Payroll Taxes: Who’s Responsible?

Roe CPA Duluth GAAny business with employees must withhold money from its employees’ paychecks for income and employment taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes (known as Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes, or FICA), and forward that money to the government. A business that knowingly or unknowingly fails to remit these withheld taxes in a timely manner will find itself in trouble with the IRS.

The IRS may levy a penalty, known as the trust fund recovery penalty, on individuals classified as “responsible persons.” The penalty is equal to 100% of the unpaid federal income and FICA taxes withheld from employees’ pay.

Who’s a Responsible Person?

Any person who is responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over withheld taxes and who willfully fails to remit those taxes to the IRS is a responsible person who can be liable for the trust fund recovery penalty. A company’s officers and employees in charge of accounting functions could fall into this category. However, the IRS will take the facts and circumstances of each individual case into consideration.

The IRS states that a responsible person may be:

  • An officer or an employee of a corporation
  • A member or employee of a partnership
  • A corporate director or shareholder
  • Another person with authority and control over funds to direct their disbursement
  • Another corporation or third-party payer
  • Payroll service providers
  • The IRS will target any person who has significant influence over whether certain bills or creditors should be paid or is responsible for day-to-day financial management.

Working With the IRS

If your responsibilities make you a “responsible person,” then you must make certain that all payroll taxes are being correctly withheld and remitted in a timely manner. Talk to a tax advisor if you need to know more about the requirements.

We invite you to request a consultation online now or call us at 404-504-7051 to learn more about how we can help you save money on your taxes.

Renting Residential Real Estate — A Tax Review for the Nonprofessional Landlord

Roe CPA Real Estate AccountingInvesting in residential rental properties raises various tax issues that can be somewhat confusing, especially if you are not a real estate professional. Some of the more important issues rental property investors will want to be aware of are discussed below.

Rental Losses

Currently, the owner of a residential rental property may depreciate the building over a 27½-year period. For example, a property acquired for $200,000 could generate a depreciation deduction of as much as $7,273 per year. Additional depreciation deductions may be available for furnishings provided with the rental property. When large depreciation deductions are added to other rental expenses, it’s not uncommon for a rental activity to generate a tax loss. The question then becomes whether that loss is deductible.

$25,000 Loss Limitation

The tax law generally treats real estate rental losses as “passive” and therefore available only for offsetting any passive income an individual taxpayer may have. However, a limited exception is available where an individual holds at least a 10% ownership interest in the property and “actively participates” in the rental activity. In this situation, up to $25,000 of passive rental losses may be used to offset nonpassive income, such as wages from a job. (The $25,000 loss allowance phases out with modified adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $150,000.) Passive activity losses that are not currently deductible are carried forward to future tax years.

What constitutes active participation? The IRS describes it as “participating in making management decisions or arranging for others to provide services (such as repairs) in a significant and bona fide sense.” Examples of such management decisions provided by the IRS include approving tenants and deciding on rental terms.

Selling the Property

A gain realized on the sale of residential rental property held for investment is generally taxed as a capital gain. If the gain is long term, it is taxed at a favorable capital gains rate. However, the IRS requires that any allowable depreciation be “recaptured” and taxed at a 25% maximum rate rather than the 15% (or 20%) long-term capital gains rate that generally applies.

Exclusion of Gain

The tax law has a generous exclusion for gain from the sale of a principal residence. Generally, taxpayers may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for certain joint filers) of their gain, provided they have owned and used the property as a principal residence for two out of the five years preceding the sale.

After the exclusion was enacted, some landlords moved into their properties and established the properties as their principal residences to make use of the home sale exclusion. However, Congress subsequently changed the rules for sales completed after 2008. Under the current rules, gain will be taxable to the extent the property was not used as the taxpayer’s principal residence after 2008.

This rule can be a trap for the unwary. For example, a couple might buy a vacation home and rent the property out to help finance the purchase. Later, upon retirement, the couple may turn the vacation home into their principal residence. If the home is subsequently sold, all or part of any gain on the sale could be taxable under the above-described rule.

For more in-depth information about our real estate accounting services, please visit our Real Estate Accounting website.

