It’s Time for a Mid-Year Tax Check-Up

It’s Time for a Mid-Year Tax Check-Up

T ax season was over in April, so you’re good until next year, right? Well, ignoring your financial situation for another six months may not be such a good idea. If you take a little time to plan ahead now, you can spot surprises before they become an issue, make things more manageable next tax season, and maybe even save some money.

That’s where a mid-year tax check-up comes in. Make an appointment with us now to review your projected tax responsibilities, and you’ll still have time to put together a plan and adapt. This is especially important if you encounter some big changes in 2022 — marriage, divorce, death, job change, move, etc. Own your own business? A mid-year review also makes sense for your company, too.

Mid-Year To-Do List

Take your time conducting a thorough examination of your personal and/or business finances. Here are some items to consider:

1. Check Your Withholding

Make sure you’re paying the correct amount of taxes as you go. If you don’t make sufficient income tax payments throughout the year, you may get hit with significant penalties on your tax return next year. So if your income, job or life situation has changed, it’s time to take a look at the amount of taxes your employer is withholding … and update that amount if needed.

If you are self-employed, pay your own taxes or earn additional income through gig work or hobbies, you may also need to make quarterly estimated tax payments. Keep in mind that late or insufficient payments may lead to fines, so calculating the right amount for your quarterly payments depends on accurately predicting your annual income.

2. Review Your Bookkeeping

Good bookkeeping practices are essential, whether for personal or business purposes. Did you categorize that donation as a charitable deduction? Make payments to a college for your child? Take some time to review your personal bookkeeping records now to ensure they are accurate.

Businesses also need clear income and expense records for calculating total income for tax liability and for claiming tax deductions. Be sure to record tax-deductible business expenses as you go so that you don’t forget any.

If you use QuickBooks, you can request us to conduct an audit and clean-up of your accounts to be sure financial records are accurate and correct (see sidebar).

3. Make Name & Address Changes

If you’re getting married (divorced) or moving this summer, you’ll need to report the changes. Report name changes to the Social Security Administration as soon as possible. The name on your tax return next year must match what is on file at the SSA. If it doesn’t, it could delay any tax refund. To update your information, file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card (available at SSA.gov), call 800-772-1213 or visit your local SSA office.

To change your address, you probably already filed a forwarding order with the U.S. Postal Service. However, you should also change your address with the IRS by filing Form 8822, Change of Address.

4. Plan Ahead for Year’s End

Now is the time to think ahead and plan accordingly. Are you worried about being on the edge of two tax brackets? Do you need to make a required minimum distribution from a retirement account? Will you need to spend down an HSA by the end of the year? Start scheduling these items early so you don’t have to rush come December.

5. Make an Appointment Today

You don’t have to spend your summer working on taxes instead of going to the beach. But you should consider taking just a little time to review your financial situation. We’re taking appointments now for mid-year tax planning if you’re ready to plan ahead. Call our office at 706-632-7850 to make your appointment today.

Do Your QuickBooks Need a Clean Up?

You may use QuickBooks on a regular basis, and never think twice about entering transactions. But there’s probably a good chance you’ve made an error or two without realizing it … and that can lead to problems down the road.

If you’ve never done a QuickBooks audit, or it’s been awhile, now’s a good time to schedule one. We can go over your accounts to:

  • Look for coding errors.
  • Adjust balance sheet totals to actual.
  • Record any depreciation of assets.
  • Confirm payroll and sales match reports.
  • Correct any general input issues.

Once completed, we’ll print financial reports, review everything with you and go over any errors we corrected. Call our office today at 706-632-7850 to schedule your QuickBooks audit today.

2020 Census Update

According to the 2020 Census, Georgia’s population increased 10.6% from 2010 to 2020, with a total population of 10,711,908 in 2020. For Fannin County, the 2020 Census details include:

  • 25,319 = total population (up 6.9% from 2010)
  • 65.4 = population density (people per square mile)
  • 83.7% = residents age 18+ (29.1% are 65+)
  • 52.3 = median age
  • $46,028 = median household income
  • 77.8% = homeownership rate

For the city of Blue Ridge, the total population is 1,253 with a median age of 52.1. In the city of McCaysville, the population is 1,149 with a median age of 43.8.

IRS Video Tax Tip

If you have taxable income from any payer that doesn’t withhold tax for you, check to see if you need to make estimated tax payments.

QuickBooks Tip #2: Pull Reports for Quick Info

QuickBooks Tip #2: Pull Reports for Quick Info

Need to know just how many invoices are unpaid or more than 30 days past due? Did you remember to bill all of the time and expenses for that project you just completed?

With QuickBooks, you can easily find out the information you need.

First stop is the “Dashboard,” which you see every time you log in. The Dashboard contains a graphic in the upper left corner that tells you how many invoices are overdue and unpaid. Click on the colored bar labeled “OVERDUE INVOICES,” and you’ll see a list of these invoices.

For more detailed info, however, you’ll want to click on “Reports” in the lefthand menu pane. Under the “Standard” tab, you can scroll down to the heading “Who Owes You.” In the following list, you can click on the star to make that report a favorite. And you can click on the three vertical dots next to the star to customize the report. What’s more, when you hover over the name of a report, you’ll see a small question mark within a circle. Click this to get a brief description of the report.

Several reports in this list provide detailed insights into your outstanding revenue. Consider running a few of these reports on a weekly basis — and customizing them as needed — including:

Accounts Receivable Aging Detail/Summary provides a list of invoices that are overdue, along with aging information. Be sure to note the “Open Balance” column.

Customer Balance Summary details how much each customer owes you.

