We’ve been nominated for the best of LI!

BethpageBestOfNom_2018

I’m extremely proud to announce that I’ve been nominated for both the best Accountant and Accounting Firm in the ‘Bethpage Best of LI’ awards. The ‘Best of LI’ awards celebrate the Long Island’s best activities, businesses, and schools – as nominated and voted for by locals!

I pride myself on the positive feedback I receive from my clients and would love for you to continue your great support by voting for me.

If you would like to vote for me (and I hope that you do!), you can visit Bethpage Best of LI to vote for me in the ‘Accountant’ and ‘Accounting Firm’ categories.

Voting will close on Friday 15th December 2017, so get clicking now!

A huge thank you in advance to everyone who is able to vote– I couldn’t have done it without you!

What is an IRS CP2000 notice and what do I do?

IRS CP2000 notices are one of the most common notices. You typically get a CP2000 notice when there’s a discrepancy with what you reported on your tax return and what was officially reported to the IRS by others. Usually, these notices results in an increase in the tax you owed, but sometimes there may be no change or the IRS may owe you money.

CP2000 notice IS NOT A BILL. It is a proposal. You have three options when answering a CP2000 notice, 1. agree and pay the proposed amount in full, 2. disagree and provide proof, 3. hire an accountant to figure it out for you.

If you agree with the notice, follow the instructions included on the notice and response form. If required, include a check for the amount you owe with your social security number written on the memo line. If you can’t pay the entire amount, you may be eligible for an installment agreement which can be made over the phone or online.

If you disagree with the notice, follow the instructions included on the notice and response form. Instead of sending a check, you will need to provide a statement explaining why you disagree and proof that you’re right with your response form. The IRS will then review your statement and send you another notice. It may be a few months before you receive your second notice.

If you decide to get help from an accountant, bring the notice, your tax return from the year in question, and all your supporting documents with you to your meeting. Your accountant may have you sign either the authorization on the response form or Form 2848 ( Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative). They will do the research, write a response, and send everything to the IRS on your behalf.

Have a question about your notice? Let me know!
[email protected]
(631) 624-0515

3 Tips To Reduce Bookkeeping Stress and Costs

Some small business owners are so focused on running their business that the small administrative tasks get left behind. But, the administrative tasks, like bookkeeping, are just as important and letting them build up can create unneeded stress. Try these 3 tips to make bookkeeping a little less stressful.

#1: BE ORGANIZED

Whether you’re doing it yourself or paying a bookkeeper, staying organized can save you a lot of time, stress, and money. It may sound silly but you can only do your bookkeeping with the information you have and the more information you have the better. If you pay a bill, make a note of the date and payment method. If you send an invoice, make a note of the date and payment terms.

#2: OPEN SEPARATE ACCOUNTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Paying your business expenses from your personal account or vice versa makes your bookkeeping much harder and more time consuming. You should always have separate bank accounts and credit cards for your business and your personal expenses.

#3: STORE YOUR DOCUMENTS IN THE CLOUD

Receipts, especially the one you’re looking for, frequently go missing. Whenever you get a receipt, take a picture of it and upload it using one of many cloud storage solutions like Dropbox or Expensify. That way you’ll always have a copy of your receipts.

Top 4 Small Business Bookkeeping Mistakes

As a small business owner, your business is your baby and it can be difficult to delegate tasks. But, everyone makes mistakes from time to time, especially when it comes to bookkeeping. Keeping these 4 common mistakes in mind can save you from lots of unnecessary stress and messy financials.

#1: NOT TRACKING SMALL EXPENSES

Small charges add up fast. $5 here or there can quickly become hundreds by the end of the year. Skipping these small expenses can result in paying more taxes comes April.

#2: COMMINGLING PERSONAL AND BUSINESS EXPENSES

Mixing personal and business expenses gets messy fast. Even worse, it can be difficult to account for when you sit down to do your bookkeeping. Be vigilant when making purchases. Personal expenses go on personal cards and business expenses go on business cards.

#3: NOT KEEPING BACKUPS

Cloud programs like Xero and Quickbooks Online let you get your bookkeeping done from anywhere in the world. But, it’s important to periodically export your data and keep a non-cloud copy. Otherwise, a compromised account or cloud issue will ruin all your hard work.

#4: DOING IT YOURSELF

Bookkeeping isn’t as easy as it sounds and procrastinating can be pretty appealing. But, leaving your bookkeeping till later can put you in a bad position and leave you without a proper understanding of your business’s finances. If you can’t find the time to do your bookkeeping, consider outsourcing it.

Bookkeeping isn’t as difficult as climbing Mount Everest. But, little mistakes can make fixing your records seem like just as much of a challenge. So, keep these mistakes in mind and if you ever want to make the switch to an outsourced bookkeeper, please reach out.

Phone: (631) 624-0515
Email: [email protected]

6 Financial Tips for Business Owners

Entrepreneurs are experts at what they do. They know the ins and outs of their products and services. But, oftentimes, they aren’t experts at running a business. Whether it’s bookkeeping or growing your business, everyone needs a little help from time to time.

