourself to perform to the best of your abilities. You invest in the best quality goods and services you can, in order to provide the best service or product to your customers.

So, when it comes to ensuring that you are keeping on top of your finances, you need to ensure you get the best from the person you hire to be your bookkeeper.

The majority of firms hire a bookkeeper to keep an accurate and up-to-date record of all of their financial transactions in preparation for producing annual tax reports. Getting this right is crucial, so you need to make sure properly qualified, registered bookkeepers are hired to do this on your behalf.

So, how do you choose and use the services of a bookkeeper?

You need to think about a few factors to ensure that you have a successful relationship with your bookkeeper.

It’s important to consider carefully what role they will play within your business, and what responsibilities you are going to give them. In the same way you would set out a job description for a particular employment role, you can set out the criteria you require for a bookkeeper.

Checklist: Choosing the right bookkeeper for your business

  • Listen up—make sure it’s a two-way conversation
  • Be clear about the services you need
  • Arrange a face-to-face meeting
  • Check their knowledge, understanding, and qualifications
  • Make sure they have the personal skills for the job
  • Choose a bookkeeper who is able to look at your business as a whole
  • Pick someone tech savvy
  • Ensure that they are ready for the commitment to your business

Click here to read the entire article.

Make time to do your own administration.

No matter how busy you become always make time to know what your book-keeping is like.

Have you ever noticed that there are times when you’re working and then realize just how much time has passed since the last time you did your accounting.

No matter how busy you become always make time to know what your book-keeping is like.  It only takes about an hour to keep your files updated, send out invoices, and enter your receipts into your accounting software, so just do it.  Be on top of your finances and have a clearer idea of your financial state.

Have a great weekend.

Althea