|Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.|
|Selling your Business|
There are many reasons to sell a business. Maybe you're in ill health or ready to retire. Or you're tired of working all the time and now that the business is profitable you're ready to cash in. Whatever the reason, selling a small to medium sized business is a complex venture and many business owners are not aware of the tax consequences.
If you're thinking about selling your business the first step is to consult a competent tax professional. You will need to make sure your financials in order, obtain an accurate business valuation to determine how much your business is worth (and what the listing price might be), and develop a tax planning strategy to minimizes capital gains and other taxes in order to maximize your profits from the sale.
Accurate Financial Statements
The importance of preparing your business financials before listing your business for sale cannot be overstated. Whether you use a business broker or word of mouth, rest assured that potential buyers will scrutinize every aspect of your business. Not being able to quickly produce financial statements, current and prior years' balance sheets, profit and loss statements, tax returns, equipment lists, product inventories, and property appraisals and lease agreements may lead to loss of the sale.
Many business owners have no idea what their business is worth; some may underestimate whereas others overestimate--sometimes significantly. Obtaining a third party business valuation allows business owners to set a price that is realistic for potential buyers, while achieving maximum value.
Tax Consequences of Selling
As a business owner you probably think of your business as a single entity sold as a lump sum. The IRS however, views a business as a collection of assets. Profit from the sale of these assets (i.e. your business) may be subject to short and long-term capital gains tax, depreciation recapture of Section 1245 and Section 1250 real property, and federal and state income taxes.
For IRS purposes each asset sold must be classified as capital assets, depreciable property used in the business, real property used in the business, goodwill, or property held for sale to customers, such as inventory or stock in trade. Assets are considered tangible (real estate, machinery, and inventory) or intangible (goodwill or trade name).
The gain (or loss) on each asset sold is figured separately. For instance, the sale of capital assets results in capital gain or loss whereas the sale of inventory results in ordinary income or loss, with each taxed accordingly.
Depreciable propertySection 1231 gains and losses are the taxable gains and losses from Section 1231 transactions such as sales or exchanges of real property or depreciable personal property held longer than one year. Their treatment as ordinary or capital depends on whether you have a net gain or a net loss from all your Section 1231 transactions.
When you dispose of depreciable property (Section 1245 property or Section 1250 property) at a gain, you may have to recognize all or part of the gain as ordinary income under the depreciation recapture rules. Any remaining gain is a Section 1231 gain.
Your business structure (i.e. business entity) also affects the way your business is taxed when it is sold. Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and LLCs (Limited Liability Companies) are considered "pass-through" entities and each asset is sold separately. As such there is more flexibility when structuring a sale to benefit both the buyer and seller in terms of tax consequences.
C-corporations and S-corporations have different entity structures and sale of assets and stock are subject to more complex regulations.
For example, when assets of a C-corporation are sold, the seller is taxed twice. The corporation pays tax on any gains realized when the assets are sold, and shareholders pay capital gains tax when the corporation is dissolved. However, when a C-corporation sells stock the seller only pays capital gains tax on the profit from the sale, which is generally at the long-term capital gains tax rate. S-corporations are taxed similarly to partnerships in that there is no double taxation when assets are sold. Income (or loss) flows through shareholders, who report it on their individual tax returns.
As you can see, selling a business involves complicated federal and state tax rules and regulations. If you're thinking of selling your business in the near future don't hesitate to call the office and schedule a consultation with a tax and accounting professional.
|Tax Compliance Issues for Non-Profits|
Whether you've just started a nonprofit, recently submitted your organization's first Form 990, or are the executive director, it's important not to lose sight of your obligations under federal and state tax laws. From annual filing and reporting requirements to taxes on business income and payroll compliance, here's a quick look at what nonprofits need to know about tax compliance.
Annual Filing and Reporting Requirements: Form 990
Once you've applied for and received tax-exempt status under (Section 501(c)(3) and filed Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, your organization is officially a nonprofit, and is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3). Tax exempt status refers to exemption from federal income tax on income related to the organization's mission, as well as the ability to receive tax-deductible contributions from donors.
