August 2, 2021
The only certainty about life after a pandemic is that there isn’t much certainty. Masks on or off? Six feet of distance or three? Shake hands or nod hello? It depends on who you ask.
August 2, 2021
The only certainty about life after a pandemic is that there isn’t much certainty. Masks on or off? Six feet of distance or three? Shake hands or nod hello? It depends on who you ask.
July 15, 2021
From the home user to the largest corporation, ransomware is now an issue for anyone who uses the internet. And now, with remote work and online learning so prevalent, it’s all too easy to become a victim of a ransomware attack.
July 1, 2021
Work equals stress for most U.S. workers. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, and 25 percent of workers view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
June 15, 2021
Summer’s here, and the world is opening up again. However, not everyone feels comfortable traveling just yet. And that’s fine—there’s lots of fun to be found in every area. Here are some ideas to help you and your family have an enjoyable summer close to home.
June 1, 2021
If you’ve ever yawned your way through a wordy, boring document, you might have wondered if your own writing was as hard to understand. Luckily, there’s a great tool to measure the readability of your writing, and it’s as close as your word processor. (Note: For this article, we use Microsoft Word as our example. Details will vary if you use another application.)
May 17, 2021
Over the past year, we’ve all spent more time than usual at home—which may mean you’ve paid more attention to your utility bills than in previous years. If you’ve noticed a creep upward, here are some easy ways to help keep your energy costs down.
May 3, 2021
What do accountants do with themselves after tax season? Actually, the same thing they do during busy season: They work hard for their clients. The only difference is that instead of cranking out tax returns, they help clients work through other aspects of their financial health—including issues revealed during the yearly tax return process.
April 15, 2021
Spend it? Save it? Invest it? Share it? Here are a few ideas for putting your tax refund to work for you:
April 1, 2021
Most professions have their own lingo, and accounting is no different. What is different is that you have a vested interest in understanding what your accountant tells you about your financial situation. So, here’s a quick primer on common accounting terms—some business-related, some general—to keep you in the know:
March 15, 2021
There has rarely been a winter when we so badly needed to see (and feel) spring. Depending on where you live, this could mean bluer skies, warmer temperatures, time outside and…gardening! For those who live in a climate where spring doesn’t always mean it’s warm enough to garden outdoors, consider creating an indoor planting box for flowers, veggies, herbs or all of the above.
March 1, 2021
While “under a blanket on a cold winter day” isn’t the worst place to work, it’s a good idea to regularly assess your remote working environment—especially if you don’t have a full home office setup—to decide if anything needs an adjustment or upgrade. Here are four important points to consider:
February 15, 2021
Blah. It’s February. The depths of winter. Gloomy days relieved only by the darkness of night. A month made for curling up under the blankets and staying in bed. Sound familiar?
February 1, 2021
If you think of LinkedIn as just a job-search site, you’re not alone. After all, it was the job listing component of the platform that turned into a highly lucrative source of revenue for the social media giant. However, it’s so much more than that.
January 15, 2021
You exercise your body to stay healthy, but how often do you exercise your brain? Research has shown that keeping your brain cells strong and sharp can help lower your risk of developing dementia. Here are four ways to make sure your body’s busiest organ keeps running smoothly.
January 4, 2021
Now that you’ve been working remotely for several months, how are you feeling about your shared office apps? If you’re still scrambling to put together a set of tools that meet your virtual needs, here are some applications that will go a long way toward making everyone feel like they’re working together as a team…even when you’re not in the same office.
December 15, 2020
It’s probably fair to say that most of us can’t wait to see 2020 out the door. But there’s one more task to carry out before you can wave goodbye to The Year We’d Rather Forget: Be ready to file your taxes.
December 1, 2020
Congratulations, we’ve made it through 2020! We’ve proven to ourselves that we’re disciplined and strong! And we appreciate even more what our family and friends mean to us! Does that mean we don’t need to make resolutions this year? Maybe. But it’s always good to have a goal. So, if there’s nothing to resolve for yourself, why not direct your resolutions outward for 2021?
November 16, 2020
If your business has a website, you’ve heard about the importance of content. Lots of content— educational, timely, entertaining and frequently updated information that helps boost your search rankings and engage visitors.
November 9, 2020
PPP Loan Forgiveness Update
There is no immediate deadline to apply for loan forgiveness. Forgiveness applications can be filed up to 16 months from the date a business received PPP loan funding.
We suggest deferring PPP forgiveness until 2021. IRS notice 2020-32 states that the expenses paid with...
November 2, 2020
This Thanksgiving, what are you grateful for?
October 15, 2020
If you plan to attend a conference soon, it will likely be a virtual event. While some may dismiss virtual conferences as just sitting in front of a computer, the fact is they can be more comfortable (sweatpants, anyone?), more rewarding and every bit as enjoyable as an in-person event. If you’re a virtual conference newbie, here are some tips to get the most from your experience:
October 1, 2020
Even with summer in the rearview mirror, there are lots of opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy activities with family and friends (or others in your “bubble”). Here are 10 suggestions for fall fun that everyone in your crew—regardless of age—can enjoy.
September 25, 2020
Are you looking for a growth opportunity with a rapidly expanding accounting firm. At Steven M. Ellard, CPA, we are always on the lookout for the top talent to join our team of professional, growth-minded, hard-working, and dedicated accountants and CPAs. The ideal Senior Staff Accountant candidate will work closely and collaboratively with our...
September 15, 2020
Do online reviews help or hurt a business? Depending on the type of review, of course, it could go either way.
September 2, 2020
President Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral Executive Order
The IRS issued Notice 2020-65 to clarify the Executive Order to allow employers the option to temporarily defers the collection and payment of certain payroll taxes. The order allows employers to postpone the collection and remittance from now through...
September 1, 2020
Banks are now accepting applications for PPP loan forgiveness. However, many banks are suggesting that borrower’s with PPP loans under $150,000 wait until Congress reconvenes and acts on pending legislation that would automatically forgive any PPP loan under $150,000. Congress is expected to act on this legislation during the second half of September.
We believe that for...
September 1, 2020
It's hard not to be apprehensive about fall this year with many schools reverting to online learning at home for students. But if it helps, you're not alone. Recent statistics show that 51 percent of working parents said they'll be distracted to a "moderate" or "great" degree on days when their kids learn from home, and 42 percent are worried to the same extent about their job security due to the situation.
August 17, 2020
As summer comes to an end, many people go into business-clean-up mode—gearing up for year end. One item to add to your list is enhancing your Google My Business profile. The internet is where most consumers find a business, so make sure your information is engaging, accurate and current to elevate your visibility online.
August 3, 2020
It’s back-to-school season, and that typically means buying a lot of stuff to prepare kids for the start of a new academic year. While 2020 may look a bit differently (some schools may enact online learning and/or hybrid models), kids will still need a few essentials—from backpacks to electronics. Here are a few tips to keep your back-to-school shopping within your budget.
July 15, 2020
For many businesses, COVID-19 forced them into a remote office model. Months into the pandemic and having had a successful experience, a lot of business owners have decided to maintain virtual workspaces. For those adopting this new normal, upping security must be a priority to keep data safe.
July 1, 2020
It’s hard to believe that we are already into July. Even with the deadline for filing your return and making a payment (if you owe) being extended to July 15, 2020, it still seemed like it came upon us fast. With only a few weeks left, be sure to get any final documents to us and answer any outstanding communications immediately.
June 15, 2020
New gardeners have come out of the woodwork this year, looking to create a sustainable food supply in their own backyards. Of course, not everyone has the space or the time to create a full-on outdoor garden. So, why not start small…and indoors?
June 1, 2020
It’s safe to say that most people are laser focused on money right now—specifically on how to make it last longer. To help you do just that, we compiled the following list of tips for spending less in 2020:
May 15, 2020
With more of us likely staying close to home this summer, why not plan to either start a healthy and regular workout schedule or enhance your current routine? It’s never too late in the year to get your healthy on, so we’ve compiled a short list of tips to get you moving.
