4 Areas to Consider When Transitioning Employees to Working From Home

working from homeFor businesses that haven’t traditionally embraced remote employees, it may be difficult to get up to full speed with the current turn of events.  To make the inevitable transition less overwhelming, we assembled a handy checklist of actions to consider while adjusting to the new workplace reality.

Organization

  • Access your staff members and/or roles that are able to work remotely, those that can’t work remotely, and those where remote work may be possible with some modifications.
  • Conduct an employee survey to determine the availability of computers that can be used for working remotely, as well as availability to high-speed internet access.
  • Create company guidelines covering remote employees, including inappropriate use of company assets and security guidelines.
  • Develop and conduct work-at-home- training for using remote access, remote tools, and best practices.
  • Select a video-conferencing platform for services, such as Zoom, Cisco WebEx, or Go To Meeting.
  • Develop a communications plan to involve remote employees in the daily activities of the organization.

 Security

  • Create and implement a company security policy that applies to remote employees, including actions such as locking computers when not in use.
  • Implement two-factor authentication for highly-sensitive portals.
  • If needed, confirm all remote employees have access to and can use a business-grade VPN, and that you have enough licenses for all employees working remotely.

Staff

  • Institute a transparency policy with your staff and communicate frequently.
  • Check in on your staff, daily if possible, to confirm they are comfortable with working from home. Find and address any problems they may be experiencing.
  • Make certain each staff member has reliable voice communications, even if this results in adding a business-quality voice over IP service.
  • Don’t attempt to micro-manage your staff. Remember their working conditions at home won’t be ideal, and they will need to work out their own work patterns and schedules.
  • Create a phone number and email address where staff members can communicate their concerns about the firm, working at home, or even the status of COVID-19.

Infrastructure

  • Ensure that you have ample bandwidth coming in to your company to handle all of the new remote traffic.
  • Make sure you have backups of your services so your staff is able to keep working in the event extra traffic causes your primary service to go down.

You may need to adjust or expand this list to match the specific needs of your firm and the conditions affecting your organization.  Use this list to get you started and to help guide you through the process.

Give Roe CPA, P.C. a call at 678-969-0523. We’ll set up a confidential, free initial consultation to discuss how we might make running your business a little bit easier.

Worker Classification: Pay Attention

Roe CPA - Worker Classification | Business TaxIt isn’t easy deciding whether a worker should be treated as an employee or an independent contractor. But the IRS looks at the distinction closely.

Tax Obligations

For an employee, a business generally must withhold income and FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes from the employee’s pay and remit those taxes to the government. Additionally, the employer must pay FICA taxes for the employee (currently 7.65% of earnings up to $132,900).1

The business must also pay unemployment taxes for the worker. In contrast, for an independent contractor, a business is not required to withhold income or FICA taxes. The contractor is fully liable for his or her own self-employment taxes, and FICA and federal unemployment taxes do not apply.

Employees Versus Independent Contractors

To determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee, the IRS examines factors in three categories:

  • Behavioral control — the extent to which the business controls how the work is done, whether through instructions, training, or otherwise.
  • Financial control — the extent to which the worker has the ability to control the economic aspects of the job. Factors considered include the worker’s investment and whether he or she may realize a profit or loss.
  • Type of relationship — whether the worker’s services are essential to the business, the expected length of the relationship, and whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, vacation pay, or sick pay, etc.

In certain cases where a taxpayer has a reasonable basis for treating an individual as a non-employee (such as a prior IRS ruling), non-employee treatment may be allowed regardless of the three-prong test.

If the proper classification is unclear, the business or the worker may obtain an official IRS determination by filing Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding.

Year-End Statements

Generally, if a business has made payments of $600 or more to an independent contractor, it must file an information return (Form 1099-MISC) with the IRS and send a corresponding statement to the independent contractor.

Consequences of Misclassification

Where the employer misclassifies the employee as an independent contractor, the IRS may impose penalties for failure to deduct and withhold the employee’s income and/or FICA taxes. Penalties may be doubled if the employer also failed to file a Form 1099-MISC, though the lower penalty will apply if the failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect.

Correcting Mistakes

Employers with misclassified workers may be able to correct their mistakes through the IRS’s Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP). For employers that meet the program’s eligibility requirements, the VCSP provides the following benefits:

  • Workers improperly classified as independent contractors are treated as employees going forward.
  • The employer pays 10% of the most recent tax year’s employment tax liability for the identified workers, determined under reduced rates (but no interest or penalties).
  • The government agrees not to raise the issue of the workers’ classification for prior years in an employment-tax audit.

