Are Your Business Receipts Audit Ready?

Do you often ignore or say too quickly “No” when asked whether you want a receipt?  Not small-business owners. Knowledgeable business owners just know how to keep receipts. If they don’t, their tax return could be at risk. The question is: Are your business receipts audit ready?

  1. TAKE NOTICE

The first mindset to get into (especially if you’re trying to prepare your receipts for taxes) is creating a tiny note of the business purpose on the receipt. Whether or not you inscribe directly or put aside time at the top of the day, week, or once a large amount of buying has been completed (say at the end of a business trip for example), you’ll need the purchases to be recent enough in your mind that you will remember to label them properly.

Be sure that you create the note because this one thing which will permit you to classify the expense later. Merely writing “lunch” might not be enough to jog your memory if you’re audited a year or two later.

  1. CLASSIFY

Now that you’ve taken note of all these numbers, the next step is following and organizing it, so you can put the receipts into specific classifications. This will make tax time a breeze and permit you to refer back to any receipts without having to look through tons of files.

Here are some samples of common classifications for tax-deductible purchases:

  • Advertising: includes things such as business cards, mailing lists/mailing list software, brochures, outside marketing company, website design, development, and maintenance.

 

Advertising: includes things such as business cards, mailing lists/mailing list software, brochures, outside marketing company, website design, development, and maintenance
Advertising: includes things such as business cards, mailing lists/mailing list software, brochures, outside marketing company, website design, development, and maintenance.

 

  • Travel: there are certain criteria to meet for travel expenses to be deductible, but items that may be included are lodging, meals, airfare, baggage & shipping, rentals, taxis, dry cleaning and mileage, and parking expenses.

 

 there are certain criteria to meet for travel expenses to be deductible, but items that may be included are lodging, meals, airfare, baggage & shipping, rentals, taxis, dry cleaning and mileage, and parking expenses
there are certain criteria to meet for travel expenses to be deductible, but items that may be included are lodging, meals, airfare, baggage & shipping, rentals, taxis, dry cleaning and mileage, and parking expenses.

 

  • Entertainment and Meals: These items may be examined thoroughly by the IRS so be sure these items get listed correctly such as from a business trip.

 

  • Legal and Professional Fees: attorney’s fees, accountant’s fees, other professional consultants’ fees directly related to your business.

 

  • Indemnification: may include business liability insurance premiums, property insurance premiums, disability premiums, workers’ compensation premiums for employees.

 

  • Professional Dues and Licenses: may include franchise fees, professional license fees, business licenses.

 

  • In-Kind: Gifts given to business contacts are deductible but are limited to $25 per person, per year.

 

In-Kind: Gifts given to business contacts are deductible but are limited to $25 per person, per year.
In-Kind: Gifts given to business contacts are deductible but are limited to $25 per person, per year.

 

  1. BE THOROUGH

A crucial step is organizing your receipts and being thorough with your method. Attempt to keep expenses separated by paying with a “business only” designated credit card or bank account when possible and avoid paying in hard cash.

Over time you may find better and newer apps to help manage your receipts but remember to keep using the same classifying process.  By keeping your method, you will be consistent in your receipts collecting and keeping all the overall information easily acceptable to you and your accountant

Duane Donohoo being self-employed himself understands the challenges of owning a small business. He understands the burden the IRS can be to a small business or individual. It was this experience that relates to his self-employment clients and individual clients. Call today (513-528-3982) for a free consultation to find out how Donohoo Accounting Services, Inc. can serve you.

The Five Most Important Pieces of Advice from Your Accountant

Follow These Five Accounting Tips That Could Save Your Business Time, Money, and Aggravation

Financial advice persists everywhere we turn: On the Internet, the radio, TV, and in your email and snail mail boxes. But what is often overlooked is some basic accounting advice that not only could save you or your company from difficulties associated with being audited but also save you time, money, and aggravation in the long run. Whether your business already has an accountant or you’re looking to hire one, follow these five important pieces of accounting advice.

 

  1. Be (or Get) Organized

The simplest and perhaps most important advice an accountant can give you is to stay organized. You’ve heard that there are “pilers and filers” when it comes to being organized. That may be true, but whatever your method, know where your documents are when you need them or if they are called for by the IRS. The better organized your papers and electronic files are, the less likely you’ll have trouble in your financial matters whether they be tax-oriented or not.

 

The simplest and perhaps most important advice an accountant can give you is to stay organized.
The simplest and perhaps most important advice an accountant can give you is to stay organized.

 

  1. Keep Business Expenses Separate

An important part of being organized is to properly categorize your expenses as business or personal. Be sure to keep business expenses separate – don’t tell yourself it’s OK to blur the line or to “fudge” it. If or when you have an audit – internal or external – questions will assuredly arise about any questionable business expenses that may in fact be personal. Keeping business and personal expenses separate, too, will ensure that you don’t accidentally pay for a business expense out of your personal funds without reimbursement. Some accountants like to say, “If you want to reduce your business expenses, reduce your personal expenses.” That’s an indirect way of saying keep them separate.

 

An important part of being organized is to properly categorize your expenses as business or personal.
An important part of being organized is to properly categorize your expenses as business or personal.

 

  1. Document Business Expenses

While you’re keeping your business expenses separate from those that are personal, be sure to create – and maintain – a paper trail on your business expenses. Of course, many of those expense records may also be in electronic form, but you get the idea. The more documentation you keep on your business expenses, the better. Simply stated, for each expense, document and be able to answer these questions:

  • Who incurred the expense?
  • What was purchased?
  • Where was the purchase made?
  • When did the transaction take place?
  • Why was the item or service needed? and
  • How much did it cost?

