The Pros and Cons of DIY Tax Audit Advice

  • If the IRS ever tries to question your return, this DIY tax audit advice can help. With millions of other taxpayers across the country, why did your return get selected for an audit? Well, according to the IRS, you were one of many unlucky individuals. For taxes filed in 2017, about 1 million people received audit notifications. That’s 0.5 percent of all returns! So, no, you’re not alone. Here’s the good news, however. Just because the IRS chooses to audit…

    3 Reasons Reliable Bookkeeping Services Should be Part of Your Business Tax Strategies

  • Reliable bookkeeping services will save you time, money, and your sanity the next time you file business taxes. Are you wondering if your business needs to hire bookkeeping services? If you’re trying to manage all of your company’s financial records in-house, you may be in for a rude awakening come tax season. The expertise of a talented bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold. Once you turn your statements over to a third-party service, your only regret will be not…

    What Are the Dangers of Incorporating? Weighing the Pros and Cons

  • Are the dangers of incorporating your business a gamble or a surefire bet? As a business owner, you’ve probably wondered if the risks of incorporating your business outweigh the advantages. The truth is that every small business has a different situation. You should weigh the pros and cons of incorporating to determine if it will benefit your business for the long run. Let’s start with a few of the pros: You’ll Probably Pay Less in Taxes The government taxes individuals…

    How Early is Too Early to Start Your Tax Prep?

  • Beginning tax prep early may save you from a few headaches down the road. Putting off tax prep until tax season rolls around is never a smart idea. However, for many filers, this is their reality each year. Instead of organizing their taxes during the year, most haphazardly prepare them right before the deadline. Don’t follow this poor example. Here is why it’s never too early to start preparing your taxes for next year. Keep Deductions in Order Long gone…

    Why Professional Payroll Services Are a Small Business’s Best Friend

  • Getting professional payroll services for your small business will keep both your employees and the IRS happy. As a small business owner, you may find yourself wondering if the additional expense of payroll services is worth it. What may surprise you is how getting professional payroll services will help you better run your company and keep you sane. Once you hire a third-party payroll provider, the only regret you’ll have is not doing it sooner. Here is why you should…

    6 Things You Need to Know about Online Tax Calculator Estimates

  • Learn the benefits and pitfalls of relying on online tax calculator estimates for your personal tax liability for the year. When it comes time to figure out how much you will owe Uncle Sam this year, you may wonder if online tax calculator estimates are reliable or not. There are a ton of different calculators available. They’re designed to make it easier to determine your personal tax liability. But, do they really work? Here’s what you really need to know…

    Estate Planning Advice You Can Use Now to Help Your Family Later

  • Getting this estate planning advice will ensure your family benefits from your assets for years to come. Do you know what estate planning advice you should put into action? No one knows what tomorrow may bring, which is why you should prepare for anything. With proper estate planning, more of your wealth will go to your family members instead of to the IRS or debt collectors. While it’s difficult to think about the future, planning ahead can mean the difference…

    What Triggers a Tax Audit?

  • Knowing what triggers a tax audit may help you avoid a problem with the IRS this tax season. With tax season looming near, you probably want to know what triggers a tax audit. Even hearing the word audit can make your palms sweat and your pulse race. After filing your taxes, the last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected IRS audit. New tax codes make it especially challenging to avoid IRS problems. However, the good news is…

    How to Incorporate Your Business: What You Should Know

  • Do you know how to incorporate your business? How to incorporate your business, that is the question. If you are in the process of starting a business, it’s an important question, and it’s one you need the right answer to before you get to work. Incorporating your business will help you protect your personal assets from any legal action that your business might face. It also sets you apart and can help boost customer and vendor perception of your business…

    The Top 3 Risky Business Write-Offs You Need to Avoid

  • Are you filing with some risky business write-offs? Risky business write-offs are bad business. If you own a small business, you need to get your taxes right. That includes only taking write-offs you’re entitled to. If there’s one thing that can trigger an audit quicker than you can say “tax time” it’s including write-offs you shouldn’t. How can you tell? Take a look at the top three you need to avoid: #1: Food, Booze, and Entertainment Promoting your company, your…

    Why Now Is the Time to Invest in 2019 Tax Preparation Software

  • Is 2019 tax preparation software your new best friend? Have you invested in 2019 tax preparation software? Word on the street is that now is the time. This might be an especially tempting choice if you own a small business. You want your tax filing to be quick and easy, but even more importantly, you want it to be accurate. But can software really provide everything you need? Before you take the leap, take a look at what tax preparation…

    5 Ways You Can Avoid Tax Errors on Your Personal Taxes

  • How not to make the most common tax errors on your personal taxes this year. Whatever you do, don’t submit your taxes with tax errors! That’s easy to say, but harder to accomplish. This is especially true if you’re trying to tackle your tax prep on your own. But fret not, we are here with some simple ways you can avoid making mistakes when you file your personal taxes. Here are five of the most common tax errors, and how…

    2 Reasons Medicaid Planning Should Be Part of Your Trust and Estate Planning

  • Should you incorporate Medicaid planning into your trust and estate planning? Here are three reasons you should. Longer life expectancy rates and higher costs of elder care mean Medicaid planning is more important now than ever. Seniors - individuals 65 years and older—may qualify for Medicaid, which is a federal-state program that provides assistance for healthcare costs. Taking the time to go through proper Medicaid planning with a trusted expert is a smart move for two primary reasons: #1: Ensure…

    3 Worst Small Business Accounting Mistakes

  • Are you making any of these common small business accounting mistakes? It’s time to get on track for 2019! While there’s no shortage of accounting software and applications available for small businesses today. But in many cases, the increase in their use is leading to an upsurge in small business accounting mistakes. Why? Because instead of turning to an accounting expert to handle their finances each year, small business owners are often giving it a go on their own with…

    What You Should Know about Death and Taxes when Creating Your Trust

  • Up on what you need to know about death and taxes? There are ways you can structure your estate to avoid large amounts of taxation. Do you know about death and taxes and how to protect your heirs? If you haven't properly structured your estate, your beneficiaries could be in for an unpleasant surprise regarding your death and the taxes that go along with your estate and their inheritance. The average estate can be subject to taxes, and large estates…

    What Triggers a Tax Audit and How You Can Avoid One

  • Even if you're doing everything right, the prospect of a tax audit can be terrifying. What triggers a tax audit? Find out now. There are few things as terrifying as potentially triggering a tax audit, yet the process itself is a bit of a mystery. Exactly what triggers a tax audit? How can you avoid one? The IRS isn't an open book about anything, including what triggers a tax audit. While the IRS does audit a certain amount of random…

    Can Online Tax Prep Software Really be Trusted?

  • Is online tax prep a good idea or does it pose a risk you can’t afford to take? Take a closer look. Online tax prep is undoubtedly a popular choice, but is it always the best choice? There are dozens of handy programs allowing users to prepare and file their taxes online without professional help. Many people use these programs because they think hiring a professional accountant is either unnecessary or too expensive. However, the fact is that hiring a…

    The Five Most Effective Tips for Incorporating in California

  • Are you incorporating in California? If so discover how to do it in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Incorporating in CA doesn’t have to be a long, complicated process. Keep reading for the tips that can help you get set up quickly and efficiently. Once your new business is off the ground, you are free to focus on developing your products and services. Get to Know Your CA Incorporation Choices There are various incorporation options from which to choose.…

    Are Online Tax Calculators Accurate Enough for Your Personal Taxes?