Open Invoices lists invoices for which there has been no payment, with totals for each customer.

Uninvoiced Charges/Unbilled Time shows customer charges/time you haven’t yet invoiced.

Most of these reports should be self-explanatory and easy to understand. If you have any questions, however, we’re happy to help you with answers. Just give us a call!

IRS ANNOUNCES 2020 MILEAGE RATES

Beginning on January 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck are:

  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven (down from 58 cents in 2019)
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 20 cents in 2019)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (same as 2019)
QuickBooks Tip #1: Customize Your Settings

QuickBooks Tip #1: Customize Your Settings

As the most popular accounting software around, QuickBooks is designed to be used by almost any type of business. Whether you’re just getting started or have been using QuickBooks for years, take a little time to set (or update) your company’s settings. You can do this by clicking on the small gear icon in the upper right corner. The window that opens may look similar to this:

Start by clicking on Account and Settings, and then click on the various tabs to verify and/or edit:

Company — Check that all the information here is correct and up-to-date. It may not be if you’ve moved, changed a phone number, etc.

Billing & Subscription — Click here to change your plan (upgrade or downgrade) if your business has changed or you need different features.

Usage — Check your usage limits here for users, accounts, classes and locations.

Sales — Customize the design of your invoice, set preferred terms and delivery methods, add messages to your email forms and more.

Expenses — Choose whether to track expenses and items by customer, make expenses billable, use purchase orders and more.

Payments — Set up or connect an existing merchant account so customers can pay you via credit card and bank transfer.

Advanced — While some of the settings here are easy to complete, we can provide guidance on items like “Accounting method,” “Close the books” and “Tax form.”

We speak fluent “QuickBooks” here at Premier CPA Services. Just give us a call at 706-632-7850 and we’ll be happy to give you a lesson or two!

Updated QBI Rules for a Rental Real Estate Enterprise

The IRS recently updated qualified business income (QBI) rules to provide a safe harbor for certain taxpayers with a “rental real estate enterprise” (Sec. 199A). Under the new rules, a rental real estate enterprise is treated as a trade or business if at least 250 hours of services are performed each tax year. These hours are services performed by owners, employees and independent contractors and include time spent on:

  • Maintenance, repairs, rent collection and payment of expenses,
  • Provision of services to tenants, and
  • Efforts to rent the property.

Note that time spent in arranging financing, buying property, reviewing financial statements, and traveling to and from the property are NOT considered hours of service. Also, the IRS requires:

  • Separate books and records for the rental real estate enterprise.
  • Contemporaneous records such as time logs with details on hours spent, services performed and contractor names.
  • An annual statement attached to the tax return.

There are other rules and limitations, so be sure to talk with us about your specific situation.

The information provided here by Premier CPA Services PC is for general information only. It does not constitute legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice or services, and is presented without any representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Please contact us for information as it relates to your circumstances.
Tax Planning vs. Tax Prep — There Is a Difference

Tax Planning vs. Tax Prep — There Is a Difference

Tax planning is not the same as tax preparation. Tax preparation is the process of preparing and filing your tax return each year. Unless you file an extension, this is typically a once-a-year event that must be completed by April 15. For most people, tax prep involves a trip or two to our office: first to drop off any necessary financial documents and then a second time to review and sign your return.

Tax planning, on the other hand, is a year-round process designed to help you make smart, tax-advantaged decisions that impact your personal and business finances. Whether you’re an individual or a business owner (or both), you can take advantage of the tax planning services that we provide here at Premier CPA Services. With two full-time CPAs on staff, we are uniquely qualified to provide you with in-depth experience and knowledge of tax law.

For example, we can help you maximize deductions, offset investment gains, determine your maximum retirement plan contribution, and help you decide the best time to make capital expenditures. By spending just a small amount of time with your CPA, you can minimize your tax liability on next year’s return when tax preparation comes into play!

It all starts with a phone call to set up a year-end meeting. Just call us at 706-632-7850. But please do it soon — we have limited appointment times and they fill up fast!

Tax Law Changes Simplify Accounting for Small Businesses

Tax law changes that were part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) now allow more small businesses to use the cash accounting method, which is the simplest approach. The cash accounting method is a more immediate recognition of revenue and expenses, while the accrual method focuses on anticipated revenue and expenses.

Prior to the TCJA, a “C” corporation wasn’t eligible to use the cash method of accounting unless it had average annual gross receipts for the previous three years of no more than $5 million. Beginning in 2018, the TCJA increased this threshold — to $25 million for 2018 and $26 million for 2019 — with inflation indexing in future years.

Of course, a few special rules apply:

  • Gross receipts are aggregated for a single employer.
  • A corporation less than three years old uses the gross receipts test for the period in which it’s been in business.
  • Gross receipts for a tax year of less than 12 months must be annualized using a specific formula.

If a small business meets the new gross receipts test, they can also take advantage of these other simplifications:

– Exemption from requirements to account for inventories, capitalize certain costs and account for long-term contracts using the percentage-of-completion method.

– Exemption from the requirement to keep inventories by now requiring the accounting for inventory as non-incidental materials and supplies, or by using an accounting method conforming to its financial accounting statement.

– Exemption from Section 263A uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules.

– Extension of exception for “small construction” contracts to use a completed-contract method, the exempt-contract percentage-of-completion method or any other permissible method.

If you think your business can take advantage of these new rules, contact us today and we can help you make the change go more smoothly.

The information provided here by Premier CPA Services PC is for general information only. It does not constitute legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice or services, and is presented without any representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information. Please contact us for information as it relates to your circumstances.