May 1, 2020
Summer is typically the time people start planning vacations—Disney World…cruises…the beach. This year, however, travel may not be in the cards. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice down time and fun with the family. Make this the year you plan a fantastic staycation! Here are some tips to make sure you can kick back, relax and have a memorable time with a vacation at home.
April 15, 2020
The fact is that many of us are now working from home…and we’re not sure just how long this will be a necessity. With this in mind, we compiled a list of best practices to support a successful and secure work-from-home operation.
April 1, 2020
Working from home has increased in popularity over the past several years. But today, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, it’s not only popular, but required for many. Moving from a hustle-and-bustle professional workspace to a home office can be a major transition for many. To help you make the move successfully, here are a few tips to reduce distractions while working from home:
March 16, 2020
If April 15 always seems to sneak up on you, get out in front of this year’s tax deadline and file early. Here are a few top reasons why you should…
February 24, 2020
The new budget bill passed by Congress on December 20, 2019 impacted both retirement and college savings plans. While many are still waiting for further guidance from the IRS on several details of the bill, we compiled a short list of the major changes that may affect you.
February 17, 2020
It’s that time of year when everyone can agree on one thing: Paying taxes is a drag. As we progress into a new tax season, follow these tips to help avoid a heavy tax burden this year:
February 3, 2020
Okay, so maybe not magical…but there are things you can do to rev up engagement in your meetings. After all, it’s likely that you spend at least 25 percent of your professional time in meetings, so why not put a little work into making them more appealing for all those involved. To get you started, give the following five tips a try:
January 15, 2020
There’s no better time to talk about goals than the start of a new year. And what better topic than your career? The following are a few tips to help you set reasonable and achievable goals this year:
January 2, 2020
The New Year is the best time to take stock of your finances. So, as you begin the season of self-reflection and goal-making, take the time to review your spending and start making plans for a financially healthy 2020! Here are a few tips to get you started:
December 16, 2019
The holidays are all about spreading cheer…not calories and cavities. So, why not try a few dessert recipes that put a healthier spin on some holiday treat favorites. We offer a few tested (and delicious) recipe ideas for you here:
December 2, 2019
Hosting a holiday party for your staff is one of the best ways to show them you care—while also creating some meaningful, team-driven memories. Follow our tips below for hosting a memorable soiree that doesn’t push your stress or your budget past your limit.
November 15, 2019
If you have retirement on your mind, the big question is this: Are you in a financial position to do so? While nothing replaces the advice of a seasoned advisor, you can take your first step to answering this question by applying a simple 5-step calculation.
November 8, 2019
If you’re not a fan of Black Friday chaos—you know…the crowds, the rush, the relentless search for a parking space—then ditch the onsite shopping this year while still enjoying the sweet deals.
November 1, 2019
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule that allows a much larger pool of employees to earn overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Specifically, the DOL raised the salary level for employees who are counted as “exempt” (or unable to earn overtime pay).
October 15, 2019
If you’re starting a second business, then you know everything that’s involved with a business launch. However, there are a few business basics that every entrepreneur should revisit before diving into another enterprise. Consider these business basics and then put them into a well-thought-out business plan:
October 1, 2019
The 2019 small and midsized business (SMB) Cyberthreat Study from Keeper Security reported that nearly two out of three SMB owners do not feel threatened by or are not concerned about cyber attacks. Yet, in the previous year’s study, two out of three business owners reported falling victim to some level of data breach.
September 16, 2019
We can all get caught up in the day…meetings, calls, texts, emails and the myriad of other workday demands that pile up quickly and can create unwanted stress.
August 29, 2019
Labor Day is upon us—a popular holiday that is dedicated to the millions of women and men who keep this country going strong. For many, it also means that it’s time to break out the grill for that big end-of-summer celebration. And because most of us aren’t Grill Masters, this is a good time for a refresh on some basic grilling safety tips to keep everyone safe and the party going.
August 19, 2019
Let’s face it. Kids aren’t cheap, so you have to save money where you can. Back-to-school shopping is a good place to start because costs can add up quickly—especially if you have more than one child. Consider these tips for sending your kids back to school without breaking the bank.
August 6, 2019
According to the commission's online claims process, those whose personal information was exposed can opt for 10 years of free credit monitoring, which breaks down as follows: Four years via the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and six years specifically through Equifax.
August 1, 2019
With all the tax law changes this year, be sure that you are getting your just deductions in the coming tax season. That is, qualifying deductions that fall under the Child and Dependent Care Credit. According to tax giant and trusted resource Intuit, here’s the skinny…
July 15, 2019
These days, we seem to have endless articles on IT security while traveling, but far fewer on physical safety. Because summer can be big travel months for many businesses, we put together the following list of tips to help keep you safe while away from home.
July 1, 2019
As your trusted advisor, we are always looking for ways to improve your financial health—and that doesn’t stop at business activity. We also want to support you with tips to help you save money in your personal life as well.
June 17, 2019
June is national safety month, and it never hurts to remind your clients and community that safety always comes first. Our goal with this blog is to help you augment your marketing initiatives with a few ideas around safety. While we can’t cover every industry in a single post, we hope that you find the tips below useful and that they spark some innovative new marketing ideas!
June 3, 2019
It’s graduation season, and for many parents that means it’s almost time to start shelling out for college tuition. For those well-prepared parents with established 529 plans in place, the time has come to tap into that money pool. Of course, when it comes to tax-advantaged savings, trust that the IRS is keeping close watch, so it’s important to avoid making any rookie mistakes. It’s also important to keep saving as you move forward.
May 15, 2019
Having a remote workforce can be challenging, especially if you are trying to build a positive, collaborative work environment. So, how do you create a sense of comradery when you have staff in remote locations? These tips can help:
May 1, 2019
If you are expecting a refund this year, you may be tempted to splurge on something not-so-practical. Before you do, take some time to think about ways to use your refund to bolster your financial health. We’ve put together a few ideas for you to consider:
April 15, 2019
Once your taxes have been filed, first, take a moment to breathe a big sigh of relief…and then enjoy some Tax Day (April 15, 2019) discounts. There’s nothing like a good deal to take the sting out of tax obligations. Below, we’ve compiled a short list of best food and drink deals, taken from offer.com.
April 1, 2019
The long stretch from the end of the winter holiday season until the next break in your routine can feel like eternity. If you feel the need to reboot your enthusiasm as the spring season arrives, try these tips:
March 15, 2019
Our most precious commodity is time—and our attention is a close second. That’s why everyone can use some help on how to tune out daily distractions. We compiled the following helpful tips from copyblogger.com to get you started on dialing down distractions:
March 1, 2019
The April 15 filing deadline is rapidly approaching, so we encourage you to send us your tax documentation as soon as possible to expedite the filing process. Here are four important reasons why you should file your return sooner rather than later:
February 15, 2019
This tax season is an important one for many business owners because it’s the first that will be impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). How big of an impact is dependent on your unique situation. We’ve compiled this short list of provisions that may affect the business community:
February 1, 2019
According to Forbes.com, Super Bowl viewers traditionally load up on millions of pounds of less-than-healthy foods during the big game—including ribs, pulled pork, tortilla chips, nuts, popcorn and bacon—all washed down with beer (the Super Bowl beverage of choice). If you are trying to stick to your New Year’s resolution to eat better, consider a few healthy substitutes for the traditional Super Bowl eats:
January 17, 2019
The combination of running a business and your life and preparing for tax time can drive some people into a slight panic. But no need to get stressed if you are prepared. Now is the time to start organizing all documents required to file your tax return.
January 2, 2019
Like the old paraphrased saying goes: In this world, two things are certain—death and taxes. The recent federal tax overhaul changed a lot of rules, so it’s as important as ever to understand your tax obligations, including those on Social Security benefits.
December 30, 2018
New Short-Term Rental Laws in Massachusetts
Today, Massachusetts adopted a new law taxing and regulating the short-term rental market. The following information should help Realtors® navigate the short-term rental market under these new laws and regulations.
