The easiest way to survive an IRS audit is to get ready in advance

IRS audit rates are historically low, according to the latest data, but that’s little consolation if your return is among those selected to be examined. But with proper preparation and planning, you should fare well. In fiscal year 2019, the IRS audited approximately 0.4% of individuals. Businesses, large corporations and high-income individuals are more likely [...]

What tax records can you throw away?

October 15 is the deadline for individual taxpayers who extended their 2019 tax returns. (The original April 15 filing deadline was extended this year to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) If you’re finally done filing last year’s return, you might wonder: Which tax records can you toss once you’re done? Now is a [...]

4 steps to improving your company’s sales

Most salespeople would tell you that there are few better feelings in life than closing a deal. This is because guiding a customer through the sales process and coming out the other side with dollars committed isn’t a matter of blind luck. It’s a craft — based on equal parts data mining, psychology, intuition and [...]

The tax rules for deducting the computer software costs of your business

Do you buy or lease computer software to use in your business? Do you develop computer software for use in your business, or for sale or lease to others? Then you should be aware of the complex rules that apply to determine the tax treatment of the expenses of buying, leasing or developing computer software. [...]

There may be relief from tax liability for “innocent spouses”

If you file a joint tax return with your spouse, you should be aware of your individual liability. And if you’re getting divorced, you should know that there may be relief available if the IRS comes after you for certain past-due taxes. What’s “joint and several” liability? When a married couple files a joint tax [...]

Reinforce protection of your company’s mobile devices

Whether it’s a smart phone, tablet or laptop, mobile devices have become the constant companions of today’s employees. And this relationship has only been further cemented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thousands working from home or other remote locations. From a productivity standpoint, this is a good thing. So many tasks that once kept [...]

Business website costs: How to handle them for tax purposes

The business use of websites is widespread. But surprisingly, the IRS hasn’t yet issued formal guidance on when Internet website costs can be deducted. Fortunately, established rules that generally apply to the deductibility of business costs, and IRS guidance that applies to software costs, provide business taxpayers launching a website with some guidance as to [...]

Why it’s important to plan for income taxes as part of your estate plan

As a result of the current estate tax exemption amount ($11.58 million in 2020), many estates no longer need to be concerned with federal estate tax. Before 2011, a much smaller amount resulted in estate plans attempting to avoid it. Now, because many estates won’t be subject to estate tax, more planning can be devoted [...]

The difference between a mission statement and a vision statement

Many business owners put off writing a mission statement. Who has time to write down why you’re in business when you’re busy trying to run one! And perhaps even fewer owners have created a vision statement — possibly because they’re not sure what the term even means. There are good reasons for creating both. Lenders, [...]

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tax relief for small businesses

Businesses across the country are being affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Fortunately, Congress recently passed a law that provides at least some relief. In a separate development, the IRS has issued guidance allowing taxpayers to defer any amount of federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or [...]

Marketing is a game of adjustments

In business, a failure to evolve may lead to failure. One way to keep your company rolling is to regularly adjust how you market products or services to customers and prospects. A marketing strategy shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to some enticing rumor or hot trend. Rather, it needs to be a carefully calculated effort [...]

Small business owners still have time to set up a SEP plan for last year

Do you own a business but haven’t gotten around to setting up a tax-advantaged retirement plan? Fortunately, it’s not too late to establish one and reduce your 2019 tax bill. A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) can still be set up for 2019, and you can make contributions to it that you can deduct on your [...]

Why you should keep life insurance out of your estate

If you have a life insurance policy, you probably want to make sure that the life insurance benefits your family will receive after your death won’t be included in your estate. That way, the benefits won’t be subject to the federal estate tax. Under the estate tax rules, life insurance will be included in your [...]

How’s your buy-sell agreement doing these days?

Most companies wouldn’t go into business without some basic types of insurance in place, such as property coverage and a liability policy. For a company with more than one owner, there’s an additional type of risk-management arrangement that needs to be established: a buy-sell agreement. If your business has yet to create one, you should [...]

Determine a reasonable salary for a corporate business owner

If you’re the owner of an incorporated business, you probably know that there’s a tax advantage to taking money out of a C corporation as compensation rather than as dividends. The reason is simple. A corporation can deduct the salaries and bonuses that it pays executives, but not its dividend payments. Therefore, if funds are [...]