Your tax advisor can help you sort through the IRS rules and fulfill your tax reporting obligations.

We invite you to request a consultation online now or call us at 678-969-0523 to learn more about how we can help you save money on your taxes.

Source/Disclaimer:

1Internal Revenue Service. For 2019, the Social Security tax rate is 6.2% and is applied to earnings up to $132,900. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45% on the first $200,000 and 2.35% above $200,000.

 

Getting Started with Accounts in QuickBooks Online, Part 1

Roe CPA - QuickBooksQuickBooks Online was built to work with transactions downloaded from your online financial institutions. Here’s how to work with them.

The ability to import transactions from financial institutions into QuickBooks Online is definitely one of the best things about the site. You may have even signed up for that very reason. By now, you’ve probably already set up at least one connection. But are you using all of the QuickBooks Online’s account tools? There’s a lot you can do once you’ve imported in data from your bank or credit card provider.

We’ll explore these features in this column and the next.

First Steps

If you’re a new subscriber, you may not have established these critical links yet. It’s an easy process. Start by clicking the Banking link in the left vertical navigation pane. In the upper right corner, click Add Account and enter the name of your financial institution if it’s not pictured. Then follow the instructions you’re given on the screen. These can vary depending on the bank or credit card provider, but you’re always at least asked to enter the user name and password that you use to log into each online.

Need help with this? Let us know.

Viewing Your Transactions

Once you’ve made a successful connection, you’ll be returned to the Bank and Credit Cards page. You should see a card-shaped graphic at the top of the screen for each account you’ve linked. Click on one. The table that opens is not your account register. The view here defaults to For Review, which refers to transactions you’ve downloaded. The All tab should also be highlighted; we’ll get to Recognized transactions later.

When you first download transactions into QuickBooks Online, before you’ve done anything with them, many will appear under For Review.

There’s a lot going on here, so don’t be surprised if you’re confused. Review each transaction by clicking on it. QuickBooks Online will have guessed at how it should be categorized, but you can change this by opening the list in the category field and selecting the correct one. It’s critical that you get this right, since it will have an impact on reports and income taxes. If you need to Split it between multiple categories, click on that button found to the right. If the transaction is Billable, check that box and choose a customer from the drop-down list. If you don’t see this box, click the gear icon in the upper right and select Account and Settings | Expenses. Check to see that Make Expenses and Items Billable is turned On (click on Off, then check the appropriate box to turn it on).

Next, determine how you want to process the transaction by clicking on one of the three buttons at the top of the transaction box. Do you want to accept it and Add it to that account’s register? Do you want QuickBooks Online to Find (a) Match for it (like a payment that matches an invoice, for example)? Or, do you want to Transfer it to another account? Once you’ve made one of these three selections, the transactions that you’ve added or matched will move under the In QuickBooks tab (where you can still Undo them) and will be available in the account’s register.

Other Options

You can save time by using QuickBooks Online’s Batch Actions tool.

Say you run a cross some duplicate or personal transactions that you don’t want to appear in the current account’s register. Check the box in front of each, then click the arrow in the Batch Actions box. Select Exclude Selected. They’ll then be available under the Excluded tab. You can also Accept or Modify multiple transactions simultaneously by using this tool.

So far, you’ve been viewing All your transactions. Click on Recognized to the right of it. These are transactions that are already familiar to QuickBooks Online because they’ve appeared before and/or have been matched, or because you’ve created Bank Rules for them (we’ll address that concept next month). You’ll need to address these the same way you did the transactions in the For Review section; you can either Add or Transfer them.

If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, this may all sound pretty complicated. It can be at first. But once you’ve worked with downloaded transactions for a while, you’ll understand the flow much better. If you’re not clear on the process from the start, it can lead to trouble. Contact us at your convenience. We’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it all using your own company’s data; the familiarity may help.

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If you’re new to QuickBooks Online, there’s a lot you need to understand about dealing with downloaded transactions out the gate. Let us help.

When you download transactions into QuickBooks Online, the site sometimes automatically “matches” them to existing entries. We’re here to explain and help you navigate this. Tired of reviewing downloaded transactions one by one in QuickBooks Online? Click on the Batch Actions button to explore this feature. We can show you how.

