Business owners are typically jacks-of-all-trades, and in a competitive market, a versatile skillset is a key ingredient of success. Unfortunately, this means that some entrepreneurs end up stretching themselves too thin with responsibilities.
When one person is in charge of bookkeeping, marketing, and business growth, something’s got to give to ensure quality production and error-free work. Bookkeeping is an important responsibility no matter what industry you’re in, and it should always be a priority to complete it accurately and efficiently. Motl Accounting in East Dundee has a team of bookkeeping specialists to help Chicagoland’s small business community improve their company’s daily operations.
If you’re a small business owner in Chicago or the northwest suburbs that have been considering using outsourced payroll services for your company, you’re sure to have plenty of questions that the Payroll Vault team at Motl Accounting in Dundee can answer. After all, payroll is an essential responsibility for every company, so it’s important to know that yours is in good hands. Still, the benefits of enlisting an external payroll provider often outweigh this uncertainty for small and medium-sized businesses. When it’s time to dedicate more time to grow your business and less on number crunching, here are three questions you should always ask when evaluating payroll providers.
What’s your favorite season? At Motl Accounting in Dundee, our favorite is tax season. It’s the time of year when you should be thinking about the best way to complete your business filing. There are a number of ways to do your taxes, but a personal CPA for your small business like Charles Motl will provide the quality of service you should expect from a customized tax filing. Business taxes are an entirely different animal than your personal filing; they can be much more complex. The more complicated your taxes are, the more you need help from a professional to avoid those unexpected and tedious mistakes that will ruin the start of your year.
When you work with Motl’s certified public accountants, you know that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has qualified our professionals to practice in your state. This distinction means the accountants have passed a rigorous exam and have the experience to complete a professional tax return with accurate deductions on your behalf. Many businesses that we service have tried doing their taxes on their own before realizing how much they may be missing out by not understanding the complexities of deductions and taxations. We recently assisted a Photocopy business in Chicago by reviewing a statement they received and helped them save around $1800 dollars by taking a second look at the statement. It’s natural to panic when you receive notices from the IRS or State government, but we provide the peace of mind in such situations. That’s what we pride ourselves on. This among many reasons is why it’s advisable to go with a CPA rather than doing it alone. Read on for some of the strongest benefits.
Tax season is underway for businesses across the country, which means it’s time to start thinking about any charitable tax deductions for small businesses you’ve made that can reduce your tax burden. One of the most commonly claimed deductions is for charitable donations — about 75% of small business owners allocate a portion of their profits to charitable donations. There are many reasons to support charities beyond tax savings. Giving back reminds business owners that they can make a positive change in the world, and it’s also great for a company’s overall reputation. Learn how to go about smart small business charitable giving before you take action.
Do: Find a cause that aligns with your business
While it’s great to donate to any cause you’re passionate about, there are extra benefits to donating to charities that align with or relate to your business. For example, if your company sells the majority of its products for mothers, it makes more sense to donate to a breast cancer charity than one for disaster relief. Your customers choose your business for a reason, and donating to causes they’re likely to care about is bound to get them excited.
Don’t: Fall for a scam
Unfortunately, there are plenty of charities that masquerade as good causes, when they’re actually scamming good-hearted people, so it’s important to do your research before you give any organization your money. Even with legitimate charities, the majority of your contribution may be going directly to administrative, overhead and marketing costs rather than what is advertised. You can find out if a charity is valid and how your money is allocated by specific charities on Charity Navigator.
Do: Decide how you can help
There are a variety of ways to support causes beyond one-time monetary donations. Volunteer work, event sponsorships, fundraising and donating goods are all ways to make an impact. Each type of contribution must be recorded and filed differently, so it’s worth working with an accountant to ensure you get the proper tax deduction. The type of charitable work you should do largely depends on time commitments, the enthusiasm of your employees to participate and budgetary considerations. Don’t overcommit yourself — it’s not worth the headache.
Don’t: Forget to involve employees
If you’re unsure what type of charity makes sense for your business, it’s a good idea to ask your employees what they think is a worthwhile endeavor. If they care about a certain cause, they are more likely to feel enthusiastic about your company’s direction and want to participate. It is a great way to retain talent for your business and improve workplace culture. In addition to these benefits, getting your employees to volunteer or participate in fundraising makes your company eligible for additional tax deduction benefits.
Do: Publicize to customers
There’s nothing wrong with bragging about doing a good thing! Your current customers are bound to have a positive reaction if your company is giving back. If you publicize your charitable efforts, you may even attract new customers who believe in supporting businesses with philanthropic behavior. While this might not bring direct tax benefits, more customers is good for your bottom line, which no business owner will complain about. Consider the positive PR that comes with giving.
