Bookkeeping, Business Support

In this day and age when we want to find the phone number for a business, we Google it.   That usually works very well as long as you are not looking for the phone number for technical support for QuickBooks.

Unfortunately, there are many companies that are not affiliated with QuickBooks that pose as QuickBooks technical support and oftentimes, their phone number is the first to pop up when using a search engine.

The quality of their support will vary but I’ve seen some users be ripped off by paying thousands of dollars for services  that didn’t solve their problem or paid to receive troubleshooting that Intuit support provides at no extra cost.  In the worst cases, users have had malware installed in their systems and their identities compromised.

Which phone number you get when searching online will vary depending on the search engine and the keywords used.

So how can you make sure you get the number to the legitimate customer support department at Intuit and not some random third party?

Intuit has several QuickBooks products so there isn’t a global number for all support.  The contact information will depend on the product that you have.  Your best bet is to contact them from inside the QuickBooks product that you use to ensure that you are routed to the correct department.
  •  In QuickBooks Online, simply click the “Help” link on the top right hand corner of the screen.
  • If you use QuickBooks Desktop 2017 or later, press F1 or select Help > QuickBooks Desktop Help to get help faster.

If you are looking for information on how to do something inside the program, you can visit https://quickbooks.intuit.com/learn-support/ to access tutorials and an online community to ask questions.

If you need bookkeeping help or training on how to use QuickBooks Online, we can help.
Business Support

At some point every year, business owners begin scrambling as they try to figure out what forms they must file and when they must file them in the new tax season.

Here are some other important deadlines to keep in mind.  This is not a comprehensive list, please consult with your tax advisor for any other deadlines that may apply to you. State deadlines will vary, please check with your state for applicable deadlines that apply to your business.

Estimated Taxes
The fourth and final estimated payment for the 2018 tax year is due on Jan. 15, 2019.
Estimated tax payments for the 2019 Tax Year (IRS Form 1040ES)
April 15, 2019
June 17, 2019
Sept. 16, 2019
Jan. 15, 2020

W-2 and 1099 Reporting
January 31, 2019- Deadline for employers to mail out W-2 Forms to their employees and for businesses to furnish 1099 Forms reporting, among other things, non-employee compensation, bank interest, dividends, and distributions from a retirement plan

February 28, 2019- Deadline for businesses to mail Forms 1099 and 1096 to the IRS

Partnership returns (IRS Form 1065):
March 15, 2019
Extended deadline is Sept. 16, 2019

C-corporation income tax returns (IRS Forms 1120):
April 15, 2019 for C corporations that operate on a calendar year
Extended deadline is Oct. 15, 2019
The deadline for C corp returns is the 15th day of the fourth month following the end of the corporation’s fiscal year if the corporation is on a fiscal rather than a calendar year.

S-corporation returns (IRS Form 1120-S):
March 15, 2019 for corporations on a calendar year
Extended deadline is Sept. 15, 2019
The deadline for S corp and partnership returns is the 15th day of the third month following the end of the fiscal year if they are on a fiscal year rather than a calendar year.

Individual Tax Returns (Form 1040)
April 15, 2019- Deadline to file individual tax returns  for the year 2018 or to request an automatic extension (Form 4868). An extension provides an extra six months to file your return. Payment of the tax is still due by April 15. You can submit payment for any taxes you owe along with the extension form.

What If You Miss a Date?
The IRS says you should file your return as soon as possible if you miss a deadline. If you owe taxes, pay them as soon as possible as well. You’ll probably be hit with a moderate financial penalty, if only an extra interest charge, but the IRS should accept your money and your return and that will be the end of it unless there’s another problem.

If you owe money and don’t want to send a check to the IRS via snail mail and risk all the extra time that might entail, go to IRS Direct Pay and have the payment debited directly from your bank account. You might also want to e-file your late return if possible if you haven’t missed that deadline. Most taxpayers can do that at IRS Free File. The IRS will accept e-filed returns up until Oct. 15.

And if you can’t pay the tax you owe immediately, don’t delay. File your return anyway and immediately apply for an installment agreement. The IRS will let you pay over time as long as you make arrangements to do so.

Business Support

Keeping payroll, HR and financial records indefinitely dramatically increases the risk of identity theft by hackers.

Shred sensitive documents no longer needed and wipe them off computers, printers, copiers and other equipment. Don’t rely on using File Manager because they do not insure that the wiped data cannot be hacked. Be especially careful if your business donates, sells or returns leased equipment to other organizations.

Outside vendors that manage asset disposal can help, but they also pose risks. Choose a vendor that:

· conducts background checks on employees;
· offers risk indemnification;
· tracks assets during the disposal process; and
· disposes of your equipment in an environmentally responsible way.

Minimizing unnecessary storage

There are different guidelines for how long to keep business v. personal data:

General rules
Retain records that support items shown on your tax return at least until the statute of limitations runs out — generally three years from the due date of the return or the date you filed, whichever is later. However, there’s no statute of limitations if you fail to file a tax return or file a fraudulent one. So you’ll generally want to keep copies of your returns themselves permanently, so you can show that you did file a legitimate return.

