Would You Like to Increase & Maintain Your Sales by 20% Over the Next Year?

You have a good business plan, but it is just not as effective as it had been. Have your sales stalled? Has your company's growth reached a gridlock? If so, we can help you. We will review your business plan and revise it with you to keep the strong points that work and eliminate those that do not. We will work with you to set realistic sales expectations and to reach those sales goals.

 

We can guide you in getting your managers on board and in assessing your staff for those who can be internally promoted as the company expands.

 

We will aslo help in identifying and removing critical stumbling blocks that hinder your business's consistent and stable growth.

 

Our goal is to help you better your business.

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1099's Due Soon 

It’s that time of year again, to file your 1099s.

 

Please be advised the deadline for your 1099 Forms for tax year 2015 is January 31, 2016.  

 

In general the Internal Revenue Service requires any business to file 1099 forms for eligible vendors to whom they have paid $600 or more.

 

There are negative ramifications for not filing your 1099s. They include but are not limited to:

Monetary penalties

A disallowance of your deduction

And more…..

 

We encourage you to file your 1099s on time and with the correct information.

 

If you need assistance with your 1099 filings, please contact us.

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New Sick Days Law

Effective July 1, 2015, the California Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires all employers regardless of their size must provide paid sick leave to all of their California employees who have worked at least thirty (30) days from the start of their employment. The sick time will accrue at a rate of one (1) hour of paid sick time for every thirty (30) hours worked.

 

Some General Rules:

Exceptions:

  • Employees or construction workers that are covered by collective bargaining agreements;
  • In-home supportive service workers;
  • Certain flight deck and cabin crew employees of air carriers.
  • Employees that already have paid sick time that meet the minimum requirements of the bill

Rules:

  • Employees can begin using their sick time beginning the 90th day of employment.
  • Sick time accrues at a rate of one (1) hour of sick time for every thirty (30) hours worked
  • Employer can limit the number of paid sick days to 24 hours or 3 days each year of employment
  • Rate of sick pay is at employee’s regular pay rate.
  • Employees can carry over their sick time hours to following years up to 48 hours or 6 days.
  • Upon separation of employee sick time does not have to be paid unless they are rehired within one (1) year
  • Employees have to use 2 hours of sick pay each time they chose to use paid sick leave time
  • Employer must maintain 3 years of records documenting the hours worked and paid sick time

When an employee can use paid sick time:

  • Taking care of family (siblings, domestic partner, spouse, parents, child, or grandparents)
  • Taking care of children or parents do not have to be blood related or “legal” to qualify   
  • Time may be used to care for a victim of: domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking
  • For existing or preemptive care of either medical or non-medical issues

Employer responsibilities:

  • Post notices informing employees of their rights to paid sick pay
  • Include a copy of benefits accrued on the wages statement in the employee’s paycheck.
  • Give employees a written copy of benefits at employment.

You will need to incorporate these changes into your payroll system. We can help if you need any assistance. 

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Inversion and Politics

With so much news about US-based companies moving overseas to avoid taxes (Burger King, anyone?), I set out to do some research on the matter and to see what is being done about it. Our friends at the Wall Street Journal wrote a very poignant article on this subject and its future which I’d like to share that with you all today.

Two new developments in negotiations over taxes could signal improving prospects for legislation to restrict inversion deals, as lawmakers seek bipartisan solutions to address growing problems in the U.S. tax system.

A top Senate Democrat, Charles Schumer, said on Tuesday that he will offer legislation to restrict inversions, and would agree to allow it to lapse after three years.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers also are weighing the possibility of combining anti-inversion legislation with some significant tax breaks that Republicans want, such as a permanent tax credit for business research, according to people familiar with the situation. That could be combined with tax breaks that Democrats would like to make permanent, such as for college tuition.

Those discussions are preliminary, however, and could run into opposition, given concern about the high budgetary cost.

Many Republicans have resisted Democrats' calls for specific new legislative restrictions on inversions, insisting instead that Congress rewrite the tax rules to make the U.S. more attractive to businesses.