QuickBooks Online often guesses at how downloaded transactions should be categorized. You should always check these for accuracy, and we can show you how.

Call Roe CPA, P.C. today at 678-969-0523 and learn why our clients would not think of using another Atlanta CPA firm for QuickBooks training and support.

Home Equity Loan Interest is Still in Play

Roe CPA - Home Equity LoanMost of us will agree that our biggest investment is in our home. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that your house or condo is your first port-of-call whenever there’s a need to borrow money. And the easiest way to draw funds against the security of real estate is by arranging a Home Equity Loan.

Home Equity funding helps us in important ways:

  • Number one, the interest rates payable on this type of loan are arguably the lowest available.
  • Secondly, you can get the cash working for you quickly with the least bother, paperwork and tedious protocol.
  • Then there’s the third big reason: help from Uncle Sam.

Up to now all interest payments on a Home Equity Loan were tax-deductible. It made borrowing almost a no-brainer! Who wouldn’t opt for already-low interest rates to be pulled even lower? Benefits like this are rare in our modern world where it seems like everything, including financing fees, are only going up.

Well, it’s time for a retake on the “Uncle Sam thing”: the new taxation laws as per the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, enacted in December of the same year, have removed some delectable treats from the traditional “Home Equity feast”.

Is it likely to change your borrowing behavior anytime soon? No, but it should give you pause. There’s a certain logic to it that really can’t be argued with. Here are the new Home Equity items to keep in mind:

  • The amount you can borrow is tied to the value of the residence, be it a primary or secondary home. The I.R.S. has decided that your total loan value cannot be more than the assessed value of the asset as a start.
  • And in combination with all other mortgages cannot exceed $750,000. So Home Equity lending is not the bottomless well some may believe it to be.
  • Tax breaks haven’t disappeared but at the same time, they simply are not what they used to be. Any Home Equity draws you make from now on have to be used to build, renovate or essentially improve your residence to qualify the interest payable on them for a tax deduction.

So on this last point, for example: if you use your new funds to pay off student loans, reduce your credit card debt or splurge it on a vacation, nobody is going to stop you. What they are going to stop is anyone claiming tax relief for this type of expenditure for the foreseeable future.

TD Bank in a survey points out that 32% of Home Equity Lending fits the new definition for deductibility. Looking at it from the other side, 68% of the tax deductions we took for granted for so long now fall away. That said, we all know that there’s no substitute for smart thinking to make the most of new terms and conditions.

So don’t hesitate to consult with our professional tax team when it comes to making your Home Equity decisions, or to clarify your thinking on any tax matter. We often see benefits buried under the “strict letter of the law” – we could make a difference. Call us at 678-969-0523 today for more information or request a free consultation online now.

 

Take the Sting out of Performance Reviews

performance reviewPerformance reviews. Those two words can make employees sweat and fill managers with a sense of dread. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If performance reviews are handled well, they can provide opportunities for open and productive communication between manager and employee. And the outcome can be rewarding for both.

Too Little, Too Late

These days, reviewing employee performance once a year is generally regarded as inadequate. Experts recommend reviewing performance on an ongoing basis. Whether the actions prompting a review are positive or negative, providing feedback in a timely way is the best approach. The annual review can then serve as an overview of each employee’s progress — or lack thereof.

Attention to Detail

When discussing job performance, vague generalities are unhelpful. The more clearly the parties communicate, the better the chances of improvement are. If you’re doing the reviewing, give your employee specific examples of what he or she is doing right — and wrong. Make sure you can substantiate your comments. And take time to listen.

If you’re the one being reviewed, make sure you understand what’s being said. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions. If you’re underperforming and there are legitimate reasons why, state them. If you’re meeting or exceeding expectations, discuss what your options are for the future. In either case, make sure you have a clear plan of action by the end of the review — and that you understand what’s expected of you.

It’s a Dialogue

Employee reviews can be very time-consuming. Are they really necessary? They are if the goal is a successful, well-run business with productive employees. There’s a much better chance of success when employees and employers are on the same page and performance reviews are used as a tool for communicating expectations and evaluating progress toward company and individual goals

For more tips on how to keep business best practices front and center for your company, give us a call today. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Give Roe CPA, P.C. a call at 678-969-0523. We’ll set up a confidential, free initial consultation to discuss how we might make running your business a little bit easier.