  • Here’s what you need to know about the accuracy of online tax calculators as you are preparing to file your 2018 personal taxes. Already thinking about filing your 2018 personal taxes and trying to decide if you should use online tax calculators? Maybe you have experienced some changes in your career and salary this year. The tax laws for the upcoming season have certainly changed. Looking to the future and planning ahead never hurt. Curious what your tax bill or…

    The 3 Best HR Management Services to Help Your Business Accounting

  • How could HR management services improve your business accounting outcomes? Check out these 3 examples. Wondering if HR management services could make a difference for your business? Let’s face it, business accounting is one of the most time-consuming parts of running a business. It’s why hiring the best possible accounting personnel is so important. Your accounting department does more than send bills and collect money. They have to process payroll, pay the company’s bills, and create reports all the time.…

    Breaking Down the Difference Between a Will and a Trust

  • What’s the difference between a will and a trust, and which is right for you? Do you have your will and trust completed? Estate planning is not a fun topic of conversation for most people. But you must make a clear plan for your assets upon your death. The unexpected passing of a person with no will or trust creates legal headaches for his or her heirs. The probate process can take months, even years to identify beneficiaries and sort…

    How to Decide Between Investing in Accounting Software or Bookkeeping Services

  • Have you considered whether accounting software or bookkeeping services are the way to go? Accounting software or bookkeeping services? It’s an age-old question for small and medium-sized businesses everywhere. Your operating budget is tight. Therefore, your need for sound financial oversight is great. Your records are not in any obvious sense of order. How do you decide between investing in QuickBooks or a bookkeeper? Which will deliver the best bang for your buck? Do you already have a great accountant…

    The 4 Best Tips You Need This Year to Beat an Income Tax Audit

  • Wondering how to beat an income tax audit? These tips will help you to break on through to the other side. Are you looking for tips to beat an income tax audit? If so, you are likely dealing with a lot of different emotions right now—horror and absolutely-freaking-out might be the two big ones. What you need is a game plan. You need some practical tips to help you push past the anxiety and move onto taking action. So let’s…

    The Pros and Cons of Incorporating Your Business Online

  • Thinking about incorporating your business online? Here’s what you need to know as you decide what’s right for your business. Nearly all small business owners come to the point at which they must decide whether or not they should incorporate their businesses. Incorporating your business online has emerged as a valid option to consider. The process of incorporating online has become increasingly popular for new entrepreneurs. They know it’s time to protect their personal assets and save money at tax…

    The 3 Most Important Estate Planning Strategies to Protect Your Wealth and Your Family

  • Looking for estate planning tips? Here’s what you need to know to protect your wealth. It’s common for people to put off the task of estate planning. However, it’s important to take a proactive approach to the process to protect your wealth before it’s too late. Maybe it’s the unpleasantness of thinking about one’s mortality. Or maybe it's the fact that the process seems complicated. But many families are put under unnecessary stress in situations where there has not been…

    What Ineffective Business Payroll Services Can Mean You

  • Effective business payroll services are the cornerstone of a strong company. Discover how missing the mark on this task can inhibit business growth. How are your business payroll services doing? Are they as efficient and beneficial as they can be? If there are inconsistencies or general disorganization, it can mean major problems for your business, of course. But this can spell trouble for your employees and even your customers as well. There seems to be a continual stream of tasks…
    Internal Revenue Service Red Flags

    Are You Looking Out for These 5 Internal Revenue Service Red Flags?

  • Internal Revenue Service red flags lurk around every corner, so don’t get caught red-handed by leaving them in your return. Unfortunately, Internal Revenue Service red flags are more common than you might think – and they might get you in trouble. If you want your returns to stay un-audited (and don’t we all?), it’s best to avoid them. Of course, that first means identifying them. Here are five of the most common red flags that crop up and how to…
    Bad business write-off

    The Top 6 Bad Business Write-Offs, and How to Avoid Them

  • Taking a bad business write-off is one of the best ways to catch the attention of the IRS, which makes avoiding them one of your highest priorities. If you take a bad business write-off on your return, you’re essentially inviting the Internal Revenue Service to come sniffing around. Even if they don’t target you because of them, you're much more likely to become the victim of an audit. Even worse, this might come after you get your refund. The IRS has…
    mistakes when incorporating

    How to Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Incorporating

  • You want to steer clear of mistakes when incorporating. We’ve got your back with four errors to know and avoid. Taking that bold leap into the future is exciting, but are you making mistakes when incorporating your business? It pays to know the biggest errors businesses make so you can avoid them yourself, and prevent that great leap forward from becoming a great big mess instead. #1: Choosing the Wrong Business Structure Any business has many structures from which to…
    Business Accounting Mistakes

    The 5 Most Common Business Accounting Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

  • Wondering whether you’re making business accounting mistakes? Here are the five biggest errors and how to avoid them. We probably don’t need to tell you that the Internal Revenue Service is not gentle when it comes to business accounting mistakes. Good intentions do not count, and errors can earn you hefty penalties in an audit...or even make one more likely. If you want to keep your business aboveboard and in good standing, avoid the following mistakes. #1: Itemizing Deductions Incorrectly…

    The 3 Most Effective Estate Planning Strategies You’ve Been Looking For

  • Looking for effective estate planning strategies? Here’s what you need to know. By using effective estate planning strategies now, you can save your family time, energy, and money. With proper planning, your family will owe less money to legal fees and taxes. This means more of your estate gets transferred to your family, where it belongs. However, you shouldn't make your plans alone; estate taxes are numerous and difficult to understand. The right strategy can minimize your exposure. Here are…
    Business Write-Off

    Avoid These 3 Dangerous Business Write-Offs Like the Plague

  • Some business write-offs aren’t good for business. How do you know what tax write-offs are legitimate for your small business? When done right, business write-offs can save you loads of money. But if you make a mistake or write off the wrong expense, you could end up paying more in the long run. We understand tax law can be difficult, so we’re here to help. The following are three dangerous business write-offs you should avoid at all costs. Bad Debt…
    Business Tax Planning Strategies

    Which Business Tax Planning Strategies Will Save You Big Time in 2018?

  • Business tax planning strategies can be a good idea, but it's crucial that you start planning now. Nobody wants to get gouged on taxes. But all too often, business owners don’t think about their taxes until the end of the year, and then a mad scramble begins. Avoid all that hustle and bustle by planning in stages throughout the year. Business tax planning strategies can help ensure you pay just the right amount – and not a penny more. Here…
    Tax Audit Triggers

    The Top Tax Audit Triggers Most Likely to Get You an IRS Love Note

  • Are you guilty of these common tax audit triggers? The last thing you want to see in your mailbox is an envelope marked "Official Business" from the IRS. You'd never mislead the IRS intentionally. But it's easy to call attention to yourself if you're committing these tax audit triggers. Before you file your return, read through this list and make sure none of the following applies. Trigger 1: Failing to Report All Income You know all those income forms you…
    business tax write offs

    Which Business Tax Write-Offs Are Legit for Your Company?

  • Don’t pay the price for bad business tax write-offs. Business tax write-offs keep more of your money in your own pocket, as long as you only take the ones that are legitimate. Make a mistake and you will wind up paying dearly. The tax code becomes more convoluted every year. That makes every deduction or credit you claim a risk as well as a benefit. Ensure your taxes are legitimate with the help of a capable accountant or tax professional.…
    bookkeeping and accounting software

    Is QuickBooks the Only Option for Bookkeeping and Accounting Software?

  • Take a look at the most popular bookkeeping and accounting software for small businesses. QuickBooks Online is undoubtedly one of the most popular bookkeeping and accounting software programs for today’s small business professionals. However, there are other options. Some of the alternatives are free, basic programs perfect for the smallest operations. Others are complex enough to handle heavy workloads. Still others will perform accounting, bookkeeping and payroll functions with ease from one online or mobile hub. Just remember, the person…
    accounting errors

    The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Three Accounting Errors

  • Avoid these three accounting errors to ensure a better tax season. When filing your business tax returns every year, it is very easy to find you've made a litany of accounting errors. These mistakes can cause severe problems for your business. For example, the IRS could set up an audit that finds you didn't pay enough money. Even worse, you could discover that your finances are in such a sorry mess that you can't figure out where you went wrong.…
    tax errors

    The Six Most Common, and Avoidable Personal Tax Mistakes You Need to Watch Out For

  • Avoid these most common personal tax mistakes. Filing your returns every year is often the best way to ensure you get the most back, but there are many tax errors that you can make during this process that will cost you money. These are the most common personal tax mistakes that people like you make every year. Thankfully, they are easily avoidable if you follow the simple advice we discuss with each error. #1: Rounding Up When Making Deductions Have…
    Estate planning

    Is it Ever Too Soon to Start Estate Planning?

  • Have concerns about whether you should start estate planning? Understand that it's never too soon to take these important steps. Estate planning is a necessary step that those who have a large amount of money and property must consider before they pass. However, because it is so complex, many people prefer putting off this planning. Others are simply not yet ready to admit their morality. They may believe they are too young to go through this type of process. That's…
    Audit Triggers

    Knowing These Five Tax Audit Triggers Can Help Prevent an Audit

  • If you are sick of audit triggers making life miserable every year, these tips will clue you in on what you are doing wrong. Have you suffered through a tax audit in the past? Are you trying to avoid needless audit triggers this year? Then it is important to understand a few of the most common tax audit triggers. If you don't carefully manage your return, you'll gain the interest of the IRS. That's not what you want! Basic Criteria…
    Incorporate Your Business

    Is there a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Incorporate Your Business?  