· Employee records—keep for 3 years from termination.
· Employee earnings records—keep for at least 4 years after termination. For records involving unclaimed property, such as an unclaimed paycheck, check state laws.
· Timecards—keep for at least 3 years if your business engages in interstate commerce (i.e. is subject to the FLSA); at least several years, regardless.
· Employment tax records—keep for 4 years from the latter of the date the tax was due or the date the tax was paid.
· Travel and entertainment records—keep mileage logs, receipts and other supporting documents for 4 years (IRS rules).
· Sales tax returns—keep as long as state law requires.
· Business property—keep records that substantiate costs and deductions (purchase, depreciation, amortization and depletion documents) until the asset is sold, traded in or disposed of plus 7 years, according to IRS guidelines.

When in doubt, don’t throw it out
It’s easy to accumulate a mountain of paperwork (physical or digital) from years of doing business. If you’re unsure whether you should retain a document, a good rule of thumb is to hold on to it for at least six years or, for property-related records, at least seven years after you dispose of the property. But, again, you should keep tax returns themselves permanently, and other rules or guidelines might apply in certain situations.

Bookkeeping, Business Support

If you’re like most businesses, your fiscal year ends on December 31. Make sure you’re not stuck at your desk frantically pulling files while everyone else is out celebrating the holidays— start early.

Just follow this list of to-dos, marking them off as you complete them. Then enjoy the end of the year with clients, friends and family.

 

Bookkeeping

It is important to make sure that your books are up to date. This not only makes tax preparation a breeze, but it also gives you important insight on the health of your business. Without accurate books you can't tell if you are making a profit, spending too much on overhead or have customers that owe you money.

Follow these 3 steps to get your books caught up

  1. Make sure that all of your transactions are entered in your accounting system. Pro tip: if you connect your bank account to your accounting platform, this will be automatically done for you.
  2. Make sure that transactions are allocated to the correct categories- this step will help you find tax deductions.
  3. Reconcile your bank accounts- this step is important to make sure that transactions cleared the bank for the correct amount and to ensure that there aren't any duplicated entries or other errors.
  4. Make End of Year Journal Entries- your bookkeeper will take care of this, if you DIY your bookkeeping you can research how to do this or hire a bookkeeper for a Year End Review of your books to make sure that they are accurate and adding adjusting journal entries.

If you haven't been keeping up with your bookkeeping and don't have the time to do it yourself, don't wait until the last minute. Your bookkeeper and tax preparer get very busy at this time of year and rushing can lead to unnecessary stress and increases the risk of costly mistakes.

Contact me if you need help getting your books caught up.

Taxes

The more disorganized your information is, the bigger the tax bill (not to mention, your tax preparer's) will be, now is the time to be proactive.  If you did the bookkeeping steps above, you are halfway there.

  1. Know when the dates for filing taxes are due. Noting the due dates for the year in advance will help you set a schedule. Mark them on your calendar and formulate a plan for making sure you are ready when they come around.
  2. Make sure that you send W-2 to your employees and 1099 forms to your contractors by the deadline.
  3. Complete bank reconciliations. This should have already been completed in the section above, if it hasn't yet, don't delay! This is important to ensure that the correct income will be reported and potential deductions recorded for when you need to know them.
  4. Set up a meeting in December with your CPA or tax preparer. This will allow you to create a plan of attack and give you and your tax preparer a chance to discuss potential problem areas. Request a list of what they will need from you, any templates they’d like you to use and copies of last year’s working papers for reference. Ask for clarification on anything that’s unclear before things get busy.
  5. If you plan to do your own taxes, research what items you will need and what software you will use.

 

Business Health

Take a moment to check the pulse of your business.  The beginning of the year is usually the best time to make needed adjustments.

1- Review your business structure to ensure it’s still a good fit
Have you outgrown your sole proprietorship or other current legal structure? If you decide to make a change, the first of the year is the time to do it.

2- Revisit your business plan and adjust it accordingly
Update your privacy statement, add new sales targets, and create or update customer policies. This simple act focuses your thoughts and ensures that your goals align with your company's current state.

3- Review your marketing plan (or create one if you don't already have one)
Is your advertising paying off? It's fun to implement new advertising strategies but with all the other hats you wear, it’s easy to forget to look back at what worked, what should be stopped, and what should be kept and improved. Analyze your marketing channels and see if you are getting a return on investment. This includes print materials (brochures, business cards), social media presence, online advertising, sponsorships, print ads, etc.

4- Review your Website
Take a look at your website, does it look outdated? are parts not working? Is it mobile friendly? Have you done any SEO optimization?
If your website is made with WordPress, when is the last time that core, plugin and theme updates were installed? Do you have backups?

A secure and updated website is critical for your business' reputation and can impact your revenue. Make sure that all security patches available have been applied and that you have current backups. Plan any redesigns or repairs to ensure that your business' virtual presence is modern and professional.

 

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.