Category: SMALL BUSINESSES

August 29th, 2019 by Oscar

Starting a business can be very rewarding. It can also be a little overwhelming. From business plans to market strategies, and even tax responsibilities…there are many things to consider. Here’s what new business owners can do to help get off to a good start.

  • Choose a business structure. The form of business determines which income tax return a business taxpayer needs to file. The most common business structures are:
    • Sole proprietorship: An unincorporated business owned by an individual. There’s no distinction between the taxpayer and their business.
    • Partnership: An unincorporated business with ownership shared between two or more people.
    • Corporation: Also known as a C corporation. It’s a separate entity owned by shareholders.
    • S Corporation: A corporation that elects to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to the shareholders.
    • Limited Liability Company: A business structure allowed by state statute.
  • Choose a tax year. A tax year is an annual accounting period for keeping records and reporting income and expenses. A new business owner must choose either:
    • Calendar year: 12 consecutive months beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
    • Fiscal year: 12 consecutive months ending on the last day of any month except December.
  • Apply for an employer identification number. An EIN is also called a federal tax identification number. It’s used to identify a business. Most businesses need an EIN.
  • Have all employees complete these forms:
    • Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
    • Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
  • Pay business taxes. The form of business determines what taxes must be paid and how to pay them.

Each state has additional requirements for starting and operating a business. Prospective business owners should visit their state’s website for info about state requirements.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

August 16th, 2019 by Oscar

Small business owners, self-employed people, and some wage earners should look into whether they should make estimated tax payments this year. Doing so can help them avoid an unexpected tax bill and possibly a penalty when they file next year.

Everyone must pay tax as they earn income. Taxpayers who earn a paycheck usually have their employer withhold tax from their checks. This helps cover taxes the employee owes. On the other hand, some taxpayers earn income not subject to withholding. For small business owners and self-employed people, that usually means making quarterly estimated tax payments.

Here’s some information about estimated tax payments:

  • Taxpayers generally must make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe $1,000 or more when they file their 2019 tax return.
  • Whether or not they expect to owe next year, taxpayers may have to pay estimated tax for 2019 if their tax was more than zero in 2018.
  • Wage earners who also have business income can often avoid having to pay estimated tax. They can do so by asking their employer to withhold more tax from their paychecks.
  • Aside from business owners and self-employed individuals, people who need to make estimated payments also includes sole proprietors, partners and S corporation shareholders. It also often includes people involved in the sharing economy.
  • Estimated tax requirements are different for farmers and fishermen.
  • Corporations generally must make these payments if they expect to owe $500 or more on their 2019 tax return.
  • Aside from income tax, taxpayers can pay other taxes through estimated tax payments. This includes self-employment tax and the alternative minimum tax.
  • The final two deadlines for paying 2019 estimated payments are Sept. 16, 2019 and Jan. 15, 2020.
  • Taxpayers can check out these forms for details on how to figure their payments:
    • Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.
    • Form 1120-W, Estimated Tax for Corporations.
  • Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov to find options for paying estimated taxes. These include:
    • Direct Pay from a bank account.
    • Paying by credit or debit card or the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
    • Mailing a check or money order to the IRS.
    • Paying cash at a retail partner.
  • Anyone who pays too little tax through withholding, estimated tax payments, or a combination of the two may owe a penalty. In some cases, the penalty may apply if their estimated tax payments are late. The penalty may apply even if the taxpayer is due a refund.
  • For tax year 2019, the penalty generally applies to anyone who pays less than 90 percent of the tax reported on their 2019 tax return.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

July 25th, 2019 by Oscar

Tax planning should happen all year long, not just when someone is filing their tax return.  An important part of tax planning is record-keeping. Well-organized records make it easier for a taxpayer to prepare their tax return. It can also help provide answers if a taxpayer’s return is selected for examination or if the taxpayer receives an IRS notice.