What is Deductible when Your Trip is for Both Business and Fun

Roe CPA Accounting and Tax ServicesBusiness owners who travel out of town on business sometimes like to extend their trips and take a little time to relax and see the sights. When a trip is partly for business and partly for pleasure, various expenses may still be deductible.

Domestic Travel

A self-employed individual whose trip is primarily for business may deduct the full cost of the travel itself (such as airfare or train fare) even though some of the trip is devoted to personal activities. Additionally, various other expenses allocable to business, such as lodging and 50% of meal costs incurred on the business days, are deductible.

If a trip is primarily for personal reasons, the entire cost of the travel is a nondeductible personal expense. However, expenses incurred while at the destination that are directly related to the taxpayer’s business may be deducted.

Foreign Travel

The deductibility rules for combined business/pleasure trips outside of the U.S. are a little more complicated in some respects. Even if the primary purpose of the trip is business, the cost of the travel itself generally has to be allocated, and only the business portion is deductible. However, no allocation has to be made — and the full travel cost is deductible — if:

  • The trip lasts for no more than seven consecutive days (excluding the day of departure but including the day of return); or
  • Personal days total less than 25% of the total days spent on the trip (including both the day of departure and the day of return); or
  • The taxpayer can establish that the opportunity to take a personal vacation was not a major consideration for the trip.

For these purposes, business days include days when business is conducted for only part of the day, days spent traveling to and from a business destination, and weekend days or holidays that fall between two business days.

As this brief overview suggests, with smart planning, self-employed business owners can maximize their write-offs for combined business/pleasure travel.

Call our CPA today at {site_phone} or request a free consultation online to learn more about our tax preparation services.

As an S Corporation Shareholder do You Need to Worry about Taxes?

Roe CPA Incorporation ServicesS corporation shareholders have an added reason to worry about their company’s annual performance: It has a direct impact on their own income taxes.

How It Works

Unlike a regular C corporation, an S corporation usually doesn’t pay federal income taxes itself. Instead, each shareholder is allocated a portion of the corporate income, loss, deductions, and credits on a special “K-1″ tax form. The shareholder then must report the items listed on the K-1 on his or her personal tax return.

The K-1 allocations are based on stock ownership percentages. So, for example, if an S corporation has $100,000 of taxable business income for the year, a person who owns 75% of the stock in the corporation would be allocated 75% of that income, or $75,000.

This scheme can get complicated. Case in point: The K-1 may show more income than the shareholder actually received from the company during the year. That’s because the K-1 figure is based on the corporation’s actual taxable income — not on the distributions made to the shareholder.

Here’s an example: Tom starts a new corporation, electing S status. In the first year, Tom draws a $30,000 salary and receives no other distributions from the company. The company’s ordinary business income (after deducting his salary) is $10,000. Since Tom is the only shareholder, all the company’s $10,000 of income is allocated to him on his K-1. Tom must include both the $30,000 of salary and the $10,000 on his personal income tax return, even though all he actually received from the corporation was his salary.

This result seems harsh, but it’s not the end of the story. Special rules in the tax law prevent the same income from being taxed again. Essentially, Tom will be credited with already having paid taxes on the $10,000 so that any future distribution of the funds will not be taxable.

Tracking Basis

To determine whether non-dividend distributions are tax free, S corporation shareholders must keep track of their stock basis.1 The computation generally starts with a shareholder’s initial capital contribution (or the stock’s cost if it was purchased) and changes from year to year as the shareholder is allocated corporate income, loss, etc. Non-dividend distributions that don’t exceed a shareholder’s stock basis are tax free.

Note that starting in 2018, S corporation shareholders may be eligible to deduct up to 20% of their S corporation pass-through income.  Eligibility depends on taxable income and other factors. S shareholders will want to consult their tax advisor to see if they can take advantage of the deduction to lower the taxes on their business income.

We offer a free, confidential consultation for new clients, so call 404-504-7051 today to learn more about our new business advisor and incorporation services.

Source/Disclaimer:

1Most distributions made from an S corporation are non-dividend distributions. Dividend distributions can occur if the company was previously a regular C corporation (or in other limited situations).

