Jun
23

IRS Increases 2011 Mileage Reimbursement Rate

IRS Increases 2011 Mileage Rate

Effective July 1st, 2011, the optional standard mileage rate is being increased to 55.5 cents/mile. This new rate will be in place from July 1st, 2011 through December 31st, 2011. Typically the IRS only increases the optional standard mileage rate once a year, but decided to help tax payers with the increased cost of gasoline.

For the first 6 moths of the year (January 1st – June 30th, 2011), the optional standard mileage rate will stay at the the previous 51 cents/mile rate.

The medical/moving mileage rate also increased to 23.5 cents/mile for the last 6 months of the year.

The rate for providing services for charitable organizations did not increase. The reason being the rate for providing services to charitable organizations is set by statute, not the IRS. The standard mileage rate for providing services for charitable organizations will remain at 14 cents/mile.

For additional information, please see IRS Announcement 2011-40.
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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Jun
14

Phone Number Update

In order to simplify our office and offer a better customer experience, we are updating our phone system. As of June 1st, 2011 we will no longer be accepting calls at 303-586-1651. To reach Trailhead Accounting Solutions, please call us at 720-295-4272.

Thanks!
Michelle

May
15

Small Business Health Care Tax Credits

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Did you know that your small business could be eligible to receive tax credits for offering health insurance benefits to your employees? The Small Business Health Care Affordability Tax Credits are made possible by the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010. Hopefully your tax preparer checked to see if your small business qualified for the tax credit in 2010. If you missed out in 2010, there are more opportunities to earn the tax credit through 2013. It was estimated that about 4 million small businesses would qualify for the health care tax credit in 2010.

History
The Small Business Health Care Tax Credits were created to help small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations offer health insurance benefits to their employees. The credit is designed to encourage small businesses to offer health benefits for the first time or to help them maintain the current benefit plans they already have in place. The credit specifically targets small employers that employ low-income and moderate-income workers.

Amount of the Tax Credit

  • 2010 – 2013:
    • Small Businesses: Eligible employers can receive a tax credit of up to 35% of the business’ annual health insurance premium costs.
    • Tax-Exempt Organizations: Eligible tax-exempt organizations can receive a tax credit of up to 25% of the organization’s annual health insurance premium costs.
  • 2014 – Beyond:
    • Small Businesses: Eligible employers who purchase insurance through the new Health Insurance Exchanges can receive a tax credit for 2 years of up to 50% of the business’ annual health insurance premium costs.
    • Tax-Exempt Organizations: Eligible tax-exempt organizations that purchase insurance through the new Health Insurance Exchanges can can receive a tax credit for 2 years of up to 35% of the organization’s annual health insurance premium costs.
  • Phase Out: The tax credits phase out when your small business employs between 10-25 full time employees and when you pay your employees average annual wages between $25,000-$50,000.

Employer Eligibility Rules

  • Employ fewer than 25 full time employees
  • Pay average annual wages below $50,000
  • Employer must cover at least 50% of the cost of the health insurance premiums
  • Both for profit businesses (taxable) and non-taxable organizations can be eligible
  • Household Employers may also qualify for the tax credit in 2010-2013.

Receive the Tax Credit
To calculate your small business or tax-exempt organization’s health insurance tax credit, fill out Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums. Then you will include the tax credit on your annual business tax return.

Resources
The White House Health Reform Information Center
IRS – Health Insurance Tax Credit FAQ’s
IRS Form 8941

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


May
08

QuickBooks 2008 Scheduled to Sunset on May 31, 2011

QuickBooks Upgrade

QuickBooks 2008, QuickBooks for Mac 2007, and the 2008 QB Support and QB Products are scheduled to sunset on May 31, 2011. This means the software will no longer be supported and the services will stop working. If you are using 2008 QuickBooks Software, Support, or Products you might want to consider upgrading to QuickBooks 2011.

Who Will This Sunset Affect?

The following QuickBooks services will be discontinued as of May 31, 2011:

  • Online Banking – QuickBooks 2008 will no longer connect with your financial institution.
  • Bill Pay and Billing Solution – Both services will be discontinued.
  • QuickBooks Email – Your company will no longer be able to email reports, invoices, forms, etc. through Intuit’s server. You will still be able to email through Outlook.
  • QuickBooks Payroll – Assisted, Basic, Standard and Enhanced Payroll will no longer calculate payroll taxes and provide payroll tax forms, resulting in inaccurate payrolls. In most cases, your payroll subscriptions will be deactivated. The Employee Organizer will also no longer be available.
  • Credit Card Processing – Credit Card Processing, Automatic Credit Card Billing, and Terminal Downloads will be discontinued and will no longer work.
  • Online Backup – Will no longer be an available option for your QuickBooks 2008 company file.
  • Live Technical Support – Will be discontinued.
  • Check with Intuit for a full list of discontinued products and services.

