Tax Stats 2014 (Infographic)

The 2014 tax season is here and here at MyCorporation, we’re taking a closer look at taxes in the United States and throughout the world in our latest infographic. Curious about where your tax dollars go? How the state corporate income tax rates vary throughout the U.S. and how they’re compared from all around the world? And what do we plan on doing with our tax refunds this year, anyway? Find out the answers to these questions and more below!

Tax Stats 2014 Infographic

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3 Different Ways You Can Pay Your Taxes

3 Different Ways You Can Pay Your TaxesThis post is brought to you by GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today for a less taxing tax time!

Think there’s only one way to pay your taxes when you have an amount due? Sure, in years past that was the case. You could send a check along with your filed tax forms and that was pretty much the extent of it. Paying taxes was part of the reason why tax time was such a pain for every hard working person in America.

Now, though, technology has made it where you have lots of options when it comes time to fork over your hard-earned money. However, you can’t utilize them if you don’t know what they are, so we thought we would take a quick look at your options to help you out. One of these should help you comply with your tax obligation with no problem.

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5 Tax Deductions for Your Small Business

5 Tax Deductions for Your Small BusinessIt’s the season to get your paperwork ready for Uncle Sam. As you prepare for April 15, be sure to remember the available deductions you can take advantage of as a business owner.

Your taxable profit will be lower the more deductions you take, so it’s in your best interest as a business owner to maximize them, so long as they adhere to the IRS deduction rules.

1. 401(k)

Most “small” businesses do not provide a 401(k) as a benefit for their employees, but if you can, you have a distinct advantage when hiring. And, a 401(k) plan has several tax advantages. First, your business is generally permitted to take a tax deduction for its contributions to the plan when the contributions are made. Those can be made as a simple match—or—in the form of profit sharing.

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Should Your Business Buy or Lease a Company Car?

Should Your Business Buy or Lease a Company Car?When it comes to obtaining a company vehicle, you have a couple of options available to your business – you can opt to either buy or lease. Let’s examine these options in detail.

Buying a car

If you decide to buy a car, keep taxes in mind. Writing off the costs on your taxes can be done in two ways – actual costs or mileage – and there are limits on how much you can take in a given year. If you choose actual costs, you have to do that every year you claim the vehicle; you cannot change your mind later. There are different amounts you can write off depending on the type of vehicle you own, too, whether it is an electric car or an SUV. If you’re looking to invest in a hybrid vehicle for your business, be sure to keep in mind that it will no longer qualify for a tax break.

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14 Tax Issues Facing Small Business Owners in 2014

14 Tax Issues Facing Small Business Owners in 2014 This post is brought to you by TaxAlli.com.

It is that time again! If you’re like most taxpayers, you find yourself with an ominous stack of “homework” around tax time and putting together the records for your accountant is never easy, especially if you run a small business. As the tax filing deadline approaches now is the best time to make sure you can maximize your 2013 tax return, but more importantly to start planning ahead for 2014.

2014 will be a challenging tax year for businesses and higher-income taxpayers. The following issues are concerns that may impact you and your business’s tax liability in the New Year.

Small Business Health Insurance Credit – The tax credit to small employers (25 or fewer equivalent full-time employees) that provide an affordable health insurance plan for their employees and supplement at least half the premiums, will increase to 50% of the employer’s contribution in 2014, up from 35% in 2013. For non-profit employers, the credit will be 35% in 2014.

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50 States of Incorporation: Oregon

Oregon is one of the most ecologically diverse states in America, with rolling forests, wind-swept coasts, and beautiful mountains. This natural beauty is one of the main drivers of tourism, one of the state’s largest industries. Oregon is also home to growing businesses in the tech, forestry, and manufacturing industries, and, according to Forbes, the state is poised to see some serious incorporate in Oregon growth. Today we’re answering the question of how to start a business in the Beaver State, and how to form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon.

What is needed to start a business in Oregon?

Oregon requires that all businesses within the state register with the Secretary of State’s Office. Now, if all you want to do is run a sole-proprietorship, you may only need to file for a DBA, or ‘Doing Business As’ name. This registration is meant to prevent fraud, and allows you to do business under a name other than your own. If you want to form a limited liability company or incorporate in Oregon, you’ll have to do a bit more paperwork.

How do you form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon?

Forming an LLC or incorporating both turn your business into its own, separate legal entity. That is good news for you because it means your company can effectively carry, and is responsible for, it’s own debts, so creditors cannot seize your personal assets to pay for the business’s debts. To form an LLC, you file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State and pay a $100 fee. This form will ask you for the business’s name, which must contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company,’ or the abbreviations ‘L.L.C.’ or ‘LLC.’ Along with your company’s name, you have to list its address, organizers, and the name and address of its registered agent.

If you’d like to incorporate in Oregon, you fill out your Articles of Incorporation, file them with the state, and pay a fee. Your corporation’s name has to include a designator like ‘incorporated’ or ‘corporation,’ and you will have to list the names and addresses of the incorporators, as well as the name and address of your registered agent. Corporations, however, are a bit more complicated to run, and you are required to name a board of directors, who will then help lead the business. You should also prepare corporate bylaws to guide the business’s development, and prepare minutes for any meeting at which a major business decision was made.

Does the state offer any support to small businesses in Oregon?

Yes! Oregon actually has a very handy online tool called Business Xpress meant to help out new small business owners. Using it, you can track down forms, find networking and training opportunities, and even start a business plan! The tool also has links to programs meant to support women and minority business owners in Oregon, so be sure to look around and see if there are any opportunities or grants you can use to boost your business.