Basic

#1: Bookkeeping is Important

Bookkeeping is more than tracking revenue and expenses for taxes. It keeps track of your business and provides valuable insight. Who hasn’t paid you in a month? What supplies are costing you too much? How much are you really making?

#2: Don’t Procrastinate

No one wants to do their own bookkeeping. It’s tedious and time consuming. That’s people hire me to do it for them. But, if you’re going to do your own bookkeeping, don’t leave it till the end of the month. You’ll waste an entire day working on it when you could’ve spread it out.

#3: Make a Budget

Budgeting isn’t only for mega-corps and government agencies. It can help your business save money. Budgeting accounts for every dollar before you spend it and helps you make better purchases preventing wasted dollars.

Black and White Picture of Cup, Hand, Mouse, and Keyboard


Advanced

#4: Go Lean

Lean is a business buzzword for good reason. The goal of lean is to eliminate waste and inefficiencies within your business. The original seven wastes stem from: transport, inventory, motion of employees/equipment, waiting, overproduction, over processing, and product/service defects. Reducing waste in these seven categories can increase your bottom line.

#5: Plan Ahead

Plan for your weaknesses. What is the worst case scenario? How much money do you need to get through a slow busy season? Addressing these weaknesses can minimize the risks of a bad situation.

#6: Build On What You Do Well

80% of your business’s profit comes from 20% of your products or clients. Pinpoint your moneymakers and focus on them. Putting time and extra effort into proven moneymakers will build your business faster than forcing flops to sell.


As a business owner, making wise financial decisions for your company is an ongoing process. But, you don’t have to do it alone.

New Business? Keep First-Year Deduction Rules In Mind

When opening a business, you may have to spend money on equipment, vehicles, legal fees, and leasehold improvements before you can start making money. All of these expenses can be deducted, but they have receive a special tax treatment because they were incurred before your business was open.

Equipment and furnishings:

Equipment can’t be deducted until it’s put in service. So, equipment can’t be deducted or depreciated until your business is open.

On the bright side, equipment placed in service before opening your business, but during the same year you opened is still eligible for Section 179 depreciation and bonus depreciation. Section 179 can be used to immediately expense the total value of your equipment up to the lesser of your business income or $500,000. Bonus depreciation can be elected in tandem with Section 179, but the equipment has to be brand new.

If you’d prefer to draw out your depreciation over the life of your asset, you don’t have to claim Section 179 depreciation.

Vehicles:

Cars and trucks are treated like equipment and are depreciated over 5 years. But, they come with their own ‘listed property’ or ‘luxury auto’ special rules.

In 2016, cars that weighed under 6,000 pounds are limited to $3,160 of depreciation ($3,560 for trucks). If you can electing bonus depreciation, you can add an extra $8,000 to those figures.

Start-Up Costs:

New business owners can deduct up to $5,000 of start-up costs in the first year of business. Unfortunately, that amount if limited by any start-up costs in excess of $50,000. Any excess start-up costs have to be amortized and claimed over 15 years.

If you would prefer not to deduct and amortize your start-up costs, you can capitalize them and add them to the basis of your business. Unlike basis in other assets, basis in your business only comes into play when selling or ending your business which means your start-up expenses will have to stew a while before you can recover them.

Start-up costs include:

  • Surveys/analyses of potential markets, labor supply, products, transportation, facilities, etc.
  • Advertisements related to opening the business
  • Wages and salaries paid to employees, and their instructors, while they are being trained
  • Fees and salaries paid to consultants or others executives
  • Travel and related costs to secure prospective distributors, suppliers, or customers

Organizational costs:

New partnerships or corporations can deduct up to $5,000 of organizational expenses in the first year, in addition to any claimed start-up costs. The $5,000 is also limited by any organizational costs in excess of $50,000. Similarly, organizational costs must be deducted & amortized or capitalized & added to basis.

Organizational costs include: legal fees and incorporation fees.


The first year of business is often the hardest and the special business expensing rules make it even harder. But, keep accurate records of everything and we’ll sort it out during tax season. If you have any business questions, don’t hesitate to call.

6 Ways to Grow Small Business Revenue

Owning your own business is the American dream. Sometimes, when you take the leap, everything looks great in the beginning. You’re your own boss, you’re making money, and people really appreciate the work you’re doing. Then, after a few months or years, business starts to stagnate and, no matter what you try, revenue won’t go up. Try one of these 6 tips to increase your small business’s revenue.

#1: Avoid Lower Margins

Which clients, products, or services make the most money and have the most potential for growth? Which clients products, or services make the least money and have the least potential for growth? Every business owner knows exactly which category their clients, products, or services belong in. Dropping low margin and high headache clients, products, and services is a scary prospect because it’ll initially lower your revenue. But, it’ll lower your blood pressure and free up time for you to focus on growing your business.

