Are you reviewing these 5 areas to benefit your business?

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As a business owner, monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems no doubt takes up the bulk of your day. But carving out time for a comprehensive review can benefit your business. Here are 5 key areas to consider.

 
Insurance coverage. Automatic renewal may appear to be a time-saver. But you might be missing out on necessary updates and the opportunity to revise your coverage. Sit down with your insurance agent and discuss your business operations, focusing on risks from new ventures or changes in laws. Make sure you have suitable liability coverage.

 
Tax Strategy. A month after you file your tax return, make an appointment with your tax advisor. Go over your return together and identify opportunities for tax savings. Question everything, starting with whether you’re using the right form of business entity. Ask about recent changes in the tax code and how they might benefit your business. Make your advisor a partner in your business strategy.

 
Succession planning. Have a specific plan for each key managerial position, including yours. Will you promote from within or recruit externally in the case of an unexpected vacancy? Which managers can be cross-trained to keep your business operating during the short-term absence of another employee?

 
Banking relationships. Schedule a meeting with your controller or chief financial officer to go over your cash balances and banking relationships. Then both of you meet with your banker. Address service concerns or problems that arose during the year. Look for ways to reduce idle cash, boost interest earned, and improve cash flows.

 
Personal Estate Planning. Your company is likely a significant part of your estate. A good estate plan is essential if you hope to pass it on to your heirs. But your company, your personal circumstances, and the tax laws are continually changing. Make sure your plans are current.

 
Contact us for more suggestions. We can assist you in securing your business’s long-term success.

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Use taxes to reduce your tax

 

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Are you planning to itemize on your 2015 federal income tax return? If so, you can claim a deduction for taxes paid. According to IRS statistics, taxes are the most frequently claimed itemized deduction, as well as the largest. But what kind of taxes can you deduct on your personal return?

 
State and local income taxes or general sales tax. You can choose whichever gives you the most benefit.

 
Real estate taxes. Deductions include taxes you pay on your home or other real property you own (including property owned in a foreign country). Remember to check closing statements when you buy or sell property. You can claim the portion of current real estate taxes you’re responsible for. However, if you agree to pay delinquent taxes the seller owed at the time of closing, that expense is considered part of your basis in the property.

 
Personal property taxes. These taxes are imposed annually on the value of property other than real estate. Certain motor vehicle registration fees fit this description.

 
Foreign income taxes. Caution: Instead of deducting these taxes, you have the option of taking a credit, which will reduce your tax bill dollar-for-dollar and may offer more benefit.

 
Federal estate tax. If you inherit certain assets and are required to report the income from those assets on your personal return, you may be able to deduct a portion of the federal estate tax paid.

 
Some taxes, such as self-employment taxes, are deductible elsewhere on your return. Other taxes are not deductible at all. Examples include marriage licenses, gift taxes, and Medicare taxes (including the 3.8% net investment income tax). Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the deductibility of a tax you paid during the year, or if you received a refund of a tax you deducted in a prior year.

We’re here to help.