Here are some suggestions to help taxpayers keep good records:

  • Taxpayers should develop a system that keeps all their important info together. They can use a software program for electronic record-keeping. They could also store paper documents in labeled folders.
  • Throughout the year, they should add tax records to their files as they receive them. Having records readily at hand makes preparing a tax return easier.
  • It may also help them discover potentially overlooked deductions or credits. Taxpayers should notify the IRS if their address changes. They should also notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change to avoid a delay in processing their tax return.
  • Records that taxpayers should keep include receipts, canceled checks, and other documents that support income, a deduction, or a credit on a tax return.
  • Taxpayers should also keep records relating to property they dispose of or sell. They must keep these records to figure their basis for computing gain or loss.
  • In general, the IRS suggests that taxpayers keep records for three years from the date they filed the return.
  • For business taxpayers, there’s no particular method of bookkeeping they must use. However, taxpayers should find a method that clearly and accurately reflects their gross income and expenses. The records should confirm income and expenses. Taxpayers who have employees must keep all employment tax records for at least four years after the tax is due or paid, whichever is later.

The IRS has several online tools taxpayers can use to stay updated on important tax information that may help with tax planning.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

June 20th, 2019 by Oscar

Taxpayers who receive certain types of income may need to have backup withholding taken from these payments. Backup withholding can apply to most payments reported on Forms 1099 and W-2G.

Here are some facts to help taxpayers understand backup withholding and determine if they should have it withheld from their income payments.

First, here’s what backup withholding is
The person or business paying the taxpayer doesn’t generally withhold taxes from certain payments. They don’t do this because it’s assumed the taxpayer will report and pay taxes on this income when they file their federal tax return. There are, however, situations when the payer is required to withhold a certain percentage of tax to make sure the IRS receives the tax due on this income. This is what’s known as backup withholding.

Backup withholding is set at a specific percentage
The current percentage is 24 percent for US residents and 30 percent for non residents.

Here are some payments subject to backup withholding

  • Interest payments
  • Dividends
  • Payment card and third-party network transactions
  • Patronage dividends, but only if at least half the payment is in money
  • Rents, profits, or other gains
  • Commissions, fees, or other payments for work done as an independent contractor
  • Payments by brokers
  • Barter exchanges
  • Payments by fishing boat operators, but only the part that is paid in actual money and that represents a share of the proceeds of the catch
  • Royalty payments
  • Gambling winnings

Here are some situations when the payer must take out backup withholding

  • If a taxpayer identification number is missing. A taxpayer identification number specifically identifies the taxpayer. This includes number like a Social Security number and an individual taxpayer identification number.
  • If the name provided does not match the name registered with the IRS for a specific TIN, taxpayers should make sure that the payer has their correct TIN.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

June 7th, 2019 by Oscar

Although the IRS often finds and corrects errors during processing, there are certain situations in which a taxpayer may need to file an amended return to make a correction. Here are some quick tips for anyone who discovered they made a mistake or forgot to include something on their tax return.

Don’t amend for math errors or missing forms. Taxpayers generally don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors on their original return. The IRS may correct math or clerical errors on a return and may accept it even if the taxpayer forgot to attach certain tax forms or schedules. The IRS will mail a letter to the taxpayer, if necessary, requesting additional information.

Wait until receiving refund for tax year 2018 before filing. Taxpayers who are due refunds from their original tax year 2018 tax return should wait for the IRS to process the return and they receive the refund before filing Form 1040-X to claim an additional refund. It may take the IRS up to 16 weeks to process amended returns.

File Form 1040-X to amend. Taxpayers must file on paper using Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct their tax return. While taxpayers can use software to prepare Form 1040-X, they can’t file Form 1040-X electronically. Taxpayers should indicate the year of the original return and explain all changes made by attaching any forms or schedules. Taxpayers then sign and mail the Form 1040-X to the address listed in the instructions. Taxpayers filing Form 1040-X in response to an IRS letter should mail it to the address shown on the letter.

Amend to correct errors. Taxpayers should correct their return if they find that they should have claimed a different filing status or didn’t report some income. Taxpayers who claimed deductions or credits they shouldn’t have claimed or didn’t claim deductions or credits they could have claimed may need to file an amended return.   Changes made on a federal return may also affect state taxes. The taxpayer should contact the state tax agency to see if this is so.

Pay additional tax. Taxpayers who will owe more tax should file Form 1040-X and pay the tax as soon as possible to avoid penalties and interest. They should consider using IRS Direct Pay to pay any tax directly from a checking or savings account for free.

File within three-year time limit. Taxpayers generally have three years from the date they filed their original tax return to file Form 1040-X to claim a refund. They can file it within two years of the date they paid the tax, if that date is later.