 

  1. Do an Internal Audit

When your documents are in order, you’ve successfully separated your personal and business expenses, and you have your expenses documented, you’ll have little to worry about when you’re audited. And the best way to get ready for an IRS audit is to perform an internal audit. When your accountant conducts an internal audit, you may feel like your business is being turned inside out. It is, and that’s OK. Better to turn your business inside out and make corrections to your financial records on an internal audit than to have to answer to Uncle Sam in the form of a penalty.

 

  1. File and Pay Taxes

Above all, perhaps the best piece of advice a wise accountant will give you is to file and pay your taxes on time. Just at the federal level, there are at least five forms of tax that apply to businesses. They are: Income tax, estimated tax, self-employment tax, employment taxes (Social Security, Medicare, federal income tax withholding, and federal unemployment tax), and excise tax. These are in addition to any state and local taxes, which vary according to the location of your business. Financial penalties for failure to file, failure to pay, failure to pay estimated tax, and dishonored check/payment (“bounce”) have the potential to cause a significant financial setback to your business or even cause it to close. Having an excellent accountant on staff – or contracting with an accounting firm – to meet your tax filing and payment deadlines is even better than doing it yourself.

 

Above all, perhaps the best piece of advice a wise accountant will give you is to file and pay your taxes on time.
Above all, perhaps the best piece of advice a wise accountant will give you is to file and pay your taxes on time.

 

Donohoo Accounting Services is a professional accounting services provider, dedicated to helping our clients overcome the challenges and burdens that small businesses face. To learn more about how Donohoo Accounting can help your business prosper, call us today at 513-528-3982 for a free consultation.

What To Bring To Your Accountant When You File Taxes

Although it’s technically possible to file your own tax return by using software, this can leave you exposed to a wide range of issues. If you want to ensure that everything with your tax return is handled by an experienced professional, working with a reputable accountant is an investment that should always pay off by unlocking extra savings and helping you avoid mistakes.

If you’re planning on enlisting an accountant’s help this year and are wondering what to expect during your appointment, here are some helpful tips on what to bring to your accountant when you file taxes:

Social Security Cards

The accountant you work with will want to verify your identity prior to submitting your filing. And if you are claiming any dependents, it’s a good idea to bring their card along as well. Although social security numbers seem like an easy enough thing to manage, SSN mistakes result in 100,000s of tax returns being sent back by the IRS every year. Since that’s guaranteed to increase how long it takes to get your refund, bring along your cards so your accountant will be able to double check the accuracy of these numbers.

Last Year’s Tax Return

Even if your financial situation has changed quite a bit over the last year, it’s still helpful for an accountant to have your previous year’s return as a reference point. This will allow the professional you work with to identify which deductions and credits you previously claimed, then quickly see if you’re eligible for them again.

W-2 and Any Other Income Forms

If you work as a traditional employee at a company, your employer should have already provided you with a W-2 form this year. This document has a lot of important information your accountant will need, so be sure to bring it along. For freelancers, the most common form to receive is a 1099-Misc. And if you have any investments or other activities that produced income, you’ll want to bring all of those forms along for the accountant to review.

Expense Documentation

Did you make some charitable donations over the course of last year? Maybe you do some selling online and drove around a lot to source inventory. Regardless of the specific donation or expense, an accountant is going to want to see documentation before claiming it for you. While it may take some time for you to get organized prior to your appointment, it will be well worth the effort.

If you’re ready to file your tax return and want to work with a great Cincinnati accountant, Donohoo Accounting Services is here to help. Call us today at (513) 528-3982 to schedule an appointment.

The 5 Smartest Options for Using Your Tax Refund

Many people treat their tax refund like a bonus they weren’t expecting. Others act as if they randomly hit a small lottery jackpot. These attitudes result in people spending their refunds almost as quickly as they get them. Although it may not seem like that big of a deal, a tax refund of any size can be a great opportunity to make real progress with different financial goals.

 

If you want to use your tax refund in a way that will continue benefiting you instead of quickly fading away, here are the five best options:

 

  1. Knock Out High-Interest Debt

 

Debt like credit cards, payday loans or other high interest loans makes it nearly impossible to get ahead financially. Using your refund to reduce or eliminate these types of debts can take a major strain off your finances. If you’re free of those forms of debt, you can also look at putting some of your refund towards paying down student, car or home improvement loans, as well as a second mortgage if you have one.

 

  1. Start or Build Up an Emergency Fund

 

Although personal finance experts may differ on some topics, one issue that’s pretty universal is the importance of having an emergency fund. This fund can keep you on track even if something comes up out of the blue. One thing to keep in mind is you want your emergency funds to be accessible, so don’t worry if the interest you earn on this specific amount is minimal.

 

  1. Pay Down Your Mortgage

 

When you look at average families across the US, what they pay in mortgage interest is often their second biggest lifelong expense. It’s not uncommon for interest to add up to 3/4 of the principal amount of a mortgage. Given that huge expense, paying down your mortgage sooner is very smart. Using a lump sum like your tax refund will definitely make a big difference over the long-term.

 

  1. Get a Jump on Reducing the Taxes You’ll Owe

 

Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve taken care of the first three options prior to receiving your refund. Since you’re in a position to be a little more strategic, really good options include taking steps like increasing IRA or 401k contributions to minimize your tax burden next year.

 

  1. Improve the Value of Your Home

 

Just like what we discussed above, being financially healthy provides a lot of freedom in regards to making good use of your tax refund. A great area to consider is using what you get to make improvements that will add value to your home.

 

If you want professional help doing your taxes this year, call us today at 513-528-3982