What does this new law require?
The new law expands the...
December 10, 2018
Unfortunately, cyber scammers never take a vacation. In fact, the IRS has issued a warning of a surge in fraudulent emails that bait potential phishing victims with fake tax transcripts. Links within these emails lead recipients to documents containing the well-known malware, Emotet.
December 9, 2018
An Act Relative to Minimum Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave and the Sales Tax Holiday was signed into law on June 28, 2018 by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. This bill raises the...
December 3, 2018
The holidays can be overwhelming. You only have so many hours in a day, your gift list is long, and your budget may be tight. A bit of up-front planning and prioritizing can help save you time and money. Here are a few ideas to help you minimize the hustle and bustle, stay on budget, and find more peace this holiday season.
November 19, 2018
Instilling a thankful frame of mind among your staff makes for a gratifying work place. Consider a few suggestions for developing an atmosphere of thankfulness to get into the spirit of the holiday season.
November 13, 2018
The Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure(HIRD) form is a new state reporting requirement in Massachusetts. The HIRD form collects employer- level information about your employer-sponsored insurance offerings. The HIRD form will assist MassHealth in identifying its members with access to qualifying employer-sponsored insurance offerings who may...
November 12, 2018
Black Friday and Cyber Monday need no introduction, but for small business owners it’s all about Small Business Saturday—an annual holiday shopping tradition that gets communities out in support of their local small businesses. Small Business Saturday falls on November 24 this year, so if you haven’t already…start getting the word out.
November 1, 2018
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 requires Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation (NEC) in box 7 to be filed by January 31.
October 15, 2018
Small business owners in many communities offer downtown trick or treat events. Take advantage of this opportunity to build your business reputation. Involvement in local events goes a long way with both existing and prospective customers—indicating a vested interest in your community. Find creative ways to make your business stand out this trick-or-treat season. We hope the following suggestions will spark fun promotional ideas:
October 1, 2018
October marks Women’s Small Business Month, and we are happy and proud to recognize women in business both locally and around the world. Successful business women of the past and present continue to forge new paths for female entrepreneurs. We celebrate all those who are breaking the glass ceiling and serving as role models and mentors to women everywhere.
September 17, 2018
For many business owners, September tends to bring a bit of a slowdown. The chaos of getting kids prepared for going back to school has passed, and a focus on saving money tends to kick in as people prepare for the coming holiday spend. Combined, this can often translate into a lull for business owners.
September 4, 2018
This is a friendly reminder that the Q3 tax estimate payment deadline is coming up fast. Be sure to make your payment by September 15, 2018 to avoid penalties. Currently, penalties for late or no payment average about 4 percent. And wouldn’t you rather keep that money in your pocket?
August 21, 2018
According to new rules from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, meals and entertainment tax-deductible expenses for businesses have undergone considerable reform. Because the explanations of new deduction guidelines can be confusing, we’ve created this brief outline for you. A visit with your accounting professional to ensure your Chart of Accounts is correct may also be beneficial.
August 15, 2018
August is upon us once again. The collective “UGH!” is heard nationwide as families trudge toward the school supplies aisle in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Sadly, the “days-gone-by” supplies such as a box of crayons, spiral-ring notebooks and a pack of #2 pencils have evolved into a much longer list. But never fear, we’ve put together these useful tips to help you do “back to school” on the cheap.
August 1, 2018
So popular was the topic of our last post, that we created Part II to create our eating-healthy-this-summer-themed blog series. Enjoy these added nutritional and time-saving tips for summer meal planning.
July 16, 2018
If you are like most, summer is prime time for family and friend vacations. It’s a time to unwind and recharge…to see new places and try new things. For many, “new things” often means food. And if you are trying to maintain or lose weight, that can be a problem. So, for all you travelers trying to stay healthy this summer, here are 5 great tips to help you stay on a healthy eating plan and still enjoy your vacation!
July 2, 2018
If you are like most families, summer means vacation. And if your kids are like most kids, they tend to be tethered to their technology. Whether planning to travel abroad or a long weekend at a local campground, summer is a time for exploration and simply paying attention to the beauty around us.
June 18, 2018
Multigenerational family vacations have experienced an uptick in popularity, especially with older generations being more active and families living farther apart. Family getaways certainly bring people together physically, but also emotionally. Dedicated family time is simply good for the soul…even more so when multiple generations take part. With this in mind, we bring you a few ideas and tips to consider when planning your next multigenerational vacation.
June 4, 2018
For many of us, our smartphone is a vital travel tool. We rely on it for navigating unfamiliar places, taking photos, and identifying recreational activities. Michael Zhao, an editor for TheWirecutter.com, offers the following tips on what to pack in addition to your smartphone—so you won’t be stranded when traveling this summer...or any other time of the year.
May 15, 2018
You may be completely proficient at decoding emojis on social media and in text messages, but for many of us, figuring out what other people’s facial expressions mean can be quite a challenge. Here’s a quick rundown of how to interpret different facial stances based on research from people-communicating.com:
May 1, 2018
Summer will be here before you know it! If you are a working parent with school-aged children, you know that it can also mean pretty steep bills for childcare and summer camp. However, you may be able to soften the hit to your family’s budget if these services qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
April 18, 2018
Quite often we can get so wrapped up in checking projects off the company’s to-do list that we forget to recognize the labor that went into each accomplishment. Acknowledging milestones provides opportunity to show appreciation to the employees who helped you achieve them...
April 2, 2018
Are you expecting a tax refund? If so, don’t treat your tax refund as ‘bonus’ cash. Rather look at it as simply a return of taxes paid beyond your actual obligation. This will help you think about using this money purposefully. Here are some ideas to try:
March 19, 2018
The spring season is here! In addition to taxes, many of us want to take care of some overlooked cleaning tasks. Procrastination often creeps in when it comes to cleaning—especially our offices. It can feel overwhelming and somewhat unproductive to spend time decluttering and cleaning your workspace, but once complete, most people feel a sense of relief and calm. Use this handy checklist...
March 5, 2018
Have you filed your 2017 taxes yet? If not, you still have the opportunity to make sure that you lower your tax obligation as much as possible. With new tax laws in effect for 2018 and beyond, the following deductions will disappear after this tax season—check them out to see which ones may help you lower your taxable income...
February 15, 2018
When you are super busy running a business, it can be easy to let customer appreciation slide to the bottom of your long to-do list. The problem is, if you don’t show your customers love on a regular basis, they’re going to feel neglected, which can put their continued loyalty at risk.
February 1, 2018
With the occurrence of cybercrimes affecting businesses increasing daily, many companies are looking for outside expertise to help them mitigate their risks. If your company has never engaged a cybersecurity professional before, you may be unsure of what to look for. The IRS suggests businesses use the following four steps when evaluating and selecting a cybersecurity...
January 16, 2018
Even if you are not a New Year’s resolution maker, it’s likely that at some point in your life you’ll want to adopt healthier or more productive habits. When you do want to make a change for the better, consider trying the following tips from lifehack.org to increase your chances of making your new good habits stick:
January 3, 2018
Tax season is approaching quickly. It’s just a few weeks until the IRS officially starts accepting returns, which means now is the perfect time to use the tips below to help you net some last-minute tax-savings and tackle tax season with ease.
January 2, 2018
Like the old paraphrased saying goes: In this world, two things are certain—death and taxes. The recent federal tax overhaul changed a lot of rules, so it’s as important as ever to understand your tax obligations, including those on Social Security benefits.
Now that the GOP tax reform bill is headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law, it’s time to take a look at how the new changes to the tax code, also known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” may impact individuals and businesses. Below is a summary of the changes that may impact you:
Changes Affecting Individual...
December 18, 2017
It’s amazing how much festive fun can be packed into a few weeks. While the holidays truly can be wonderful, they can also feel overwhelming with too much to do and too many temptations that derail us from enjoying what is truly important. To help you make your holidays feel more fulfilling and less frantic, try these suggestions...
