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WINTER 2016 CLIENT UPDATE

Posted on by HallCPAManager

Dear Client,

We have posted the WINTER 2016 CLIENT UPDATE on our website.
Here are a few headlines from that issue. To read any of these articles, click on the link at the end of this email.

KEEP YOUR BUSINESS HEALTHY WITH A COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL CHECKUP
Monitoring your business activities is a good “preventive care”  approach to maintaining financial health. Here’s what to review.

FINANCIAL FINE-TUNING: GET YOUR FINANCES IN SHAPE FOR 2017
Do you intend to make major changes to your financial situation during 2017?

THIS VALUABLE TAX BREAK OFFERS BENEFITS AND SURPRISES
It’s a silent deduction, but valuable, and so common you might forget how complex it can be. What is it? If you answered “depreciation,” you have probably bumped into these complex tax rules over the years. Here are two that may surprise you.

SEASONAL WORKERS CAN AFFECT YOUR “AFFORDABLE CARE ACT” RESPONSIBILITIES
Do you intend to hire workers during the busy holiday season? Then you need to plan for those extra payroll responsibilities, plus the cost of training your new employees. In addition, you’ll want to be aware of “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) rules.

Just click here to read the full articles: Hall & Company CPAs 2016 Winter Client Update

 

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FALL 2016 CLIENT UPDATE

Posted on by HallCPAManager

FALL 2016 CLIENT UPDATE

Here are a few headlines from that issue. To read any of these articles, click on the link at the end of this email.
HEALTH ACCOUNTS – WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
As you’re reviewing your options for making changes to your benefits during your employer’s open enrollment period, consider the differences between a health savings account (HSA) and a health care flexible spending account (FSA).

CAN PARTNERS BE EMPLOYEES? NOT LIKELY.
Suppose you’re a partner in a partnership where the agreement requires you to work some of the time for the business. Can you ever be treated as an employee of the partnership for tax purposes instead of as a partner?

WHAT’S NEW IN EMPLOYEE BENEFITS?
Does your workforce include a variety of age groups, with some employees just beginning careers, and some getting ready to retire? If so, you may be scrambling to provide the right mix of benefits. Here’s a sampling of offerings that you might want to consider.

DON’T REACT BADLY TO BAD ECONOMIC NEWS
Reacting badly to bad national economic events can turn a challenging situation into a devastating one. When troubling headline news comes your way, consider these tips before making financial moves.

Just click on the link to read the full articles: FALL 2016 Client Update

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SUMMER 2016 CLIENT UPDATE

Posted on by HallCPAManager

We have posted the SUMMER 2016 CLIENT UPDATE on our website.

Here are a few headlines from that issue. To read any of these articles, click on the link at the end of this email.

LEARN HOW TO MANAGE YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
How can you achieve a comfortable retirement? The steps are deceptively simple.

ADD BUSINESS TAX PLANNING TO YOUR SUMMERTIME CALENDAR
Tax planning for small business owners isn’t restricted to the end of the year. There is plenty you can do in the summer months to reduce your 2016 tax liability. Here are
six moves to consider now.

ORGANIZE YOUR BUSINESS RECORDS TO SAVE TIME AND MONEY
Organizing – the art of placing information in a logical order – is key to effective planning for your taxes as well as general business operations. Here are suggestions
to help you master the art of organization.

ARE YOU IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE IRS?
According to recent statistics, your chances of being audited by the IRS are less than 1%. Sound like a  non-event to you? Don’t be lured into a false sense of
security. The statistic is a blended rate covering many types of incomes and taxpayers. Here are some of the reasons returns were audited.

Just click on the link below to read the full articles: Hall & Company CPAs Summer 2016 Update

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“Staying on Solid Ground” by Bradford Hall in Construction Today

Posted on by HallCPAManager

Staying on Solid Ground by Managing Director, Bradford Hall, published in the Jan-Feb 2016 edition of the Construction Today magazine.  Seen on pages 150-151.  Copy and paste this link to view the article: http://digital.construction-today.com/nxtbooks/phoenix/ct_20160102/index.php#/152.

 

 

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How a CPA can be a Banker’s Best Friend

Posted on by HallCPAManager

I thought you might find this article out today in Westlaw Journal on Bank & Lender Liability issue to be informative. When it comes to a bank loaning a business money “How a CPA can be a bankers best friend”. I wrote this article to bring attention to the fact that banks rely heavily on qualified CPAs in the lending process. We really can and should be one of a bankers best friends.

-Brad Hall, Managing Director

Hall – Westlaw Journal 8-10-15

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SUMMER 2015 CLIENT UPDATE

Posted on by HallCPAManager

We have posted the SUMMER 2015 CLIENT UPDATE on our website.

Here are a few headlines from that issue. To read any of these articles, click on the link at the end of this email.

HOW TO GET YOUR BUSINESS BACK ON TRACK
For years, your company generated strong revenues. Existing
customers seemed satisfied. So you started taking risks. You
borrowed money to finance expansion into new markets.