#2: Embrace Technology

Chances are, if you have a problem, technology has a solution. Whether it’s organizing business cards or posting to social media, there’s technology for everything. Embracing technology and automating processes can free up precious time.

#3: Experiment With Pricing

Raising prices is the most obvious and simplest way to increase revenue. It’s also the hardest because there’s a very real risk of losing clients. But, if you provide high quality products or services many of the clients driven away by high prices are the bargain-oriented customers. Before raising prices, test the waters by discussing it with your clientele.

#4: Bundle Products or Services

Mega corporations like Procter & Gamble and General Electric have their hands in every industry. Small businesses tend to specialize in a single industry or niche. That makes many of their products or services complimentary to one another. When bundling complimentary products or services consider slightly discounting the prices to incentivize clients to buy the bundle.

#5: Maintenance Contracts

Speaking of bundling, we can’t forget the quintessential add-on, the maintenance contract or warranty. Maintenance contracts can generate a steady revenue stream for months or years to come. When developing maintenance contracts, clearly list what is and isn’t included.

#6: Expansion

You can only expand so much in one town or region. Sometimes, you have to consider expanding to another geographic market. On Long Island, that can be as simple as running ads in the next town over. Take advantage of Long Island’s density and widen the geographic region your business serves.

For some small business, growing revenue seems impossible. Saturated markets and slow economies can dampen the most optimistic outlook. But, if your revenue is stagnating, making one of these six changes.

2016 Tax Organizer

It’s a new year and a new tax season is approaching.

Please use these complimentary tax organizers to better manage and organize your tax information. These tax organizers are updated annually and this one was specifically assembled for the 2016 tax year.

There are three types of individual tax organizers. The basic tax organizer is suitable for most clients. The itemized tax organizer is for clients that itemize their deductions. (Hint: if you own a home, you probably itemize.) The full tax organizer includes everything from itemized deductions to rental properties and self-employed income.

After completing the organizer, please forward it to me or bring it to our meeting, so we can get started on your return.

2016 Basic Organizer – This organizer is suitable for clients that are not itemizing their deductions and DO NOT have rental property or self-employment expenses.

2016 Basic Organizer plus Itemized Deductions – This organizer is suitable for clients that are itemizing their deductions and DO NOT have rental property or self-employment expenses.

2016 Full Organizer – This organizer includes the information included in the basic organizer, plus entries for itemized deductions, rental properties and self-employment expenses.

2016 Business Organizer – Use this organizer for partnerships and incorporated business entities.

2015 Prior Year Individual Organizer – If you are filing your 2015 return late, please use this organizer.

Habits That Threaten Your Identity and Pocketbook

Identity theft is a growing problem in the United State and a serious concern in this office. While you can’t prevent big, corporate security breaches, small changes to your daily routine will help better protect your identity from hacks, scams, theft, and phishing schemes.

#1: your Social Security Number

Whether you carry a wallet or purse, almost everyone has their driver’s license with them at all times. You need it to buy cigarettes, to get into bars, and to prove you are who you say you are.  But, when a thief can combine the information on your driver’s license with your Social Security Number to compromise your identity. Try not to keep forms or cards, including your Social Security and Medicare cards, that have your SSN in your wallet or purse.

#2: Public Internet Connections

Getting work done or quickly checking your bank account has never been easier. Public internet is everywhere and connecting to it can be automatic. Cyber thieves can take advantage of the public internet trend with fake Wi-Fi connections and man-in-the-middle attacks. Only use secure internet connections to transmit sensitive information like account passwords and financial details.

#3: Malicious Emails

Emails seem harmless. But, the links or attachments may cause trouble. Cyber thieves will send emails with malicious attachments or links to malicious websites. These attachments and websites will install malware on your computer, allowing them to steal your information. Trust your gut; if you don’t know the sender or an email seems fishy, delete it.

#4: Sensitive Information

Sensitive information includes anything that can be used to steal your identity or that can get a thief closer to stealing your identity. That includes the obvious like your birth date and Social Security Number, but it also includes your financial account usernames and passwords. Be careful not to send documents with sensitive information that can be intercepted. Always assume that your emails and texts can be read by others.

#5: Passwords

Nowadays, everything needs a password. There are passwords for your  smartphone, computer, Wi-Fi, social media, email, and bank accounts. With so many passwords, it’s easier to just remember a single password. Cyber thieves rely on you getting lazy. When they hack nonsensical targets, they’re looking for your password and hoping you reuse it somewhere else. If one account gets compromised then all your accounts get compromised. Use a different password for every account.

When you finally create a good password with all the bells, whistles, and special characters, don’t share it. Whoever you share your password with may not be as security conscious as you are. Like they said in WWII, loose lips sink ships.

Check out these password tips.

What I’m Doing to Help

After reading all that, you may be rightfully concerned. You don’t want your identity stolen and I don’t want your identity stolen either. I will never share your sensitive information with anyone and I will only send you sensitive documents with password protection or through the Secure Client Portal.

If you have any security concerns or would like to pick a password for your files, let me know.