December 4, 2017
On November 16, the House passed a new tax reform bill that moves the GOP closer to bringing the legislation to fruition. Now the Senate is preparing its own tax reform package. If passed, it must be reconciled with the House before any final legislation goes to the White House. Here is a snapshot of some of the key changes proposed in the tax reform bill:
November 14, 2017
With just days to go before Thanksgiving, the clock is ticking down to some of the most memorable meals of the year. However, for many of us, the pressure of preparing a perfect Thanksgiving feast can be overwhelming. If this is true for you, consider these tips to simplify your seasonal spread.
November 1, 2017
The end of the year is often hectic, which is why it’s important to take some time now to reduce your tax bill. Our firm can offer additional strategies to further mitigate your tax burden; however, the following 5 tips are an excellent starting point:
October 16, 2017
Whether your business needs temporary workers to get through the holiday season or you hire short-term help on a regular basis, the process of finding the right candidates can be challenging. Try applying these strategies to make seasonal staffing easier:
October 2, 2017
Because stress related to work, family issues and other events is something that affects many of us, it’s important to reset your own stress response to protect your health and productivity. Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist, offers these tips:
September 29, 2017
Tax reform, one of President Trump’s key legislative agenda items, is moving closer to fruition. Based on the outline of his proposed tax reform package, which he unveiled on September 27, 2017, we’ve compiled this brief overview of the President’s major tax proposals:
September 14, 2017
If you were a victim of the recently announced Equifax hack, you need to take action to mitigate any negative impact it may have on your finances and credit. If you’re not sure if you were affected, you can use Equifax’s Potential Impact tool to find out. You will need to input your last name and the last six digits of your social security number to use this tool.
August 30, 2017
Staff retreats can offer companies a lot of value. They can also be expensive and, unless managed effectively, not particularly productive. Before you plan your next (or first) staff retreat, review the following key factors to help you make the most of...
August 15, 2017
There likely aren’t many college students who don’t have a smart phone loaded with helpful apps. However, it is unlikely that any of these apps are dedicated to helping them build their financial fortitude. This is why we created our list below—chock-full of apps designed to make it easier for college students of any age to save money.
August 1, 2017
Did you know that your webcam and even your home or office internet router can be the gateway through which cyber criminals gain access to your most sensitive data? If not, don’t panic—we have helpful tips below from the experts at the National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure that you head off this type of malicious action.
July 13, 2017
The IRS has identified several new variations of standard tax scams involving fake tax bills and demands for payments. Many of these scams involve purchasing and transferring information using a gift card or iTunes card. Other scams to be aware of include:
June 29, 2017
Now that summer/vacation season is here, your business may be enjoying a more relaxed vibe with employees taking time off or leaving early. If you’ve ever thought about implementing a flexible work program, now may be the time to pilot one, especially if your business is a bit slower this time of year. To help, we offer the following tips...
June 15, 2017
It’s almost exactly the mid-point of the year, which makes it prime time for a mid-year financial review. If you need some monetary motivation for evaluating your financial progress so far this year, you may want to think of mid-year planning as a series of potential money-saving opportunities, for example:
June 1, 2017
The recent “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack that paralyzed several large organizations in the U.S. and Europe is a solemn reminder that the risk of cyber security breaches is real. Every business owner should take steps...
May 16, 2017
Whether from heavy rains or hurricanes, this time of year can bring with it the risk of floods across many parts of the United States. While you may not be able to predict the likelihood of a flood in your area, with these tips you can help to mitigate physical and financial damage if a flood occurs where you live.
May 4, 2017
This time of year is when you often see yard sale signs popping up. For some, holding a yard sale is a means of clearing out unwanted items. For others, it’s an opportunity to get some great “finds.” Whichever side of the yard sale fence you’re on, these tips can help you “clean up”:
Choose your timing carefully. Research continues...
April 19, 2017
Window washing, carpet cleaning, garden grooming—these are all popular spring cleaning chores for homeowners. However, with year-end and tax season behind you, this time of year is also perfect for spring cleaning at the office. These tips will help you and your staff get—and keep—that “just cleaned my office” feeling:
Start with a clean sweep of...
April 3, 2017
With just a few weeks to go until Tax Day on April 18, it’s time to make sure that you’re on track to get your individual return filed. If you haven’t already engaged our firm to help you with your taxes and you need assistance, don’t delay…it’s time to let us know!
While tax season can be stressful, Tax Day itself can be quite rewarding if you...
March 20, 2017
The average American sits a lot. Many of us sit while we work, while we relax and while we learn. Over the long term, this sedentary way of life can have a negative impact on our health, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer—in addition to shortening life spans. To counteract these negative effects, it’s important to get up, get active and get...
March 1, 2017
Spring is in the air...which means peak home-selling season isn’t far away. In fact, according to recent market data, 60 percent of all home sales in the United States will occur in the spring and summer months. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to get prepared—which includes considering how you will “stage” your home to...
February 17, 2017
For sports fans, this time of year is an exciting one. First the Super Bowl, and then the buildup toward the NCAA March Madness tournament. While tax season isn’t quite as exciting as these events, you’ll still want to make the effort to get ahead of the game—and the April 18 deadline—to score the benefits of early filing.
February 1, 2017
Although the fate of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is not yet clear, thanks to the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act at the end of 2016, employers with fewer than 50 employees can now start funding stand-alone health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) again. Employees can use HRAs to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the Obamacare health insurance...
January 17, 2017
You need only tune into the news to see that cybercrimes are a very real threat. From viruses to malware, everyday computer use and online browsing can leave you vulnerable to hackers who want your valuable information. If you have a small business, your risk of a cyberattack is likely even higher, especially if you do not have the resources or know-how to enact effective security policies....
December 28, 2016
There’s a reason why the regular New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, exercising more and sticking to a budget are popular—so many of us need to do them! There’s also a common reason why so many of us fail to meet our goals in these areas: we haven’t developed the mindset to support the changes that we want to make.
Instead of setting a big,...
December 14, 2016
The holiday season can be wonderful, but they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. Fortunately, the experts at Psychology Today also offer these simple stress relievers to put the joy back in this special time of year:
November 30, 2016
Just days before it was scheduled to be implemented on December 1, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the implementation of the new Department of Labor (DOL) federal overtime rule, which would have doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. According to an NPR report, this extension of overtime eligibility would have...
November 15, 2016
As a result of the highway funding extension bill signed into law by President Obama in 2015, there are important changes coming in 2017 to deadlines for business tax filings including:
November 1, 2016
We’re well in to the fourth quarter of the year, which means year end is fast approaching. Here are five important areas of your business to review before the calendar turns to 2017.
October 17, 2016
If you’re like many parents and grandparents, you may already be thinking about what kind of gift to get the children on your list this holiday season. For teens and young adults especially, it can be challenging to come up with truly unique and meaningful gifts. One idea with long-lasting impact is to make a contribution to either a traditional or Roth IRA on your children or...
October 3, 2016
Many businesses need to adjust their spending to meet the reality of their cash flow during the last few months of the year. While it can be tempting to just cut expenses across the board, this strategy may actually backfire if you cut in the wrong places. Here are four budget areas you should try to preserve to avoiding derailing your long-term business goals:
September 19, 2016
With election season in full swing, you may be wondering, “Are political contributions tax deductible?” Here’s the lowdown:
Whether it’s your county mayor or the future President of the United States, the rules on taking advantage of tax deductions for political contributions are the same: Donations are deductible if the organization you give to is a 501(c)(3)...
September 1, 2016
Consider this blog post as early notice that the date by which employers must file their W-2s and 1099s with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and IRS will change to January 31 in 2017.
Previously, W-2s and 1099s were not due to governmental agencies until March 31, so this new deadline will significantly reduce the window for making any necessary changes. These forms are still...
August 16, 2016
EMV chip technology, which is the first major upgrade for credit card fraud protection in many years, is slowly being rolled out by merchants around the world, including in the United States. While this technology has the potential to provide better security for your credit card data, it still has its limits and it is not completely hacker-proof or secure. As such it is still important to be...
