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02/21/2015

How to Know When You Need a CPA

The DIY (Do It Yourself) industry is flourishing these days.  This trend also extends to accounting and income tax services.  The availability of affordable computing power, improved entry-level accounting and income tax software, and cloud-based applications and storage options are attractive because they may help you save money by doing it yourself.  Added to that is some very effective advertising claiming that at the push of a button your business accounting and income tax filings will be worry free.  However, be warned; our clients often turn to us when their experience with DIY solutions show the ease and efficiency of using these products has been oversold.

In today’s highly regulated environment, innocent omissions and mistakes from simply not knowing An-accountant-helping-clientshow transactions should be recorded, or how to properly comply with new federal, state or local tax
law, can be costly, and sometimes devastating.  Instead of spending time increasing sales, improving processes and growing their businesses, some business owners say they grow frustrated and waste time trying to learn to use and update the latest software as well as keep up with filing deadlines and regulations by themselves.  That’s when they call us.

Let’s consider how engaging professional help with your business accounting and finances can pay big benefits that will help your bottom line both short-term and long-term. 

For those business owners who have a solid accounting or bookkeeping background and a good understanding of business finances, with McRuer CPAs’ MyMcRuer/BackOffice service offering you may benefit by a combination of some DIY and some professional on-demand services.

MyMcRuer/BackOffice helps business owners control costs by personally managing their business’s books.  In addition, when a difficult issue or a question arises, they have access to a local experienced accounting professional who will view the issue real time to identify the problem and quickly provide a solution.  Then as the business grows and its operations need more of an owner's or manager’s time, a smooth transition can be made to full-time professional accountants and bookkeepers who already know the business.

If you intend to grow your business, the benefits of professional accounting services cannot be overestimated.  Is it time that you utilized a professional for your combined personal and business tax preparation?  When is it cost effective to hire an accounting firm’s experts to help with your business accounting and bookkeeping needs?

Consider the following as a mental checklist to help you find an answer to the question: 

How Do I Know When I Need a Professional Accountant or CPA?

You know you need a professional accountant or CPA when…

(circle the sentence numbers that apply to you and when finished add up the total number of sentences that describe your financial situation)

  1. You are considering investing significant time, money and passion into a business idea. Before you “take the leap” you want input about your business plan from an independent professional who will review the numbers and help you analyze your idea’s future growth potential.
  2. You are starting a new business and want to select the best business structure that fits the marketplace, your proficiency and your goals.  You have been told there are different types of business entities that may limit your personal liability for your business activities, but you don’t understand the tax consequences of this decision.
  3. Your income and deductions have changed and you no longer file a simple tax return, or you suspect you must make quarterly estimated tax payments.
  4. You need new or additional business financing, and your lender or insuror is requesting financial information that must be provided by a third party.
  5. You want to better understand your business’s financial information, and use it to improve profitability, inventory management, and cash flow.
  6. You need more information in order to prepare to sell your business.
  7. You are shutting down your business.
  8. You hire other people to help you, and you need information about employees versus independent contractors.
  9. You have become responsible for another person’s affairs, either during their life or after their passing.
  10. The IRS or another regulatory agency has contacted you about an upcoming audit or other collection actions.
  11. You wish to develop and act on a plan to provide for your financial future, including saving for retirement, your childrens’ education, and/or other obligations.
  12. You want to ensure you have the best estate plan in place by understanding the tax, financial and time-based consequences of that plan.
  13. You want to create a succession plan for passing your business on to the next person when you’re ready to retire or sell.
  14. You want to take responsibility for your business and personal financial affairs, and want a trusted advisor to help you succeed.
  15. You must prepare and file Forms W2 and 1099 annually.
  16. You need to understand your best choices on property purchase versus equipment leasing.

How many of the above statements apply to you?

These are just a few of the practical reasons that you need a professional accountant on your business’ financial team.  If you circled 3 to 5 of the above business and personal accounting points, it’s probably time you considered using an upgraded business accounting tool that provides a live accountant when you need one.  If you circled more than 5, it’s time you connect with a professional accountant long-term with comprehensive services and experience to ensure business success.

