Category Archives: Business Accounting

Articles and tips related to business accounting by James E. George, CPA

New Tax Laws for 2019!

New Tax Laws for 2019!

This week I attended a two-day seminar on the new tax laws taking effect for 2019. The sheer number of changes is a little overwhelming. There are new reporting requirements for anyone who files Head of Household status. There is also an expanded due diligence checklist for any taxpayer that claims college expenses, the child tax credit, or the earned income credit. What was touted as tax simplification appears to be anything but!

Itemized deductions for employee business expenses such as meals, travel, and cell phones have been eliminated, as well as the deduction for brokerage account management fees. The credits for buying a hybrid or electric vehicle, as well as the credits for energy proofing your home, have also been eliminated.

For parents who are divorced or separated, the IRS is increasing the audit frequency of claimed dependents. Too many children have been claimed by the wrong parent. The rules are complex, and the IRS has issued guidance that can either be obtained from their website or by consulting with a local tax professional.

For small businesses, the IRS is requiring more documentation for eligible expenses. It is now more important than ever to maintain accurate and detailed records for all business expenses, including auto usage.

Many of the forms have undergone design changes. There are new lines on existing forms, as well as several new forms that taxpayers may need to complete. This year’s tax law seminar manual was over 1,000 pages!

Who said they are making tax preparation simpler?

Recording Donated Assets on your Books

Recording Donated Assets on your Books

Business owners record the cost of their physical assets on their books for a variety of reasons. The cost is important for income tax reasons since it is depreciated or deducted over a period of years. In Maryland, the assets of a business, and their costs or values, are reported annually on a Personal Property… Continue Reading

A Lack of Documentation can Cost You!

A Lack of Documentation can Cost You!

I met with a number of clients in the last couple of months who are very tech savvy and utilize a lot of the current technology available in running their businesses. Some deposit their customer checks by taking pictures of them with their phones. Others track their auto mileage by using the GPS app on… Continue Reading

Employing your child could be a win-win strategy

Employing your child could be a win-win strategy

I met with one of my higher income clients this morning to discuss tax saving ideas. She operates a business out of her home to keep the overhead low. This year her income has increased about 20 percent and it looks like the growth will continue for the foreseeable future. We discussed a number of… Continue Reading

The Balance Sheet: The Unappreciated Statement

The Balance Sheet: The Unappreciated Statement

I have prepared financial statements for business owners throughout my entire career. A standard set of financial statements can be a wealth of information when it comes to operating a successful business. Too often the value of these tools is unappreciated by the business owner. Many times, their attention goes straight to the bottom line… Continue Reading

Don’t be Afraid to Raise your Prices!

Don’t be Afraid to Raise your Prices!

This morning I met with a small contractor to review his year to date results of operations and compute the income tax he should submit by Sept. 15th. During the meeting he mentioned how busy he has been and that he is turning down offers to look at more work because he is already scheduled… Continue Reading

Tax-Related Telephone Scams

Tax-Related Telephone Scams

This week our area has been hit with an increased number of tax-related scam telephone calls. They are starting to sound much more realistic than similar scams in prior years. Usually the caller will identify themselves as a member of an enforcement division of either the IRS or Maryland State Police. They will inform you… Continue Reading

We can’t do it all…well

We can’t do it all…well

As business owners, we do our best to minimize our expenses while trying to maximize our revenues. Too often we become revenue-focused and pour the majority of our time and energy in to producing more revenue. This naturally leads to a decline in the aspects of our business that don’t directly produce the revenue. We… Continue Reading

IRS to Audit More Small Businesses!

IRS to Audit More Small Businesses!

The 2018 IRS Forum was a valuable source of information regarding the upcoming tax filing season. Among the many tidbits I gleaned were issues of IRS concern relating to small businesses. The IRS has announced they are going to scrutinize such things as: personal use of the business assets such as cell phones and laptops,… Continue Reading

Many New Tax Law Changes are Just Around the Corner!

Many New Tax Law Changes are Just Around the Corner!

Last week I spent three fantastic days at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum! Many new tax laws and changes to the tax forms are slated for the next filing season. The amount of new information, procedural changes and tax form modifications discussed was at times, overwhelming. The increasing number and types of new tax scams… Continue Reading

New Tax Warning to Employees

New Tax Warning to Employees

Employees beware! The new withholding tax tables that have been published may cause your employers to under withhold the federal tax from your paychecks. If your employer utilizes these new tables, they are doing nothing wrong. However, the tables incorporate the tax cuts under the new law by lowering the withholding amounts. While this gives… Continue Reading

Hired Guns

Hired Guns

When you operate a seasonal business, your workload is concentrated into a few months out of the year. The very nature of this beast makes it difficult to assemble a talented workforce. Most experienced employees desire year-round income. This limits the business to finding seasonal help. Every year we experience a backlog at the review… Continue Reading

Good Employees Make a Big Difference!

Good Employees Make a Big Difference!

Most small businesses don’t have employees. The owners perform all the duties of the business. However, that type of business model restricts growth. If you want a business to grow, the owner must be willing to delegate most non-essential functions to an employee. A good employee who competently handles the clerical and administrative functions can… Continue Reading

Employees’ Business Expenses Must be Documented

Employees’ Business Expenses Must be Documented

A deduction is available for money an employee spends to perform their duties in the course of their employment if they are unreimbursed by their employer. This includes mileage, licenses, union dues, education and out of pocket expenses. The expenses must be incurred as a condition of employment or utilized in the performance of the… Continue Reading

Business Tip: Customers Don’t Want Equal Treatment

Business Tip: Customers Don’t Want Equal Treatment

The advice we give our clients is personalized to their situation and circumstances. No two clients are the same. We may recommend one course of action for you and the opposite for your neighbor. The key is to listen to your client. Learn their goals and question any limitations to achieving them. Customers don’t want… Continue Reading

Beware of Tax-Related Identity Theft Scams

Beware of Tax-Related Identity Theft Scams

Deceitful communications come via phone, email, postal mail, and sometimes even a knock on your door. It’s important to know that the IRS does occasionally contact taxpayers, but when they do, it’s most often by mail. Sometimes the IRS needs to verify a taxpayer’s identity and will do so by sending a Letter 5071C. This… Continue Reading

Do You Need to File a Form 1099 Misc?

Do You Need to File a Form 1099 Misc?

A Form 1099 Misc should be filed for every unincorporated vendor or contractor who you paid $600 or more during the calendar year 2017. The amounts to be reported are for services only. If you paid someone for products and services, only the labor charges are to be reported in box 7 of Form 1099… Continue Reading

Due Date for Payroll Reporting

Due Date for Payroll Reporting

The due date for filing your form W2’s with the Social Security Administration is January 31, 2018.  Extensions to file these forms are much more difficult to get this year.  The IRS is only granting extensions in cases of extreme hardship or uncontrollable circumstances.  The penalties for failure to file the forms on time have… Continue Reading

Biggest Audit Risks for Business Owners

Biggest Audit Risks for Business Owners

The Schedule C for an unincorporated business and the Schedule F for farming activities are the forms MOST AUDITED by the IRS! The IRS has published the following list of issues they scrutinize when auditing the Schedule C and the Schedule F: Lack of record keeping for automobile use – no mileage logs. Personal phone… Continue Reading

Make 2018 Your Business’ Best Year

Make 2018 Your Business’ Best Year

All of us here at James E. George, CPA would like to wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous new year! At this time of reflecting on the past and planning for the future, I’d like to suggest making 2018 the year you get your business finances in order. Not just for your… Continue Reading