Under Mr. Schumer's plan, if Democrats block GOP efforts to push through a tax-code rewrite over the next three years, Republicans could allow the restriction on inversions to expire, unleashing a new wave of the cross-border deals.

In an inversion, a U.S. company moves its tax address to a tax-friendlier country, typically through a merger with a smaller foreign company. A 2004 law sharply restricted the practice, but lately a new inversion wave has begun. Members of both parties worry about the long-term impact on the U.S. economy and the tax base if it continues.

Republicans "want to use the inversion loophole as a way to get to tax reform," Mr. Schumer said in an interview. "I understand that. [So] we propose that our bill would expire at some point in 2017. And that creates a trigger to undertake tax reform... [Republicans] will have leverage" to force a broader overhaul.

The Treasury Department is weighing regulatory steps to curb inversions, but Secretary Jacob Lew said this week that it's "imperative" that Congress act.

 

All of the discussions on inversion legislation are focused on possible action in the lame-duck session that is expected after the November election.

But a number of obstacles could prevent any action, even in November. Democrats themselves are divided over what to do about inversions, for example.

And Republicans say they are annoyed that Democrats have used the issue to blame them for inaction in the run-up to the November elections. Republicans could decide to hold out for a business tax overhaul next year.

The sheer complexity of pulling off a deal could be another major hindrance.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows strong support for congressional action. About 59% of registered voters said they believe Congress should take action to "penalize and discourage companies" from inverting because it results in lost tax revenues in the U.S. About 32% disagreed, saying companies "have a duty to their shareholders to lower costs and grow their business."

 

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Taxes on Labor Day Weekend?

Taxes?? Who wants to think about taxes around Labor Day?!?

 

If you count on your tax refund and you're one of the millions getting tax credits to help pay health insurance premiums under President Barack Obama's law, it's not too early.

 

Here's why: If your income for 2014 is going to be higher than you estimated when you applied for health insurance, then complex connections between the health law and taxes can reduce or even eliminate your tax refund next year.

 

Maybe you're collecting more commissions in an improving economy, or your spouse got a better job. It could trigger an unwelcome surprise.

 

The danger is that as your income grows, you don't qualify for as much of a tax credit. Any difference will come out of your tax refund, unless you have promptly reported the changes.

 

Nearly 7 million households have gotten health insurance tax credits, and major tax preparation companies say most of those consumers appear to be unaware of the risk.

 

"More than a third of tax credit recipients will owe some money back, and (that) can lead to some pretty hefty repayment liabilities," said George Brandes, vice president for health care programs at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

 

Two basic statistics bracket the potential exposure:

 

The average tax credit for subsidized coverage on the new health insurance exchanges is $264 a month or $3,168 for a full 12 months.

 

The average tax refund is about $2,690.

 

Having to pay back even as little as 10 percent of your tax credit can reduce your refund by several hundred dollars.

 

Tax giant H&R Block says consumers whose incomes grew as the year went on should act now and contact HealthCare.gov or their state insurance exchange to update their accounts.

 

They will pay higher health insurance premiums for the rest of this year, but they can avoid financial pain come spring.

 

"As time goes on, the ability to make adjustments diminishes," warned Mark Ciaramitaro, H&R Block's vice president of health care services. "Clients count on that refund as their biggest financial transaction of the year. When that refund goes down, it really has reverberations."

 

The Obama administration says it's constantly urging newly insured consumers to report changes that could affect their coverage - I urge you to do the same.

 

 

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Military Tax Tips and Benefits

Deadline Extensions. Some members of the military, such as those who serve in a combat zone, can postpone some tax deadlines. If this applies to you, you can get automatic extensions of time to file your tax return and to pay your taxes.

 

Combat Pay Exclusion. If you serve in a combat zone, certain combat pay you get is not taxable. You won't need to show the pay on your tax return because combat pay isn't included in the wages reported on your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Service in support of a combat zone may qualify for this exclusion.

 

Earned Income Tax Credit. If you get nontaxable combat pay, you may choose to include it to figure your EITC. You would make this choice if it increases your credit. Even if you do, the combat pay stays nontaxable.

