Friday, July 6, 2018

5 questions to ask before starting a home-based business

A lot of people consider self-employment because they’ve lost their seemingly stable jobs in the corporate world. Others just dream of making it on their own. As online marketing becomes easier and more accessible, and employees discover the advantages of telecommuting, home-based work alternatives are becoming increasingly attractive.
If running a business out of your home sounds good to you, don’t quit your day job just yet. Take time to fully investigate the pluses, minuses and ramifications of starting your own home-based business. Here are five questions to consider:
  • Is there a market for your product or service? Just because your coworkers or relatives rave about your new business idea, don’t assume that everyone shares their enthusiasm. You’ll need to rely on a variety of marketing tactics to get the word out about your business, especially if you won’t have a brick-and-mortar location that will naturally pique customer interest in your community.
  • Are you excited about your business idea? To be successful, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to your business day in and day out. If you aren’t enthusiastic deep down about your firm’s product or service, you may find it difficult to weather the storms that confront every business.
  • Is it a good fit for you? If you don’t like working with the public, a retail business probably doesn’t make sense for you. Or perhaps your business will require hours in front of a computer. If your forte is face-to-face interaction with people and not holing up in your house for hours, you may need to rethink your strategy.
  • How will you allocate time for the business? For many people, a home-based business is convenient and often begins as a part-time venture. Do you have the discipline to stick to a work schedule when your TV is staring at you from the living room? Allocating a specific room for business (with a door!) will help you compartmentalize work life and home life.
  • How will you finance startup costs? As a general rule, you should have funds set aside to cover at least six months of your home-based operating expenses. Without an adequate financial buffer, you may spend many unproductive hours just trying to keep the business afloat.
For those willing to take the plunge, a home-based business can provide great satisfaction. But as with any business venture, it pays to do your homework. If you would like to discuss issues related to starting a business, give us a call.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Want a profitable business? Focus on customer service

Indeed, even with the best of aims, numerous organizations talk up client benefit yet don't really convey. So as to truly give extraordinary client benefit, each worker should be tuned in to how he or she can add to hold clients returning over and over. This at last influences the net benefit of any business.

Client benefit incorporates each component of the business exchange between your business and a client. In spite of the fact that you may consider client benefit simply an issue of being obliging to clients, it really includes a few different contemplations, including:
  • Being honest in publicizing your item or administration
  • Giving an item or administration that meets or surpasses client desires
  • Being instant in conveying your item or administration
  • Telling clients you value their business
  • Taking care of client dissensions or different concerns instantly and affably
  • Being courteous and happy in managing clients – notwithstanding when they are "simply looking" rather than purchasing
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Audit-proof your shareholder loan

If you’re a business owner and your company lends you money, you’ll enter it in the books as a shareholder loan. However, if your return is audited, the IRS will scrutinize the loan to see whether it is really disguised wages or a dividend taxable to you as income.
Knowing what the IRS might look at may be useful when you structure the arrangement. Here are some items that will be considered if you’re audited:
  • Your relationship with the business. First, the IRS will look at your relationship to the company. If you’re the sole shareholder with full control over earnings, that may weaken your case that the loan is genuine. On the other hand, if you’re one of several shareholders and none of the others received similar payments, that suggests it may be a genuine loan.
  • Loan details. The IRS will want to know all the details related to your loan. This may include whether or not you signed a formal promissory note, if you pledge any security against the loan and if the loan has a specific maturity date or a repayment schedule. Other questions may come up about the rate of interest you’re paying and if you missed any payments. The more businesslike the terms of the loan, the more it will appear to be a genuine debt.
  • Other financial details. In addition to loan specifics, the IRS may ask you if your company is paying you a salary that’s in line with the work you perform, and if the company pays dividends.
Whether the IRS taxes you on the loan will depend on all these factors. If you’ve paid attention to the details, the loan should withstand IRS scrutiny. Contact us if you’d like more information about getting a loan from your business.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Summer’s a time for vacations and tax planning