GO FORWARD OR BACKWARD TO UTILIZE TAX BENEFITS
Although the tax code contains some exceptions, income is generally taxable in the tax year received and expenses are claimed as deductions in the year paid. But “carryforwards” and “carrybacks” have special rules.

WATCH OUT FOR THE “DIRTY DOZEN”
Each year the IRS publishes a “Dirty Dozen” list of tax-related scams. Here’s the list for 2015.

TAXES & MARRIAGE: THE SECOND TIME AROUND
Wedding bells bring rejoicing – and financial changes. If you’re marrying for the second time, the changes might seem overwhelming.
Just click on the link below to read the full articles: Hall & Company CPAs Summer 2015 Client Update

Posted in Accounting, Tax | Comments Off on SUMMER 2015 CLIENT UPDATE

Record Retention Guide

Posted on by HallCPAManager

Record Retention Guide – Business & Personal

Another year has come and gone and another year of tax forms and shoe boxes full of receipts is behind us. But what should be done with those documents created throughout the year?

Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the “three-year law” and leads many people to believe they’re safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time. For those of us residing in the State of California the statute of limitation is four years. For the three year federal statute it starts from the extended due date of the tax return whereas the state four year starts from the original due date.

If the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), or believes there may be an indication of fraud, it can go back a total of six years in the case of an audit. So just to be on the safe side, use the following guidelines.

Business Document To Keep For One Year

• Correspondence with Customers and Vendors
• Duplicate Deposit Slips
• Purchase Orders (other than Purchasing Department copy)
• Receiving Sheets
• Requisitions

Business Documents To Keep For Four Years (California Business)

• Bank Statements and Reconciliation’s
• Employee Personnel Records (after termination)
• Employment Applications
• Expired Insurance Policies
• General Correspondence
• Internal Audit Reports
• Internal Reports
• Petty Cash Vouchers
• Physical Inventory Tags
• Savings Bond Registration Records of Employees
• Time Cards For Hourly Employees

Business Documents To Keep For Six Years

• Accident Reports, Claims
• Accounts Payable Ledgers and Schedules
• Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
• Cancelled Checks
• Cancelled Stock and Bond Certificates
• Employment Tax Records
• Expense Analysis and Expense Distribution Schedules
• Expired Contracts, Leases
• Expired Option Records
• Inventories of Products, Materials, Supplies
• Invoices to Customers
• Notes Receivable Ledgers, Schedules
• Payroll Records and Summaries, including payment to pensioners
• Plant Cost Ledgers
• Purchasing Department Copies of Purchase Orders
• Sales & Sales Tax Records
• Subsidiary Ledgers
• Time Books
• Travel and Entertainment Records
• Vouchers for Payments to Vendors, Employees, etc.
• Voucher Register, Schedules
• Company auto usage information

Business Records To Keep Forever (this is critical)

While federal guidelines do not require you to keep tax records “forever,” in many cases there will be other reasons you’ll want to retain these documents indefinitely.

• Audit Reports from CPAs/Accountants
• Cancelled Checks for Important Payments (especially tax payments)
• Cash Books, Charts of Accounts
• Contracts, Leases Currently in Effect
• Corporate Documents (incorporation, charter, by-laws, etc.)
• Documents substantiating fixed asset additions
• Trust Deeds
• Depreciation Schedules
• Internal Financial Statements (Year End)
• Hard Copy of Detailed General Ledger for entire tax year
• Insurance Records, Current Accident Reports, Claims, Policies
• Investment Trade Confirmations
• IRS Revenue Agents’ Reports
• Journals
• Legal Records, Correspondence and Other Important Matters
• Minutes Books of Directors and Stockholders
• Mortgages, Bills of Sale
• Property Appraisals by Outside Appraisers
• Property Records
• Retirement and Pension Records
• Business Tax Returns and Worksheets
• Trademark and Patent Registrations
• CPA Financial Statements (Audit/Review or Compilation Reports)
• Employee W-2s
Personal Document To Keep For One Year

• While it’s important to keep year-end mutual fund and IRA contribution statements forever, you don’t have to save monthly and quarterly statements once the year-end statement has arrived.

Personal Documents To Keep For Three Years

• Credit Card Statements
• Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes)
• Utility Records if home office deducted
• Expired Insurance Policies
Personal Documents To Keep For Six Years

• Supporting Documents For Tax Returns
• Bank & Savings account statements
• Check Registers (hand or computerized)
• Loan & mortgage statements
• Accident Reports and Claims
• Medical Bills (if tax-related)
• Sales Receipts
• Other Tax-Related Bills
• Personal Calendar to support business deductions

Personal Records To Keep Forever

• Legal Records
• Important Correspondence
• Personal Income Tax Returns
• Income Tax Payment Checks
• Investment Trade Confirmations
• Retirement and Pension Records
• Home Real Estate Purchase Documentation & improvements

Special Circumstances

• Car Records (keep until the car is sold)
• Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)
• Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)
• Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)
• Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)
• Property Records / improvement receipts (keep until property sold)
• Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)
• Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)
• Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)
• Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)
• Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)

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JUST IN –> Congress passes new “Tax Extenders”

Posted on by HallCPAManager

Many popular but temporary tax incentives have been extended again by the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. Among them is Code Sec. 179 small business expensing, bonus depreciation, the research tax credit, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. This letter provides some highlights of the 2014 Tax Prevention Act as it applies to business taxpayers.