The next step is to comply with annual filing and reporting requirements, specifically, Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.
Generally, tax-exempt organizations are required to file annual returns. If an organization does not file a required return or files late, the IRS may assess penalties. In addition, if an organization does not file as required for three consecutive years, it automatically loses its tax-exempt status.
There are four different Forms 990; which form an organization must file generally depends on its gross receipts. Forms 990-EZ or 990 are used for organizations with gross receipts of less than $200,000 and with total assets of less than $500,000. Form 990 is used for nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $200,000, and with total assets less than $500,000.
Certain small organizations may file an annual electronic notice, the Form 990-N (e-Postcard). Private foundations file Form 990-PF regardless of financial status.
Form 990 is submitted to the IRS five and a half months after the end of an organization's calendar year. For example, for nonprofits whose calendar year ends on December 31st, the initial return due date for Form 990 is May 15. If a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day.
Extended due dates of three and six months are available for Forms 990; however, for Form 990-N the due date is the "initial return due date," e.g. May 15 and extended due dates do not apply.
NOTE: Unlike individual tax returns filed with the IRS, which may be postmarked on April 15, Forms 990 must be received (not postmarked) by the IRS before the May 15 due date.
Unrelated Business Income Taxes (UBIT)
Unrelated business income is defined as income from a trade or business which is regularly carried on and is not substantially related to the charitable, educational, or other purpose that is the basis of the organization's exemption.
While it may come as a surprise to some, nearly all tax-exempt organizations are required to pay taxes on unrelated business income, which might include proceeds from an annual holiday card sale or souvenirs related to an educational exhibit in support of the nonprofit's mission.
If the IRS determines that a nonprofit is significantly underreporting income from unrelated business activities, it may lose its tax-exempt status.
Employment and Payroll Compliance
Similar to for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations must comply with both federal and state payroll reporting requirements. Federal tax withholding, social security taxes, and Medicare taxes must be deposited through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System ("EFTPS"), and the organization must file Form 941 on a quarterly basis. Nonprofits are also required to report reimbursements to employees for out-of-pocket expenses; however, nonprofits that create an accountable reimbursement plan or ARP that meets IRS guidelines are able to avoid these reporting requirements.
These are just a few of the tax-compliance issues facing nonprofit organizations. If you have any questions, would like more information, or need help setting up an accountable reimbursement plan that meets IRS requirements, please call.
|Paying off Debt the Smart Way|
Between mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and student loans, most people are in debt. While being debt-free is a worthwhile goal, most people need to focus on managing their debt first since it's likely to be there for most of their life.
Handled wisely, however, that debt won't be an albatross around your neck. You don't need to shell out your hard-earned money because of exorbitant interest rates or always feel like you're on the verge of bankruptcy. You can pay off debt the smart way, while at the same time, saving money to pay it off even faster.
Assess the Situation
First, assess the depth of your debt. Write it down using pencil and paper or use a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel. You can also use a bookkeeping program such as Quicken. Include every instance you can think of where a company has given you something in advance of payment, including your mortgage, car payment(s), credit cards, tax liens, student loans, and payments on electronics or other household items through a store.
Record the day the debt began and when it will end (if possible), the interest rate you're paying, and what your payments typically are. Next, add it all up--as painful as that might be. Try not to be discouraged! Remember, you're going to break this down into manageable chunks while finding extra money to help pay it down.
Identify High-Cost Debt
Yes, some debts are more expensive than others. Unless you're getting payday loans (which you shouldn't be), the worst offenders are probably your credit cards. Here's how to deal with them.
Save, Save, Save
Do whatever you can to retire debt. Consider taking a second job and using that income only for higher payments on your financial obligations. Substitute free family activities for high-cost ones. Sell high-value items that you can live without.
Do Away with Unnecessary Items to Reduce Debt Load
Do you really need the 200-channel cable option or that satellite dish on your roof? You'll be surprised at what you don't miss. How about magazine subscriptions? They're not terribly expensive, but every penny counts. It's nice to have a library of books, but consider visiting the public library or half-price bookstores until your debt is under control.