It’s tempting to take a break from everything this summer, but you may regret it come tax season if you push off tax planning. Here are some tips to help you keep your head in the game even when your feet are in the pool:
  • If you are a sole proprietor with children, consider putting them on the payroll during the summer months. Wages paid to your children under age 18 are not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. What’s more, their earnings are not subject to federal unemployment tax until they turn 21.
If employing your children is not an option, you might still be able to score a deduction by sending them to summer camp. Day camp expenses for kids under 13 can provide a tax credit of up to 35 percent. Just remember, overnight camps do not qualify, and usually both parents must work to claim this credit.
  • Keep in mind that tax deductions for moving have been limited. The recent tax code changes have eliminated the moving expense deduction. That means most taxpayers will no longer be able to deduct moving expenses. There are exceptions to the new rule, so give us a call if you have questions.
  • Business and pleasure can mix – if you follow the rules. Perhaps your sights are set on some leisure travel. Tacking on a few fun days before or after a business trip might be a tax- and cost-efficient way to pay for a vacation. But you have to follow all the rules if you want your business travel to remain tax-deductible. Travel that is primarily for charitable work might also qualify you for a tax deduction.
No matter what your summer plans are, this is always a good time for a general tax checkup to ensure your withholdings and estimated tax payments are on target. For help with any of these issues, contact our office.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

6 ways to avoid credit card catastrophes

Credit cards should be a convenient short-term way to pay, not a source of regular spending. Unfortunately, some people have a hard time staying true to this concept. Instead of paying off the entire balance due on the card each month, they let it grow and pay only the minimum amounts.
If this sounds all too familiar, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and start following these rules:
  • Pay the entire balance due each month.
  • If a balance remains unpaid at month’s end, do not use the card again.
  • Do not use more than one credit card.
  • Do not accept credit cards from specific retail stores.
  • Do not pay off one credit card with another.
  • Do not purchase gifts for people with your credit card. It’s often too easy to let your generosity exceed your ability to pay.
Spending habit monitoring tip: Take your credit card charges and your canceled checks for the past year and sort each charge and canceled check into two piles. One pile is for the “must” payments such as utilities, taxes, medication, rent or mortgage payments. The other pile is for the optional spending, such as meals at restaurants, gifts for people, recreational events or equipment.

Want more cash flow ideas?

Give us a call today and we will be more than happy to discuss specific strategies that are geared to your situation.

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Considering divorce? Think about your tax filing status

The advantage of filing a joint tax return is well known — couples generally save money when compared with filing separately. However, there is at least one potential disadvantage. Both spouses are liable for the entire income tax bill, including interest and penalties, even if one earned most or all of the income.

The joint-filing downfall

This issue most ordinarily emerges when there are unpaid assessments from joint-documenting years, and a couple later isolates or separations. The IRS can seek after either companion for everything. In case you're the least demanding one to discover, or in the event that you have fluid resources, you can wind up paying the whole bill.

At the point when this happens, the main help is known as the pure life partner run the show. On the off chance that you can demonstrate that you had no motivation to speculate assess shortages and you didn't by and by advantage from unreported wage, or that you marked joint returns just under pressure, you may get free. Lamentably, the IRS and the courts don't frequently permit guiltless companion alleviation.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Why a business appraisal may be your best friend

For many business owners, business appraisals can provide vital planning information and help mitigate risk. Consider what it may be able to do for you:
  • Establish a verifiable value for your business. This can show whether assets have appreciated at a reasonable rate. If not, you may need to adjust your firm’s strategy.
  • Create documentation to support new financing. Lenders need strong evidence that their loans are properly secured. A business appraisal can supply that evidence. An independent evaluation of business assets may also encourage lenders to offer favorable interest rates.
  • Set a reasonable selling price. Without a detailed and defensible appraisal, owners selling their businesses sometimes entertain unreasonably low offers. On the other hand, an appraisal can keep owners from overpricing the firm and thus discouraging potential buyers.
  • Avoid litigation after a death. What happens if one owner dies or otherwise leaves his or her share of the business to others? In some cases, litigation follows. To ensure that the remaining owners’ interests are protected, the business needs to be appraised beforehand.
  • Support proper estate planning. If your estate is audited, the IRS is more likely to accept valuations that include a clear and reasoned appraisal. In fact, if discounts are adequately supported by an appraisal, estate taxes may be reduced.
  • Figure out capital gains. For example, if you inherit a business from your father and decide to sell it, the business can be valued as of the date of your father’s death. A good appraisal can help establish a supportable value for the business and may result in lower capital gains taxes.
PLEASE contact our office if you have questions about selling your business. We’re here to help you make the most of it!
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