Friday, February 2, 2018

REVERSE MORTGAGE – Don’t say yes until you read this


There’s no doubt you’ve seen TV advertisements telling seniors that their lives could improve if they use reverse mortgages to harvest the equity in their homes. They go on to tell you that you can free up money to take an expensive trip, remodel your home or just have fun. It sounds appealing — but is it worth it?
 What is a reverse mortgage?
As the name implies, a reverse mortgage is the opposite of a traditional mortgage. With a traditional mortgage, you borrow a sum of money to purchase a home and then pay off the debt over time.
 With a reverse mortgage, you receive loan proceeds (as a lump-sum payout, an annuity, a line of credit or a combination of all three) but make no payments as long as you reside in the property. The loan, with any accrued interest, comes due when you move out or pass away. To qualify for a reverse mortgage you need to be 62 or older, own your residence and generally have significant equity in your home.
 Unfortunately, reports of abuse regarding aggressive and predatory sales practices are common. Here are a few items to analyze if you’re thinking about a reverse mortgage:
  •  Determine if a reverse mortgage is logical for your situation. Evaluate alternatives. Conventional solutions such as a home-equity loan might be a better answer.

  •  Consider the financial ramifications. Reverse mortgages can be expensive. Upfront fees are significant. If you stay in your home just a few years, the effective interest rate can be very high.

  •  Be wary of bundled sales pitches. Commission-driven salesmen can push life insurance or various annuity products along with a reverse mortgage. You could end up with products you don’t need.
If you are considering a reverse mortgage, call us. We can help you determine potential tax issues, plus other alternatives. 
For More Info : Bookkeeping services NJ

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Payroll Fraud – Is your business susceptible?


Unless a small business owner handles all aspects of computing and paying payroll, there is room for fraud. Even if your company has only a few employees — it does not guarantee your funds will be safe.
How payroll fraud happens
Perhaps one of the easiest payroll fraud techniques is the overpayment of withholding or payroll taxes. Your bookkeeper simply overpays the government. When the refund check arrives, the employee deposits it to his or her personal account.
In some cases, the employee will have an account at a different bank but in the company name. Such an account could be used for the fraudulent deposit of other company receipts as well.
The greater the number of employees, the easier it is for someone to pull off a scam. Perhaps the payroll clerk has invented a fictitious employee or falsifies hours or commissions for a cooperating employee who shares the stolen funds. Or perhaps the employee holds the payroll deposit funds in his or her own interest-bearing account until it is time to make the payroll deposit to the government.
How to prevent payroll fraud
Small businesses can be exceptionally susceptible to payroll fraud because they often lack anti-fraud controls that larger organizations have in place. Here’s a few ways you can work toward preventing this type of fraud:
  • Get outside help. A payroll review by an independent accountant may help prevent employee schemes.
  • Divvy up duties. Even in small companies, it is possible to divide office tasks to make employee theft more difficult.
  • Limit payroll access. Figure out who needs to have access to payroll data. That list will likely be very small. Make sure it stays that way.
  • Offer direct deposit. No paper checks means less opportunities for employees to handle funds, meaning greater security all around.
 Want to make sure your business is protected? Call us today to discuss countermeasures, specific to your business, to prevent such fraud from occurring.
For More Info : Bookkeeping services NJ

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nanny Tax – Ignorance isn’t a good excuse


As you review your filing requirements for 2018, make sure you don’t overlook the nanny tax related to household employees. If you have a housekeeper or any other household employee, you could be liable to pay state and federal payroll taxes.
 How to know if you must pay the nanny tax
First, you’ll need to determine whether you have a household employee. Generally, this is someone you hire to work in or around your house. It could be a babysitter, nurse, gardener, etc. It doesn’t matter whether they work part-time or full-time, or whether you pay them hourly, weekly, or by the job.
But not everyone who works around your house is an employee. For example, if a lawn service sends someone to cut your grass each week, that person is not your employee.
As a general rule, workers who bring their own tools, do work for multiple customers and/or control when and how they do the work are not your household employees.
Your responsibilities
If you have a household employee, you’ll generally be responsible for 2017 payroll taxes if you paid that individual more than $2,000 last year. However, federal unemployment tax kicks in if you pay more than $1,000 to all domestic employees in any quarter.
It’s not always easy to tell whether you have a household employee, or whether exceptions apply. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to call our office. We’re here to help you in any way we can.

For More Info : Bookkeeping services NJ

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Tax-Time Review


Now is the perfect time to review your financial affairs. You have to gather information to prepare your tax return at this time. Why not take one more step and do something positive for the wellbeing of your wallet?

The following suggestions will help you with your financial review:

  • Talk to your family. You should factor in the financial decisions and goals of your spouse and children.

  • Put your financial goals in writing. Figure out how much money you’ll need to meet each goal, when you’ll need it and how you’ll get it.

  • Create a net worth statement. Create a list of your assets and debts, and compare it to last year’s statement. Are you gaining ground or losing it?

  • Review investment performance. Weigh your investment performance minus the effects of inflation, and compare your progress with your goals. Determine what investments are worth it and what may need to change this year.

  • Protect what you have. Consider the risks of your financial strategies. Your long-term goals may be unobtainable if you lose your present assets or your income potential.