  • Ready to incorporate your business? Whatever you do, don’t do this! There are several ways to organize your business the wrong way. What should you avoid? Read on to find out. Are you considering incorporation for your business? It can be the best protection you have for your business if you do it right. Don’t fall into the trap of incorporating the wrong way. You could wake up and find you have no protection at all. Why Incorporate a Business?…
    outsourcing accounting and bookkeeping services

    The 5 Most Surprising Benefits of Outsourcing Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Services

  • Is it time to start outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping services? Discover the benefits now. Perhaps you’ve thought about outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping services for quite a while, because, you know…math. If you were an expert at math, you’d be an accountant. Instead, you’re an expert at something else, and you run a business doing that. We understand. Still having a hard time pushing the go button on outsourcing the money numbers? Read on for five benefits of outsourcing…
    Tax Preparation Errors

    Top 10 Tax Preparation Errors We See in Over 80% of the Tax Returns We Review Each Year

  • Are you at risk for making these common tax preparation errors? At best, tax preparation errors can go undetected. However, at worst, tax preparation errors can result in a rather hefty fine from the IRS or even jail time. In fact, a Cedar Hill couple recently received a conviction leading to 15 years in federal prison for tax preparation fraud. If you want to avoid the consequences associated with tax preparation fraud, make sure to avoid the top 10 tax…
    Online Tax Preparation Programs

    Can I Trust the Accuracy of Online Tax Preparation Programs?

  • You’re considering using online tax preparation programs. What should you know before you go down that road? If you're thinking about using online tax preparation, be selective and choose carefully. Some less-than-ethical companies recognize taxpayers as easy prey. They can and will take advantage of their own clients. Remember, only you are accountable for your tax return, regardless of who prepares it. There are two types of online tax preparation. You can hire an online company or individual to prepare…
    Estate planning mistakes

    Estate Planning Mistakes Everyone Makes and How to Avoid Them

  • Will your loved ones have to pay the price for estate planning mistakes you made? Many people in America will die with no estate plan at all. Don’t beat yourself up if you discover your well-thought-out plan is full of estate planning mistakes. You’re still a step ahead of most people. Trying to do estate planning on your own usually means that mistakes are inevitable. Here are some tips to help you make sure you avoid some of the most…
    Online tax calculators

    Are Online Tax Calculators Really a Reliable Way to Estimate My Taxes?

  • Let's take a look at the world of online tax calculators and gauge whether they are a reliable way to estimate your taxes. Online tax calculators have emerged as a prevalent tool for many people to determine their taxes. As a result, a variety of calculator types have become available over the last few years. But are they as effective and efficient as advertised? Tax Accuracy Varies Depending on the Online Calculator Those who try out these calculators will quickly…
    Common Accounting Errors

    The 6 Most Common Accounting Errors, How to Spot Them, and How to Avoid Making Them

  • Here’s how to avoid the most common accounting errors. When going over your accounts, it is easy to make common accounting errors that can cost you a lot of money. That's why we are going to look at some of the most common of these mistakes and help you learn how to avoid them. You want your tax information to be as accurate as possible this April! Accounting Errors Businesses Commonly Make While there are hundreds of possible errors to…
    online tax preparation applications

    What You Need to be Aware of With Online Tax Preparation Applications

  • Online tax preparation applications look easy, but there are problems lurking within. Tax preparation applications make a lot of great-sounding promises in advertisements. Claiming to make filing your taxes a breeze, as well as helping you get the biggest refund ever, they sound like a miracle product. These products claim to provide numerous advantages, many of which do sound tempting to busy individuals, such as: Tax preparation applications can make filing your taxes fast. Some applications claim you can file…
    Online incorporation tools

    Are Online Incorporation Tools a Legitimate and Reliable Way to Create a Corporation?

  • Online incorporation tools can lead to serious legal problems down the road. The upbeat advertisements of online incorporation tools make incorporating your company look very cheap, easy, and simple. But unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. Purchasing a kit online to incorporate a business without the help of a professional can be like buying all the parts to build a car without the knowledge of how it goes together. If you don’t know what you are doing, you may wind…
    Using Tax Software

    Using Tax Software Revisited: The Pros and Cons of Doing It Yourself!

  • Is using tax software ever a good idea? A flood of new software and apps hit the market each year, all promising to make your tax returns a quick and easy process and to save you oodles of money. You may find the concept of using tax software an interesting idea, especially if you can save as much money as the advertisements claim. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of doing your taxes with the aid…
    Tax Bracket

    The Ugly Truth About Changing Your Tax Bracket

  • What is a tax bracket, and what does it mean for you? The United States federal income tax utilizes a progressive - or tax bracket - system to determine how much singles or married couples will pay in yearly taxes. Since the implementation of the American Taxpayers Relief Act, the IRS divided the taxpayer population into seven tax brackets, determined by the amount of personal income earned within the space of a year. The more money you make, the higher…
    Online tax calculators

    How Online Tax Calculators Can Tank Your Business

  • Why using online tax calculators is a bad idea for your business. Have you considered trying online tax calculators to get an idea of how much your business will pay next year? Don't even consider it. These online tax calculators are seriously problematic for a variety of reasons. In fact, they can be a serious enough problem to impact your business for years. In extreme cases, relying on tax calculators can even lead you right into bankruptcy. What Are Tax…
    Tax errors

    The Final 5: The 5 Most Common Tax Errors and What They Cost

  • Do you know how much these common tax errors can cost you? Tax errors are a serious problem that can impact your life for years. They can cost you thousands of dollars and disrupt your financial security. Here is how to avoid these common tax errors and stay free of excessive monetary loss. The Most Common Tax Errors Broken Down While there are dozens of possible tax errors, we've broken down the five most common: Simple filing errors – People…
    HR Management services

    HR Management Services: The Risks and Rewards of Outsourcing VS Insourcing

  • Outsourced HR management services can save your business both time and money. From screening new workers to managing existing employees, HR management services fulfill a variety of important roles. High-quality HR is essential, as it allows companies to run smoothly and attract the best talent. However, not all businesses can afford the time or money it takes to maintain an in-house HR department. Outsourced HR management is a viable alternative, but not for all companies and not in all situations.…
    Tax refund scam

    The Easy Tax Refund Scam That Cost the US Billions in 2014

  • Every year, a tax refund scam like this accounts for billions of dollars in losses. In 2014, identity theft topped the annual IRS list of tax refund scams. That year, identity theft affected over 17 million people and cost a whopping $15.4 billion. Although not all identity theft prompted the loss of tax refunds, tax-related crimes constituted a large percentage of total identity theft incidents that year. Tax-based identity theft scams have continued to plague honest taxpayers in recent years.…
    Business accountant

    The Ugly Truth About Hiring a Business Accountant or CPA For Your Small Business

  • Small business owners should demonstrate caution when choosing a business accountant. Working with a business accountant can be a great option for small business owners who cannot afford in-house accountants but also cannot afford to miss out on hidden tax savings. Unfortunately, not all business accountants and CPAs are equally capable of delivering the high-quality audit protection, tax filing and estate planning services their clients deserve. Many lack a thorough understanding of the unique needs of today's small businesses, and…
    Payroll software, payroll services

    Payroll Services vs. Payroll Software: What Nobody is Telling You!

  • Payroll services hold many advantages over payroll software, and some of them are surprising. Many business owners attempt to use payroll software on their own. But in doing so, they actually spend more money and often receive poor service. Those who go with dedicated payroll services are more likely to be satisfied with their choice. There is no one solution perfect for every business. However, the following oft-forgotten considerations are worth thinking about as you choose between payroll software and…
    Difference, will and trust

    What’s The Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

  • There are many differences between drafting a will and trust, but both options are great for securing your financial future. The time has come to secure your assets for the future; the first step is to choose between a will and trust. Both options allow you to pass on your property as you see fit, but the manner of doing so can differ significantly. Keep these key differences in mind as you choose your ideal estate planning approach. Probate Avoidance…
    Accounting mistakes

    Top 3 Accounting Mistakes That Cause Problems with the IRS

  • From omitted income to incorrect deductions, these accounting errors can lead to big trouble with the IRS. Every year, Americans procrastinate on their taxes, hurrying through them at the last minute and failing to catch a myriad of accounting mistakes. Many assume the IRS targets only wealthy taxpayers and large corporate entities with audits. This is not true, and even small errors can lead to the hassle of auditing for everyday employees, independent contractors, and small business owners. The following…
    Taxes, Death and taxes