Never, Ever Miss a Payment
Not only are you retiring debt, but you're also building a stellar credit rating. If you ever move or buy another car, you'll want to get the lowest rate possible. A blemish-free payment record will help with that. Besides, credit card companies can be quick to raise interest rates because of one late payment. A completely missed one is even more serious.
Pay with Cash
To avoid increasing debt load, make it a habit to pay for everything you purchase with cash. If you don't have the cash for it, you probably don't need it. You'll feel better about what you do have if you know it's owned free and clear.
Shop wisely, and Use the Savings to Pay down Your Debt
If your family is large enough to warrant it, invest $30 or $40 and join a store like Sam's or Costco--and use it. Shop there first, then at the grocery store. Change brands if you have to and swallow your pride. If you're concerned about buying organic, rest assured that even at places like Costco you will have many options. Use coupons religiously. Calculate the money you're saving and slap it on your debt.
Each of these steps, taken alone, probably doesn't seem like much, but if you adopt as many as you can, you'll watch your debt decrease every month. If you need help managing debt, please call for assistance.
|The Best Financial Tool for Business Owners|
What if there were a tool that helped you create crystal-clear plans, provided you with continual feedback about how well your plan was working, and that told you exactly what's working and what isn't?
Well, there is such a tool. It's called the Budget vs. Actual Report and it's exactly what you need to be able to consistently make smart business decisions to keep your business on track for success.
Clarifying Your Plan
The clearer you are about your business goals, the more likely you are to achieve them. Creating a budget forces you to examine the details of your goals, as well as how even a single business decision affects all other aspects of your company's operations.
Navigating the Ship
Once you clarify your goals, then you start making business decisions to help you reach your desired outcome. Some of those decisions will be great and give you better than expected results, but others might not.
This is when the Budget vs. Actual Report becomes an effective management tool. When you compare your budgeted sales and expenses to your actual results, you see exactly how far off you might be with regard to your budget, goals, and plans.
Sometimes you need to adjust your plan (budget) and sometimes you need to focus more attention to areas of your business that are not performing as well as you planned. Either way, you are gleaning valuable insights into your business.
It's like sailing a boat. You may be off-course most of the time, but having a clear goal and making many adjustments helps you reach your destination.
Just Do It
We often know what we need to do but don't take the necessary action. It may seem like a huge hassle to create a budget and then create a Budget vs. Actual Report every month, but as with any new skill, it does get easier.
Turn your dreams into reality. Give the office a call and let a tax and accounting professional guide you through the budgeting process.
|Five Tips for Safeguarding Your Records|
Some natural disasters are more common in the summer, but major events such as hurricanes, tornadoes and fires can strike at any time. It's always a good idea to plan for what to do in case of a disaster. Here are some basic steps you can take right now to prepare:
1. Backup Records Electronically. Many people receive bank statements by email. This is a good way to secure your records. You can also scan tax records and insurance policies onto an electronic format. You can use an external hard drive, CD or DVD to store important records. Be sure you back up your files and keep them in a safe place. If a disaster strikes your home, it may also affect a wide area. If that happens you may not be able to retrieve your records.
2. Document Valuables. Take photos or videos of the contents of your home or business. These visual records can help you prove the value of your lost items. They may help with insurance claims or casualty loss deductions on your tax return. You should store them with a friend or relative who lives out of the area. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings.
3. Update Emergency Plans. Review your emergency plans every year. Personal and business situations change over time as do preparedness needs, so update them when your situation changes. Make sure you have a way to get severe weather information and have a plan for what to do if threatening weather approaches. In addition, when employers hire new employees or when a company or organization changes functions, plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be informed of the changes.
4. Get Copies of Tax Returns or Transcripts. Use Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to replace lost or destroyed tax returns or need information from your return. You can also file Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. If you need assistance filling this form out, please call.
5. Check on Fiduciary Bonds. Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.
If you fall victim to a disaster, Help is just a phone call away. Don't hesitate to call the office regarding any disaster-related tax questions or issues you might have.
|Start Planning Now for Next Year's Taxes|
You may be tempted to forget about your taxes once you've filed your tax return, but did you know that if you start your tax planning now, you may be able to avoid a tax surprise when you file next year?
