Wish Someone Would Pay Your Bills? I know someone who will…..

worried-30148__180Do you hate paying bills?

Are you tired of using your valuable time writing checks when there are more important aspects of your business that need your attention?

Are you frustrated with trying to find dependable, qualified employees to handle the administrative functions of your business?

Do you wish you could work “on” your business rather than “in” your business?

McFadyen & Sumner, CPAs PA is here to help and we can tailor the perfect solution for you. With our accounts payable check writing service, we can actually help you discover more time in your day and at LESS cost than hiring and training an employee.

The only thing you need to do is approve the bills to be paid and we take care of the rest. We provide the blank check stock and write the checks. We can even mail the checks for you.

This service will save you time and money as well as insure that your bills are paid accurately and on time. Contact us today and let MCFayden & Sumner, CPAs PA show you how to find more hours in your day and keep more money in your pocket.

Don’t overlook the April 1st deadline

You may be approaching an important deadline if you have retirement accounts and you turned 70½ last year. Generally, you must begin withdrawing money from tax-favored retirement plans in the year you turn 70½. However, you may postpone your first withdrawal until April 1 of the year after you turn 70½. That means you have until April 1, 2015, to complete your required 2014 distribution. period-481478__180

The minimum distribution rules don’t apply to your Roth IRA accounts. And if you are still working at age 70½, you are generally not required to withdraw funds from a qualified employer-sponsored plan until April 1 of the calendar year following your actual retirement.

If you postponed your first distribution, you must take two distributions this year – one for 2014 and one for 2015. Your 2014 distribution must be completed by April 1, while your 2015 distribution must be completed by December 31, 2015. After that, you must take a distribution by December 31 each year until your retirement funds are depleted.

Generally, the amount of the RMD for any year is based on your age. You take the balance in all your traditional IRAs as of the last day of the previous year, and divide by a factor representing your life expectancy. The IRS has published a standard life expectancy table to use in the calculation. Special rules might apply if your spouse is more than ten years younger than you are and is the sole beneficiary of your IRA.

Make sure you notify the holder of your retirement account in time to complete your distribution. Follow up to ensure that the transaction will be completed on time. You may withdraw more than the required amount, but if you fail to take at least the minimum distribution on time, you are subject to a 50% penalty tax.

Don’t overlook this important distribution deadline. Call our office if you would like assistance in planning your retirement withdrawals.

Scammers preying on taxpayers

phone-449836__180The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection is advising consumers about a tax scam that has resulted in an “explosion of complaints about callers who claim to be IRS agents – but are not.” These IRS impersonation scams count on people’s lack of knowledge about how the IRS contacts taxpayers. The IRS never calls a taxpayer about unpaid taxes or penalties; the initial contact is made by a mailed letter. If you get a call purporting to be from the IRS telling you to send money for unpaid taxes, hang up and report the scam to the FTC and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tigta.gov.

Are you wondering how your social security payments are taxed?

Did you sign up for social security benefits last year? If so, you may have questions about how those payments are taxed on your federal income tax return.

The good news is the formula is the same as prior years. That’s also the bad news, because the thresholds for determining taxability are not indexed for inflation, and did not change either. Those thresholds, or “base amounts,” remain at $32,000 when you’re married and file a joint return, and $25,000 when you’re single.

How much of your social security benefit is taxable? To determine the answer, calculate your “provisional income.” That’s your adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest, certain other exclusions, and one-half of the social security benefits you received.

crafts-279580__180When you’re married filing jointly, your benefits are 50% taxable if your provisional income is between $32,000 and $44,000. If your provisional income is more than $44,000, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. For singles, the 50% taxability range is $25,000 to $34,000.

In some cases, diversifying the types of other retirement income you receive can reduce the tax burden on your social security benefits. Contact us if you want more information or planning assistance.

