As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’. He was definitely right, as anyone who fails to pay his dues or pays less than what he is supposed to pay to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can face some serious consequences. The IRS is known to charge such individuals with not only penalties but also the back taxes along with interest. The letters that are often sent by the IRS are often confusing and downright scary, especially if you do not understand them. Avoiding your taxes or filing them incorrectly can end up to be a very expensive and stressful situation for you. There are ways to fix the situation without too much expense or headaches. Continue reading
The IRS, nearly every state tax agency, and even some cities require employers to withhold a certain amount from their employee’s paychecks to cover income tax, social security, and medicare obligations. These are payroll taxes, and it’s your responsibility, as a small business owner, to collect and send them in. The amount varies from state to state, and in some cases city to city, but there are three main steps to collection.
Everyone you hire fills out a W-4, which gives you some basic information like family size and other deductions. Continue reading
Estimated tax payments are a pretty straightforward topic. You probably remember that, back when you worked for someone else, you had your taxes taken out of your paycheck. You don’t get out of having to pay tax when you start your own business – the IRS still expects you to pay what you owe. But what if you’re just starting out and not making much money? Or you’ve had a bad quarter and don’t have the money to cover what you normally send in? Do you still have to send in your estimated tax payment?
If you expect to owe more than $1,000, then you very likely have to pay estimated taxes. Continue reading
An Employer Identification Number, also called an EIN or a Federal Tax Identification Number , is a unique set of digits assigned to a business by the IRS. With it, tax agencies can easily track the financial activity of your company, and make sure that you pay your taxes. But, if you run a sole-proprietorship, the IRS can already do that using your personal social security number. So in what cases do you need an Employer Identification Number?
When you hire someone
The only time you can really get away with using your social security number is when your business is considered a sole-proprietorship, and you’re the only employee. The IRS figures, in cases like that, the company’s profit flows directly to you, and you pay your taxes from that. But that changes the minute you bring anyone on to help run the company, and that includes a business partner. Once you start hiring, your company must have an EIN.
When you form an LLC or Incorporate
Incorporating or forming an LLC separates you and the business. Continue reading
This week we are looking at reasonable compensation, a legal necessity for anyone running a Corporation. Reasonable compensation is connected to one of the most fundamental parts of working for a company – getting paid – and yet it’s so widely misunderstood. When you form an Corporation, you create a separate, legal entity that ‘earns’ money. You then pull your wage from those earnings and pay whatever payroll taxes you owe.
In order to close a loophole wherein those running the corporation could ask for an extremely low salary, pay next to no payroll taxes, and then close the wage gap with distributions, the IRS requires that all corporate officers and executive be paid ‘reasonable compensation.’ But what constitutes reasonable compensation is a little more murky.
Who needs to be concerned with reasonable compensation?
Anyone that is runs, or helps run, a C-Corporation or S-Corporation must be reasonably compensated for their work. Continue reading
Estimated tax payments are one of the biggest shocks for new business owners. They know that they have to pay taxes, they just don’t realize they have to send in a check four times a year! Most businesses that expect to more than $1,000 – or $500 if the company is incorporated – in taxes have to make estimated payments to the IRS. And, since the next quarterly payment is due on September 15th, we thought it’d be a good idea to do a quick rundown of what estimated tax payments are.
What are estimated tax payments?
Exactly what they sound like. These payments are simply what you’d normally owe on your income. However, since you don’t have an employer to withhold and send in what you owe, you have to do it instead.
Foreign bank accounts are one of the most misunderstood tools of business banking. When people hear about foreign bank accounts, they picture shady, offshore Cayman Island accounts, or the strict, private banks of Switzerland. The reality is much less exciting. There are plenty of reasons why a business would want a foreign account. International banks facilitate international business, which helps pay for foreign contractors, cover payroll, and invest in emerging markets. However, because offshore banking is so heavily associated with tax dodgers, the federal government keeps a close eye on any business with a foreign bank account, and requires entities with such accounts to file an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
What is a FBAR?
This is a simple form that some entities with foreign bank accounts must file with the Department of Treasury. Officially called FinCEN Form 114, it asks for the filer’s personal information and the information related to any foreign accounts overseen. The bank’s name, type of account, and the maximum value of the account all have to be disclosed. (You can download the form at the Department of the Treasury’s website.)
Just 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.
We have written on non-profit corporations before, but as we only dedicated a sliver of a paragraph to how you actually form a non-profit, we felt the topic was worth revisiting. A non-profit corporation is a great way to fulfill a philanthropic pursuit, and if you are looking at dedicating your life to charity, then running a non-profit may be right up your alley. Forming a non-profit corporation is actually very similar to forming a regular corporation.
Step 1. Find a business name
Your non-profit is going to need a name just like with any other standard corporation. That name needs to be unique and, typically, has to include the a designator like ‘Corporation’ or ‘Incorporated,’ though not all states require that.
After you’ve confirmed that your corporate name is available, you have to actually form the corporation by filing what is normally known as your Articles of Incorporation. The forms usually aren’t too complicated, and normally just ask for the names and addresses of the corporation, its registered agent, and its directors, as well as the corporation’s purpose for existing.
Delayed filings aren’t the most popular business-related topic, but pursuing a delayed filing can actually be very beneficial to a new small business. When you opt for a delayed filing, you essentially put your business’s paperwork on hold. So if you, for example, have decided to form an LLC, you can actually ask the state to not start the approval process until later in the year. And while it may seem counterintuitive to ask the state to sit on your paperwork, and effectively put your business plans on hold, delayed filings can save you a bit of money and time when it comes to your start-up.
‘Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes,’ and the minute your business springs to life, you are liable for all sorts of taxes and fees. If you opt to start your business before the end of 2013, you’ll have to collect, report, and pay taxes for 2013, even though your business was around for less than a month. Delaying recognition also means you could avoid the annual reporting fee for your state for 2013, possibly saving you hundreds of dollars.
January is one of the busiest months for government agencies. It is when they begin to work their way through the backlog of paperwork that inevitably accumulates at the end of the year, and year after year I’ve received notices from state agencies all across America regarding a backlog that won’t be surmounted for weeks. A delayed filing will, however, help you avoid that backlog because most states place delayed filings in a priority queue. So after all of the time-critical filings are handled, the state moves directly into approving delayed filings. By opting for a delayed filing, you can avail of all of the benefits of filing in the new year, and avoid the January rush.
Should you opt for a delayed filing?
It really depends on the needs of your business. I’ve always recommended forming a Limited Liability Company or incorporating as soon as possible but, when you do so at the very end of the year, you could get stuck paying annual taxes and fees for the right to operate your business in December. Every state is different, but most will allow you to push your filing date at least thirty days into the future. If you expect your business to be around for a while, and I certainly hope you do, choosing a delayed filing will simply mean operating as a sole proprietorship for one more month before the protection of an LLC or Corporation kick in. If you want to save some time, and possibly quite a bit of money, consider a delayed filing when sending your paperwork into the state.
Would you like to learn more about delayed filings? Or are you ready to form your own LLC or Corporation? Give us a call at 1-877-692-6772 and we’ll be more than happy to help you out!