Are you ready to start a business in Oregon? Have any questions about how to form an LLC or incorporate in Oregon? Give us a call at 1 (877) 692-6772 or leave a comment below!

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Business Basics: Trade Dress

This week we thought it’d be a good idea to look at one of the most important parts of a product’s branding, its trade dress. You are affected by trade dress every single day, whether you realize it or not. If we describe a white coffee cup with a green circle on it, you’ll know it’s from Starbucks. Or if we show you a bag with a red square and yellow arches, you’ll think McDonalds. Essentially, trade dress is the various characteristics that make up a product’s or package’s appearance. But how do you protect your own trade dress? And does building a brand mean marrying that packaging?

Trade Dress

We bet you still know what company this is.

Why should you build trade dress recognition?
Because your company needs a way to immediately distinguish itself. Your brand embodies all of the goodwill and trust you’ve built into your company, and something as simple as a color, font, or even the shape of your product’s box can evoke all of those feelings within whatever customer is looking at your product. That’s why you want your trade dress to be consistent over all of your properties. Your logo, signage, site, and product packaging should all be built around some common element that inextricably ties your business with your product or service.

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5 Filing Tools Entrepreneurs Need for Tax Season

5 Filing Tools Entrepreneurs Need for Tax SeasonJust like the annual trip to the dentist, tax season has crept up on us once again. To take the analogy a step further – if you have brushed, flossed, and rinsed as you should, your visit to the dentist will be quick and pain-free (both physically and financially). However, if not, the pain will long and agonizing. Similarly, if you have kept your accounting records in order the whole year with a constant eye on the upcoming tax season, preparation of your accounts will be pain-free (both from a time and cost factor). If not, the auditor may come to pay you a visit.

Thankfully, these days there are numerous tools to ease the burden of preparing all your tax season documentation. The following are five tools that will help you through the tax season with a minimum of fuss.

1. Salary Calculator – If you haven’t been using a salary calculator to assist in calculating what is left of your gross salary after taxes or to extrapolate weekly, monthly, or annual wages from an hourly wage rate, then you have been wasting your time. There are salary calculators freely available online. They are easy to use and are an excellent basis for preparing your tax return.

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Don’t Fret Because It’s Tax Season Again!

Don't Fret Because It’s Tax Season Again!Let’s just start out by being completely honest with each other, shall we? We all hate, hate tax season! Either we completely despise it or we run around in circles with our hands flailing about just thinking about it. I hated filing my returns too. I procrastinated until the last minute on the dreaded date – April 15th. I felt like there was ticking time bomb, ready to explode somewhere, but let me just wait till 10 seconds on the clock and do something trivial while time flies by. Have you ever felt the same thing? Don’t worry though, tax season does that to you.

I know procrastination can seem like the best idea in the world, but here’s some friendly advice: don’t do it. Just don’t. When it comes to filing your returns, planning in advance really helps. It may even help you reduce your income tax liabilities, because you’re thinking about it more thoroughly than you would if you were filing at the last minute. So, no more last minute fretting. Follow these tips and you’ll do just fine.

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Why Did I Just Get a 1099 MISC in the Mail?

Why Did I Just Get a 1099 MISC in the Mail?This post is brought to you by GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) the simplest way to manage your small business finances online. Sign up today for a less taxing tax time!

You probably thought you were done getting mysterious tax forms in the mail, yet this one shows up and ruins your day. You weren’t expecting any more forms at all and were even close to finishing up your taxes once and for all. What are you supposed to do with this thing?

The answer is you must have done some freelance work at some point in the last year, because the 1099-MISC is the form that independent contractors and freelancers receive in lieu of a W-2. Whether or not you remember performing a freelance job or not is irrelevant – it’s time to deal with it.

If this is the case or if you’re still learning about tax documents, we’re here to help! Let’s take a look at what the 1099-MISC is and how you can use it.

What it is

As stated above, the 1099-MISC is what independent business owners like freelancers get at tax time instead of a W-2. But why do you get a separate form? Why don’t your clients just send a W-2 and be done with it?

The answer is in how different parties handle taxes. When you have an employer, they handled most of your tax liabilities for you. They withhold the portion of your taxes the government agency needs and pay it in for you. This doesn’t happen with freelancing. You have the pleasure of paying the necessary taxes to state and federal taxing authorities yourself.

So when April rolls around, employers send a W-2 that has not only your income info but also how much tax they paid in for you. A 1099-MISC, though, only has how much money you made through that particular client. So if you charged someone $1000 to write blog posts for a year, they will send you a 1099-MISC that shows your total income through them as $1000.

What to do with it

You’re probably wondering why you need a tax form to tell you how much you made through clients. After all, you keep good small business bookkeeping records, so what’s the big deal?

Well, this information also goes to the IRS so they know how much income they should expect to see you declare on your income taxes. So don’t file it away just yet.

The first thing you should do with the form is to check your records. Are you sure that 1099-MISC is correct? If you got multiple forms, have you checked that they’re all correct? Verify independently that the form matches your records; otherwise, you’re going to have a big problem on your hands when the IRS comes knocking.

For example, say a client accidentally recorded that they paid you twice for a job. They’ll send you and the IRS a record that they paid you $2,000 this year, while you were actually only paid $1,000. The IRS will expect to see you declare that $2,000 on your income taxes, and will make noise if you don’t.

When you’re sure your 1099-MISC forms are correct, file them away for a few years. Even though the IRS ostensibly has a copy of your 1099-MISC forms, you never know when you might get a “dreaded letter” fro the IRS and need to make your case.

How many 1099-MISC forms did you receive this year? Were they all correct?

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