Take the St. Patty’s Day Quiz

1) When did people start wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day? four-leaf-clover-29958__180
1600’s
1700’s
1800’s
1984

2) Which of these rivers is dyed green each year on St. Paddy’s Day?
River Thames
Chicago River
Hudson River

3) St. Patrick was kidnapped by pirates at age 16 and sold as a slave in Ireland.

True
False

4) What type of meat is commonly found in traditional Irish Stew?

Corned beef
Ham
Lamb

5) Irish coffee was invented in which city?
Dublin
Boston
San Francisco
Chicago

6) Which U.S. city staged the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration?
Boston
New York
Chicago
San Francisco

7) What’s the traditional occupation for a leprechaun?
Actor
Shoemaker
Jockey
Investment banker

8) Where does a leprechaun hide his pot of gold?

At the end of a rainbow
Next to a four-leaf clover
In Scrooge McDuck’s house

9) Who started the tradition of pinching someone who isn’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day?
St. Patrick
School teachers
Kids
Bono

We hope you enjoyed the quiz, we will post the answers later today!

If your business is owned by two or more persons, this is one of the most important legal documents your business should have

hand-376213__180Marriages end, and so do business ventures. If your business is owned by two or more persons, a buy-sell agreement is one of the most important legal documents your business can have. This document provides for the “buyout” of an owner’s interest when that owner leaves. Here are the areas that a buy-sell agreement should typically address.

  • Describe the events that will trigger the agreement, such as a divorce, disability, death, or notice that an owner simply wants to leave.
  • Set a value for each owner’s interest, or provide a formula to value each interest at a later date. Your agreement might require an independent business appraisal.
  • Without a method to set the value, there could be some serious problems. Let’s say you and your partner reach a point where you can no longer work together. You believe the company is worth $2 million. Your partner refuses to sell, but he makes you a $100,000, take-it or leave-it offer for your 50% interest. You could face a drawn-out legal battle to settle things.
  • Outline a funding plan. Different purchase and financing plans can be used to cover different situations. For example, cross-purchase agreements allow the remaining owners to buy an exiting owner’s share. A redemption agreement allows the company to buy back an exiting owner’s share. Financing options might include owner financing (an installment contract) or life insurance, in the case of an owner’s death.
  • Prevent unwanted transfers. Generally owners don’t want a business associate they didn’t choose. Yet this could happen if one owner divorces, dies, or sells his shares to an outsider.

A buy-sell agreement is designed to provide fair compensation to an exiting owner, while making it possible for the remaining partners to continue in business. We can work with you and your attorney to develop a buy-sell agreement or to review your existing agreement. Call us.

4 Important things to consider when going through a divorce

divorce-619195__180Divorce can be an emotionally draining process. If you are in the middle of one, you probably just want it to be over. But be careful. Divorce has serious tax implications, and the choices you make now may affect you for many years. Consider the following:

  • Alimony and child support. Alimony is tax-deductible if you pay it and taxable income if you receive it. Child support, on the other hand, is neither tax-deductible nor taxable as income.
  • If you are awarded physical custody of your child, you will usually be entitled to the tax benefits related to that child. Special rules may apply if you share custody. In addition to a $4,000 dependency tax deduction, tax benefits may include the dependent care credit, the child tax credit, the earned income credit, and education tax credits. You can transfer your right to claim your child to your former spouse each year, for tax purposes, by signing a special IRS form.
  • Retirement accounts and IRAs. Your former spouse may be awarded part of your retirement account or IRA. If your ex-spouse receives the benefits, he or she will generally be responsible for the taxes. But unless the accounts are divided and transferred in just the right way, you could end up paying the tax.
  • Property settlements. You are allowed to transfer property (house, cars, investments, etc.) to your ex-spouse without triggering income tax, if it’s part of your settlement agreement. But whoever ends up with your marital assets may owe taxes when the assets are sold. Take future taxes into consideration during your negotiations, or you might end up with large and unexpected tax liabilities.

Call us early in the divorce process, and let us help you and your attorney make informed choices.

You have 10 days to make a move..Is an S Corporation the right entity election for your business?