 

Do You Have a Business Continuity Plan? You Should

Business continuity plan in a blue folderWhat if disaster strikes your business? An estimated 25% of businesses don’t reopen after a major disaster strikes.1 Having a business continuity plan can help improve your odds of recovering.

The Basic Plan

The strategy behind a business continuity (or disaster recovery) plan is straightforward: Identify the various risks that could disrupt your business, look at how each operation could be affected, and identify appropriate recovery actions.

Make sure you have a list of employees ready with phone numbers, email addresses, and emergency family contacts for communication purposes. If any of your employees can work from home, include that information in your personnel list. You’ll need a similar list of customers, suppliers, and other vendors. Social networking tools may be especially helpful for keeping in touch during and after a disaster.

Risk Protection

Having the proper insurance is key to protecting your business — at all times. In addition to property and casualty insurance, most small businesses carry disability, key-person life insurance, and business interruption insurance. And make sure your buy-sell agreement is up to date, including the life insurance policies that fund it. Meet with your financial professional for a complete review.

Maintaining Operations

If your building has to be evacuated, you’ll need an alternative site. Talk with other business owners in your vicinity about locating and equipping a facility that can be shared in case of an emergency. You may be able to limit physical damage by taking some preemptive steps (e.g., having a generator and a pump on hand).

Protecting Data

A disaster could damage or destroy your computer equipment and wipe out your data, so take precautions. Invest in surge protectors and arrange for secure storage by transmitting data to a remote server or backing up daily to storage media that can be kept off site.

Protecting Your Business

If you think your business is too small to need a plan or that it will take too long to create one, just think about how much you stand to lose by not having one. Meet with your financial professional for a full review.

Give Roe CPA, P.C. a call at 678-969-0523. We’ll set up a confidential, free initial consultation to discuss how we might make running your business a little bit easier.

Source/Disclaimer:

1Source: U.S. Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov/content/disaster-planning.

Do You Have to File an Information Return?

working on a computerIf you made or received a payment in a calendar year as a small business or self-employed individual, you most likely are required to file an information return to the IRS. Click through to learn what this means.

If you engaged in certain financial transactions during the calendar year as a small business or self-employed (individual), you are most likely required to file an information return to the IRS. Below are some of the transactions that you have to report.

  • Services performed by independent contractors — those not employed by your business.
  • Prizes and awards, as well as certain other payments — termed other income.
  • Rent.
  • Royalties.
  • Backup withholding or federal income tax withheld.
  • Payments to physicians, physicians’ corporation or other suppliers of health and medical services.
  • Substitute dividends or tax-exempt interest payments, and you are a broker.
  • Crop insurance proceeds.
  • Gross proceeds of $600 or more paid to an attorney.
  • Interest on a business debt to someone (excluding interest on an obligation issued by an individual.
  • Dividends and other distributions to a company shareholder.
  • Distribution from a retirement or profit plan, or from an IRA or insurance contract.
  • Payments to merchants or other entities in settlement of reportable payable transactions — any payment card or third-party network transaction.

Being in receipt of a payment may also require you to file an information return. Some examples include:

  • Payment of mortgage interest (including points) or reimbursements of overpaid interest from individuals.
  • Sale or exchange of real estate.
  • You are a broker and you sold a covered security belonging to your customer.
  • You are an issuer of a security taking a specified corporate action that affects the cost basis of the securities held by others.
  • You released someone from paying a debt secured by property, or someone abandoned property that was subject to the debt or otherwise forgave their debt to you (1099-C).
  • You made direct sales of at least $5,000 of consumer products to a buyer for resale anywhere other than in a permanent retail establishment.

Keep in mind that information is for businesses. You will not have to file an information return if you are not engaged in a trade or business. You also will not have to file an information return if you are engaged in a trade or business and 1) the payment was made to another business that’s incorporated, but wasn’t for medical or legal services or 2) the sum of all payments made to the person or unincorporated business was less than $600 in one tax year.

This is just an introduction to a complicated topic, and the mechanics of filing such a return are filled with essential details. If you’re running a business, even a small one, be sure to discuss the details with a qualified professional.

Roe CPA invites you to request a consultation online now or call us at 678-969-0523 to learn more about how we can help you save money on your taxes.

Family Businesses and the Next Generation

Portrait of an extended family at parkHaving your children work in the family business is a great way to teach your kids about work ethic and money management, and to kick-start their retirement or college savings plan. Click through for tips on bringing your children into the family business.