    The Ugly Truth about Death and Taxes

  • Death and taxes really do go hand in hand. Here's how to avoid a mess for your loved ones. The old cliché states that nothing is certain except death and taxes. But what it fails to address is how tax situations grow even more complicated after death. The estate tax has long been a hotly debated topic in politics and with good reason. These taxes have the potential to drain an estate's assets before they can go to the estate holder's…
    Estate Planning Help

    Estate Planning Help to Protect Your Assets Now and For Your Family

  • Estate planning help can ensure a secure financial future for your family. People often mistakenly assume estate planning help is only for the wealthy. But in reality, all families can benefit from a well-rounded estate plan that protects their assets. As you plan for the future financial security of your loved ones, keep these key planning strategies in mind: Create a Will or Trust This seems like a simple and obvious step. But it's not followed as often as you'd…
    Estate Planning Tips

    The Final Friday 5: Top 5 Estate Planning Tips

  • Which estate planning tips can help me put together a plan that will take care of my family?
 You might be wondering why you should look into estate planning tips before getting started. Estate plans provide you and your loved ones with peace of mind. However, if they aren't composed properly, they can create more issues down the line. The last thing you want is for your family to run into hurdles and obstacles after your death. Some of these…
    Estate Planning Strategies

    Estate Planning Strategies to Protect Your Assets Now and For Your Family

  • If you're trying to plan for the future and protect your assets, estate planning strategies and tips can benefit you and your loved ones. 
Researching estate planning strategies is an excellent idea for anyone worried about the possibility of losing assets. Due to unforeseen issues, even plans made with the best of intentions can fail to leave enough for family members. Properly constructed estate plans can help protect your assets in the present while also keeping them safe for the…
    Beat a Tax Audit

    How to Beat a Tax Audit with the IRS

  • Does the IRS have you feeling cornered? With the right help, you can beat a tax audit. Most people are afraid of the IRS, particularly when it comes to being audited. But if you take the right steps, you can beat a tax audit. A very involved process is ahead of you, one that requires serious preparation. It’s important to keep in mind that if you’re not ready for what’s coming, it won’t go well for you. Some people take…
    Tax Audit Services

    The Ugly Truth About Tax Audit Services

  • Thinking about using tax audit services? Gather the right information before making any decisions. If you’re facing an IRS audit, you might be tempted to turn to tax audit services. They’re advertised everywhere, on television and the radio, and they often promise that they can make your problems go away for good. Unfortunately, many of these services aren’t what they claim to be. IRS audits are incredibly stressful, and tax audit services design their advertisements to take advantage of scared…
    DIY Tax Audit Advice

    DIY Tax Audit Advice: What to Do and What Not to Do When Representing Yourself

  • Will you be representing yourself at a tax audit? This DIY tax audit advice is crucial to ensure success. Did you receive a tax audit notice, and now you are looking for DIY tax audit advice? If you will be walking into the lion’s den, without the advice or representation of a seasoned tax professional, there are a few important points you should remember. Representing Yourself: What that Entails Before making the decision to go it alone, consider a few…
    What Triggers a Tax Audit

    5 Most Common Triggers of an IRS Tax Audit

  • Understanding what triggers a tax audit can help you defend yourself, well before the tax forms are even filed. Here’s what you need to know. As with most things related to the complicated tax code, figuring out what triggers a tax audit can seem like an exercise in futility. The good news is that audit letters go out to only a tiny fraction of individuals and businesses each year. The bad news is that sometimes the target of that audit…
    IRS Red Flags

    5 Biggest IRS Problems and How to Avoid Them

  • Is your business inadvertently flying these IRS red flags? Taxes are a major challenge to many, if not most, small business owners, and the last thing you want to do is send up the worst IRS red flags. What might trigger an audit? What things are tax deductible? There are so many questions. With so much to do, it can be easy to make a critical mistake on your small business return. Here are five of the worst mistakes you…

    Tax Strategies and Hidden Costs of Employees vs. Outsourced Labor

  • Business Tax Advantages You’ll Want to Learn About Sooner than Later In this progressively more competitive international marketplace, major corporations are evaluating potential business tax advantages of raising shareholder value significantly by establishing outsourced production processes. Outsourcing offers the potential to improve production greatly, but it is also fraught with risk. One of the greatest challenges involved is answering the question of whether or not to partner with onshore or offshore outsourcing firms. Business Tax Advantages of Outsourcing Offshore outsourcing…
    Business Tax Strategies

    10 Powerful Business Tax Strategies for Your Business Tax Return

  • Are You Using these Business Tax Strategies? It’s no revelation that everyone wants to save money on taxes using those elusive business tax strategies. Small businesses, however, without the same protections some individuals and most large corporations enjoy- need to look carefully each year to secure new methods of minimizing their tax burdens. While the methods available to small businesses may be obscure, they could even be more numerous than those offered to different kinds of entities. There are many intriguing…
    Bad Business Write-Offs

    The Ugly Truth about Bad Business Write-Offs and What They Cost Your Business

  • What You Need to Know about Bad Business Write-Offs Bad business write-offs are a widely accepted way for businesses to save money on taxes. Generally, any business loss can be recorded as a tax write off, and can be applied as a tax credit. The standard wisdom is that all tax write offs are good- as long as they are reasonable. But sometimes using write-offs can backfire. We will discuss what write-offs are, and how they can turn around and…
    Accounting Software

    The Hidden Costs and Risks in Accounting Software

  • Accounting software might seem straightforward and useful, but be sure you take these hidden costs and potential risks into account. These days, we want to do everything ourselves, and the rapid explosion of Internet-based products make it seem more feasible than ever before. However, while not all online accounting software is terrible, there are several dangers associated with even the best software. If you’re trying to decide whether to purchase accounting software, keep these hidden costs and risks in mind.…
    Business Write-Offs

    5 Business Write-Offs Most People Miss

  • Wondering how you can keep more of your income by maximizing the number of deductions you take? Here are five business write-offs you might be missing. Business write-offs are a key way to save money. While most businesses routinely take their deductions for medical expenses, utilities, retirement plans and conventions, for example, there are quite a few commonly missed expenses as well. Today we’ll take a look at some of the most frequently overlooked business write-offs, so you can start…
    Incorporating in CA

    5 Things You Must Do to Maintain Your Corporate Entity in the Eyes of the Courts

  • If you’re incorporating in CA, here is how you can maintain your corporation’s legal status. If you are incorporating in CA, you may need to know how you can move through the process while maintaining your corporate entity. Because corporations are seen as separate entities unto themselves, they can operate in some limited capacities much like individuals do. Corporations can buy and sell property, commit crimes, be taxed, and be contracted. Incorporating your business is also an effective way to…
    risks of incorporating

    The Ugly Truth about Incorporating Incorrectly

  • Did you know the risks of incorporating can be both high and costly if done incorrectly? Filing to create an LLC is a relatively simple process; however, the risks of incorporating incorrectly are significant. A Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is a business structure under which you can create a business. LLCs protect the business owners by limiting their liability in the event of legal action against the company. Owners of the company are referred to as “members” of the corporation.…
    Incorporating Online

    What Nobody Tells You About Incorporating Online Until its Too Late!

  • Incorporating online might be quick and easy, but it sacrifices most of the major benefits. Incorporating online is an appealing way to move your business to a different classification quickly. You can save significant sums on taxes and reduce liability. As with anything, you expect incorporating online to be the faster, cheaper and easier method. Before you commit, you should consider some of the fallbacks. These are the most important things you need to know about incorporating online. You Become…
    True Cost of Incorporation

    What’s the True Cost of Incorporation?