That's right. Now is a good time to set up a system so you can keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here are six tips to give you a leg up on next year's taxes:
1. Take action when life changes occur. Some life events such as a change in marital status or the birth of a child can change the amount of tax you pay. When they happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Call if you need help filling out the form.
2. Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you enroll in insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2016, you should report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen. Reporting events such as changes in your income or family size helps you avoid getting too much or too little financial assistance in advance.
3. Keep records safe. Print and keep a copy of your 2015 tax return and supporting records together in a safe place. This includes W-2 Forms, Forms 1099, bank records and records of your family's health care insurance coverage. If you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easier for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid for college. You should use your tax return as a guide when you do your taxes next year.
4. Stay organized. Make tax time easier on everyone by having your family place tax records in the same place during the year. That way you won't have to search for misplaced records when you file your return next year.
5. Choose your tax preparer wisely. If you want to hire a CPA, accountant, or tax preparer to help you with tax planning, start your search now and shop around. Ask for recommendations from friends and relatives and check the IRS Directory of Tax Return Preparers on IRS.gov to find tax preparers in your area with the credentials and qualifications that you need. If you already have a tax preparer, give him or her a call and find out which tax planning strategies you can use this year that save you money on your 2016 tax return.
6. Consider itemizing. You may be able to lower your taxes if you itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Owning a home, paying medical expenses and qualified donations to charity could mean more tax savings. A list of deductions is found in the instructions for Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. As always, if you have any questions please call.
Ready to save money on your taxes?
Planning now can pay off with savings at tax time next year. Call today and get a jump start on next year's taxes.
|Six Facts About Charitable Donations|
If you give money or goods to a charity in 2016, you may be able to claim a deduction on your federal tax return. Here are six important facts you should know about charitable donations.
1. Qualified Charities. You must donate to a qualified charity. Gifts to individuals, political organizations or candidates are not deductible. An exception to this rule is contributions under the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015. To check the status of a charity, use the IRS Select Check tool found on IRS.gov.
2. Itemize Deductions. To deduct your contributions, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions. File Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, with your federal tax return.
3. Benefit in Return. If you get something in return for your donation, you may have to reduce your deduction. You can only deduct the amount of your gift that is more than the value of what you got in return. Examples of benefits include merchandise, meals, tickets to an event or other goods and services.
4. Type of Donation. If you give property instead of cash, your deduction amount is normally limited to the item's fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price you would get if you sold the property on the open market. If you donate used clothing and household items, they generally must be in good condition, or better, to be deductible. Special rules apply to cars, boats and other types of property donations.
5. Form to File and Records to Keep. You must file Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, for all noncash gifts totaling more than $500 for the year. If you need to prepare a Form 8283, you can prepare and e-file your tax return for free using IRS Free File. The type of records you must keep depends on the amount and type of your donation. To learn more about what records to keep please call the office.
6. Donations of $250 or More. If you donated cash or goods of $250 or more, you must have a written statement from the charity. It must show the amount of the donation and a description of any property given. It must also say whether you received any goods or services in exchange for the gift.
Questions about deducting charitable donations? Call the office anytime. We're here to help.
|Who Can Represent You Before the IRS?|
Many people use a tax professional to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a return for a fee. If you choose a tax pro, you should know who can represent you before the IRS. There are new rules this year, so the IRS wants you to know who can represent you and when they can represent you.
Representation rights, also known as practice rights, fall into two categories:
Unlimited representation rights allow a credentialed tax practitioner to represent you before the IRS on any tax matter. This is true no matter who prepared your return. Credentialed tax professionals who have unlimited representation rights include:
Limited representation rights authorize the tax professional to represent you if, and only if, they prepared and signed the return. They can do this only before IRS revenue agents, customer service representatives and similar IRS employees. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare. They cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question. For returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, the only tax return preparers with limited representation rights are Annual Filing Season Program Participants.
The Annual Filing Season Program is a voluntary program. Non-credentialed tax return preparers who aim for a higher level of professionalism are encouraged to participate.