 

Moving Expense Deduction. You might be able to deduct some of your unreimbursed moving costs. This applies if the move is because of a permanent change of station.

 

Uniform Deduction. You can deduct the costs of certain uniforms that regulations prohibit you from wearing while off duty. This includes the costs of purchase and upkeep. You must reduce your deduction by any allowance you get for these costs.

 

Signing Joint Returns. Both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return. If your spouse is absent because of certain military duty or conditions, you may be able to sign for your spouse. In other cases when your spouse is absent, you may need a power of attorney to file a joint return.

 

Reservists' Travel Deduction. If you're a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, you may deduct certain costs of travel on your tax return. This applies to the unreimbursed costs of travel to perform your reserve duties that are more than 100 miles away from home.

 

Nontaxable ROTC Allowances. Active duty ROTC pay, such as pay for summer advanced camp, is taxable. But, some amounts paid to ROTC students in advanced training are not taxable. This applies to educational and subsistence allowances.

 

Civilian Life. If you leave the military and look for work, you may be able to deduct some job hunting expenses.

 

 

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Outsourcing Tedious Chores

I hope you are all having a fun, productive and profitable week!!

There are a number of chores that can be quite tedious for businesses, like fixing an issue with your ordering new office furniture or closing out year-end accounts. Some of these can be taken on by yourself, saving you money, but whereas one can simply order a new desk, a slip up in your accounting can have the authorities breathing down your neck.

For most people accounting falls in the category of important but unexciting. From keeping track of your expenses and receivables to maintaining proper entries in your financial records, there are many variables that can go wrong. Of course, an in house team would be able to deal with this competently. But can you bear the expense of having a dedicated function in your office? Plus, depending on the level of your accounting needs, it may also be unnecessary.

Luckily, there is another way – outsourcing. This option brings the benefits of a dedicated, professional team, without the hassle of having them on your staff.

But how do you know if outsourcing is right for you? We’ve put together a short guide to help you make the right decision.

  • The amount of time that you spend on accounting requirements a week: Use this to establish a cost basis for outsourcing your accounting. How much do you spend a week and what else could you be doing with that time? What is your opportunity cost for this?
  • Your accounting experience: If accounting isn’t your strong point you could be missing areas where you could save money.
  • Your predicted growth: just because you can handle it now doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to do so a year down the line.
  • Risk analysis: What are the dangers if you continue with your current accounting practices? Though the cost of bringing an accountant in may not make sense compared with the amount of time you spend on it, their expertise may mean you avoid falling foul of unexpected tax bills.

The Financial Benefits of Outsourcing

Outsourcing means that you only have to pay for the work that your accountant does. If you’ve only got work for one day a week then that’s all you need to pay for. If you have someone in-house, you’ll have to pay them salary, holiday time, benefits, sick time, so on, whereas if you’re using an agency then all of this is their problem.

Outsourcing also gives you more flexibility for managing cash-flow. If you’re outsourcing on a project basis, you can evaluate comparable firms and ensure that you get the best service at the best cost. If you bring someone in-house, then you don’t have that fluidity to move to a different provider if your needs change.

 

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Cloud Based Accounting

Most business owners want to spend more time on the bigger picture; the things that helped their business succeed in the first place – working on the business, not in the business. 

 

Done right, adopting cloud technologies can now help make this a reality by providing business owners access to real-time accounting and live information at their fingertips.

Doing it right, however, requires more than just picking from the thousands of available business apps. It means managing and integrating all of the separate logins, subscriptions, security and connectivity protocols and placing the emphasis on extracting actionable insights rather than just getting data into systems.

 

Many business owners only receive their financial statements well after the conclusion of a financial year or quarter, which makes it hard for them to have an accurate understanding of their financial performance and position throughout that period and hard for them to take timely actions based on that information. 

 

Cloud technologies are changing all of this, giving savvy business owners the ability to access their live and up-to-the-moment financial information from anywhere at any time and on any device.

 

This ability to provide business owners with a real-time view of their financial performance has the potential to change the way they think about their business and, in particular, the timeliness with which they act to optimize the performance of their business.