Use separate forms if amending more than one tax year. Taxpayers must file a Form 1040-X for each tax year and mail each year’s form in a separate envelope to avoid confusion. They should check the box for the calendar year or enter the other calendar year or fiscal year they are amending. The form’s instructions have the mailing address for the amended return.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, SMALL BUSINESSES

May 16th, 2019 by Oscar

Businesses that use a car or other vehicle may be able to deduct the expense of operating that vehicle on their taxes. Businesses generally can use one of the two methods to figure their deductible vehicle expenses:

  • Standard mileage rate
  • Actual car expenses

For 2019, here are the standard mileage rates for calculating the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes:

  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Of course, business taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. Here are some facts to help business owners understand the differences between the two methods of figuring their deductible vehicle expenses:

  • Businesses that want to use the standard mileage rate for a car they own must choose to use the standard mileage rate in the first year they use the vehicle. Then, in later years, they can choose to use either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses.
  • If a business wants to use the standard mileage rate for a car they lease, they must use this rate for the entire lease period.
  • The business must make the choice to use the standard mileage rate by the due date of their return, including extensions. They can’t revoke the choice.
  • A business that qualifies to use both methods may want to figure their deduction both ways to see which gives them a larger deduction.
  • Here are some examples of actual car expenses that a business can deduct: licenses; gas; oil; tolls; insurance; repairs and depreciation – (limitations and adjustments may apply)

Posted in SMALL BUSINESSES

May 9th, 2019 by Oscar

Small business owners should keep good records. This applies to all businesses, whether they have a couple dozen employees or just a few. Whether they install software or make soft-serve. Whether they cut hair or cut lawns. Keeping good records is an important part of running a successful business.

Here are some questions and answers to help business owners understand the ins and outs of good recordkeeping.

Why should business owners keep records?
Good records will help them:

  1. Monitor the progress of their business
  2. Prepare financial statements
  3. Identify income sources
  4. Keep track of expenses
  5. Prepare tax returns and support items reported on tax returns

What kinds of records should owners keep?
Small business owners may choose any recordkeeping system that fits their business. They should choose one that clearly shows income and expenses. Except in a few cases, the law does not require special kinds of records. .

How long should businesses keep records?
How long a document should be kept depends on several factors. These factors include the action, expense and event recorded in the document. The IRS generally suggests taxpayers keep records for three years.

How should businesses record transactions?
A good recordkeeping system includes a summary of all business transactions. These are usually kept in books called journals and ledgers, which business owners can buy at an office supply store. All requirements that apply to hard copy books and records also apply to electronic business records.

What is the burden of proof?
The responsibility to validate information on tax returns is known as the burden of proof. Small business owners must be able to prove expenses to deduct them.

How long should businesses keep employment tax records?
Business owners should keep all records of employment taxes for at least four years.

Posted in SMALL BUSINESSES

May 2nd, 2019 by Oscar

La ley federal requiere que una persona informe las transacciones en efectivo en exceso de $10,000 al IRS.  Aquí hay algunos datos importantes acerca de cómo reportar estos pagos.

A quién aplica

Para propósitos de pagos en efectivo, una “persona” se define como un individuo, compañía, corporación, sociedad, asociación, fideicomiso o patrimonio.  Por ejemplo:

Distribuidores de joyas, muebles, barcos, aviones, automóviles, arte, alfombras, y antigüedades

  • Casas de empeño
  • Abogados
  • Corredores de bienes raíces
  • Compañías de seguro
  • Agencias de viaje

Cómo informar

Las personas reportan el pago a través del  Formulario 8300, Informe de pagos en efectivo en exceso de $10,000 (PDF) recibidos en una ocupación o negocio. 

Una persona puede presentar el Formulario 8300SP electrónicamente. La presentación electrónica es gratis, rápida y segura. Los contribuyentes recibirán un acuse de recibo electrónico por cada formulario que presenten. Aquellos que prefieren enviar el Formulario 8300 por correo, pueden enviarlo al IRS a la dirección que aparece en el formulario.

Qué es efectivo

Efectivo incluye la moneda de los Estados Unidos o de cualquier país extranjero. Para algunas transacciones, también incluye cheque de caja, giros bancarios, cheques de viajeros o giros postales con un valor nominal de $10,000 o menos.