Other tax return preparers have limited representation rights, but only for returns filed before Jan. 1, 2016. Keep these changes in mind and choose wisely when you select a tax return preparer.
|Education Tax Credits Help You Pay for College|
Are you planning to pay for college in 2016? If so, money you paid for higher education can mean tax savings on your tax return when you file next year. If you, your spouse or your dependent took post-high school coursework last year, you may be able to take advantage of education credits that can help you with the cost of higher education. Taking advantage of these education tax credits can mean tax savings on your federal tax return by reducing the amount of tax you owe. Here are some important facts you should know about education tax credits.
American Opportunity Tax Credit:
Lifetime Learning Credit:
The Tuition and Fees Deduction is:
The following applies to all three credits and deductions as well:
Even if you can't take advantage of any of these tax credits, there could be other education-related tax benefits that you can claim. Call the office if you have any questions.
|Tax Tips for Members of the Military|
Special tax benefits apply to members of the U. S. Armed Forces. For example, some types of pay are not taxable, and special rules may apply to some tax deductions, credits, and deadlines. Here are ten of those benefits:
1. Deadline Extensions. Some members of the military, such as those who serve in a combat zone, can postpone some tax deadlines. If this applies to you, you can get automatic extensions of time to file your tax return and to pay your taxes. For example, service members stationed abroad have extra time (until June 15) to file a federal income tax return. Those serving in a combat zone have even longer, typically until 180 days after they leave the combat zone. They may also qualify to delay payment of income tax due before or during their period of service. Please call the office for details, including how to request relief.
2. Combat Pay Exclusion. If you serve in a combat zone, certain combat pay you receive is not taxable. You won't need to show the pay on your tax return because combat pay isn't included in the wages reported on your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Service in support of a combat zone may qualify for this exclusion.
3. Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). If you get nontaxable combat pay, you may choose to include it to figure your EITC. You would make this choice if it increases your credit. Even if you do, the combat pay stays nontaxable.
4. Moving Expense Deduction. You may be able to deduct some of your unreimbursed moving costs. This applies if the move is due to a permanent change of station. Use Form 3903, Moving Expenses
5. Uniform Deduction. You can deduct the costs of certain uniforms that regulations prohibit you from wearing while off duty. This includes the costs of purchase and upkeep. You must reduce your deduction by any allowance you get for these costs.
6. Signing Joint Returns. Both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return. If your spouse is absent due to certain military duty or conditions, you may be able to sign for your spouse. In other cases when your spouse is absent, you may need a power of attorney to file a joint return.
7. Reservists' Travel Deduction. If you're a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, you may deduct certain costs of travel on your tax return. This applies to the unreimbursed costs of travel to perform your reserve duties that are more than 100 miles away from home.
8. Nontaxable ROTC Allowances. Active duty ROTC pay, such as pay for summer advanced camp, is taxable. But some amounts paid to ROTC students in advanced training are not taxable. This applies to educational and subsistence allowances.
9. Civilian Life. If you leave the military and look for work, you may be able to deduct some job hunting expenses. You may be able to include the costs of travel, preparing a resume and job placement agency fees. Moving expenses may also qualify for a tax deduction.
10. Retirement Savings. Low-and moderate-income service members who contribute to an IRA or 401(k)-type retirement plan, such as the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan, can often claim the saver's credit, also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, on Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
Getting Tax Help
Although most military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season, you may need to contact an accounting professional during other times of the year. Don't hesitate to contact the office with any questions you have about your taxes--no matter what time of the year it is.
|Tax Due Dates for July 2016|
Employees Who Work for Tips - If you received $20 or more in tips during June, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.
Employers - Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in June.
Employers - Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in June.
Employers - Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the second quarter of 2016. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until August 10 to file the return.
Employers - Federal unemployment tax. Deposit the tax owed through June if more than $500.
Employers - If you maintain an employee benefit plan, such as a pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plan, file Form 5500 or 5500-EZ for calendar-year 2015. If you use a fiscal year as your plan year, file the form by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends.
Certain Small Employers - Deposit any undeposited tax if your tax liability is $2,500 or more for 2016 but less than $2,500 for the second quarter.
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