 

What does all this mean for accountants and their clients across the country? Cloud technologies are setting a new benchmark for what entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses should expect from their accountant. No longer should a business owner expect to wait until after month, quarter or even year end to know how their business performed during that period. Real-time, online accounting makes everything faster and simpler.

 

If you’re thinking about how to migrate your business to the cloud, here are five things to consider:

  1. A system with an open architecture will allow you to work with other apps, which is important as your business changes and grows.
  2. Is there a way to see everything in a snapshot across your business? Do the apps you choose work together to give you the insights you need via a simple, intuitive dashboard or the like?
  3. Make sure you have a clear understanding of where your data is held; who owns it and how it is available for back up.
  4. Doing nothing is not the answer. Move now so you don’t miss out on the opportunities to gain a key source competitive advantage.

 

If you’re considering this route, give us a call or stop by – we would be happy to give you some advice on what systems may best work for you and your organization.

 

 

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What we do

The services listed below are surely not exhaustive, but they list our core business functions.

 

KEY SERVICES

  • On-Demand Accounting Services
  • Accounting and Financial Statement Preparation
  • Financial and Operational Consulting
  • Business Valuations and Litigation Support
  • Business Process Outsourcing

CLIENT PROFILE

  • Privately held company with annual sales from $2,000,000 to $60,000,000
  • We are active in most industry sectors, including: manufacturing, aerospace, professional services, construction, distribution, transportation, retail, Plumbing & HVAC.

WE ARE DIFFERENT, BECAUSE WE…

  • Focus on meaningful business matters
  • Go beyond the typical statutory compliance approach and address real world business problems
  • Are problem solvers with a vast amount of experience and a track record of successes
  • Move most business situations towards a better outcome
  • Are results-driven and do not accept failure as an outcome
  • Are a new-technology trained organization and capitalize on efficiencies produced by this
  • Focus on generating long-term business sustainability and improvement

 

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Standardization with Innovation

As companies grow and mature, a greater need for standardization arises.


Standardized processes provide companies with a meander of benefits beyond cost saving.

 

This standardization establishes a common set of processes so that data and information can travel within the company and be used by other parties.

 

Further, implementing homogenous procedures allows you to better identify pain points in a process. Clearly, standardization is of great benefit.

 

The problem, however, is that as companies institute rules and processes, these often suppress or even outright discourage new ideas. New ideas generation is vital for growth and betterment.

 

Our focus is on process development with the emphasis of continuous improvement. The improvement of a process is part of the iterative approach we take in process development and betterment.

 

We have a saying… Either you are green and growing or ripe and rotten. We strive to maintain a green and growing mantra internally, and with our client companies.

 

How many new ideas have you received from your employees in the last month? 

Let us assist you with changing that to a better outcome. A day without learning is a day lost.

 

 

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I want to sell my business, Where do I start?

A tax client approached us and stated they wanted to sell their business. I said "Tell me more about the business and what you believe would attract a buyer." Further discussion and introspection revealed the business was not in ready-to-sell condition. There were several overlooked items that needed to be attended to, such as there were no procedural manuals documented for future owners, etc.

 

After our consultation, the business was a much better representation of its true value and ended up being offered at a higher price than originally discussed.

 

Many business owners do not know that attributes that attracts qualified business buyers. Most business owners only sell one business in a lifetime. Experienced professional assistance is highly recommended. Get it right the first time!

 

“I thought I knew was doing when it came to selling a business since I’ve done it several times before, Garry showed me a much better process to get a business ready to sell.” –Client Comment  

 

 

We are using QuickBooks but it still will not provide us with the information I want or need!!!

QuickBooks Coaching -  Westlake Village Don't Let QuickBooks Stress You Out

QuickBooks is officially the accounting and managerial software for small to medium sized businesses.  Many companies are sold on the sales pitch that QuickBooks is easy to install then you are off and generating accurate / complete financial information for your company.  This is a great sales approach by Intuit – the maker of QuickBooks software - but not so true.