Una persona debe reportar efectivo si recibe más de $10,000 en efectivo:

  • En una suma global
  • En dos o más pagos relacionados dentro de 24 horas
  • Como parte de una sola transacción dentro de 12 meses
  • Como parte de una sola transacción o dos o más transacciones relacionadas dentro de 12 meses

Cuándo presentar

Una persona debe presentar el Formulario 8300 dentro de los 15 días posteriores a la fecha en que recibió el efectivo. Si recibe pagos para una sola transacción o dos o más transacciones relacionadas, debe presentar cuando la cantidad total pagada supere los $10,000.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

April 11th, 2019 by Oscar

Tax-related identity theft occurs when a thief uses someone’s stolen Social Security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund. The victim may be unaware that this has happened until they e-file their return. Even before the victim files their return, the IRS may send the taxpayer a letter saying the agency identified a suspicious return using the stolen SSN.

Here are some things people should know about identity theft, including warning signs and steps to take after identity theft occurs.

Warning signs that a theft occurs
Taxpayers should be alert to possible tax-related identity theft if they are contacted by the IRS or their tax preparer about:

  • More than one tax return being filed using the taxpayer’s SSN.
  • Additional tax owed.
  • A refund offset.
  • Collection actions taken against the taxpayer for a year when they did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicating they received wages or other income from an employer for whom the taxpayer did not work.

Taxpayers who suspect they are a victim of ID theft should continue to pay their taxes and file their tax return, even if they must do so on paper.

Steps to take if someone becomes a victim
The taxpayer should:

  • File a complaint with the FTC at identitytheft.gov.
  • Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on their credit records.
  • Contact their financial institutions to close any financial or credit accounts opened without permission or that were tampered with by identity thieves.
  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice and call the number provided in the letter.
  • Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. They can use a fillable form on IRS.gov, print it, then attach the form to their tax return and mail according to instructions.

Taxpayers who previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution can contact the agency for specialized assistance at 1-800-908-4490.

Taxpayers should remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and through social media channels.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES

March 15th, 2019 by Oscar

Los contribuyentes y profesionales de impuestos que llamen al IRS deberán verificar sus identidades. El estar preparado antes de una llamada o visita al IRS puede ahorrarles tiempo a los contribuyentes y evitar tener que hacer varias llamadas.

Si un contribuyente decide llamar, debe saber que los asistentes telefónicos del IRS tienen mucho cuidado de sólo discutir información personal con el contribuyente o alguien a quien el contribuyente autoriza a hablar en su nombre. Para asegurarse de que los contribuyentes no tengan que volver a llamar, el IRS les recuerda que tengan a la mano la siguiente información:

  • Números de seguro social y fechas de nacimiento de quienes aparecen en la declaración de impuestos.
  • La carta del Número de identificación del contribuyente individual (ITIN) si el contribuyente tiene una en lugar de un número de seguro social.
  • El estado civil tributario: soltero, cabeza de familia, casado que presenta una declaración conjunta o casado que presenta una declaración por separado.
  • La copia de la declaración de impuestos del año anterior. Los asistentes telefónicos pueden necesitar verificar la identidad del contribuyente con la información de la declaración antes de responder ciertas preguntas.
  • Una copia de la declaración de impuestos en cuestión.
  • Cualquier carta o notificación del IRS recibida por el contribuyente.

Por ley, los asistentes telefónicos del IRS sólo hablarán con el contribuyente o con el representante legalmente designado del contribuyente. Si los contribuyentes o los profesionales de impuestos llaman sobre la cuenta de otra persona, deben estar preparados para verificar sus identidades y proporcionar información de la persona que representan.  Antes de llamar a nombre de una tercera persona, deben tener disponible la siguiente información:

  • Autorización verbal o escrita del tercero para discutir la cuenta.
  • Debe estar preparado para verificar el nombre del contribuyente, el SSN o el ITIN, el período tributario y los formularios de impuestos presentados.
  • Número de identificación del preparador de impuestos o PTIN si es un tercero designado.
  • Uno de estos formularios, que este vigente, completo y firmado:
    • Formulario 8821, Autorización de Información Tributaria
    • Formulario 2848, Poder legal y declaración de representante

Las preguntas con respecto a un contribuyente fallecido requieren diferentes gestiones. La persona que llama debe estar preparada para enviar por fax:

  • El acta de defunción del contribuyente fallecido.
  • Copias de Cartas Testamentarias aprobadas por el tribunal, o Formulario 56 del IRS, Aviso de la relación fiduciaria.

Posted in INDIVIDUALS, SMALL BUSINESSES