Accountant over shoulderConsider using a CPA (Certified Professional Accountant) that is experienced and trained specifically to be your business and personal financial planner, management consultant, management information specialist, business consultant and more. 

Yet, don’t forget to consider whether the professional you bring on board is someone you get along with personally.  Financial decisions are a reflection of the production and goals of real people like you who are working to make profits in order to enjoy the life you love.  It’s important to find an accountant who will work well with your business team and shares your concerns about accuracy, reliability, efficiency, and long-term effectiveness.

When you know you need an accountant, we’re here.

At McRuer CPAs, we know business “numbers” are personal and we make the extra effort to match the personalities of our professional accountants with you and your business team.  You may discover the latest online tools with the on-demand help of a CPA are the best choice for you and your business.  Maybe it's time to have a full-time accounting professional join your team?  How do you what to do?

Let’s find out what will work best for you.  Contact us for a strategic planning session by calling 816.741.7882 or contact us through our confidential online resource.  We’ll review your goals and help you make the best choice.

02/24/2014

Internet Sales Face New Tax Debate

Retailers report online sales were up 8% for the week of Valentine’s Day compared to 2013. More than a third of the internet-based purchases were made through mobile devices tallying up a total of nearly $14 Billion in online consumer spending for the romance-based holiday.  Upcoming debates will reveal how state and local authorities would ‘love’ to tax online revenue flow to compensate for declining income and real estate tax revenues.

Internet-Sales-TaxIn the next few weeks, heated debate is expected on the proposed Marketplace Fairness Act which gives states the authority to collect sales taxes and use taxes from remote online retailers. The legislation attempts to simplify state sales tax rules to make collections easier and more uniform.

Americans are using the internet to buy and sell products and services at an explosive rate.  Surveys show the top reasons they buy online include the ability to select from a wide variety of items, discounted pricing, free shipping and, in many cases, no sales tax.  Officials are targeting large Internet retailers who currently escape state and local sales taxes.  

Right now, retailers with no physical presence in a state (such as a store, office, warehouse or sales representative) are not required to collect sales tax for an internet-based sale to a consumer in that state.  Proposed legislation targets remote sales made by retailers with annual gross receipts exceeding $1 million.

Brick-and-mortar businesses pay property and income taxes that the online or remote-selling counterparts may not pay.  Their business associations support requiring sales tax collections for all online sales and other taxes on profits made by online retailers.  Amazon.com and Overstock.com are just a few of the large retailers that have been lobbying against the tax increases, saying, if they must pay a tax on their bottom line income, they will have to pass it on to consumers.  

The issue of collecting Internet taxes is complex. Retailers and taxing authorities disagree about who is responsible for collecting taxes.  Should states themselves collect both sales taxes on purchases and income taxes on retailers with headquarters or warehouses in their jurisdiction?  Are Internet service providers responsible for collecting taxes? Is the Internet itself to be considered a product or a service; and then what kind of taxes apply?

States and municipalities are lobbying with renewed intensity for the chance to collect Internet sales and use taxes arguing they are losing billions of dollars in badly needed revenues.  Opponents claim the benefits of the Internet contribute to economic growth and productivity that already boosts revenues.  They also say gearing up intermediary taxing authorities to collect and manage the new taxes would be too costly and ripe for corruption.

Meanwhile, since 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act has banned federal, state and local governments from imposing internet-only taxes such as taxing the bandwidth you use, the volume of data used (or bit use), and email usage.  It also prevents the imposition of multiple or layers of taxes on e-commerce.  It does not prevent the taxation of the sale of goods through the Internet.

When it was enacted, the legislation grandfathered existing taxes in ten states that were mostly access, franchise and telecommunications taxes, as the potential of the Internet sales base was not yet clearly understood.  The law has been extended three times, but is set to expire this October which could open another window for imposing new taxes.