  • You need to know the true cost of incorporation before you make mistakes that could sink your business. Why do you need to know the true cost of incorporation? Running a small business leads to a life full of difficult decisions. As your business grows, managing taxes, costs, liability and asset protection becomes a juggling act. You may have looked into incorporating as a way to protect yourself and your partners to clear the way for future expansion. This can…
    Incorporate a Business

    How to Incorporate a Business the Right Way

  • What do you need to know to incorporate a business? Do you know how to incorporate a business? When it comes to your business, the term "incorporate" means to convert your business into a corporation. By law, a corporation is treated as a person, who can buy property, sell property, commit crimes, be taxed and contracted. Turning a business into a corporation prevents you from being held personally liable for what happens to the business, at least to a certain…
    Tax Preparation Scams

    The 3 Most Common Tax Preparation Scams You Need to Avoid

  • Are you aware of these common tax preparation scams? As if it's not bad enough you might owe the IRS money, scammers who conduct tax preparation scams are looking to take advantage of you. They want your refund and possibly even your personal information. It's important to know the signs of a dishonest tax preparation practice. Here are three common tax preparation scams to watch out for: 1. Email Advertising for Tax Preparation People impersonate tax preparation professionals and state they're from…

    Best Practices for Protecting Rental Properties

  • Real estate investors are exposed to greater risks today than in recent times.  We seem to live in a culture where people blame others for their dissatisfaction or misfortune with plenty of hungry attorneys willing to take their case. If everything you own is in your personal name, you have absolutely zero asset protection.  Which means your business, home and personal assets are all in one bucket and available to creditors.   General partnerships are even worse, because you could…

    10 Concepts in Using LLCs to Protect Real Estate Investments

  • There are many issues that can lead to the piercing of your LLC’s protective shell, which may allow creditors access to your personal assets and conversely expose your LLC’s assets to your personal liabilities.  The Rules are complex.  NOT COMPLYING with them can cost YOU thousands of dollars. Concept 1: LLCs do not automatically protect assets.  Having approved Articles of Organization from the Secretary of State is meaningless by itself in protecting assets.  In order to get asset protection benefits,…

    LLC Real Estate Compliance Coaching Program

  • Our LLC Real Estate Compliance Coaching Program is an on-going year-round coaching, planning and compliance system specifically designed for LLCs holding rentals, long-term real estate and passive investments, which receive favorable tax treatment under the passive activity provisions of the Tax Code.  The program helps to protect your LLC’s tax and asset protection benefits by outsourcing the on-going compliance to us.  By letting us maintain your LLC’s Records Book, your LLC is more assured of maintaining legal standing and protection…

    Tax and Advisory Services for Families with Children

  • We have been preparing tax returns for thirty years, but we’re much more than tax preparers. Our advisory services encompass the BIG picture to protect our clients through all phases of life. Transitional events, like marriage, building a family, including foster and adoption, divorce, starting a business, aging and death all come with new complexities. Our role is to help our clients have the best possible outcome. Let us be your trusted advisors. Filing status and dependents. Whether you’re single,…

    “Not-for-Profit” Rentals result in Bad Tax Consequences

  • Many real estate investors aren’t aware of WHAT allows expenses to be tax deductible. The answer is: a business purpose and profit motive. If you lack one or both, an IRS audit on your rentals will not turn out well, because expenses you thought were deductible are disallowed. The IRS calls these “not-for-profit” activities. Your “rentals” may appear to be “not-for-profit” rentals when you: Charge less than fair-market-rents. Are slow to collect back rents. Fail to take legal actions for…

    Collecting Fair Market Rent is Vital to Tax Deductions

  • Beware: If you don’t collect fair market rents (FMR) on your rental properties, your tax deductions may be disallowed by the IRS. The reason is that the Tax Code requires that deductible expenses have a business purpose AND that you have a profit motive in order to take tax deductions. If audited by the IRS, you may have to prove that you’re collecting FMR, which is the going rate for rents of similar properties that someone unrelated to you would…

    Real Estate Sales can be Audited Back Six Years

  • Ordinarily, the IRS has three years to audit you after you file your tax returns, but some returns can be audited back six years. These audits often involve real estate sales when IRS believes you omitted 25% or more of your gross income. When it comes to real estate sales, IRS argues that taxpayers claimed excess basis for a property when it was sold, resulting in a lower gain reported. If IRS believes the gain was understated by 25% of…

    IRS is Auditing My Rental Losses

  • Many real estate investors assume that if audited their records and receipts are all they need to win the audit. However, it’s not always having the receipts that allows for the deductions, but what motivates you and your intentions at the time. Real estate investors need to understand exactly WHAT allows for a tax deduction? (It’s more than receipts). The Tax Code requires that you have a profit motive to deduct the expenses you incur in operating your rentals. If…

    IRS Wins by Reclassifying Rental to “Investment Property”

  • It’s not just the lack of receipts and records that cause most real estate investors to lose when audited by the IRS. Often, it’s their own testimony used against them that allows the IRS to reclassify their activity into something passive for a less favorable outcome. To illustrate a difference in the Tax Code over active v. passive participation, let’s discuss two hypothetical neighbors living next door to each other, who appear to had done most everything the same, but…

    IRS Audits of Cabin Vacation Rentals

  • Having receipts and great records doesn’t mean that an IRS audit will go well. IRS auditors are masters of invoking provisions in the Tax Code that often make receipts and records useless. The tax rules are especially complex when renting a property for a few days at a time, such as renting-out a family cabin when you’re not using it. The following is an example of what can go wrong during an IRS audit of a cabin vacation rental. Facts:…

    Adoption Credit and Adoption Assistance Programs

  • If you adopted or attempted to adopt a child in 2015, you may qualify for a tax credit up to $13,400 for each child legally adopted. The credit is nonrefundable, which means it’s limited to your tax liability for the year. However, any credit in excess of your tax may be carried forward for up to five years or until fully used up, whichever comes first. If your employer reimbursed you for part of the costs of the adoption through…

    The Ugly Truth: Charitable Deductions Denied For Someone Else’s Mistake

  • If you were audited by the IRS, do you think they would be fair to you? Many people believe that if they have receipts and can prove their deductions, the IRS will accept it. That may have been true years ago, but today’s IRS is ruthless. This court case is proof of that. The Story David and Veronda Durden gave money to their church on a consistent basis. Over the course of a year, their contribution totaled about $25,000. During…
    Online Tax Preparation

    Should You Use Online Tax Preparation Software in Your Business?

  • Discover the pros and cons of using online tax preparation for your business. Many individuals are turning to online tax preparation software – but should your business? Tax preparation software is increasingly popular for individual use, with many people attracted to the convenience and simplicity of doing taxes in their pajamas. Even if they’re leaving money on the table, many people either don’t know or write it off as a convenience tax. But is that right for your business? Consider…
    Tax Software

    Tax Software Revisited – The Pros and Cons of Doing It Yourself

  • Facts: Tax Software Is Cheap. You Get What You Pay For. Tax software is marketed beautifully. TV ads show customers just pushing a button on a smart phone to reduce their taxes. With an IRS code of over 74,000 pages, the idea of tax simplicity is utterly seductive. Tax software is also cheap. It is also a lot quicker answering their fundamental questions than to read instructions on the IRS tax forms. If You Can Handle It, Your Tax Software…
    Tax Brackets

    The Ugly Truth About Changing Tax Brackets

  • As your income increases, what happens to tax brackets and the percentage the IRS takes? As your income rises, you move into a higher and higher tax brackets and pay a larger percentage of your income in taxes. This system is the progressive taxation design of our U.S. tax system. Today, the tax code has seven separate tax brackets, ranging from the lowest bracket of 10% for low-income earners to the top tax bracket of 39.6% for the highest earners.…

    Online Scams That Impersonate The IRS

  • Beware of emails or tweets claiming to be from the IRS—it may be a scam! Scammers who impersonate the IRS often use the name and logo of the IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury to mislead you into believing the communication is legitimate. Generally, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to acquire financial and personal information from taxpayers. Some scammers even set up phony websites to trick you into revealing personal and financial information when you respond, such…

    IRS Audits of Employee Business Expenses

  • The IRS is auditing more people who deduct employee business expenses.  If you work for someone and deduct work expenses, then this report is for you.   If you are called in for an audit, do you know how to defend yourself?  Many people go into an IRS audit with confidence, believing that their receipts will allow their tax deductions.  But when the auditor is done with them, ALL of their work expenses are denied.   So, where did they…

    Home Based Business Tax Schemes

  • Beware of promoters who claim that you can take tax deductions for personal expenses by setting up a home-based business.  These promoters aggressively market and sell “tax reduction packages” which consist of a mangled interpretation of the Tax Code having no merit. The promoters may sound legit by advising you to maintain detailed records of the expenses.  However, detailed records won’t convert personal expenses into deductible business expenses, nor does forming a trust or a corporation, nor the existence of…

    Audited for Not Reporting Enough Income

  • If you are self-employed and report a low amount of profit from your business—you could be ripe for an IRS audit. The IRS has a trick up its sleeve to catch “tax cheats” by attempting to match their lifestyle to the amount of taxable income reported on their tax returns. Don't be surprised it the IRS invites you in for an audit if you live in a $1 million house with reported income of $30,000 per year! The “lifestyle audit”…

    Sham Trusts

  • “Sham trusts” are names given to certain trusts that the IRS claims are illegal. They can be either domestic or foreign trusts or both. The promoters of these trusts claim that they reduce or eliminate income taxes, but the IRS and the courts disagree and are aggressively pursuing taxpayers who own them and their promoters. The promoters charge high fees to set them up, but the structure doesn’t seem to have an actual business purpose other than evading taxes. The…

    Why The IRS Audits More Small Businesses Than Big Corporations

  • Why the IRS Audits more Small Businesses than Big Corporations   Many small business owners believe that they are too small for the IRS to audit. After all, wouldn’t the IRS collect more money for the government by auditing larger businesses?   The answer is: no. The IRS brings in more dollars per hour auditing small mom and pop businesses, than they do auditing medium and large companies.   Why is that the case? Because the larger companies keep impeccable records…

    The New IRS Model to Take More From You

  • The IRS’ Passive-Aggressive Model to take MORE from You   The IRS may have become the most cost-efficient government agency of all. That may sound like good news, but there is a dark side to that efficiency. Unfortunately the IRS is no longer interested in collecting the correct amount of taxes, but instead is using a passive-aggressive model to take more from you, even if means denying your right to due process.   The efficiency. Since 2001 the IRS has…

    Simpler Tax Reporting – Is It Right For You?

