ABC Solutions

New Tax Deadline Is Official — July 15, 2020

Both the IRS and Treasury have announced that the deadline to file AND pay your individual federal income tax for the tax year of 2019 has been extended to July 15, 2020.

While Florida residents are not subject to state income tax, others are. For information on your state income tax response, please see this link: https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.

If you cannot file your return by July 15, 2020, we can help you file an extension until October 15, 2020. The payment is still due by July 15, however.

If you are due a refund, we encourage you to file as soon as possible so you can get that cash influx as early as possible.

For a while last week, we relied on a tweet from Treasury to document this news. But news releases were posted over the weekend to both the IRS site: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-day-now-july-15-treasury-irs-extend-filing-deadline-and-federal-tax-payments-regardless-of-amount-owed and Treasury: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm953 documenting the changes in deadlines.

There’s a lot to worry about right now. If one of the things you’re worried about is your taxes, let us take that worry off your plate so you can focus on other things. We’re here for you when you’re ready.

Accounting Tasks at Year-End

You might wonder why there are so many extra tasks at year-end. While the government requires much of the work, there is clean-up work and adjustments that need to be done to make the books accurate. It’s not always cost-effective to perform all of these updates monthly, so you’re actually saving money by doing some of them at year-end.

Here are just some of the items that are performed at year-end.

Tax-related:

  • If you have payroll, employees need to be sent their W-2s, and the federal and state government need a copy of the W-2s with a W-3 transmittal.
  • For employees, you must also have an up-to-date W-4 signed by them.
  • For employers, your federal unemployment 940 return is due.
  • If you have contractors, they need to be sent their 1099s, and the IRS needs the 1099s and the 1096 transmittal.
  • For contractors, you must also have an up-to-date W-9 form from them. You may also need to request an insurance certificate, or you may get a surprise at your workers compensation audit.
  • For vendors that claim exemption from sales tax, you’ll need to be sure you have an exemption certificate in your files from them.
  • If you pay sales tax annually, your return and payment are due.
  • Your personal federal, state, and local income tax and returns are due in the spring, and they can be extended until later in the year.
  • Depending on the type of entity your business is organized as, you may have franchise, federal and state tax returns to file. This deadline comes up sooner than the individual tax return due date.

Books-related:

  • Just about every asset on your balance sheet needs to be verified in some way or other:
    • Petty cash accounts need to be reconciled and reimbursed as of year-end
    • Bank accounts need to be reconciled with the bank statements. This includes PayPal.
    • Accounts receivable balances and all other receivables need to be tied to each customer and any amounts determined to be uncollectible need to be written off.
    • A physical inventory count needs to be taken and the inventory account should be adjusted accordingly.
    • Fixed assets need to be reconciled to their fixed assets ledger and depreciation should be properly recorded.
    • Goodwill accounts need to be checked and amortization adjusted.
    • Accruals, deposits, deferred accounts and all other asset accounts need to be adjusted if necessary.
  • Liabilities and equity need to be adjusted too:
    • Accounts payable balances and all other payables need to be tied to each vendor.
    • Liabilities that haven’t been recorded need to be added to the books.
    • Loans need to tie to lender statements, and interest paid on loans needs to be properly expensed.
    • The Equity accounts need to be checked and tied out to prior year balances.
  • Corrections and adjustments need to be made:
    • Any misclassifications and corrections need to be made on the books with adjusting journal entries or other classification tools.
    • If the client is a cash-basis taxpayer, a reversing journal entry needs to be made to get the correct tax numbers.
  • A clean set of reports can now be run and used.

Documents-related:

  • This is a good time to file and store your receipts in case you are ever asked for them. For long-term storage, thermal receipts should be copied or scanned in before the ink fades.

If you’re wondering why we’re so busy this time of year, it’s all of the extra work we have to do over and above the normal monthly load. If you have questions about any of this, just ask anytime!

Your Obligations Regarding 1099-MISC

So, you think you can dodge your income tax responsibility by failing to provide your Social Security Number to a company who used your services?

Let’s talk a little more about what happens when you fail to provide the required information to the Internal Revenue Service. There are two sides to this problem.

Problem 1 – The company doesn’t want to issue a 1099 because they want to pay the person “under the table.” Well, under the table means “off the books.” If you don’t report the amounts paid to that person, then you do not get to take a deduction for those amounts. That is how tax deductions work. In order for one company to claim a deduction, another person or company must claim the income. This process keeps tax from being paid on the same income twice, with obvious possible exceptions. Now, if you want the deduction, but do not issue the 1099-MISC, you not only stand to lose the deduction, but you will also face penalties for failing to file. The penalties start at $50 per form if they are under 30 days late and jump to $100 per form after the 30-day mark.

Problem 2 – an independent worker refuses to furnish his/her Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number. They think they’re pulling a fast one, right? Wrong. The IRS is already onto them and have been for years. The company that paid you is still required to file a 1099-MISC with or without that Social Security Number. They will simply file the form with no number in the box. However, your name and last known address will be on the form. The IRS already knows who you are.