What Should My Small Business Do?

If your business uses QuickBooks 2008 or QuickBooks for Mac 2007, and you only use the products contained on your computer, than you can continue to use your older version of QuickBooks software. The disadvantages to continuing to use your older version of QB software includes:

  • Intuit will no longer be sending out updates and fixing software bugs.
  • Intuit will also be discontinuing their live customer support for QB 2008 and QB for Mac 2007.
  • Potential errors and troubles if you try to install QuickBooks 2008 on another computer using your original software disk. The version of QuickBooks 2008 or QuickBooks for Mac 2007 you are currently working in will most likely contain software updates released by Intuit over the past few years. When you attempt to open your current QuickBooks company file using your original software, you might receive errors and may not be able to access your data. There are potential ways around this problem, but no guaranteed solutions. Please contact your Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor for assistance.
  • QuickBooks Products and Services will be discontinued, meaning they will no longer work.

If your small business uses QuickBooks support, products, and services you will need to upgrade. QuickBooks 2011 has added a handful of new features making it easier to track your business’ financial operations. Keep your eyes out for deals on QuickBooks 2011. Often times Amazon, Costco, major office supply stores, and QuickBooks ProAdvisors will offer discounts on QB software. If you are tired of dealing with software update hassles, you might want to consider QuickBooks Online. Don’t forget to Back Up your QuickBooks company file before upgrading.

As always, please contact your bookkeeper, accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, or CPA for assistance with your QuickBooks questions and concerns.

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.

May
03

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

Protecting Against Identity Theft

In honor of last week’s Royal Wedding, there has been a silly name game floating around on Facebook. You can post and share your “Royal Name” with your friends and everyone else on Facebook. What is your royal wedding guest name? Start with either Lord or Lady. Your first name is one of your grandparents’ names. Your surname is the name of your first pet, double-barreled with the name of the street on which you grew up.

At first, I didn’t think much of this name game and it was fun reading the names everyone came up. Some even sounded very royal and prestigious! Then it dawned on me, your “Royal Name” just gave away some of your most common online security questions. Unfortunately, its no longer a fun game, just a creep’s way of trying to steal your identity.

Identify theft is a common occurrence these days. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft. The most important step to protecting yourself is to stay on top of your financial information. Review your monthly bank statements and credit card statements. Look for strange transactions, odd purchases, missing check numbers, ending balances that don’t seem right, etc.

Another step to protecting yourself from identity theft is to monitor your credit. Per US law, United States residents are entitled to one (1) free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can access your free credit report by contacting the major credit bureaus.

If you are worried that someone has access to your identity, you can can request the credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on your account. The fraud alert requires anyone trying to grant credit in your name take additional steps and procedures.

Be safe out there. Think twice about who you share your personal information with, be cautious when sharing information on social networks, and remember to monitor your financial accounts and your credit reports.

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.

May
01

Colorado Businesses Beware

The Colorado Secretary of State issued a warning to businesses about a misleading advertisement business are receiving in the mail. Several of my clients have received the official-looking notification from “Corporate Controllers Unit” requesting you to file your annual report for $225. If you receive one of these notices, please be aware they are NOT from the Colorado Secretary of State. Instead, it is a scam – it is a misleading sales flyer trying to have you sign up to use their business to file your Colorado annual business registration.

Businesses in Colorado are required to file annually with the Colorado Secretary of State. Typically your business will receive a post card from the Colorado Secretary of State reminding you to file. Once your business is set up, the annual filing fee is only $10. You can easily register your business online and it only takes a couple of minutes.

Click Here to See a Copy of Misleading Letter

The letter does not appear to contain any false information. It was designed to be an advertisement, but is generating publicity for being misleading to Colorado business owners.

To see if your business is in compliance with your annual reporting requirements or to file your annual report visit the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your annual filings please feel free to contact your Colorado CPA.