Is having your children work in your family-owned business a blessing or a curse? Here are five tips for making it a blessing and preventing it from being curse:

Have them work elsewhere for at least five years. They need time to mature, becoming their own individuals, and to gain confidence learning and doing things as distinct human beings rather than just children of successful parents. Kids need to learn how to work, to be punctual, to earn their own money and to be held accountable. Everyone wins when potential successors have excellent training and gain skills and confidence outside the nuclear family.

Consider this scenario: A family-owned restaurant in a small town occasionally has three generations working together on a Friday night. The children are under the age of 16. Assuming that child labor laws have been taken into account, the family is content that they are passing on a tradition and family trade. The kids work one or two nights during the weekend.

In this example, the family is limiting the number of hours, and their expectations are reasonable. It’s a way for children to learn the family business and helps them gain self-respect. Indeed, one adult who remembers working with his mother in a greenhouse when he was 12 and 13 recalls that the job was hot, dirty and exhausting. However, he recalls he got paid for the work he did, and it gave him a greater appreciation for the work his parents did to support their family.

Understand generational differences. Today’s young people are far more likely to want to work to live rather than adopt their parents’ “live to work” attitude. That’s why your adult children don’t want to work 80-hour workweeks. Younger children and other employees are most probably looking for a different workplace experience.

Give psychometric assessments to make their personalities/capabilities fit their jobs. One child may be temperamentally unsuited for a position demanding detail and strict deadlines; he or she may be more of a big-picture, laissez-faire personality. Assessing such things will go a long way to improving both business function and family harmony.

Hold them accountable, but not to an unreasonable standard. Give your kids crystal-clear roles and responsibilities and regular reviews so they know whether they’re living up to their job descriptions. The biggest morale killer in small businesses is underperforming or dysfunctional family members who are allowed to meander through various roles with virtually no accountability and to inflict themselves on others in your organization. In that case, pruning the family tree almost always results in improved business productivity.

Communicate formally and regularly with a third-party facilitator. Virtually every family employee thinks he or she works harder and contributes more than anyone else and stews over this. Family businesses have a greater need for formal communication to resolve perceived contribution issues, especially if you decide a family member is ill-suited to working at your company. You need to be able to discuss volatile topics constructively and productively. Seek the help of a talented facilitator to get the most from your family business.

It can be a wonderful experience for all involved to have your children work with you. Just remember that it’s a delicate balancing act that needs your attention.

Roe CPA invites you to request a consultation online now or call us at 678-969-0523 to learn more about how we can help you save money on your taxes.

Not Using QuickBooks Online? What You’re Missing Out On

Roe CPA Firm DuluthIf you dread every minute of the time you spend on accounting, you should know how QuickBooks Online can change your outlook.

How long would it take you to determine:

  • What your total expenses for this quarter are?
  • Whether or not your business is profitable as of today?
  • How much you’ve sold every month this year?
  • Which invoices are overdue?

If you’re using QuickBooks Online, you can get answers to all those questions—and more—in the time it takes you to sign on to the website.
That’s not an exaggeration. The first thing QuickBooks Online displays is what’s called its Dashboard. This is the site’s home page, which contains an array of charts and account balances that provide a quick overview of your finances. Click on an element here—say, a checking account balance—and you’ll be able to drill down and see the details behind it (in this case, an online account register). Click on the Expense graph, and a transaction report opens.

Your First Hours with QBO

QuickBooks Online is not one-size-fits-all. Its setup tools help you customize it to meet your own company’s needs.

QuickBooks Online works like other online productivity applications you may have used. It uses toolbars and buttons for navigation, drop-down lists and blank fields for data entry, and clickable links to open new related screens to trigger actions. Which is to say, the site is easy to use once you understand its structure. We can walk you through the early steps that are required, which involves tasks like: Using the provided setup tools to customize the site. Connecting QuickBooks Online to your bank and credit card company websites so you can work with transactions. Creating records for your customers, vendors, and the products and services you sell (you’ll be able to add new ones as your business grows). Learning about QuickBooks Online’s pre-built reports. Familiarizing yourself with the site’s workflow. Making the transition from your current accounting system.

How You’ll Benefit

Once you’re comfortable using QuickBooks Online, you’ll discover what millions of small businesses have already learned, that the site helps you:
Get paid faster. You can sign up with a payment processor to accept credit cards and direct bank withdrawals, which can speed up your customers’ responses to invoices. You’ll also be able to accept payments when you’re out of the office on your mobile devices.

