3 Tax preparation Tips

As the tax season is upon us, it is wise to be well-prepared instead of scrambling at the last minute, with sweaty palms and fingers crossed, hoping everything “goes through” okay. If you need any help applying these tips, our organized, highly-trained staff is here to keep your business records on track to keep this process more stream-lined for you.

1. Maintain complete correct records. You may hear this from tax professionals all year long, but proper record-keeping year-round is the first step to ensure that your taxes are filed accurately. It also helps to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork and receipts to back-up your deduction claims in case you are audited. Use an accounting or software program that can help you centralize and track your income and expenditures so that your expenses are easy to deduct when the time comes.

2. Understand deductions. As a small business, what deductions can you take? You should not only know what your options are, but you should also have documentation and receipts to back them up. Tax credits and deductions change year by year, so we will not list them all here, but you should be able to write off business operating expenses, large expenses, and even personal expenses. Both your CPA and your current tax software can help guide you through these deductions by asking you questions. (This is why tip 1 is so important.)

3. Determine who is best-qualified to prepare your taxes. Many businesses hire a CPA, but it is common for sole proprietors, home-based business owners, or freelancers to prepare taxes themselves using a software program. Be aware, however, that not all software programs accommodate business tax filers, particularly those who need to file Schedule C. Before you purchase or sign up for a service, make sure it supports common business forms; some of these include Turbo Tax, H&R Block, and TaxAct. If you decide to entrust this job with a CPA, make sure you research his or her credentials, and find out how they have been reviewed by previous customers.

If you know of a tip, blog, or article that may help fellow business men and business women be more prepared to file their taxes this year, please leave them in the comments below. If we can help you maintain your records, please give us a call.

Post originally written by Bodhi Leaf Media for www.journeybookkeeping.com


Which Business Entity is Right for You?

If you are starting a new business, congratulations! This is a huge and exciting part of your professional life, and we are here to help navigate some of those testy new-business waters.

One of the first steps in starting your business is choosing which business entity is right for you so that you can begin and maintain the proper tax and bookkeeping records. You will want to carefully study and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each business type to determine which is best for you, but here is a short description of each.

You have 4 choices: DBA Regular or C-Corporation S-Corporation Limited Liability Company

A DBA, also known as a “sole proprietorship”, “Doing Business As” or a “Fictitious Name” is basically described as a business that is not separate from its owner; the business simply operates under another name for the owner. This means that the owner is personally liable for the company and its debt, and all income becomes an extension of the owner’s personal tax returns. If there is more than one owner, then the business is called a “General Partnership”. This business entity is easy to set up and maintain, but if you plan to operate beyond your city or county, keep in mind that a DBA is not recognized at state level.

A Regular Corporation or C-Corporation is a separate legal entity from its owner, protecting him from personal liability and company debt. As a separate entity, it can buy real estate, enter into contracts, pursue legal action, money can be raised via stocks, ownership may be transferred, the business may continue regardless of ownership, and tax advantages are definitely worth investigating.  Operating a corporation requires holding a yearly Directors and Shareholders meeting, keeping written minutes, and maintaining corporate compliance as set forth in the Corporate Bylaws. This business entity is more expensive than a DBA, but is one of the oldest and most successful types of business entities because it conveys permanence and has many tax, healthcare and travel  benefits.

Once a corporation has been formed, it may choose to attain “S-Corporation Status” by adopting specific regulations and submitting a form to the IRS. This allows a corporation to be taxed as a partnership or sole proprietorship, meaning the income is passed through to the share-holders for the purpose of computing tax returns. Most new small corporations choose this status so that profits and losses can be added to shareholders’ personal tax returns without having to pay taxes on profits twice (once when profits are made and once when they are returned to shareholders as income or dividends). This is the main reason S-Corporations were created, and is very beneficial for tax reasons. However, S-Corporations cannot deduct many of their expenses, such as health insurance, travel, entertainment, etc. They are also restricted to 100 shareholders or fewer, all shareholders must be US citizens, and these businesses cannot be owned by other business entities. They require a lot of paperwork and formalities, and they are expensive to set up, so it is important to weigh the costs before beginning this type of business..

An LLC or Limited Liability Company is popular because it provides the protection of a corporation, but allows operation without the formalities; thus it are more of a hybrid of a corporation and a partnership (or DBA). An LLC provides easy management, allows “pass-through” taxation as with a DBA, combined with the liability protection of a Corporation. There is no stock or share-holders, so there are no stock regulations to adhere to, and there are few formalities aside form requiring an “Operating Agreement” or rules for operating the company. The ease of management and limited compliance requirements make LLC’s user-friendly and have become the top entity of choice for 1-5 person start up businesses.

Once you have made your entity choice and you area ready to set up your books, please contact us to see how we can further assist you.

Post originally written by Bodhi Leaf Media for www.journeybookkeeping.com

Fun Bookkeeping Facts

Though bookkeeping is a quiet profession, there are some exciting facts behind its history. We at Journey Bookkeeping like to keep things interesting, so we dug up some fun factoids about the business that should make you smile, which is what we like to do for our clients.

The first book on double-entry accounting was written by friar Luca Bartolomeo, an Italian mathematician in 1494. Though bookkeeping had been around for centuries, his 27-page book on the subject earned him the title “Father of Modern Accounting”.

The ancient Romans were so obsessed with record keeping that their military bases kept detailed accounts of thing such as how much grain was in their stores and how many nails were in their workshops. We aren’t sure how detailed of a report you could create, but it would be interesting to read.

The only words with three consecutive double letters are “bookkeeping” and “bookkeeper”.

New York State gave its first certified public accountant (CPA) exam in 1896.

Bubblegum, one of our favorite treats to enjoy today was invented in 1928 by Walter Dimer, an accountant.

The FBI holds accountants in such high regard that they have more than 1400 among its special agents. Accountants and bookkeepers are pretty intelligent.

The term “bean counter” has been thought of as an ancient term used to describe a detail-oriented bookkeeper, but actually, this term originated in the 1970’s.

Celebrities who began their careers as accountants, bookkeepers, or CPA’s include Ultimate Fighting Chamption Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, jazz artist Kenny G., comedian Bob Newhart, author John Grisham, Rolling Stones’ front man Mick Jagger and singer Janet Jackson.

Since 1935, a team of CPAs has spent on average of 1700 hours prior to Oscar night counting the Academy Awards ballots by hand. Two lucky accountants from the Academy’s firm even get to make a live appearance during the broadcast, dressed to the nines (we love numbers).

If you’re looking for a safe job, professions in the accounting industry are in the top 10. We wonder if this includes accountants who work for the FBI.

Leonardo da Vinci invented a prototype of a computer-machine that used 13 wheels to register numerical digits.

Adding machines weren’t invented until the late 1800’s, and real computing machines weren’t introduced to businesses until the 1940’s. Even then, they took up an entire room, and their computing abilities were far inferior to today’s devices, such as our mobile phones. When calculators were finally invented, we bookkeepers were among the first to use them, along with scientists.

Do you know of any other fun bookkeeping facts?

For any questions or comments regarding bookkeeping or how we can help, please email us at info@journeybookkeeping.com.

Post originally written by Bodhi Leaf Media for www.journeybookkeeping.com