  • Determine if you need the insurance you have — or if you’re missing something. Don’t duplicate employer-provided coverage. Review your coverage annually; don’t just automatically renew policies.

  • Review your will and your estate plan. Did your situation change during 2017? Make appropriate changes to your will and estate plan if it did. Stay informed about the 2018 tax reform changes that affect your plan.

Need help creating an effective 2018 tax strategy for your situation? BAS can help! Give us a call today.
For More Info : Bookkeeping services NJ

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Is it time to update your beneficiary list?



It’s not uncommon to lose track of your beneficiaries, including which accounts have them, and who you designated. However, it is important to keep them current.
Make your beneficiary designations a priority
When you designate a beneficiary for an account, that person inherits the assets in the account, regardless of what your will says. That’s why updating your will periodically may not be enough.
Typically, you’ll have beneficiaries for each of your IRAs, your 401(k) or other retirement plans, annuities and insurance policies. Your designations could be out of date just because of life’s changes. Since you made your initial choices, you may have married, had children or divorced. Some of the beneficiaries you chose could have died, divorced or married. Their circumstances could have changed so you no longer want them to be the beneficiary.
Tax laws change frequently as well, and they can have an impact on your choices. Choosing the wrong beneficiary, or failing to name a contingent beneficiary, can affect the long-term value of your IRA assets after you die. That’s why it’s important to review your choices with tax consequences in mind.
How to update your designations
At a minimum, you should have copies of your beneficiary designations in one place. If you don’t, call the trustees of your retirement accounts and your insurance agent and request copies.
Then review the documents and decide what changes you’d like to make. Make an appointment to review your decisions with your tax- and estate-planning advisor. Discuss matters such as naming secondary beneficiaries and whether to name your estate as a beneficiary (which is sometimes not a good idea).


Finally, send your changes to the account trustee, ask for a confirmation, and keep copies in your records. If you have questions about tax consequences or other tax matters related to your estate, call our office.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Your Business’ Annual Health Check


Business owners and managers spend most of their time monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems. But just as an annual checkup from your doctor helps monitor and manage your personal health, an annual checkup can do the same for your business.
Here are seven checkup tasks that you should make time to do every year. These are important for your long-term business health and personal success:
  1. Review your business insurance coverage. Don’t just automatically write a check to renew your insurance policies when they come due. Instead, you should sit down with your insurance agent every year. Review your business operations, focusing on any changes. Discuss types of risk that could arise. And ask about new developments in business insurance.
  2. Look at your business tax strategy. Consider adjusting taxable earnings for the year, perhaps by accelerating expenses or delaying income at year-end. If you’re a cash-basis taxpayer, you could boost 2017 deductions by declaring and paying bonuses in December rather than in early January. Also, you may be able to defer invoices or make early purchases to reduce your 2017 tax bill.
  3. Survey your customers. An annual customer satisfaction survey is a great way to assess performance, get insight on potential new products or services and to let your customers know how much you value their business.
  4. Determine your marketing effectiveness. Are your current methods and channels working well, or are you simply doing what you’ve always done?
  5. Update succession planning for your business. Review your succession planning annually. You should have a specific plan for each key manager position, including yourself. Be prepared for a short-term absence or a permanent vacancy. Your plan may include promoting from within or recruiting externally.
  6. Review your business banking relationships. Every year you should go over your cash balances and banking relationships with your controller, CFO or accountant. Then meet with your banker. Ask about new products or services that could help your company. Address any service concerns or problems you might have had. And look for ways to boost interest earned and improve cash flow.
  7. Update your personal estate planning (if needed). If you’re a business owner, your company is likely to be a significant part of your estate. Your company, your personal circumstances and the tax laws are continually changing. You should take time each year to make sure your plans are current.
If you are serious about improving your business, consider a yearly assessment of your operation. Give us a call to learn more about how you can put your business in the best tax position possible for 2018.
For More Info : Bookkeeping services NJ

Monday, December 25, 2017

5 Year-End Tax Tips


The clock is ticking down to 2018 … but you still have a few weeks left to make some last-minute tax moves. Take a look at these five tips and save a little more this year.


  1. Check the amount of 2017 tax you have prepaid through withholding and quarterly estimates ASAP.If you’ve underpaid, consider increasing your withholding before year-end. Withholding is considered to have been paid evenly throughout the year. This is to help prevent you being charged underpayment penalties for 2017.
  2. Make sure you have the correct tax status. If you got married or divorced this year, be aware that your marital status as of Dec. 31 determines your tax status for the whole year. If you are in the process of a marital status change, know that altering the dates of a year-end event to the new year may affect your taxes.
  3. Plan for losses. Check your basis in any S corporation in which you are a shareholder and where you expect a loss this year. Be sure you have sufficient basis to enable you to take the loss on your tax return.
  4. Use this year’s annual gift tax exclusion. If you make annual gifts to family members or others, make sure you complete your gifts for 2017 by Dec. 31.
  5. Consider equipment purchases before Dec. 31. Taxpayers must usually deduct the cost of business property over several years. The Section 179 election allows taxpayers to expense up to $510,000 of new and used property purchased and put into service in 2017. Property such as machinery, equipment and furnishings usually qualify. Be careful with special rules that apply to vehicles and personal computers.
Contact our office today if you’d like more tips or have questions about year-end tax savings.
For More Info : Bookkeeping services NJ