Making Sense of the 2018 Standard Deduction

Donald Trump’s tax reforms have attracted, if nothing else, a lot of attention and the usual political controversy that follows his administration when he announces changes. However, the 2018 Standard Deduction is not reserved only for the wealthy and/or high-income earners. It covers 70% of all taxpayers. So, we’ve created a succinct overview of the implications posed by this new tax item, as a guide for you and your family.

The first thing to capture one’s attention is that the 2018 Standard Deduction has nearly doubled versus 2017, for all 3 primary categories of taxpayers. So, if you are a single filer, your deduction jumps from $6,350 to $12, 000; similarly, ahead of the household filer goes from $9,350 to $18,000, and joint filers enjoy a leap from $12,700 to $24,000.

As a rule, eye-popping changes like this come with a caveat. Very often apparent big benefits as outlined above are accompanied by a deletion or reduction of another tax allowance. And, that’s also the case here where the longstanding personal exemption has left the stage – effectively eliminating $4,050 for each member of the family. This naturally embraces not only the filer but also dependents such as children and elderly parents, thus making it a focal issue for large families. The removal of the personal exemption per individual (possibly multiple times on a single return) has the effect of pushing taxable income up – perhaps considerably depending on family circumstances.

We advise that you temper any excitement that the 2018 Deduction creates at first glance in favor of making a more sober assessment of the overall situation. Inevitably it means approaching things in a measured way by answering one important question: can the new Standard Deduction offset this clear disadvantage or even override it?

The answer is a little convoluted but comprehensible for most. It should be kept You’ll also want to keep in mind that the new tax laws have also introduced changes in child credit and lower tax rates across the board. Therefore, evaluating the opposite effects of improved deductions and removal of personal exemptions involves looking at things in a collective manner. All of these items end up coming together to converge on the bottom line, resulting in a net effect that varies substantially depending on your family size.

One big change of note: the 2018 Deduction law requires you to detail specific allowable deduction claims through Schedule A. This creates the opportunity to derive obtain extra savings and is a departure from simply relying on one’s filing status. The latter is still nonetheless an option available to filers, although relatively less accommodating if you’re looking to gain every possible tax advantage. The suggested Schedule A route involves more time and forethought but yields bigger tax reductions to make it well worth the effort.

In conclusion, the 2018 tax changes with special emphasis on the Standard Deduction seem, at first glance, to favor single filers and two-member family joint filers. However, larger families who make the effort to expand their overview of their taxable affairs should derive a net benefit as well; or at very least minimize potential tax increases.

It goes without question that the input of a tax professional can help to clear these muddy waters and will go a long way towards creating a good tax plan. For many, it will go further and propel them into the light at the end of this new twisty tax tunnel. So, give us a call today and see how we can help with your tax questions.

Call 404-504-7051 to set up a free initial consultation with Roe CPA, P.C.

What is Qualified Business Income (QBI) and Why Does It Matter?

The new Section 199A provides self-employed taxpayers the ability to deduct up to 20% of their Qualified Business Income (QBI) on their tax returns. In general, QBI is net income that is received from a Qualified Trade or Business. However, there are some exclusions, the most common of which are capital gains, dividend and interest income. Additionally, any guaranteed payments or “reasonable compensation” paid to owners is excluded.

How Does the New Tax Law Define QBI?

Section 199A(c) defines QBI as, “the net amount of qualified items of income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to any qualified trade or business of the taxpayer.” The section further states that qualified REIT dividends, qualified cooperative dividends, and qualified publicly traded partnership income are specifically excluded from the definition of QBI.

What are “Qualified Items of Income, Gain, Deduction, and Loss?”

Qualified items of income, gain, deduction, and loss are defined as items that are connected with a trade or business that is operated in the United States and are generally included or allowed when a business determines its taxable income for the year. However, there are items that are specifically excluded:

  • Short-term capital gains and losses
  • Long-term capital gains and losses
  • Dividends
  • Interest income
  • Foreign personal holding income
  • Income from an annuity if not received in connection with the business

These items may not be income or deductions for purposes of calculating QBI. A basic method of viewing QBI is “ordinary” income less “ordinary” expenses. In other words, investment gains and expenses are not QBI for Section 199A purposes.