 

Many times when a company is not obtaining its desired results, the course of action is to buy new software.  This is like having a bad round of golf then going to the pro shop and buying a new set of golf clubs.  This is expensive and will provide little improvement for solving the root cause.

 

Just like most things in life, you get out what you put in.  Purchasing QuickBooks software will not make you an accounting and financial expert.  If set up and used properly, QuickBooks will more than satisfy your business needs.  Without a doubt this is a great software. 

 

We have been involved in the Inuit QuickBooks programs since their inception and have amassed thousands of hours of experience in properly implementing and maintaining this accounting software. Proper software implementation is critical, so do it right the first time and save you and your company the headache of lost time and money. 

 

Once the software is implemented, it is nice to have people who can support your efforts.  We have certified Intuit ProAdvisors on staff ready to respond.

 


Multi Year Income Tax Filing

Garry Jones, CPA Can help Solve Your Tax Obligations Fill Tax Returns On Time

This is a benevolent term for a person or entity that does not file timely income tax returns. The governmental authorities are using databases to track non filers. Then they send notices out and politely remind them they need to file. Many times the non filer ignores the notices.  At that point it can become a criminal offense – willful failure to file an income tax return. This is a much more serious matter than just not paying income taxes.

 

Proper handling of these matters can result in getting the taxpayer filed current and in some type of payment plan.  Improper handling of the matter can result in incarceration.  Free room and board is not so appealing.

 

The choice should be easy – get experienced professional help, attend to the matter and get on with the better events in your life.

 

Nothing feels better than taking action on a nagging obligation.

 

 

IRS Highlights Simplified Home Office Deduction

• Taxpayers may elect the simplified method when they file their 2013 return. If they use this method to claim the home office deduction, they will not need to calculate the deduction based on actual expenses, but instead multiply the square footage of the home office by a prescribed rate of $5 per square foot of the part of the home used for business. The maximum allowed is 300 square feet, meaning that the most a client can deduct using the new method is $1,500 per year.

 

• Taxpayers may choose either the simplified method or the actual expense method for any tax year. Once they use a method for a specific tax year, they cannot later change to the other method for that same year.

 

• If a taxpayer uses the simplified method and they owns their home, they cannot depreciate the home office but can still deduct other qualified home expenses, such as mortgage interest and real estate taxes. They will not need to allocate these expenses between personal and business use, but this allocation is required if they use the actual-expense method. These deductions are claimed on Schedule A.

 

• Taxpayers can still fully deduct business expenses unrelated to the home if they use the simplified method, such as advertising, supplies and employees’ wages.

 

• If a taxpayers uses more than one home with a qualified home office in the same year, they can use the simplified method for only one in that year. They may use the simplified method for one and actual expenses for any others in that year.

 

Making You and Your Business Getting Stronger...

Many of us own a business or work for one. We seem to be in search of a better future and eliminating life’s extremes. How can we do that?

 

One way is to get stronger.  The stronger you or your business is the more likely you will survive, prosper and potentially gain value.

 

Why should we make the business stronger?

 

How do we get a business stronger?

 

In summary we have a good grasp on providing CFO Level Financial Statements and reducing costly errors in your accounting system. With over 25 years of experience, Garry A. Jones & Associates can provide a user friendly approach to help maintain greater decision making knowledge and accuracy of your financial situation. Let’s talk about some of your important matters.

 


FBARs – Could foreign accounts be affecting you?

 

An FBAR is a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts  which must be filed annually by a United States “person” who has an interest in, signature power, or other authority over one or more financial accounts in a foreign country that have an aggregate value of more than $10,000 at any time in a calendar year.  United States “persons” include:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Lawful permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Individuals with visas who meet the IRS definition of "resident"
  • Certain business entities
  • Certain trusts and estates

Financial accounts include:

  • Bank accounts (savings, checking, time deposits)
  • Mutual funds
  • Brokerage accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Pension accounts
  • Accounts for which an individual has a power of attorney or signatory power even if s/he doesn't own the account
  • Life insurance policies with cash surrender values 

Financial accounts do not include individual shares of stock held directly, real estate, art and many other assets.