In about 60 days, you will receive a letter at your new address, because the IRS gets notified of all changes in addresses. You are now subject to backup withholding. What’s that, you ask? Your bank accounts will withhold 24% of all interest and dividend payments to you. Your other vendors will be instructed to withhold 24% of all payments to you. Your merchant accounts, if you accept credit cards in your business – 24%. PayPal – 24%. Stock and broker transactions, rental income, and any other income you receive from other people, except those whom you convince to pay in cash. You will have this backup withholding monkey on your back until you supply the original company your Social Security Number so they can file a corrected 1099-MISC.

The IRS takes information reporting very seriously. It is their only method of keeping everyone honest. This stuff really isn’t hard. Don’t make life more difficult than it needs to be. File your forms on time and leave the games to the kiddies at home.

One final note. I spent some time last week chatting with Karl Palachuk about the new taxes. We started our conversation discussing Forms 1099 and vendor payments. Here is the link if you’d like to take a listen: SMB Community Podcast

Five Tips to Make Tax Time Painless

Tax time is probably not your favorite time of year, especially if you have to pay the government your hard-earned dollars. Here are five tips on how we can make it just a bit less painful.

1. Have patience.

Practicing patience will go a long way when you’re dealing with taxes. Keep in mind that for tax professionals, the months of January through April are as crowded and hectic as a shopping mall in December. Parking is scarce, the sales clerks are doing the best they can, and customers are all trying to shop for presents, party items, and decorations in a very compressed time period.

Be patient with yourself as well. You have the skills to manage your business and do well at your career, but it may not be at organizing paperwork or dealing with numbers. That’s where we can help.

2. The tax stack.

Set aside a permanent place on your desk to be the tax stack. When you receive something in the mail that is tax-related, place it in the tax stack. You’ll save valuable time later not having to look for documents you need.

Similarly, create a folder on your computer for tax items. Under Documents, create a folder called Taxes. Within that folder, create a folder for the tax year, such as 2017 for the year just ended. Move all of your tax-related computer documents into that file.

At your leisure, scan in or take a cell phone picture of the paper documents in the tax stack and place the digital file in the Tax folder. Now you’ll have everything in one place and you’ll be so organized that your tax accountant will be surprised!

3. Catch up.

If your books or records are behind for 2017, get them caught up now to beat the rush. If you wait until the first week of April, you’ll probably need to file an extension. Keep in mind that an extension only grants a paperwork extension; it doesn’t delay any tax payments that are due. If you wait too late, you’ll have the stress of waiting until the last minute, the stress of paying estimated taxes, and the stress of waiting until your return is finally filed.

4. Early bird.

Connect with us or your tax professional early to agree on what services will be offered and to get your documents turned in as soon as you receive them. Getting your things in early will mean less waiting time for preparation and filing. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say that you’re done with your taxes in February? Your stress will be less, and your energy can be redirected to new projects.

5. Avoid a large tax payment.

The worst thing about tax time might just be writing a big check, possibly with penalties, to the government in April. Instead, plan ahead and spread out your payments for next year by adjusting your payroll withholding or making quarterly estimated tax payments. Spreading your tax payment throughout the year will have you writing a smaller check, if any, in April.

Try these five tips for tax time, and you’ll have more energy for other, more important things in your business.

Get Ahead on Year-End Tasks

Year-end is just around the corner, and that means a couple of administrative tasks are necessary to take care of bookkeeping and tax chores. Here are a couple of tips to make year-end go smoother.

Cleaning up

Things will go a lot smoother if you reach out to your vendors and employees and get their help to update your records.

  • Send a notice to all employees, asking them to verify their address so they will get their W-2s without delay.
  • Make sure you have the right information for vendors that you need to produce a 1099 for. Before you pay your vendors more than $600 in one year, ask them for a W-9 so that you have a current address and taxpayer ID number on file.
  • Check to make sure you have any sales tax exemption certificates from vendors that you are not charging sales tax to.

It’s also time to clean up any account balances that need to be reclassified or corrected.

  • Any clearing accounts, such as undeposited funds, should be zero.
  • Bank reconciliations should be caught up and book balances should match the bank or be explained.
  • Inventory should be adjusted to reflect accurate quantities.
  • Loan balances should be adjusted to correctly reflect interest and principal allocations.
  • Depreciation entries should be made.

Maximizing deductions

Here are a just a few ways to maximize deductions:

  • Any bad debts that aren’t expected to be collected can be written off.
  • Any inventory that is not saleable or worth less than you paid for it can be adjusted on your books.
  • For cash basis taxpayers, pay any large bills before year-end if you have excess profits.
  • Pay employee bonuses prior to year-end.

Getting organized

Create a place in your home or office or a special file on your computer to store tax-related documents, such as W-2s, brokerage statements, and tax returns. Convert them to PDF format if they are not already, and upload them to your accountant’s secure client portal as you get them.

With all this great preparation, you’ll find tax season easier than ever and a chore that you can mark off your to-do list early.