Reasonable Compensation and Guaranteed Payments

In addition to the items discussed above, any reasonable compensation paid to the taxpayer by the business, including guaranteed payments, is not QBI. For example, if you receive $50,000 in wages from an LLC that you own and your share of income at the end of the year is $100,000 – only the $100,000 would be considered QBI.

Roe CPA, P.C. offers a variety of tax preparation and planning services to both businesses and individuals. Conscientious tax planning throughout the year can save you money and make tax time easier. Call us at 404-504-7051 and request a free initial consultation to learn more.

2018 Tax Changes: Frequently Asked Questions

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) raises many questions for taxpayers looking to plan for the coming year. Below are answers to some of them.

Do I need to adjust my withholding allowances, given that tax brackets have changed?

You may notice a change in your net paycheck as a result of the tax law, which alters tax rates, brackets, and other items that affect how much tax is withheld from your pay. The IRS has already issued new withholding tables, and your employer should adjust its withholding without requiring any action on your part. But you may want to take the opportunity to make sure you are claiming the appropriate number of withholding allowances by filling out IRS Form W-4. This form is used to determine your withholding based on your filing status and other information. The IRS suggests that you consider completing a new Form W-4 each year and when your personal or financial situation changes.

Can I take advantage of the new deduction for pass-through business income?

The new rules for owners of pass-through entities — partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, and sole proprietorships — allow them to deduct 20% of their business pass-through income. The 20% deduction is available to owners of almost any type of trade or business whose taxable income does not exceed $315,000 (joint return) or $157,500 (other returns). Above those amounts, the deduction is subject to certain limitations based on business assets and wages. Different deduction restrictions apply to individuals in specified service businesses (e.g., law, medicine, and accounting).

Can I still deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes paid on a second home?

Yes, but the new rules limit these deductions. The deduction for total mortgage interest is limited to the amount paid on underlying debt of up to $750,000 ($375,000 for married individuals filing separately). Previously, the limit was $1 million. Note that the new restriction will not apply to taxpayers with home acquisition debt incurred on or before December 15, 2017. Additionally, the deduction for interest on home equity loans (new and existing) is suspended and will not be available for tax years 2018-2025.

Note that the law also establishes a $10,000 limit on the combined total deduction for state and local income (or sales) taxes, real estate taxes, and personal property taxes. As a result, your ability to deduct real estate taxes may be limited.

Are there any changes to capital gains rates and rules that I should know about?

The rules concerning how capital gains are determined and taxed remain essentially unchanged. But since short-term gains (for assets held one year or less) are taxed as ordinary income, they will be taxed at the new ordinary income rates and brackets. Net long-term gains will still be taxed at rates of 0%, 15%, or 20%, depending on your taxable income. And the 3.8% net investment income tax that applies to certain high earners will still apply for both types of capital gains.

2018 Long-Term Capital Gains Breakpoints

Rate Single Filers Joint Filers Head of Household Married Filing Separately
0% Below $38,600 Below $77,200 Below $51,700 Below $38,600
15% $38,600-$425,799 $77,200-$478,999 $51,700-$452,399 $38,600-$239,499
20% $425,800 and above $479,000 and above $452,400 and above $239,500 and above

Can I still deduct my student loan interest?

Yes. Although some earlier versions of the tax bill disallowed the deduction, the final law left it intact. That means that student loan borrowers will still be able to deduct up to $2,500 of the interest they paid during the year on a qualified student loan. The deduction is gradually reduced and eventually eliminated when modified adjusted gross income reaches $80,000 for those whose filing status is single or head of household, and over $165,000 for those filing a joint return.

I have a large family and formerly got to take an exemption for each member. Is there anything in the new law that compensates for the loss of these exemptions?