  • The Simpler Tax System—is it Right for You?    Many people are frustrated with the complexity of the Tax Code and want it to be simpler. Their reasoning goes something like this: “I am a business owner, not a junior accountant, why do I have to keep all of these records. Why can’t it be simpler?”   Well, the government understands your frustration and is here to help. The IRS allows you to elect the Simple Method of accounting. The…

    Obamacare & Personal Taxes

  • Obamacare and Your Personal Tax Return   Although the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate to 2015 (firms with 50 or more full-time employees must provide affordable health insurance to workers or pay a stiff fine) the individual mandate’s start date wasn’t deferred.   Beginning January 1, everyone without health insurance for themselves and their dependents will owe a tax penalty if they fail to obtain health insurance after February 15, 2014. You don’t need to worry about this new…

    Did You Get an IRS Letter?

  • What to do if you get an IRS audit letter   You should immediately open any mail from the IRS, because it usually requires some sort of action within a very narrow time-frame under the threat of additional taxes, interest and penalties. Be sure to have us review it BEFORE you make any contact with the IRS to explain the issues involved and the best way to respond. We almost always recommend that you let us respond instead of you.…

    10 Audit Tricks the IRS Uses Against You

  • 10 IRS Audit Tricks to Take MORE from You   The IRS has become more aggressive in collecting taxes and has implemented new methods to balance the federal deficit from your pocketbook, including:   More automated Notices (many of them are wrong) The IRS Automated Under-Reporter Program has been very effective in collecting taxes. In 2011 it collected an additional $1,670 per CP2000 letter without the aid of humans based on a mismatch of information reported to the IRS compared…

    The Consequences for Failing to Comply with the 1099 Rules

  • If your business paid someone (who was not your employee) a total of $600 or more during the year, you must issue a 1099 to them (unless it is a corporation). For attorneys, 1099s are required even if incorporated or regardless of their entity type. In addition 1099s must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service. The 1099 filing requirement applies for payments made by your company to people who provided services (including parts and materials), to independent contractors, vendors,…

    Reducing Liability by Segregating Assets

  • To help hold onto what you’ve worked hard to accumulate and to manage risk (especially for business owners) it’s important to segregate assets and activities into separate legal buckets. The separate buckets should be put into place BEFORE the threat of legal action or the court may rule that a fraudulent conveyance occurred. The number of buckets needed will depend on the type of activities and the amount of assets you own. For example, if you operate a business AND…

    1099s: The IRS’ War on Underreporting—Don’t Get Caught in the Crossfire

  • The IRS has declared war on the underreporting of income and is taking the most aggressive approach ever in their ability to enforce compliance with new 1099 regulations. Many IRS auditors are now denying deductions for payments by businesses that fail to issue required 1099s, even if unintentional. The IRS penalty trap Since 2012 business tax returns have two questions that all businesses must answer, or risk an audit.  They are: Did your business make any payments that would require…

    Transferring Risk Using Insurance for Commercial Businesses

  • California law requires that business owners act responsibly in managing the risks common to their industry and to protect against other areas of vulnerability. Businesses should consider transferring a large part of its risk to an insurer (which has deeper pockets) to protect against the full impact of an uninsured loss, which could threaten its viability. Home-based businesses If you operate your business from home, don't expect your homeowner's policy to cover you in case of a mishap without an…

    Insurance for the Home Based Business

  • Small business owners are often very good at what they do. As entrepreneurs, they run their businesses like the great offensive coaches in professional sports. A great offense is a good thing, but offense alone will not win the big games. A truly great team or business must develop a great defense as well. An effective defense comes into play as a company puts the right components into place to manage risk. Managing risk helps to protect a business from…

    Independent Contractors—Factors to Consider

  • Whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor depends on the right or ability of a company to exercise control over the worker. An employee is subject to the will and control of the employer not only as to WHAT shall be done but HOW it shall be done.  In contrast an independent contractor (contractor) is engaged to provide a finished project or job. The way in which it’s completed is left to the discretion of the contractor. Common…

    Does Your Business Look Like a Hobby to the IRS?

  • You must report income to the IRS from almost all sources including hobbies. If your activity is not carried on for profit, allowable deductions cannot exceed the gross receipts for the activity. In contrast, if you’re conducting a trade or business you may deduct your ordinary and necessary expenses even if it generates a loss. Your business could be ripe for an IRS audit if: Your “business” has large expenses with little or no income. The loss from your “business”…

    Starting a Business Creates Tax Benefits

  • Starting a business can create tax benefits by converting some personal expenses into tax deductions. What was formerly non-deductible may become deductible when you operate a business, thereby increasing your personal benefit significantly. For example, when you buy something for $100 (as an employee) using after-tax dollars, you must actually earn about $150 to net the $100 bring-home pay in order to buy the item (due to income taxes and payroll taxes). In contrast, when business owners purchase a $100…

    Reducing Liability with Good Business Practices

  • Business owners need to demonstrate good business practices in order to reduce their company’s liability and to prevent personal liability themselves. Operating a business through an LLC or corporation won’t protect your home and personal property from business lawsuits and creditors if you don’t also demonstrate good business practices. The following are some of our recommendations: Maintain the corporate or LLC veil of protection.  Even corporations and LLCs that were properly formed could end up losing their asset protection quality…

    Does your LLC or Corporation have Legal Standing?

  • The vast majority of small business LLCs and corporations in California may lack legal standing due to being improperly formed. To be properly formed under California law: LLCs must file articles of organization with the Secretary of State. These articles must be formally adopted by its members along with a signed operating agreement during its initial organizational meeting and recorded in the first minutes and retained in the LLC legal book. This includes LLCs that elect to be taxed as…

    Proper Formation and Maintenance of LLCs and Corporations is Mandatory

  • Proper formation of your LLC or corporation is mandatory to have legal standing in California. LLCs that lack operating agreements and corporations without approved bylaws may not be protected in California. Without legal standing your home and personal assets could be exposed to business lawsuits, liens and creditors. (See our article: “Does your LLC or Corporation have Legal Standing?” for details). Not only are operating agreements or bylaws necessary to establish legal standing under California law, they are also important…

    Alter Ego Blunders—Piercing the Corporate Veil

  • If your company is sued, can you be held personally liable? Many people form LLCs and corporations to protect their home and personal assets from business judgments, but the vast majority of small corporations and LLCs have absolutely NO protection, because their owner’s commit alter ego blunders. Alter ego means that the company appears to be an alternate version of the owner; that the law cannot distinguish a separate and distinct difference between the two. When a serious alter ego…

    Corporations and LLCs Do Not Automatically Provide Benefits

  • You may have formed an LLC or a corporation with the understanding that your business structure would save you money in taxes and protect you from lawsuits and creditors. But for most small and micro businesses in California that is a myth. Only about two percent are in compliance and most are violating some regulation daily. Warning: Forming a corporation or LLC will not automatically provide you with any tax benefits or protect your assets. Having approved Articles from the…

    How To Pick A Qualified Tax Professional

  • Instead of hiring tax preparers who simply enter numbers into software, look instead for a true tax professional who prepares taxes and has the following qualifications: Is the tax pro licensed? CPAs and enrolled agents (EAs) are licensed in all types of tax matters. Very few preparers in the big chain tax prep stores are licensed or possess more than a minimal level of tax knowledge. Use only tax pros available year-round. Are you able to contact your tax preparer…

    The Ugly Truth About Tax Prep Chains

  • It’s amazing that a large number of people have their taxes prepared by H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt, Liberty Tax and other large tax preparation chains, when most of their preparers are unlicensed, seasonal and possess a minimal level of tax knowledge. When reviewing tax returns prepared by the big chains, we find obvious errors on many of them. Perhaps it would be understandable, if they charged low fees, but many of them charge as much as the higher skilled licensed firms.…

    Tax Credit to Subsidize Health Insurance Costs

  • You may be eligible for a Premium Tax Credit (PTC) to subsidize the cost of your health insurance premiums. The only plans that qualify for the PTC are those acquired through a qualified health insurance exchange (exchange). The exchanges can determine eligibility and the amount of your PTC (if any) based on your family size and projected household income (including spouse and dependents’ income) for the year. People not eligible for the PTC Very low income individuals who are eligible…

    Obamacare Tax Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance

  • Did you know that because of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) your tax returns will never be the same? If you, your spouse or your dependents lack health insurance (beginning in 2014) you may owe a penalty on your federal tax return (unless you qualify for an exemption). To avoid the penalty, you must have a qualified health plan that meets the standards under Obamacare. You may be exempted from the penalty if: You already have health insurance provided by…

    Is It Really Cheaper To Do Your Own Taxes?