If you own a small business, you have until March 16, 2015, to choose S corporation status for this year. In order to become an S corporation, you’ll need the unanimous approval of all shareholders.

ajedrez-640386__180The principal advantage of an S corporation is that you avoid paying double taxes. In a traditional C corporation, profits are taxed at the corporate level and then they’re taxed again when paid to individual shareholders as dividends. In an S corporation, there are no taxes on earnings at the corporate level. Instead, profits or losses flow directly through to the shareholders. They pay taxes only once, when they report their share of earnings on their individual tax returns.

Another advantage: Doing business as an S corporation can be attractive in the early, unprofitable years of a start-up business. That’s because operating losses flow through your personal taxes, perhaps offsetting other taxable income.

There are some trade-offs for these tax benefits, though. If you’re an owner-employee and own more than two percent of the company, you’ll receive less favorable tax treatment of some fringe benefits. There are also ownership limitations. The company can have only one class of stock, there can’t be more than 100 shareholders, and all of the shareholders must be U.S. citizens or residents.

Despite these drawbacks, doing business as an S corporation can still offer some tax planning advantages. If you can meet the ownership requirements, it might be well worth considering an S corporation election.

Contact our office for an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons for your company.

8 step checklist to monitor and manage your business’ health

You get an annual checkup from your physician to monitor and manage your personal health. Shouldn’t you do the same for your business? To keep your operation in top shape, consider an annual business review. The benefits of such a review are evaluating current performance and better planning of future operations.hook-405091__180

Some things you should evaluate in an annual business review include the following:

1. Revisit your business strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. Is your competitive position improving, or are you losing ground?

2. How did you perform relative to your business plan? Did you meet or exceed your objectives? Are sales, profit margins, and cash flow improving?

3. Get a pulse on your customers. An annual customer satisfaction survey is a great way to assess performance, obtain insight on potential new products or services, and to let your customers know how much you value their business.

4. Evaluate your team. Are you developing a superior team, employing their unique talents, and training them to improve performance? Do you reward on merit or simply on seniority?

5. How effective is your marketing? Are your current methods and channels working well, or are you simply doing what you’ve always done?

6. Meet with your insurance agent. Is your coverage adequate and appropriate for changes in your business activities and acquisitions?

7. Review your business tax strategy. Identify opportunities for tax savings. Are you using the right form of business entity? Are you aware of recent changes in the tax code that might benefit your business?

8. How is your score-keeping? Do your measurements track your progress or do they measure things that don’t matter? What are the key performance measures that drive your business?

If you are serious about improving your business, consider a yearly assessment of your operation. For any assistance you need, give us a call.

Going into business with a franchise

imagesBAJRGL3GHave you ever wanted to be your own boss, but didn’t want to start a business from scratch? If so, buying a franchise might be the right choice for you. 

When you purchase a successful franchise, you’re buying the right to sell a product or service using a system developed by the franchisor. You usually receive the right to use a trademarked name, training in profitably operating the business, advertising support, and other needed assistance. In exchange for these benefits, you’ll generally need to pay an initial fee and a royalty based on a percentage of sales. 

After researching which franchises might be a good fit for you, ask each franchisor to send you its Uniform Franchise Offering Circular. This federally required document contains a wealth of important information, such as a sample franchise agreement, start-up costs, annual fees, and other key elements of your franchise investment. Take this information to your accountant and attorney for their review. Also plan on talking to other franchisees to see what their experiences have been. Ask them if they’re profitable. How long did it take to become profitable? Are they satisfied with the support they receive from the franchisor? 

Once you’ve selected the best franchise for you, you’ll probably need to obtain financing. The bank will typically ask for a forecasted set of financial statements detailing your expected income, expenses, and cash flow for the first few years of business. These statements not only will help you qualify for the loan, but also they’ll give you a good feel for how profitable your new venture might be. 

If you’re considering buying a franchise, please call us. We can review the financial concerns with you.