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Apr
25

Health Care Reform and Your Small Business

Health Care Reform and Small Business
Small businesses are trying to figure out what the health care reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) means for their business. Watching the news and reading articles online, I get confused to! Is it better to start implementing some of these health care reform changes to our small business benefits plan or should we wait until the dust settles and things become more clear? A handful of States are taking the health care reform to court. Some district courts have ruled the individual mandate is not legal while other district courts have ruled the reform laws are constitutional. What does this mean for small businesses? What should entrepreneurs and small businesses owners do?

I recommend implementing the newest changes that are already in affect. These are minor changes in coverage and will ensure your small business benefit plan is up-to-date and in compliance with current laws. Make sure your small business benefit plan has been updated to:

  • Extend coverage for employee’s children, up to the age of 26.
  • Eliminate certain lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits.
  • Eliminate certain annual limits.
  • Eliminate coverage for nonprescription over-the-counter drugs through flexible spending accounts (FSA’s).
  • Check with your accountant and/or CPA to see if your small business qualifies for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credits.

A majority of the other health reform laws go into affect in 2014. Therefore, your small business has plenty of time to implement the future benefit changes. Not to mention, a lot can change between now and 2014.

Resources:
whitehouse.gov

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Apr
05

Senate Repeals the 1099 Expanded Reporting Requirements!

Senate Repeals the 1099 Expanded Reporting Requirements

Great news for small businesses and rental property owners, the senate voted today to repeal the 1099 expanded reporting requirements. The 1099 repeal passed with a landslide vote of 87-12. The 1099 repeal (H.R. Bill 4 ) is expected to be signed by President Obama.

Under the previous expanded reporting requirements, small businesses and owners of rental real estate would have been required to file a 1099 with the IRS for any services, contractors, or vendors paid more than $600. This would have included payments to Office Max, Costco, Target, etc. Even though the 1099 expanded reporting requirements were supposed to bring in billions of dollars to help cover the cost of Obama’s Health Insurance laws passed in 2010, the reporting requirements put too much paperwork burdon on small busiensses and owners of rental real estate.

Congress has been working hard this year to come up with new legislation to repeal the expanded 1099 reporting requirements. However, neither side could agree on terms as to where spending should be cut or ways to generate additional income to help fund the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 AND the H.R. 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

What does this mean for you and your business? The old 1099 reporting requirements go back into affect. Therefore, if you’re a business owner and have issued 1099′s in the past, you can probably keep doing what you are doing. If your business has never filed a 1099 and you are wondering what the hype is about, please contact your CPA to learn more about the 1099 reporting requirements.

Check out my 1099 Update on CafeTax.

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Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Mar
20

Take Advantage of Twitter’s New HTTPS Setting

HTTPS Lock
Great news, Twitter is now offering an HTTPS setting. The benefit to using an HTTPS setting is that it will encrypt your account information while tweeting on public WiFi’s. It’s a simple change and worth the 2 second effort.

1. Log into your Twitter account.

2. Click on your Twitter name located on the upper right hand corner of the screen.

3. Choose “Settings” from the drop down menu.

4. At the bottom of the account tab, put a check mark in the “Always use HTTPS” settings box.

5. Click Save.

Easy enough and the added protection is always nice! Happy tweeting!

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


Mar
08

S Corporation & C Corporation Tax Return Deadline Quickly Approaching

April 15th comes to mind when you think about when taxes are due. This is a friendly reminder that if your business is an S-Corporation or a C-Corporation, your business tax return is due before March 15th.

S Corporations
Your S-Corp (LLC’s taxed as an S-Corp count too) is required to file IRS Form 1120S (Corporation Tax Return) before March 15th. After your Form 1120S is complete, you must distribute K-1′s to your shareholders by March 15th as well.

C Corporations
C-Corps (LLC’s taxed as a C-corp also fall into this category) are required to file IRS Form 1120 (Corporation Tax Return) along with any income tax due before March 15th.

Extension
If you need an extension to file your S-Corp and/or C-Corp tax return, you must file IRS Form 7004 by March 15th, requesting the automatic six month extension. Keep in mind the extension is not an extension for paying your taxes. Estimated tax payments are due before March 15th and can be submitted with your Automatic Six Month Extension Form 7004.

As always, every individual and business is different. It is recommended you contact your CPA or Tax Advisor to consult about your specific tax needs and requirements.

____________________________________________________________

Michelle Edwards, CPA - QuickBooks Consultant Written by Michelle Edwards, CPA
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor

Michelle is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and business solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, quilting, and hanging out with her family.


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