  • Many people believe that preparing their own taxes is cheaper than hiring a professional, but saving money on tax preparation (especially for business owners) can cost you more in taxes.  And since time is money, you’ll save countless hours by NOT doing it yourself; not needing to learn the new tax rules nor trying to determine which ones apply and which ones don’t. One of the problems with self-prepared tax returns is that the software will actually do what you tell…

    LLC and Corporation Compliance Program

  • The Rules for operating an LLC or corporation are complex and NOT COMPLYING with them can cost you thousands of dollars. We can take the burden off of you in keeping your LLC or corporation in compliance with the law to protect your tax benefits and protect your home and personal property from business liability. We have created an on-going year-round compliance and tax planning program for the protection and success of your business. Our Biz Tax & Compliance Coaching…

    How Do Enrolled Agents & CPA’s Differ?

  •  At Incompass, we don’t employ seasonal non-licensed tax preparers, like the big chains hire. Our tax professionals are LICENSED Enrolled Agents (EAs) or Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Most people know what a CPA is or have at least heard the term CPA, but many are not aware of the tax professionals called EAs. One reason is that there are about ten times more CPAs than EAs. EAs are federally licensed by the Dept. of Treasury to prepare tax returns and…

    Operating Agreements and Bylaws—Why they’re Necessary

  • Under California law if your LLC lacks an operating agreement or your corporation bylaws, your home and personal assets could be exposed to business lawsuits and creditors. Your corporation or LLC could also be subject to unnecessary legal actions and be barred from defending itself or bringing suit for damages against another. Also, its contracts could be deemed invalid by the courts, allowing others to get out of their obligation to your company. Well written operating agreements and bylaws lend…

    Mid-year labor law updates for California

  • Several new laws took effect on July 1, 2014, the most notable being a raise in the minimum wage to $9 per hour for most wage earners. This raise results in several payroll issues that business owners should be aware of, including overtime rate of pay, exempt/nonexempt classification, and commission draws. Your employment law posters may now be out of date. Make sure you have posted the Minimum Wage Order (MW-2014) and any Industry Wage Orders that apply to your…

    Estate Planning 101-The Basics

  • The majority of American's die today with no will, trust or estate plan whatsoever.  The absence of a valid estate plan means the state will decide how to distribute your estate, and it may not be the desired result that you were intending. An estate plan is essentially a written plan for the disposition of your assets at death.  A well drafted plan can avoid the costs and delays of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes, thereby providing the…

    Helping Families with Special Needs

  • What is the best way to provide for a loved one with special needs after you are gone?  How do you plan for the long term care of a disabled child or elder adult? When considering your estate plan, it is important to avoid some of the costliest mistakes that many people make when drafting their estate plan. An estate plan that is properly drafted can ensure that your Special Needs Beneficiary (SNB) has sufficient assets to improve his or…

    New Trustees & Executors-Information We Will Need

  • The following is information that we will need from you to assist you with your trustee or executor administration duties. Due to the different types of trusts and variations in their complexity, not all areas listed will apply to you.  There will most likely be other items not listed that we will identify through the discovery process.  Please note: the facts and circumstances are different in every case. The first thing you should do, if you have not done so…

    Why You Should Hire a Professional In-Home Caregiver

  • Most long term care is provided in the home by family caregivers. Family members can make a difference in the quality of life for their aging parents, or other loved ones, if staying at home is an option. The problem for the family caregiver is that the high level of stress that results from being the primary caregiver often leads to illness and in many cases death. The caregiver, due to the high stress, often dies before the one they…

    Beware When Hiring In-Home Care Workers

  • Why would anyone take on the risks and liabilities involved in hiring an in-home care worker for a loved one, who is neither screened, licensed or bonded? The classifieds are filled with people looking for work as aides to the elderly. The question is: Should you hire on of them? Some of these advertisers may be well-qualified and honest, who will do a good job; and some not so reputable. If you are looking to hire someone, be sure you…

    Are You About to Get Audited?

  • Have you ever wondered why some tax returns are audited by the IRS while most are ignored? Well, there’s a whole host of reasons to this age-old question. The IRS doesn’t have enough personnel and resources to examine each and every tax return filed during a year, so they rely on a variety of systems to target the returns that they believe will generate the most revenue per hour of time for the auditor. Why Lower Incomes are Audited at…

    Beware of Tax Debt Relief Scams

  • Beware of telemarketers and advertisers on radio and television who make claims that sound too good to be true and who claim that they can settle IRS claims for “pennies on the dollar”. To avoid getting ripped-off in these scams, be sure to use local tax professionals whenever you have IRS problems.  Check the company’s website to verify that actual tax resolution professionals are employed, such as Enrolled Agents, CPAs, or tax attorneys in their firms.  Most of the scam…

    Building a Business Relationship with Your Tax Advisor

  • You will receive much more benefit each year, if you have your taxes prepared by a licensed tax professional (an EA or CPA), instead of one of the giant chain tax preparation offices. The giant chains, such as H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt, Liberty Tax and others, hire unlicensed, low-skilled, seasonal preparers to provide tax preparation services each year.  Then, as soon as Tax Season is over, they lay off over 90% of their tax preparers. For about the same tax preparation…

    Do I Really Need a Tax Professional?

  • Yes.  A qualified tax professional with all of the facts at his or her disposal can determine the appropriateness of the application of any tax law to your given situation. Every year there are numerous changes to the tax laws and the tax code.  IRS Code sections now number from 1 to over 9,800 and encompass more than 11,000 pages.  Frequently, provisions are added while others expire.  Some are indexed for inflation, so they change as well.  Still others are…

    IRS Ramping-up Audits of Small Business Entities

  • Audits of businesses are much more extensive and intrusive than those for individuals.  Should your business be audited, you can expect that every bank and checking account that you have in your household will be taken into consideration.  The auditor will be looking for “unreported income”. The IRS believes that most small businesses do not report all of their earnings.  In addition to the audit of your records, they have developed another type of audit that has nothing to do…

    The Ugly Truth about the Tax Preparation Chains

  • It is amazing to us that a very large number of people have their tax returns prepared by H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt, Liberty Tax and other large chain tax preparation offices.  Most of the preparers in these offices are unlicensed, seasonal preparers who possess a minimum level of tax knowledge.  These big chain tax preparation offices even charge about the same amount for a return as we do here at Incompass. Why settle for drive-through fast food style tax preparation, when…

    Being There for You—When Things Change

  • We believe in developing long-term relationships with our clients.  We not only work to find that deduction or credit that is often missed by others, but we want to be there at each phase of your life.  Whether you are beginning a career or a business, getting married, having children, or getting divorced; it is important that you have an advisor to help you through the complexities of these events.  By building that relationship, we are already there when a…

    IRS Appeals Process

  • When we cannot agree with an IRS auditor, or come to a satisfactory conclusion in an audit, and have exhausted all hearings at the group manager level; then we will refuse to settle and will inform the auditor of our intent to appeal the case.  We will then move the audit to the Office of Appeals. The appeals process is often needed because many IRS audits cannot be resolved with the auditor.  Often the IRS auditor is newly trained and…

    Integrating Your Estate Plan to the Larger Perspective

  • Estate planning will help you pass more of your assets to your loved ones rather than to the government and the legal system, thereby helping ease the strain on your family with as few legal hurdles as possible. Your family can avoid the time and costs associated with the probate process A well drafted estate plan can minimize or eliminate estate taxes and will keep the cost of transferring property to beneficiaries as low as possible.  It can insure that…