Minimize errors. Once you enter data, QuickBooks Online remembers it. No more duplicate data entry that can cause costly mistakes.

Find any detail in seconds. QuickBooks Online has powerful search tools that allow you to find what you’re looking for quickly.
Better service customers. Because your customer profiles include transaction histories, you’ll be able to deal with questions and problems quickly and accurately.

Bill time as well as invoice products. QuickBooks Online supports sales of time-based services with capable time-tracking tools.

Improve your customers’ and vendors’ perception of you. Your business associates will know that you’re using state-of-the-art technology by the forms you share and the customer service you provide.

Save money and time. It does take some time to make the transition to QuickBooks Online. But you’ll quickly make that up with the hours you’ll save on accounting tasks, and be able to concentrate on tasks that improve your bottom line.

Be prepared to grow. Because all of your financial data is organized and easily accessible, you’ll be able to quickly generate reports that help you plan for a more profitable future. Banks and investors will need some of these if you decide to seek financing.

Mobile Access

Although you may do the bulk of your accounting work on your desktop or laptop, you’ll have access to many of the site’s features on your smartphone. Your home page displays both an abbreviated version of your browser-based dashboard and a list of recent transactions. You can view, edit, and build new customer, vendor, and product or service records. Snap a photo of a receipt to document an expense and look up or create invoices, estimates, and sales receipts. Record payments, view critical reports, and add notes. Of course, your mobile data is always synchronized with the site itself.

QuickBooks Online lets you do much of your accounting work when you’re away from the office with its mobile app.

Happy to Help

QuickBooks Online was designed for small businesspeople, not accountants. But it includes features that are best used in conjunction with our consulting services, like advanced reports, payroll, and the Chart of Accounts. In fact, the site makes it easy for us to have access to your data so we have the ability to monitor and troubleshoot.

We’ve helped countless sole proprietors and small businesses move their accounting operations to QuickBooks Online, and we’ve seen the difference it’s made in their productivity as well as their attitude toward financial management. Contact us, and we’ll be happy to do the same for you.

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Still doing your accounting manually? You’re spending unnecessary hours and experiencing needless frustration. Talk to us about QuickBooks Online.

Did you know you can do much of your accounting work and accept customer payments on your smartphone? Let us introduce you to QuickBooks Online.

Are you often away from the office? QuickBooks Online lets you handle accounting tasks from anywhere there’s an internet connection. We can tell you how.

Does your manual accounting system make it hard to keep track of customers and inventory? QuickBooks Online can organize and manage both. Contact us.

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.

Lock In Those Business Deductions

Roe CPA Firm DuluthIf you run a small business, you already have a full plate. The last thing you need is for the IRS to question any of your business expense deductions. But it could happen. And that’s why having records that prove your expenses is so important. Even deductions for routine business expenses could be disallowed if you don’t have appropriate records.

What Records Are Required?

Except in a few instances, the tax law does not require any special kind of records. You’re free to have a recordkeeping system that is suited to your business, as long as it clearly shows your expenses. In addition to books that allow you to track and summarize your business transactions, you should keep supporting documents, such as:

  • Canceled checks
  • Cash register receipts
  • Credit card sales slips
  • Invoices
  • Account statements

The rules are stricter for travel and transportation expenses. You should retain hotel bills or other documentary evidence (e.g., receipts, canceled checks) for each lodging expense and for any other expense of $75 or more. In addition, you should maintain a diary, log, or account book with the information described below.

  • Travel. Your records should show the cost of each separate expense for travel, lodging, and meals. For each trip, record your destination, the dates you left and returned, and the number of days spent on business. Also record the business purpose for the expense or the business benefit you gained or expected to gain. Incidental expenses, such as taxi fares, may be totaled in reasonable categories.
  • Transportation. As with travel and entertainment, you should record the amount and date of each separate expense. Note your business destination and the business purpose for the expense. If you are deducting actual car expenses, you’ll need to record the cost of the car and the date you started using it for business (for depreciation purposes). If you drive the car for both business and personal purposes or claim the standard mileage rate, keep records of the mileage for each business use and the total miles driven during the year.

Don’t Mix Business and Personal Expenses

Things can get tangled if you intermingle business and personal expenses. You can avoid headaches by having a separate business bank account and credit card.

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.