The new law suspends exemptions for you, your spouse, and dependents. In 2017, each full exemption translated into a $4,050 deduction from taxable income which, for large families, added up. Compensating for this loss, the new law almost doubles the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint filers. Additionally, the child tax credit is doubled to $2,000 per child, and the income levels at which the credit phases out are significantly increased. Depending on your situation, these new provisions could potentially offset the suspension of personal exemptions.

I have been gifting friends and relatives $14,000 per year to reduce my taxable estate. Can I still do this?

Yes, you may still make an annual gift of up to $15,000 in 2018 (increased from $14,000 in 2017) to as many people as you want without triggering gift tax reporting or using any of your federal estate and gift tax exemption. But TCJA also doubles the exemption to an estimated $11.2 million ($22.4 million for married couples) in 2018. So anyone who anticipates having a taxable estate lower than these thresholds may be able to gift above the annual $15,000 per-recipient limit and ultimately not incur any federal estate or gift tax. Note, however, that the higher exemption amount and many of TCJA’s other changes to personal taxes are scheduled to expire after 2025, unless Congress acts to extend them.

This communication is not intended to be tax advice and should not be treated as such. Each individual’s tax circumstances are different. You should contact your tax professional to discuss your personal situation.

We invite you to request a consultation online now or call Roe CPA at 404-504-7051 to learn more about how we can help you save money on your taxes.

5 QuickBooks Online Add-On Apps You May Need in Add

quickbooks accountant atlanta gaNot finding quite everything you need in QuickBooks Online? Here are some handy add-on apps available.

QuickBooks Online may work for you just fine as is. After all, it was designed to meet the needs of the millions of small businesses that want to manage and track their income and expenses, create records and transactions, and run reports to gauge their financial health. QuickBooks Online was also designed to grow along with your business. But there’s no need for Intuit to add internal features to do so. In fact, that would make it too expensive and unwieldy for many companies.

Instead, Intuit has partnered with other small business websites to provides add-ons–applications that extend the usefulness of QuickBooks Online in one or more areas, like accounts receivable and payable, inventory, and expense-tracking. They integrate easily to share data and do the extra work you need. Here are some of them to consider.

Bill.com

Bill.com automates your accounts receivable and payable processes. It supports electronic billing and payment, as well as multiple approval levels.

You can certainly enter and pay bills using QuickBooks Online. And you can send invoices to customers and receive payments. But adding a connection to Bill.com gives you more advanced options for accounts receivable and payable. Simply send your bills to Bill.com by scanning, emailing, faxing, or taking a picture with your smartphone. The site’s automation tools turn them into digital records and route them through your specified approvers. Once approved, they’re paid electronically or by paper check. Invoices are just as easy to process; customers can pay by using PayPal, credit card, or ACH. Bill.com’s mobile app makes it possible to keep up with invoices and bills while you’re out of the office.

Expensify

Are your employees still paper-clipping receipts to handwritten expense reports? This method is unnecessarily time-consuming – and often inaccurate. Expensify solves both problems. Your staff can take photos of receipts with their smartphones. Expensify then converts the expense information into coded digital records and submits them for approval based on your company’s policies. Credit card purchases can be automatically imported, too. All data is synchronized with QuickBooks Online in real-time and coded to reflect your preference of QBO’s expense accounts, customers/jobs, etc. Once you’ve approved a report, you can have the money deposited in the employee’s bank account the next day.

TSheets Time Tracking

TSheets employee scheduling software automates tasks that QuickBooks Online doesn’t do: scheduling and remote time-tracking for your hourly employees. Your staff no longer has to fill in paper timesheets. Instead, they can use their smartphones to track their hours and GPS location points. And while Excel is certainly better for creating schedules than paper, TSheets takes over that task, too. After you’ve approved timesheets, that information is sent over to QuickBooks, ready for use in your payroll processing.

quickbooks

Your employees can easily “punch” in and out using their smartphones. TSheets also uses GPS technology so that your staff members’ locations are always known to you.

SOS Inventory

QuickBooks Online performs some basic inventory management tasks. You can create records for items and use them in transactions, and keep track of the number of items in stock so you know when to reorder (or have a sale). SOS Inventory goes well beyond those capabilities. You can create sales orders, track cost history and serial numbers, and document work-in-progress (WIP). SOS Inventory supports multiple locations and the entire pick/pack/ship process.