August 2, 2016
It’s August and children and parents everywhere are facing a grim reality: back to school season is just around the corner. At this time of year, many parents struggle to get their kids back into a regular sleep routine. To help, we offer these tips to reset your family’s alarm clock before the first school bell rings:
July 18, 2016
While most couples go to great lengths to ensure that their wedding day is perfect, far fewer think about how their nuptials will impact their tax liability. The truth is, the moment you get married, no matter what time of the year it is, in the eyes of the government you are considered to have been married for the entire tax year. With this in mind, here are some tax tips to consider as you...
July 5, 2016
It’s fair to say that the recent ‘Brexit’ vote by Britons to exit the European Union (EU) has shaken global financial markets to their core, at least in the short-term. Financial analysts say that it’s too early to tell what the long-term impact of this historic vote will be. But one thing is for certain, the Brexit offers several important lessons that individual...
June 21, 2016
One of the most (if not the most) important indicators of business health is its cash flow. Even if your business is profitable and growing, if you don't have a consistent stream of cash coming in, you'll run into financial trouble. Lack of cash flow is the primary reason that more than one quarter of new businesses fail—29 percent to be exact. Here are some smart strategies...
June 10, 2016
With a rise in IRS phone scams, the Agency changed its policy on contacting taxpayers whose tax records are subject to an audit. The new policy instructs IRS agents to contact affected taxpayers only by mail—never by phone (which used to be the IRS’ go-to method of contact). As such, we urge all of our clients to adhere to the following guidelines should...
June 1, 2016
While many of us appreciate the glory of a beautiful garden, there’s no denying that having one is a time-consuming endeavor. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips to help you make the most of your yard in less time:
1. Start with a plan.
A well-thought-out plan for your garden that utilizes low-maintenance plants and flowers will save you time...
May 20, 2016
President Obama, declaring that “Americans have spent too long working more and getting less in return,” ordered the Labor Department to revise federal rules on overtime pay for salaried workers that log more than 40 hours a week. The long-awaited rule change will extend overtime pay to an estimated 4.2M workers.
Under current federal regulations, only salaried employees...
May 16, 2016
We’ve likely all heard the news—Americans are incredibly sleep-deprived. However, according to recent research, achieving better quality sleep may be more important than actually increasing the number of hours of sleep. In fact, experts report that 6 hours of deep refreshing sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours of light interrupted sleep.
May is Better Sleep...
May 2, 2016
Wow! May is already here—and if you’re like many Americans your savings account balance is still stuck where it was at the beginning of the year. So what to do? You can’t make up for lost savings opportunities…or can you? We believe that you can with a little bit of discipline. For example, saving $125 a month can be as easy as:
April 14, 2016
A quick glance at the news is all it takes to realize that the threat of cyber attacks is increasing for businesses. So how can your business beat the odds and avoid becoming another victim of cybercrime? Try putting the following five action items at the top of your priority list:
March 31, 2016
Every year, American taxpayers leave millions of dollars on the table for Uncle Sam—in the form of unclaimed tax deductions. With Tax Day just around the corner, it’s time to do one final check to make sure that you are not missing out on three of the most common deductions:
March 15, 2016
Spring is here and the season for new beginnings. This is a good time to re-think "spring cleaning" and choose snacks that can cleanse our bodies from the inside out.
These five snacks are guaranteed to feed your mind, detoxify your body, and satisfy your palate!
1. Guacamole - High in fiber and “fat” but don’t worry, it’s good fat!...
March 1, 2016
If you’re packing your bags for a spring break getaway, take a little time before you leave to implement the tips below—they’ll help keep your home safer while you’re gone, and free your mind of worry so that you can truly enjoy your trip.
February 16, 2016
The IRS has joined with industry and states on a public awareness campaign to provide taxpayers with easy tips to better protect themselves. For some quick tips, you can watch an informative video here.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return...
February 1, 2016
According to a recent IRS notice, due to an error, taxpayers are receiving Identity Protection (IP) PIN letters with an incorrect year listed. If you received the CP01A Notice dated January 4, 2016, be aware that the PIN contained in it is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in...
January 18, 2016
It’s a stark reality that millions of us face once the holiday season is over: the post-holiday slump. Even just a few days off can make coming back to the office seem excruciating—there’s all that work to do, the anticipation and cheer of the holidays are gone, and for many people the next vacation day is a long way off. Yes, being a working adult is tough, but getting over...
January 4, 2016
If your business engages in social media, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of customers who are posting questions on your Facebook page, tweeting comments or engaging with your company on other social platforms looking for customer service support. It’s a trend that is affecting just about every type of business—and using social media as a customer service channel will...
December 15, 2015
In an ongoing effort to keep you informed of IRS changes, we have a new and important one to report. And this time, the change eases your filing burden.
Within the last month, the IRS significantly simplified the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for small business by raising the safe harbor threshold for deducting certain capital items from $500 to $2,500. This applies to...
November 16, 2015
The countdown is on to the what retailers hype as the best shopping day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving dubbed by Americans as ‘Black Friday’—represents the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. However, given the explosion of retail competition and the Internet in the past several years, Black Friday is really not what it used to be. And if you’re not...
November 2, 2015
With just a few short weeks to go before the end of the year, it’s important to take a look at your tax situation and consider ways to decrease your tax obligations. In other words, it’s time for tax planning. We put together the following tips for you to support smart tax decisions:
October 14, 2015
Ah, the sweet smell of success! Achieving goals and bringing our vision to fruition is the end-game for most of us, especially in our business lives. Unfortunately, success can sometimes elude us to the point where we have to start looking at what, exactly, is going wrong. Perhaps, though, the question we ought to be asking is this: What is going right? By honing in on what is bringing you or...
September 30, 2015
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has designated each October as National Ergonomics Month (NEM). Ergonomics is an applied science that incorporates principles of usability into the design process with the goal of making finished products more effective and safe for people to use.
In the workplace, proper ergonomic practices can play an important role in reducing pain,...
September 15, 2015
If you did any road trips over the summer—or you commute to work—you’ve likely noticed that filling up your vehicle doesn’t necessarily empty your wallet anymore. Thanks to lower gas prices, the average American is on track to save approximately $750 on gas this year.
While it’s not life-changing, $750 can make a difference to your personal finances if...
September 1, 2015
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 was recently signed into law. Part of this new law includes a provision that more than doubles the cap on penalties from $1.5 million to $3 million for 1) failure to file correct tax information returns and 2) failure to provide payee statements. In both cases, fines have been increased from $100 to $250.
These changes are...
August 13, 2015
As reported by The Journal of Accountancy on July 31, the short-term highway funding extension passed by the Senate—and signed by President Obama—at the end of July contains several important tax provisions (H.R. 3236). The bill was passed by the House of...
July 29, 2015
As legendary business author Peter Drucker once said, "What's measured improves." If you've been in business any length of time, you know that creating meaningful measurements that tell you how your business is doing (a.k.a. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) can be challenging. The good news is, you only need a few KPIs to really get a handle on the financial pulse of your...
July 14, 2015
For many adult children, it’s hard to contemplate the fact that their once seemingly invincible parents may now—or at some point down the road—become dependent on them to take care of their everyday needs. If you don’t feel prepared to take on these tasks, this scenario can be very stressful—especially when part of your duties involves taking care of your...
June 30, 2015
On July 1st, 2015, the new Massachusetts’ Earned Sick Time Law will take effect. All employers, regardless of employer size, will be required to provide earned sick time to all employees (full time, part time, seasonal, temporary, interns). Employers with 11 or more employees must provide paid sick leave. Employers with less than 11 employees must provide unpaid sick leave.
June 29, 2015
Tax season is over and one of the biggest American celebrations—the Fourth of July—is just around the corner. Maybe you’re looking forward to a little downtime this summer, so perhaps working on your financial plan has slipped to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s understandable, but putting your finances on cruise control at mid-year is not an ideal strategy....
June 15, 2015
School’s out for many kids, and if you run your own business, you may be able to turn your child’s summer break into a tax advantage—and some extra help—for you.