FBARs must be filed with the Treasury Department in Detroit, Michigan by June 30th following each calendar year in which the accounts were valued at more than $10,000. 


There are fines and penalties for failing to file FBARs which, in some circumstances, can exceed the value of the accounts. There are also criminal penalties. 

 

Tax Mistakes to Avoid...

 

Filing, time extension and payments

  • An Extension of Time to File is one way to extend your obligation to file your income tax returns. That extension must be timely and proper.
  • Calendar year ending corporations’ income tax filings are required to be filed by March 15, LLCs and individuals by April 15.
  • Please Note: An extension of time to file does not extend your time to pay. Unpaid taxes are subject to penalty and interest assessments.
  • Filing and paying are two distinct functions.  One should always file timely.

 

Poor Records

If you are continually filing an extension in efforts to allow yourself more time to file each year, a question needs to be asked. Why?

Generally, insufficient record keeping can be an underlying cause. If you are a business, filing for an extension more questions must be asked, and the underlying reason may be more complex. How are you running your business without current and accurate financial information?

Using income tax returns for effective management decision making is like baking cookies using a smoke alarm! Not a good idea.

 

Business Tax returns and Individual Income Tax Returns

  • Not all income tax preparers are qualified to prepare all types of income tax returns.
  • Business returns are more complicated and generally require greater expertise. 
  • Make sure you get a qualified professional to do the proper job to meet your needs.  Missed deductions and unneeded IRS audits are painful, but they can be managed by taking the proper actions.

Income Tax Matters

 

Another tax reporting deadline is upon us.  Some things we should consider…

 

These are only a limited selection of the thought processes our team applies when preparing income tax returns.

 

We train all year for taxes, and we are ready to help you!

 

  • Deductions and how to prove and protect them
  • Dependents – who are they and what are the qualifications?
  • Charitable donations - know the restrictive rules if you donate larger amounts (especially non-cash donations)
  • A second home can be a deduction – collect your documents!
  • Investment interest and expenses – careful planning is required
  • Home office deductions – what do I need to do in order to qualify?
  • Cell phone reimbursement – a new way to get some tax free money
  • Sub Chapter S corporations – are you taking advantage of all the possibilities?
  • Suspended losses from real estate, pass through entities – how can we free them up for current utilization?

 

Our goal is to maximize these opportunities in order to minimize your income tax liabilities.

Taxes and Recent Changes 

 

Several popular business tax provisions were set to expire at the end of 2012. For example, small business expensing under Internal Revenue Code Section 179 was increased retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, and extended through 2013. The dollar limit that can be expensed in 2012 and 2013 is $500,000 and there is a $2 million investment limit. You also can make use of the 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold improvements, retail improvements and restaurant property until the end of 2013. 

 

Many other business tax benefits that had expired or were set to expire were extended through 2013, including:

 

  • The 50% bonus depreciation
  • The Section 41 research tax credit
  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring veterans and other individuals who meet specific criteria
  • The 100% exclusion for gains on a sale of small business stock
  • Special tax incentives for businesses located in empowerment zones
  • Rules on S corporations making charitable donations of property

 

Of course, small business owners will also be affected by many of the provisions of the law governing individuals. For example:

 

  • Taxpayers will pay a new 39.6% rate on individual incomes of more than $400,000 and on incomes of more than $450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. All other existing rates remain the same. The income you receive from a partnership or S corporation will be subject to rates as high as 39.6%. Corporate income for C corporations remains at 35%, which means it may be worthwhile to evaluate a change in the form of your business to avoid the highest individual rate.