Insightly CRM

You can create thorough customer records in QuickBooks Online and document some of your interaction. But it doesn’t facilitate true Customer Relationship Management (CRM) nor project management. Insightly CRM does both. It lets you build exceptionally thorough customer profiles so that you can view social streams, email history, and any events, opportunities, or events related to them. Its project management features include the ability to track by pipelines or milestones, define contact roles and custom fields, and generate advanced project reporting.

QuickBooks Online Integration Key

All of these apps can work in standalone settings, but their integration with QuickBooks Online and their mobile capabilities create powerful partnerships that help you serve both your customers and your employees in ways that QuickBooks Online alone can’t.

We’re not trying to sell you applications here. Our concern is that you’re getting as much out of QuickBooks itself as you can. We can steer you toward add-on solutions if that seems necessary, but we’re always happy to work with you on getting to know QuickBooks Online better and matching its capabilities to your company’s needs.

Call Roe CPA, P.C. today at 404-504-7051 and learn why our clients would not think of using another Atlanta CPA firm for QuickBooks training and support.

Important Facts About the New Laws on Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction

real estate accounting services duluth gaIf you are one of the millions of Americans who own your own home, you should be thinking about how President Trump’s latest tax bill helps or dents your finances; particularly when it comes to the ever-popular mortgage interest deductions. This article should put you ahead of the subject.

First off, if you are a homeowner with no intentions of changing anything soon, your mortgage deductions are unaffected (with a couple of exceptions we deal with below).

ISo in the main, the new laws apply only to those buying a home after 15th December 2017. If you fall into this category it boils down to understanding 3 key items:

  • There’s a cap of $750,000 (previously $1 million) on your total mortgage value (covering private and secondary homes in aggregate) that qualifies for interest deduction.
  • Discussing interest rate deduction on new home purchase goes hand-in-hand with the cap placed on Property Tax Deduction – now set at $10,000 (previously unlimited).
  • The Standard Deduction has been nearly doubled for all categories of tax filers in 2018 onwards.

Logically, anyone who intends buying in expensive locations or/and locations with property taxes above $10,000 should stop to think about it:

  • High property prices of course generally call for higher mortgage financing, And it often happens that premium locations are also the ones with the highest real estate taxes – a double whammy effect if you will.
  • In situations like this, it seems that the traditional enthusiasm around interest rate deductions may become somewhat jaded. It gives a whole new meaning to the popular realtor’s mantra, “location, location, location!”

The one escape hatch is to simply forget about itemizing interest payment and property tax claims; go to the expanded Standard Deduction now provided. But then again, the apparently increased relief offered by this new provision should be viewed alongside the knowledge that individual personal exemptions have been removed – which brings family size into the equation. If you have a lot of dependents (e.g. children or elderly parents) you may find yourself after all is said and done unchanged – or worse still, going backward.

Here’s another curveball that throws the cat amongst the pigeons: irrespective of when you bought or intend to buy your home/ homes (i.e. before or after the December 2017 law, it’s all the same) interest on second mortgages and on mortgages attached to unrented vacation residences is no longer deductible. Period. Given this, and all the other considerations are drawn into the conversation (as outlined above), it is impossible to provide a quick “catch-all” solution on interest rate deductibility. We can say this, however:

  • It is likely there’ll be a homebuyer movement away from expensive property purchases for the foreseeable future, resulting in a growing tendency to relocate to tax-friendlier regions.
  • The upper-middle class homebuyers will need to analyze these new tax provisions with a fine toothcomb, and even consider renting out vacation homes for part of the year to bring interest rate deduction back into the equation.
  • Those buying at home prices under the $750,000 cap limit with under-$10,000 property tax limits should have a far easier passage.

Conclusion: It’s at times like this that astute tax advice paves the way forward and dispels doubt. As you can see there are numerous considerations, especially for larger families and those fortunate enough to own more than one home. Also, those on the cusp of relocating should be looking at all the variables as well as state taxes before making the move. Our team is geared to answer your questions on every aspect of real estate related deductions. Contacting us sooner than later may be the wisest decision you can make this year.