Hiring your offspring as an employee to do legitimate work in your business provides several tax benefits:
June 4, 2015
Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that a "brute force" hacking attempt compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov. In the attack, hackers utilized information gleaned from black market sources to answer identity verification...
June 1, 2015
It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are spending a lot of time online. While some of the time we spend on the Internet is productive, there’s a lot of it that’s not—and it’s crowding out some of our higher value offline activities, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).
In a recent NBER study, each minute of...
May 14, 2015
When it comes to running a business, building as much efficiency as possible into your operations is the key to keeping things running smoothly and freeing up your own time to focus on the big picture. While employing the right team and the right technology are integral to boosting efficiency, so is having the right mindset when it comes to how you approach day-to-day tasks.
April 30, 2015
Yes, Tax Day has come and gone for this year, but the memory of your tax return is likely still fresh. So before you move on, consider the following three questions that may point you toward areas you want to work on before next April 15 rolls around.
Do I need to start my tax filing earlier?
Ideally, you should engage in tax planning year-round. As your trusted...
April 16, 2015
If compiling all of your tax documentation this year triggered the thought that you really should try to be more organized, then the following tips are for you. Constantly searching for things you have misplaced, missing important dates, and not feeling like you have control over your days can waste your time and increase your stress level.
The following tips will help you take...
April 1, 2015
If you’re planning to travel this spring break, you have likely already spent time planning your trip—but have you spent time thinking ahead about how to reduce the chances of a mishap while you’re traveling? While no one wants to ruin their vacation worrying excessively, it is wise to take a few preventative steps to ensure that your time away is not marred by an easily...
March 16, 2015
Some health coverage reimbursement arrangements offered by small employers (those with less than 50 full-time employees) are considered by the IRS to be non-compliant with the health coverage plan requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning January 1, 2014, employers who offer such plans were facing a significant penalty: an excise tax of $100 per employee per day, up...
March 2, 2015
With the rise of identity theft and tax and financial fraud, it is critical that we all remain vigilant about protecting our sensitive personal and financial information—especially during tax season. Being alert to any attempts by criminals to intercept your information is one important way you can protect yourself. The IRS recently issued the following alerts about a new crop of tax...
February 16, 2015
February can be a tough month when it comes to motivation and energy levels for many people. So it’s not surprising that employees may seem a little less productive at this time of year. Fortunately, the following four tips can help you put the spring back in your team’s step—and boost the productivity of your business.
Keep Sharing Your Vision
February 2, 2015
If there’s one time of the year that may inspire you to finally come up with a filing system for all of your bank statements, receipts and other important documents, it’s tax season. Not only will keeping your documents organized make it easier and less stressful for you to find what you need on a daily basis (and when you are getting ready to have your taxes prepared), it will...
January 14, 2015
Tax season is here, and there are many tax changes that were implemented in 2014 and more to be introduced in 2015. From Obamacare to tax hikes and changes to standard deductions, there's a lot to keep track of. To help you get organized for this tax season and beyond, review this summary of some of the most significant tax issues and changes.
Obamacare Penalties Kick...
December 29, 2014
With 2015 just around the corner, it’s smart to take a few minutes to plan ahead for the coming year in terms of the goals you want to achieve. If managing your money more effectively in the year ahead is one of the things you want to tackle, it helps to break your goal down into manageable steps.
Figuring out your financial plan comes down to three essential steps: managing,...
December 15, 2014
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and for many of us, it is also one of the busiest. While adding one more thing to your to-do list—like year-end tax planning—may induce a feeling of overload, it really is one task you shouldn’t skip, because it can give you the gift of a lower tax bill next April.
Here are a few tips to help you end 2014 with the...
November 25, 2014
With Thanksgiving literally right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the abundance that we have in our lives and how we might express our gratitude to the people who mean the most to us.
If you are enjoying a gathering with family and friends this Thanksgiving, here are a few unique, fun activities from that can help you create an atmosphere of genuine...
November 17, 2014
Late fall typically marks the beginning of cold and flu season, which can pose a real threat to businesses. While public health officials continue to push flu shots, the message isn’t inciting many people to act. Add to this those employees who are hesitant to take sick days, meaning they come to work and inadvertently spread germs, and the potential for a cold and flu outbreak...
October 30, 2014
For some employees, the satisfaction of doing a great job is a reward in and of itself. However, for many companies, implementing a rewards program for employees is necessary in order to maintain employee morale and productivity. While investing time and money to develop and implement an employee incentive program may seem like an inefficient use of resources that detracts from your bottom...
October 15, 2014
If you own a business, you know that your customers are its lifeblood, so customer service is key. While you may recognize this fact, it may not always resonate with your employees. So how do you ensure that all your hard work to win customers isn’t undermined by poor customer service when they come face-to-face with your employees—especially if you can’t always be there to...
October 1, 2014
In just a few short months, the calendar will read 2015—the year in which the next phase of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, will kick in for businesses with 100 or more employees. Under the law, businesses with 100 or more employees on their payroll will need to start providing health benefits to at least 70 percent of their full-time workers in 2015, and to 95 percent by...
September 16, 2014
While you may still be enjoying the last few weeks of summer thinking that it’s too early to start preparing your business for tax season, you may want to reconsider putting your tax planning on hold—after all, the peak of the tax preparation period is just a few short months away.
While it is wise to engage in tax planning strategically and consistently throughout the...
August 28, 2014
With the official start of the fall season almost here, it’s the perfect time to get your finances in shape before year-end, so you’ll be well-prepared when 2015 begins.
Increase your retirement contributions. If you’re not already saving for retirement, start now! If you know you need to save more, up the contribution you are making to your...
August 14, 2014
The back-to-school season is always an exciting time. You can feel it in the air…a time of new beginnings and opportunities. And while the kids are enjoying reconnecting with friends and teachers and the thrill of new school clothes, business owners can adopt their own form of back-to-school spirit to revitalize excitement around their business. Here are a few tips to help you get into...
July 31, 2014
As a business owner, one of the hardest—yet most beneficial skills to learn—is delegation. Many people who run businesses and have staff often find delegation of duties difficult for a number of reasons—two of the most common being a perceived lack of time (the “It’s faster to do it myself” excuse) or because they have a hard time letting go of their...
July 15, 2014
So, you have a nice website for your business—you can check “web strategy” off the to-do list, right? Not so fast! While creating a website that is easy to navigate, visible to search engines, and true to your company’s brand is no small feat, it should be just the first step in your website strategy. To maximize your organization’s web presence, you can’t...
July 1, 2014
As the number of seniors in the U.S. population continues to increase, so does the number of people taking care of an aging parent. In 2011, an estimated 10 million adult children over the age of 50 were caring for an aging parent. Having to take on this type of responsibility, especially during your prime earning years, can take a toll—not only emotionally and physically, but...
June 16, 2014
Allowing employees to telecommute, also known as working remotely, is a major trend destined to reshape the way that companies recruit and manage employees in just about every industry. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, more companies were planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than any other new benefit. And, research by Global Workplace...
May 29, 2014
While we’ve just celebrated the first official summer holiday weekend, studies show that almost 75 percent of employees do not take all of their allotted vacation time. In fact, many employees hesitate to take a break from work, and those that do often check in at least daily while on vacation, returning emails or taking calls. This may seem like true dedication to a job, but experts...
May 1, 2014
According to the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data, approximately 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older are victims of identity theft each year. While the overall percentage of Americans affected by identity theft has held steady since 2008, identity theft related to tax information is increasing rapidly. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released statistics...
April 14, 2014
Hopefully you have already filed your tax return and are anticipating at least a modest refund. But, before you get too excited about splurging with your IRS check, stop for a moment and remember that you earned that money! While many people view a tax refund as ‘bonus’ cash—it isn’t. It is simply a return of the funds that you earned and paid as tax beyond what your actual obligation...