In Kansas, an attempt last year to revise the out-of-state Internet sales tax law died in committee.  In Missouri, the physical-presence rule applies and has been a hotly debated matter.

For now, the national debate is gearing up again with lawmakers expected to call for a vote on the matter this Spring.

02/14/2013

Worst States for Tax Rates

New “tax climate” rankings have been released giving a state-by-state view of the overall impact of all types of taxes on your pocketbook.   The range of the tax impact in the Midwest goes from average to not-so-good.

The Tax Foundation’s 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index compiles information for Upside down money out of pockets lawmakers and economists who use the results to compare their state’s tax rates to other states as they debate the effects of tax rate increases. 

The numbers are also used to see how attractive one state may be compared to another as competition to lure job-producing businesses heats up.

The new report shows overall (with #1 being the best ranking and #50 the worst) Missouri ranks #16, Kansas #26, Nebraska #31 and Iowa #42.

The rankings include the combined impact of individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, property taxes and corporate taxes.  Some states benefit by not charging one or more of the major taxes.

The top ten states with the lowest overall tax impact are: #1 Wyoming, #2 South Dakota, #3 Nevada, #4 Alaska, #5 Florida, #6 Washington, #7 New Hampshire, #8 Montana, #9 Texas, and #10 Utah.

The states with the worst overall tax impact are: #46 Rhode Island, #47 Vermont, #48 California, #49 New Jersey and #50 New York.

The numbers show the state with the most improved ranking is Maine, moving from #37 to #30, which benefited in part from a repeal of their alternative minimum tax.  Michigan jumped from #18 to #12 following the implementation of a flat 6% corporate income tax replacing a complicated system that was accused of offering unfair tax preferences. 

As debates rage over how to increase jobs and turn around sagging economies, the Tax Foundation warns attention needs to be paid to what’s happening across state borders.  The report says, “They need to be more concerned with companies moving from Detroit, Michigan, to Dayton, Ohio, rather than from Detroit to New Delhi.”

To check out the overall tax ranking and an explanation of what you are paying in your state, click on these links for an individual summation:

Missouri

Kansas

Iowa

Nebraska

04/01/2011

Give Yourself a Chance to Think

So often, busy people like you are too consumed with putting out fires to step back and consider the big picture.  It’s vitally important to give yourself a chance to think. 

Let’s face it, today we often have more to do than the day’s time allows.  It’s affecting our ability to think things through clearly and make the right decisions when it comes to our money.

There are more considerations than ever before about how we use our money and where we place it to make it grow.  Our resources are limited and varied, and there are different methods to determine how well our choices are working.  It’s confusing and hard to plan and execute how things work together.

That’s why McRuer CPAs is offering our new service package called Decision Maker Plus. It gives you the ability to gather together all your financial data and strategies in one place at the same time, to ensure everything works together to meet your goals.

Take a look at our introductory brochure on Decision Maker Plus.

Through Decision Maker Plus our team of CPAs can provide you a way to coordinate all your plans and present them in a way that makes sense to you.  We can help you analyze, plan and implement strategies to meet your goals while coordinating with your other approved professionals.

Using Decision Maker Plus gives you access to our experienced team and…

*proactive planning and strategy implementation,
*priority response communications,
*cutting-edge and highly efficient information sharing technology,
*secure online data storage and data sharing portals,
*and flexible scheduling for after hours or weekend appointments.

Our Decision Maker Plus Services include:

  • Income Tax Planning
  • Estate Tax Planning
  • Wealth accumulation and Protection Services
  • Business Startup, Planning and Expansion Services
  • Generational and Spousal Wealth Transfers assistance
  • Financial Services Incident to Divorce
  • Services for Liquidity Events
  • Education Finance Planning
  • Retirement planning and more.

Think about it. 

Do you really know if everything works together to help you?  If not, call us for a confidential consultation about your goals and we’ll give you a half hour of that consultation for free.

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