 

  • The same individuals who are subject to the new 39.6% top rate on income face a 20% rate on capital gains and dividends, up from 15%.  
  • The phase-out levels for personal exemptions and itemized deductions are raised to $300,000 for married couples and surviving spouses and $250,000 for individuals.
  • After years of late-year alternative minimum tax “patches,” the new law permanently indexes the AMT to inflation.
  • The law did not extend the 2% cut for the employees’ portion of the Social Security payroll tax, which means it reverts to 6.2% on income up to $113,700 in 2013.
  • After years of uncertainty, the new law holds the estate and gift tax exclusion at $5 million, indexed for inflation ($5.12 million in 2012). The top tax rate jumped to 40% from 35% as of Jan. 1, 2013. Without this change, it would have soared to 55% and estates worth over $1 million would be subject to that rate. The act also made permanent the estate tax portability election, which allows a surviving spouse to use a deceased spouse’s unused exemption amount.
  • Business owners struggling to pay their home mortgages — or whose home values have fallen below their purchase price — get another year of tax relief on any “indebtedness income” they may receive as a result of a loan modification or short sale.

 

Also, some taxpayers who have net investment income face a 3.8% surtax on categories of certain investment income, potentially increasing their top rate to 43.4%. This tax already was slated to go into effect as a result of health care reform.

 

In addition to preparing your return in a way that maximizes tax advantages for your business, we are available after tax season to advise you on strategies and planning decisions that will help minimize taxes and meet your financial goals. Planning is particularly important because the law preserved several popular provisions that are set to expire at the end of this year.

 

Why Hire A CFF?

A few of you may have noticed that during the past year I added some additional credentials behind my name. Yes, they are real and official!

 

These credentials are the professions the AICPA (the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) attempt to qualify and identify specific CPA skill sets. Believe it or not, we are not all alike.

 

The CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics) designation indicates that the CPA possesses certain skill sets, has undergone testing to prove such and is required to take additional ongoing educational courses, in addition to those educational courses needed to maintain the CPA license.

 

This is a relatively new certification. I have been actively practicing in many of the covered areas for a number of years but it was nice to obtain the designation as recognition of accomplishment as well as an identified provider of specific services.

 

In summary, those general service areas are:

  • Bankruptcy and Insolvency matters
  • Economic Damages calculations
  • Computer Forensics analysis
  • Family law matters
  • Valuations - including businesses
  • Financial statement misrepresentation
  • Fraud - prevention & detection

You know a couple of new facts - what CFF means and stands for and also where to get those services.

 

If you or an acquaintance of yours is interested in any of those services I would welcome the inquiry.

Important Tax Issues

If you have been saving in a tax deferred retirement plan chances are you were hoping that your future tax liability would be less than or equal to the tax saving you received when making the plan contributions. That may very well be the case. However, with tax rates almost assuredly going up in one aspect or another in the coming year, you may want to consider converting your plan to a ROTH IRS and lock in the current year tax rates.

 

This may be done via a complete or partial conversion. A conversion may be even more beneficial for those nearing retirement in the near future. A quick discussion with your CPA or advisor should be able to let you know whether you would receive any benefit and an approximation of the savings.

 

Also, beginning 1/1/13 there is a new 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income of individuals, trusts, and estates. The tax applies to income typically exempt from regular FICA or self-employment taxes. Talking with your CPA is very important to limit the impact of this new tax. The tax will require sophisticated tax planning, both before and after it goes into effect.

 

Ready to Sell or Just Ready to Enjoy?

Is your business in a ready to sell condition? - Operations running and performing smoothly, corporate minutes and stock registers up to date, leases and other documents in the files, an established banking relationship, timely and accurate financial reporting, the proper people in the proper places and performing well, etc.?

 

It is difficult state to obtain but it should be the goal. You should run your business like it is going to be sold. Why? Basically you would receieve a better current return on investment, fewer headaches, you will have a long and established good performance history that substantiates a better value calculation, and you will not be scrambling to make patches and repairs - an indication of fore thought and planning.

 

The business is usually a substantial asset in the small businessman's total net worth. It deserves special attention as it will then yield substantial value benefits.

 

We have a process to accomplish this. We would welcome a discussion of how to maximize the current and future value of your business.

Tax Planning Time Is Now

This year accurate tax planning will be far more complicated than in previous years. The Bush-era tax cuts (passed in 2001 and 2003 and extended once again for two more years in 2010) are scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. Congress, as much as it has delayed action, will have to make a decision about taxes even as it is facing other important issues of the impending post-election show down over the "fiscal cliff", issues that could slow down the economy and shut down government.