March 31, 2014
With the business tax return deadline behind us, this is an ideal time to think about giving your business a little post-tax season tune-up with the intention of making next tax year easier and improving your financial situation. Here are a few key areas to consider analyzing now that your business taxes are filed:
Day-to-day accounting. With the rush of preparing...
March 17, 2014
There’s no disputing the fact that raising children today is a costly endeavor. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) has eased parents’ tax burden and put a few dollars back in their pockets with the Child Tax Credit, which ATRA made permanent. This tax credit can be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon a parent’s income.
March 4, 2014
A nice home office is often one of the biggest perks of being a freelancer, and it can also provide you with a significant tax deduction if you qualify for it. Up until this tax year, the calculations needed to claim the home office deduction were complex and required meticulous record keeping and a separate form (Form 8829). However, starting with your 2013 tax return, the IRS has introduced...
February 14, 2014
With tax season in full swing, you are likely busy compiling all of your tax documents and expense receipts to support the preparation of your return. When you think about it, there is a lot you can learn from preparing to file your tax return. It provides the perfect snapshot of where you stand financially, which can offer important insights into your money management habits. While there are...
February 1, 2014
With tax season here, you might be wondering just how likely you are to hear from the IRS after you file by means of an audit notice. While the chances you will be audited are relatively low if you file a straightforward personal tax return, the more complex your tax situation becomes (reporting business income or graduating to a high-income tax bracket, for example), the more likely it is...
January 17, 2014
If your business spends $600 or more for services from another business or an individual contractor during the tax year, you may have to report the amount on a Form 1099. The requirement to file 1099s applies to all types of businesses, C-Corporations, S-Corporations, LLCs, all partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Forms 1099 are normally issued to unincorporated...
January 3, 2014
Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get serious about reviewing where you stand from a tax perspective. As you may recall, in 2013 Congress and President Obama made a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff which resulted in seven tax increases. In addition to these increases, the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) also included six...
December 17, 2013
With the end of the year on the horizon, many individuals with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are scurrying to spend residual funds to avoid “losing” them, in accordance with IRS regulations. However, the regulations have now changed with the IRS easing the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for health flexible spending plans. Individuals with FSAs can now carry over a maximum of $500 to...
November 27, 2013
If you’re nearing the customary retirement age of 65, you may be considering when to apply for Medicare and Social Security benefits. This is an important decision that can have significant impact on your financial situation down the road, so it is important to understand how these benefit programs work. In particular, if you are not planning to retire at the full retirement age (FRA) of 65...
November 14, 2013
The IRS recently announced that, for the second year in a row, it will delay the start of tax season. However, the April 15 filing deadline, which is set by statute, remains in place. Last year it was the fiscal cliff negotiations that pushed back the start of the tax filing period. This year, of course, it is the 16-day government shutdown that put the IRS approximately one to two weeks...
October 30, 2013
If you own a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that you are not actively managing, but you claim tax deductions, this blog post will be of interest to you. Close to 30 years ago, the IRS passive activity loss (PAL) rules (I.R.C. Section 469) were enacted to limit the degree to which money-losing LLCs could be used as tax shelters by their owners claiming losses—such as depreciation, interest,...
October 17, 2013
Halloween is just around the corner and in a few short weeks the calendar will flip to November 1—the unofficial beginning to the winter holiday season that can seriously reduce employee productivity. After all, who has time to put in a solid eight hours a day at the office when there is seasonal shopping, schmoozing, and socializing to be done?
Many business owners have a...
October 4, 2013
Employers providing healthcare insurance that includes prescription drug benefits are required to notify Medicare-eligible employees by October 15 of each year whether their drug benefit is "creditable coverage," meaning that it is expected to cover, on average, as much as the standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)...
September 30, 2013
While the end of the year may seem like it’s a long time from now, it’s only three short months away. When you factor in the hectic weeks of the coming holiday season, that really only leaves a few weeks to pull your tax information together to avoid the stress that being unprepared for tax season can bring.
Now is the time to think about what information you will need for the...
September 13, 2013
The opening of the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) on October 1 is fast approaching and with it comes a new requirement to Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act that all businesses should be aware of. By October 1, 2013 employers must provide written notices about health insurance options, including notification of the new health insurance marketplace, to their...
September 4, 2013
The beginning of September is synonymous with the back-to-school season. If you have a child attending college, or if you are a student yourself, September is also likely to be synonymous with the beginning of annual tuition payments. While attending and paying for college may be taxing in many ways, there is some good news when it comes to tax deductions and credits related to college...
August 16, 2013
Given the tough economy over the past few years, it has been particularly difficult for business owners and the individuals they employee to thrive financially. Couple the poor economic climate with the fact that many businesses, especially small ones, have few controls in place to prevent employee theft and you get statistics like these reported by the National Federation of Independent...
July 31, 2013
If you’re lucky enough to own a vacation home, or are thinking about investing in one, you should be aware of the tax implications associated with this type of property, particularly if you are planning to rent it at least some of the time. It is also important to note that the IRS definition of a vacation property encompasses not only houses, cottages, and condominiums, but also mobile...
July 16, 2013
As hard as it is to believe, the year is already half over. Although it may seem like the April tax deadline was just a few weeks ago, the reality is it’s time to start thinking about your 2013 taxes. And, if you spend some time now on mid-year tax planning, it can really pay off next April—which is only nine short months away. In addition, taking stock of where your business is halfway...
July 4, 2013
On Tuesday, July 2, the Obama administration announced that it is delaying the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. The delay extends to 2015. The announcement by the IRS comes after numerous complaints from businesses that the requirements were too complicated and difficult to implement in time.
June 27, 2013
One of the key mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare” as the law is commonly known, is the creation of health insurance exchanges in each state. The intention of these exchanges is to give individuals and small businesses a means for buying affordable health insurance. With the October 1st launch date for the new health care exchanges fast approaching, business owners...
June 18, 2013
For years, aggressive, "do-what it takes" attitudes have been attributed to achieving professional success. Having at least a little bit of the "killer" instinct is what differentiates the winners in business, right? Perhaps in some cases, but according to research conducted by Wharton Business School professor, Adam Grant, the opposite is true. Success—both personal and professional—is...
May 30, 2013
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… marketing is a key component of any successful business. So, we want to provide you with as much helpful information as we can in this area. We know marketing isn’t an easy task. It takes time and money. Of course, we understand that you have to keep a focus on the bottom line, which is why we are offering a few marketing tips for those of...
May 17, 2013
Whether your business sells seasonal products or provides services throughout the year, summer is a HOT season for marketing. The warmer weather offers some flexibility with marketing events and campaigns, and that means you can be creative. Most people like to get out during the summer months, so the potential to attract prospects and clients to your marketing events is higher. The following...
April 30, 2013
Technology is a wonderful thing. We know it in our firm because we use advanced technology to our advantage—that is, working anytime and from any device, having 24/7 access to files, and the ability to work from home, a client’s site, or the airport! And now that just about any gadget you can imagine is portable and affordable, your small business doesn’t have to be confined to your...
April 17, 2013
This was more than your typical tax season. With a plethora of changes to the tax code and a late start brought about by 11th hour congressional decisions, it was an even more harried and intense process than usual. We appreciate the good working relationships with our clients that helped us keep moving to meet the April 15 deadline—thank you!
With tax season just now moving into...
March 29, 2013
Hopefully, you are part of the more than 80% of taxpayers that take advantage of e-filing. If you’re not, we want to remind you WHY you should. Take a moment to read our short (but very convincing) list. The April 15th tax deadline is just around the corner, so we wanted to dedicate one last post to remind you of the value of e-filing your return.