Whether your business focuses on property management, development, investing, or if you’re a real estate broker or agent, Roe CPA, P.C. is ready to support all your tax and accounting needs. Call us at 404-504-7051 today for more information or request a free consultation online now.

Using Purchase Orders in QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online Plus offers the ability to create purchase orders. But they require knowledge that may be foreign to you.

If your business purchases products from vendors that you then sell, you may have occasion to use purchase orders. These forms simply tell your suppliers what items you want to buy from them.

Not all companies that you buy from will require purchase orders. However, if you place an order without one and the wrong items are delivered, you won’t be able to prove that your order was filled incorrectly.

Purchase orders add an additional layer to your bookkeeping – one that can improve accuracy and accountability, but that’s also complex. If you want to take them on, we’d like to introduce you to the concepts you’ll need to learn. You can, though, begin the process on your own to start familiarizing yourself with purchase orders.

Readying QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Online Plus contains purchase order templates. You’ll fill these out much like you complete an invoice. And like invoices, purchase orders should include as much detail as is possible to ensure accuracy.

Before you can begin, though, you need to make sure that purchase orders are turned on. Click the + sign at the top of the screen and look at the Vendors list. If Purchase Order is there, click on it to open a blank template.

If not, click on the gear icon next to your company name in the upper right corner, then click Settings | Company Settings. Click the Expenses tab on the left. Click in the box to the left of Use purchase orders.

Figure 1: You may have to go to the Company Settings page to turn on purchase orders and define custom fields in QuickBooks Online.

Now the Purchase Order link will appear when you click the + sign at the top of the screen. You’ll also be able to create purchase orders by clicking Vendors in the left navigational pane, and then clicking the drop-down arrow in the ACTION column.

QuickBooks Online lets you define up to three custom fields for these forms. That is, you can add additional fields that will appear on all of your purchase orders. Consider your entries here carefully.

If you want to create your own transaction numbers, click in the box in front of Custom transaction numbers. If you don’t, QuickBooks Online will automatically assign them. When you’ve finished by entering a default message for these forms (optional), click Save.

Creating a Purchase Order

If you’re not already there, click on the + sign at the top of the page and select Vendors | Purchase Order. QuickBooks Online’s Purchase Order form will open without any fields filled in. In the upper left corner of the screen, click on the small up/down arrow to the right of the first field to open your list of vendors. Select the one you want.

Figure 2: QuickBooks Online’s Purchase Order form resembles the invoice form, except you’re ordering rather than selling here.

Directly below that, you’ll see the word Open, with a drop-down arrow next to it. A purchase order is considered Open until you pay for it, at which point the status changes to Closed.

If you want the item(s) shipped directly to a customer, click the up/down arrow to the right of the field under Ship to, and select the right one. If this remains blank, the shipment will be delivered to your business mailing address.

The date should fill in automatically, but you can change it. Enter a courier name in the Ship via box, and fill in any custom fields you’ve created.

That’s the easy part. You’ll notice in the screen shot above that there are two sections below the information you just entered, Account details and Item details. Knowing when to fill in one or the other – or both – takes some advanced understanding of purchase orders. This is where you’ll need some guidance from us.

Paying for the Goods

When you receive the items you ordered and are ready to pay for them, your purchase order information will be available. If you select the vendor from the screen shot above and want to write a check, for example, this box will appear in the right vertical pane when you select his name.

Figure 3: Purchase order information will be displayed when you pay the vendor.

The purchasing process is second only to payroll in terms of bookkeeping complexity. QuickBooks Online provides the tools you’ll need, and we can help you gain the understanding required.

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Has a vendor asked you for a purchase order? QuickBooks Online can create them, but you’ll need our help to understand the process.

Do you regularly transfer money between two accounts? QuickBooks Online now lets you create a rule to manage this process.

There are multiple styles for QBO invoices, sales receipts, and estimates. Click the gear icon in the upper right, then Custom Form Styles.

If you’re only running sales, expense, and purchases reports, you’re missing the big picture. Let us analyze critical financial reports.