 

Regardless of what Congress does late this year or early the next, there are solid tax savings to be realized by taking advantage of tax breaks that are on the books for 2012 but may be gone next year unless they are extended by Congress. When the rules are changing, there are pitfalls and opportunities that can make a difference in the taxes you pay. Tax planning for 2012 and 2013 is absolutely essential if you want to minimize your tax bill.

 

Here's a quick review of the major tax changes that are scheduled to occur after 2012.

  • The 10% through 35% current income tax brackets will increase to 15% through 39.6%
  • The qualified dividends rate will increase from 15% to 39.6%
  • The current long-term capital gains tax rate of 15% will increase to 20%
  • The special zero percent tax rate for long-term capital gains will have expired
  • Marriage penalties will increase
  • High-income taxpayers will once again have their itemized deductions and personal exemptions phased out
  • Education tax breaks will expire or be reduced
  • The child tax credit, currently at $1,000 per child, will be reduced to $500

 

Additionally, if you are a wage earner or subject to self-employment taxes, the 2% payroll tax cut for employees will end after 2012. This will have an immediate impact on your net take home pay.

 

5 Things I Rarely Hear Clients Say...

1. We adressed that problem too soon - most problems would yield a better outcome if dealt with sooner. Waiting just allows time for the problem to grow.

 

2. I am glad I ignored those tax notices - a quick response to IRS and other notices can stave off unwanted actions including credit damage, seizer of accounts and additional penalties. These guys are serious and require a timely response.

 

3. My accounting records are up to date and extremly accurate - all well run companies should be reviewing current accounting results and changing behaviors in order to maximize results.

 

4. You did not charge me enough - good professionals are usually somewhat pricey. The better way to look at an event is what might it cost if I did not attend to this matter? Then compare that with the cost one may pay to have the problem professionally solved.

 

5. There is no need for improvement in my company - taking care of an improving your business never stops. It is a perpetual and ongoing process. Make sure you are constantly thinking about and acting on making your business better.

Getting Paid Is Getting More Difficult

A recent study verified what most business owners thought true. Businesses are paying business obligations slower. Both larger businesses and smaller businesses slowed the average payments by about 2 days and 6 days respectively during the 2011 measurement period. That has a direct negative impact on incoming cash flow.

 

I regularly receive phone calls from businesses relaying that their cash flow is getting tighter. This can be amplified even more if sales are decreasing. One could end up in an unimaginable situation - profitable but insolvent!

 

Let us assist you in managing your cash flow situation. There is no one magic technique but many minor techniques that can achieve better cash flow and management. We call it “better business behavior”.

 

Contact us for professional guidance, the sooner the better. You will enjoy the change.

Do You Know the Cost of Your Product or Service?

Product or service costing is a business essential. One cannot effectively manage results if you do not know your costs. Guessing or estimating may lead to disastrous outcomes, especially as the company grows. All successful businesses have a handle on their cost and this can better manage profitability.

 

Costing and tracking procedures are not that difficult to implement and maintain. You need a defined process (we provide this) and some discipline (you will need to provide this).

 

Knowledge is power. Know your costs. Contact us for a practical solution.

Better to Call Us A Month Early, Than A Day Too Late

Why don’t we address problems on a timely fashion? 

 

Generally the real reasons are – I don’t know what the next step is or I fear that I will fail.

 

This behavior appears to be programmed into the human DNA. It is not good trait and needs to be managed.

 

Problems left alone generally do not cure themselves. Call in a professional to assist you and get moving forward. Stored problems are like barnacles on a boat. They impede forward progress.

 

Collaborative problem solving is a very powerful tool. If you have unsolved problems, need some seasoned professional assistance and want to do so in a positive collaborative environment, contact us for a discussion.

 

Take a step towards resolution and forward progress!

 

 

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Garry A. Jones & Associates

Business Advisors and CPAs

2815 Townsgate Road

Suite 125

Westlake Village, CA 91361

 

(805) 778-1858  Phone

(805) 778-1859  Fax

 

Garry@JonesCPA.net

 

 

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