    Trust and Estate Tax Returns

  • Tax Returns Even When You Die?  As Executor or Successor Trustee you may be responsible for filing tax returns for the decedent and the estate or trust. Income Tax Returns Often a final 1040 personal income tax return, and a State version, is required to report income and expenses up to the date of death. A 1041 Fiduciary Income Tax Return, along with the State version, is filed to report income and expenses from after the date of death until…

    Advisory Services to Trustees and Executors

  • Have you been named a Successor Trustee or Executor for a loved one who has recently passed on?  If so, it is important that you understand your role and the responsibilities that you have. California law requires you, as successor trustee or executor, to take specific legal steps in carrying out your fiduciary duties.  If the estate contains items of substantial value, such as a home, stocks and bonds, or other investments, it is worthwhile to hire an experienced administrative…

    DEATH OF A LOVED ONE-What to Do

  • THINGS TO DO AFTER THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE If you have been named as a successor trustee or executor, the following is list of the many things you may be required to do in order to fulfill your fiduciary duties under the law.  All items may not apply, however, this is meant to be a helpful list at a time of loss. WITHIN FIRST 24 HOURS OR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE Safeguard decedent’s property, such as a motor…

    What to Look for in a Professional In-Home Caregiver Company

  • When the time is right to hire a professional caregiver, look for a company who provides quality personnel who are more than mere sitters or health personnel. The best caregivers provide mental stimulation to the senior by transforming daily routine into interactive activities. This type of interaction by the caregiver helps to increase the senior’s health and sense of wellbeing. Mental exercise should be an integral part of the senior’s daily care through conversation, reminiscing, story telling, reading, playing games…

    Veterans Aid and Attendance

  • If you are a war-time veteran or widow of a war-time veteran, you may qualify for a tax-free benefit to help you pay for the cost of long term care, such as the cost of independent, assisted living or in-home care. The benefit is the VA Non-Service Connected Aid & Attendance Pension, established in 1954 under section 38 USC to assist qualified veterans (and their surviving spouse). BASIC ELIGILITY CRITERIA The veteran must: Be discharged under other than dishonorable conditions…

    Geriatric Care Management

  • Often we are working with seniors regarding tax or estate issues when their health begins to decline. At that point it is important to bring in a geriatric care manager to do an assessment and develop a short-range plan, as well as, a long-range plan to help our senior clients remain in their home longer, if that is an option. The short range plan may be to oversee construction changes to the home to make it safer, have better access,…

    Understanding the Aging Process

  • We understand the unique needs of seniors and the issues associated with aging.   Our diverse team of advisors can be a resource and offer solutions for the extended family and the Care¬giver Community regarding the ever-changing rules affecting seniors, their assets and their quality of life.  We are an advocate for our senior clients, providing information to help them cope with the aging process and to protect them from pitfalls, scams and financial abuse. We try to understand the senior’s…

    Understanding the Aging Process

  • We understand the unique needs of seniors and the issues associated with aging.   Our diverse team of advisors can be a resource and offer solutions for the extended family and the Care¬giver Community regarding the ever-changing rules affecting seniors, their assets and their quality of life.  We are an advocate for our senior clients, providing information to help them cope with the aging process and to protect them from pitfalls, scams and financial abuse. We try to understand the senior’s…

    IRS Appeals Process

  • When we cannot agree with an IRS auditor, or come to a satisfactory conclusion in an audit, and have exhausted all hearings at the group manager level; then we will refuse to settle and will inform the auditor of our intent to appeal the case.  We will then move the audit to the Office of Appeals. The appeals process is often needed because many IRS audits cannot be resolved with the auditor.  Often the IRS auditor is newly trained and…

    Offer In Compromise

  • Did you know that you may be able to settle your debt with the IRS for a fraction of what you owe?  The IRS Offer in Compromise program allows taxpayers to settle with the IRS on tax debt that has been incorrectly assessed or for liabilities they cannot afford to pay. The IRS Code states: "We will accept an Offer in Compromise when it is unlikely that we can collect the full amount owed and the amount you offer reasonably…

    IRS Liens, Levies and Seizures

  • Liens Federal Tax Liens can really make your life miserable! When your taxes are not paid the IRS establishes a lien against all of your assets (especially real estate). This gives the IRS the legal right to collect taxes from the sale of your assets, which includes just about everything you own. The lien can be against you, your spouse, or your company. A lien against your company would seize your accounts receivables. At this point everything you own would…

    What to Do if You Get an IRS Audit Letter?

  • As soon as you receive an IRS audit letter, you should contact us to arrange a meeting.  We will explain what you should expect during the IRS audit process; from you receiving the Notice, all the way through the audit process, and to appeals, if needed. First we will need a copy of the audit notice to see what the issues are.  Then we will need to prepare an IRS Power of Attorney Form and get you to sign it,…

    Which Tax & Regulatory Laws Did You Unknowingly Violate Today?

  • The problem today is that most small business owners are violating dozens of tax and business laws that they don't even know exist.  Business owners already struggle to make a living while trying to comply with the very complex Tax Code.  They generally don't have the time or resources in meeting all of the regulatory requirements that our government has placed before them, or even to find out exactly which regulations apply to them and which don't. Business owners find…

    Employee Issues

  • If you have hired employees or are considering it, even if your employees are family members, you need to talk to us. Learn how to be in compliance with the Department of Labor and the various agencies that regulate some portion of the complex employment laws, and how you may benefit from pre-tax owner or employee benefits. Let us educate you on the various labor laws and how to comply with them.  We will help you comply with the Department…

    Corporate or LLC Compliance and Annual Meeting Plan

  • Many business owners form an LLC or a corporation with the misunderstanding that their business structure will protect them from lawsuits or creditors. However it is rare that these same owners operate their business in a manner consistent with their chosen entity structure, as required by law. Therefore, they often find out that they have no protection. The courts consistently rule that if you are not acting like a corporation or LLC, then you are not one.  If you do…

    Shielding Your Assets

  • To properly shield your assets requires planning and restructuring as to the way you hold and control those assets.  Asset protection planning is the method of preparing for the possibility of future lawsuits by rearranging the ownership of assets so that they are beyond the reach of potential creditors. Taking action to protect your assets must take place before any event has occurred that could result in a claim against you.  If you have already committed an act that could…

    Protecting Your Business

  • How can you, as a business owner, protect your assets when you start a business? If you begin a business without incorporating it or forming it as some type of limited liability entity, then all of your personal and business assets are at risk for all debts and claims against your business. If you run your business as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, then you have no asset protection—all of your business assets are exposed to both, business…

    Tax Schemes & Scams

  • Don't fall victim to tax scams. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Watch out for schemes that promise to reduce or eliminate taxes.  Involvement with tax schemes can lead to imprisonment and fines. The IRS pursues and shuts down promoters of these and numerous other scams. Anyone pulled into these schemes can also face repayment of taxes plus interest and penalties. The IRS urges people to avoid these common schemes: Misclassifying worker status. …

    Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer

  • So, what should you be looking for in a tax preparer?  The IRS and many consumer watchdog organizations give advice on how to choose a tax preparer.  The following is a summary of some of their points.  Take note that the large chain firms do not meet this criterion Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer Check the Preparer’s credentials Is the preparer licensed?  Very few preparers in the large tax preparation offices are licensed.  The only individuals that are licensed…

    Trust and Estate Tax Returns

  • Tax Returns Even When You Die?  As Executor or Successor Trustee you may be responsible for filing tax returns for the decedent and the estate or trust. Income Tax Returns Often a final 1040 personal income tax return, and a State version, is required to report income and expenses up to the date of death. A 1041 Fiduciary Income Tax Return, along with the State version, is filed to report income and expenses from after the date of death until…

    Business Tax Plans

  • The amount of taxes that you or your business must pay will vary greatly depending on the way that your business is structured and which planning concepts are put into action.  We can reduce your taxes, as a business owner, through the implementation of our formal tax planning services. Our Tax Plans are designed to take advantage of the current tax laws and regulations.  A good Plan will be built on a tax-friendlier foundation and allow for the proper timing…

    Keep More of Your Tax Money

  • What Are You Going to Buy with Your Tax Savings? We do more than just preparing tax returns.  We can actually help you keep more of your hard-earned dollars—money that could have been lost forever to taxes that you did not need to owe.  That is money you could buy something with.  What are you planning to do with this new-found money? How Are We Able to Reduce Your Taxes? Congress is constantly tinkering with the Tax Code each year,…

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