March 18, 2013
The tax deadline always seems to sneak up on taxpayers. Don’t fall into this trap and cause yourself added stress. If you’ve yet to pull things together…start preparing now. The following are four easy tips to be sure that you are ready for the April 15 tax deadline:
March 1, 2013
As we look forward to the end of winter and the launch of spring, that also means the April 15th tax deadline is that much closer. Being prepared is the best way to ensure a smooth tax season and minimize any surprises. So, if you’ve yet to dig in and give some dedicated focus to your taxes, here are a few suggestions to get you going:
February 19, 2013
More than 80% of taxpayers file electronically…and for good reason. Or rather, good reasons (plural)—four to be exact. E-filing offers an efficient and highly secure method for filing your tax return. And if that’s not reason enough, take a moment to read through our Top 4:
January 31, 2013
As of January 30, 2013, the IRS will begin processing individual income tax returns for the majority of United States taxpayers. Be sure to get your tax documents organized now. You can use our Client Center on our website to securely upload your documents to our office.
A few items to note as we move into February:
January 5, 2013
With the passing of the new ‘Fiscal Cliff” Act, taxpayers need to be aware of how it may affect them in the coming years. As such, we’ve compiled detailed information for you within this blog post.At a high level, the act...
December 27, 2012
The IRS continues to challenge S Corporation shareholders regarding proper methods for paying themselves. That said, it’s critical that your S Corporation structure is set up appropriately and that compensation is paid and reported correctly. For example, in a recent court appeal case, an attorney was slapped with penalties and interest after failing to remit payroll taxes for his...
December 18, 2012
The entire Steven M. Ellard, CPA team is excited to announce our recent firm merger with A.P. Franz, CPA. We want to take this opportunity to welcome each new client to the Steven M. Ellard, CPA family. We are dedicated to your success and will work in partnership with each of you throughout the year to ensure you meet your financial goals!
Al partnered with our firm to help ensure...
December 18, 2012
It’s year end already, and with it comes the race to get ready for tax season. Traditionally, December marks a time for giving generously to charities, family, and friends. It’s also a time that can have a major impact on your upcoming tax return. But fear not, we’ve compiled a few helpful “Season of Giving” tips for you (courtesy of the IRS), covering everything from charity...
November 22, 2012
With the election behind us, we now have a much clearer picture of how taxes will be affected in 2013 and beyond. With this insight, we can better help our clients create strategic, fiscally responsible tax programs for the coming year.
Under the Obama administration, the objective is to maintain the old tax rates for taxpayers with adjusted gross income below $250,000. (The old tax...
October 26, 2012
You may have already noticed some changes to your personal portal. To ensure that you are able to continue to easily navigate within your portal, we’ve compiled the following list that explains recent core enhancements.
What you will see when you log in:
October 16, 2012
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that social media is not one size fits all. Every small business is different and will have different social media needs. For example, some may be looking to acquire new clients while others may want to use social media channels to strengthen customer relationships or educate their audience.
No matter the reason, social media is a...
October 1, 2012
To ensure success, it’s important to consistently evaluate your business and identify possible areas for enhancement. Of course, because you are an integral part of daily operations, it’s sometimes hard to visualize what enhancements may be needed or to come up with that next BIG idea.
With this in mind, we want to provide you with a few tips to help jumpstart innovation in...
September 17, 2012
With year end fast approaching, it’s a good time to slip in another push for portals. We understand the immense value online access offers, and we just want to be sure that you do too. First and foremost, portals support immediate, real-time exchange of data and documents, which translates into ultimate convenience for our clients. Your information is always at your fingertips, 24/7…when...
September 1, 2012
Summer is coming to a close, and the end of summer is a good time to start thinking about getting your tax information together. Before you know it, year end will be here, which can leave you scrambling to get organized. Starting a little early will help ensure that you are prepared—avoiding the all-too-familiar last minute cram session that can cause disruption and stress in your personal...
August 17, 2012
The effects of the new healthcare law are different for individuals and business. We’ve compiled the following information for you and provided a succinct explanation of specific changes. This list is certainly not all-inclusive, so please contact our firm for more detail and to inquire how ObamaCare might affect your 2013 year taxes.
July 31, 2012
Portals are everywhere. When you access your financial portfolio or bank account, you are using portals. Online access to information is critical these days, allowing instant access to data and documents when you need them—the ultimate in convenience.
At our firm, we also want to provide our clients with the convenience of web-based access, which is why we offer our advanced and...
July 19, 2012
Because military personnel have unique challenges in relation to duties, expenses, and transitions, the IRS offers active members of the U.S. Armed Forces special tax benefits. The following are a few of these benefits of which you may not be aware:
July 3, 2012
What parent isn’t concerned with their children’s future? And part of this concern relates to ensuring our children’s financial well-being. So, IRA’s for kids? Yes, really! The opportunity for retirement savings begins as soon as kids start to earn money, so why not begin educating them now on saving for their future?
IRA’s, whether traditional or Roth, are available to...
June 19, 2012
Whether you're trying to grow your current business or have plans to start one, finding the cash needed can be overwhelming. There are many options to consider from traditional bank loans to “crowd funding.”
To help you narrow down the choices, there are a few good online tools to consider:
June 3, 2012
Advertisements for easy-to-use tools and low-cost tax preparation services leave the impression that tax prep and planning can be mastered by novice preparers and those with no tax planning experience. Tax preparation is complex on its own, but planning requires a slew of other skills and adequate experience and education.
There is a major difference between tax preparation and tax...
May 17, 2012
Every business owner has at least one employee that they wish they could clone. You know, the one that always clocks in on time, goes the extra mile, and is loved by your customers. Retaining your best employees is simply a smart business move. Turnover is costly on many levels, so it's worth the extra effort to ensure employee satisfaction. The following 5 tips will help...
May 2, 2012
The tax deadline may have just passed, but preparing for next year can start right away. Being organized and planning ahead can save you time, money, and the stress associated with scurrying to get organized at the last minute. The following are seven tips offered by the IRS to get you going with your 2013 planning efforts:
April 19, 2012
There’s never a bad time to improve customer service, but for some reason, spring always feels like the right time. It must be that feeling of renewal. Whatever the reason, we want to offer you a few good tips on how you can elevate service for your customers.
Make a Great First Impression—First impressions count…setting the stage for the customer...
April 1, 2012
If you are going to tackle one social media project this year…Facebook is the one. Encroaching on one billion users, it’s a great way to keep in contact with existing clients and reach the broad community (prospects). Facebook is an essential place to build connections with people, connect with “fans,” announce new products or services, share news, and gather feedback—all essential...
March 17, 2012
The IRS has provided nine useful tips to help taxpayers avoid an emerging tax scheme. This new scam tempts senior citizens and other taxpayers to file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds. These schemes promise refunds to people who have little or no income and normally don’t have a tax filing requirement.
Promoters claim that they can obtain a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus...
March 3, 2012
In February, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed H.R. 3630, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Tax Relief Act of 2012). The bill was recently signed by President Obama.
The Tax Relief Act of 2012 extends through the end of 2012—meaning the reduction in the social security tax rate paid by employees decreases from 6.2% to 4.2% (which was first...
February 17, 2012
This is always a key question during tax season. While most income received is taxable and must be reported on your federal income tax return, there are some instances when income may not be taxable. To help you out, the IRS has provided the following list of items that are NOT included as taxable income:
February 2, 2012
IRS.gov is a great resource for tax tips. And what better time of year to get a few helpful tips than now? The following are six key tips offered by the IRS for the self-employed business owner.
There are many benefits that come from being your own boss. If you work for yourself, as an independent contractor, or you carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor, you are generally...
January 5, 2012
We hope that your holidays were both relaxing and joyous! The New Year is here, and with it brings resolutions. Our resolution is to continue to improve client services so that your experience with our firm is always rich. Enhancing our services means many things to us—from upgrades in technology to expanding and enhancing service offerings.
Over the past year, we’ve had a...
November 29, 2011
It's a New Brand Day at Steven M. Ellard CPA! We are excited to announce the recent launch of our firm’s new brand. We’ve been working very hard to enhance our website, develop helpful new client communications, and give our firm a major facelift. We’ve also continued to research and identify the latest and greatest technologies to improve the services we provide and ensure we continue...
From the home user to the largest corporation, ransomware is now an issue for anyone who uses the internet. And now, with remote work and online learning so prevalent, it’s all too easy to become a victim of a ransomware attack.