Don’t: Ignore paperwork
When it’s time to file your tax deduction, there are some important things to remember. Be sure that your charity is eligible for a tax deduction by using the IRS search tool and learn about the limitations of each type of charitable deduction on the IRS charitable contribution topic page. You must report your charitable contribution on Form 1040 Schedule A of your taxes before the end of the business tax year. Remember that your deduction cannot amount to more than half of your adjusted gross income. Always have your records of charity contributions close at hand, in case of a tax audit.
Business owners benefit in many ways from charitable donations, so including them in your next filing is a worthwhile goal. We understand that choosing the right charities, keeping records of your contributions and filing tax deductions is a complicated process. If you are looking for a helping hand when you’re giving back, our team can assist you with our business tax services to help reduce your tax burden as much as possible. Contact us today to get started with tax savings.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund recently published a study indicating that small businesses pay $5,128 on average in taxes per year to make up for revenue lost to offshore tax havens. Small businesses generally aren’t the ones taking advantage of offshore locations with low (or zero) taxes. Huge corporations are more likely to have the means and motivation to create corporate headquarters in offshore tax havens like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Singapore. The amount of federal money lost is staggering — $128.5 billion in corporate tax revenue is kept in foreign countries harboring offshore accounts for large companies. Unfortunately, this affects small businesses because they end up shouldering more than their fair share of the tax burden.
The problem only seems to be growing, as more large companies are considering the advantages of moving corporate offices to tax havens. While the ethics of such decisions are up for debate, there’s no denying that many businesses will save money on taxes any way they can. Without legislation to bar a company from abusing the availability of tax havens, the behavior is sure to continue. The current tax code tends to favor large conglomerates, while putting small and medium-sized businesses on the hook for more tax expenses. Globalization has created a race to the bottom for federal taxes as nations vie to attract international businesses.
It is still unclear what the future holds for corporate tax avoidance, but tax laws tend to change with new presidential administrations. Of course, it’s not just the president who debates tax policies, and the 115th US congress will need to reach a consensus on how to move forward with the growing problem. It’s not just accountants or small business owners who benefit from a stricter corporate tax system — the money that is sent to foreign countries could be used to directly benefit the general public. Infrastructure improvements, a strong national defense, education and paying down the national debt all rely on tax dollars.
As large businesses move towards increasingly international models, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on their behaviors. Chances are, most companies aren’t moving their corporate offices to micro nations because they think there are loads of potential customers there. Although technically legal, tax avoidance by multinational corporations disproportionately hurts small businesses, and that’s a problem. Small businesses face enough challenges as it is to get established in the marketplace. Making up for other companies’ tax avoidance is an extra obstacle for an already challenging endeavor. Thankfully, there are tax write-offs that the federal government encourages small businesses to use, and we can help you save as much as possible for your 2017 filing. Explore our tax preparation services to see what your business can do to level the playing field for taxes.
If your business requires any driving, you owe it to yourself to make a vehicle tax deduction. It’s one of the most common business tax deductions because so many industries require vehicles to get work done. Every year, the Internal Revenue Service sets a standard mileage rate so business owners can calculate their deduction accurately. For 2017, the rate is dropping slightly to 53.5 cents per mile as opposed to 54 cents per mile in 2016. The new rate goes into effect on January 1st 2017, so be aware of this small adjustment within the next month. Keep in mind that you must keep accurate records of your travel dates, destinations, and reasons for driving if you’re hoping to capitalize on the deduction.
How It’s Calculated
You might be wondering what determines the transportation tax deduction rate, as it seems to fluctuate randomly on a yearly basis. The truth is, there is a method to the madness, and the IRS calculates the rate based on changing market conditions. The government agency reviews a study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a motor vehicle for a given year before changing the deduction standards. The largest factors for the 2017 rate were declining fuel prices that slightly outweighed rising vehicle insurance and maintenance costs. While you may not receive quite as much of a deduction next year, it also costs slightly less to get from Point A to Point B.
An Alternative Option
If you prefer not to use the standard rate for business transportation, you have the option to calculate the actual cost of operating your vehicles. This method requires much more detailed record keeping, but can potentially result in a larger deduction. You can rack up extra deductions for gas, oil changes, repairs, licenses, parking fees, insurance costs, car washes, and more when you calculate every vehicle related expense.
What’s Right for Your Business
Choosing between standard mileage rates and actual vehicle expenses can be tricky — if you have a small, old, or inexpensive car, you’re more likely to benefit from standard mileage. If you’re willing to track every expense, and you drive a more expensive vehicle, actual vehicle rates may be worth the effort. At Charles Motl & Associates, we are always available to consult your business on its vehicle tax deductions. Learn more about our tax services to get the most out of your 2017 filing.