Code Sec. 179 Small Business Expensing

The 2014 Tax Prevention Act extends the enhanced Code Sec. 179 small business expensing through 2014. Therefore, the Code Sec. 179 dollar limit for tax years 2012, 2013 and 2014 is $500,000 with a $2 million investment limit. The rule allowing off the shelf computer software is also extended. For tax years beginning after 2014, the dollar limit reverts to $25,000 with a $200,000 investment limit.

Bonus Depreciation

The 2014 Tax Prevention Act extends 50 percent bonus depreciation through 2014. Some transportation and longer period production property is eligible for 50 percent bonus depreciation through 2015. Bonus depreciation has been used as an economic stimulus in many tax bills in recent years. One hundred percent bonus depreciation generally expired at the end of 2011 (with certain transportation and longer period production property eligible for 100 percent bonus depreciation through 2012).

Bonus depreciation also relates to the dollar limitations on the depreciation deduction for the year in which a taxpayer places a passenger automobile in service within a business, and for each succeeding year. If bonus depreciation had not been extended, 2013 would have been the final year in which substantial first-year write-offs for the purchase of a business automobile were available.

To be eligible for bonus depreciation, qualified property must be depreciable under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) and have a recovery period of 20 years or less. These requirements encompass a wide-variety of assets. The property must be new and placed in service before January 1, 2015 (January 1, 2016 for certain longer production period property and certain transportation property).

Subject to the investment limitations, Code Sec. 179 expensing remains a viable alternative, especially for small businesses. Property qualifying under Code Sec. 179 expensing may be used or new, in contrast to bonus depreciation’s “first-use” requirement.

Research Tax Credit

The 2014 Tax Prevention Act extends through 2014 the incremental research tax credit, which expired after 2013. Commonly called the research or research and development credit, the incremental research credit may be claimed for increases in business-related qualified research expenditures and for increases in payments to universities and other qualified organizations for basic research. The credit applies to excess of qualified research expenditures for the tax year over the average annual qualified research expenditures measured over the four preceding years.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The 2014 Tax Prevention Act extends through 2014 the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which rewards employers that hire individuals from targeted groups with a tax credit. Under the revived WOTC, employers hiring an individual within a targeted group (generally, otherwise hard-to-employ workers) are eligible for a credit generally equal to 40 percent of first-year wages up to $6,000. The WOTC is part of the general business credit.

Qualified Leasehold/Retail Improvements, Restaurant Property

The 2014 Tax Prevention Act extends through 2014 the 15-year recovery period for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified retail improvements and qualified restaurant property. The cost of nonresidential real property is generally recovered under the modified accelerated cost recovery system (MACRS) using the straight-line method of depreciation over a recovery period of 39 years, using a mid-month convention. However, this incentive allows qualified leasehold improvement, restaurant and retail improvement property a reduced recovery period using the straight line method and half-year convention if placed into service within the specified time period.

S Corporation Built-In Gains Tax

An S corporation such as yours is a pass-through entity that is treated very much like a partnership for federal income tax purposes. As a result, income is generally passed through to the shareholders and taxed at their individual tax rates.
However, a corporate-level tax is imposed on an S corporation’s net recognized built-in gains attributable to assets held at the time it converted from a C corporation to an S corporation. The built-in gains tax also applies if an S corporation sells, during the recognition period, assets that were acquired in a carryover basis transaction; for example, a tax-free reorganization. To avoid the built-in gains tax, the S corporation must not sell the assets during the ten-year recognition period applicable to the assets.

The Tax Increase Prevention Act temporarily extends the reduced recognition period and eliminates the tax for net recognized built-in gains of S corporations if the fifth tax year in the ten-year recognition period precedes the 2014 tax year. The recognition period was initially reduced by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (2009 Recovery Act) if the seventh year in the ten-year recognition period preceded the 2009 or 2010 tax years. Subsequently, the Creating Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (2010 Jobs Act) reduced the recognition period if the fifth year in the ten-year recognition period preceded the 2011 tax year. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (2012 Tax Relief Act) extended the five year reduced recognition period to 2012 and 2013.

The built-in gains tax can be triggered by downsizing or other business survival decisions, including the disposal of unused assets to raise needed cash. Consequently, the relief provided by the 2014 Tax Prevention Act and the previous legislation discussed above may be very valuable for small family or privately-owned businesses.

A number of other business tax incentives that were due to expire after 2013 are extended through 2014 under the 2014 Tax Prevention Act. They include, among others:
1. New Markets Tax Credit
2. Employer wage credit for activated military reservists
3. Subpart F exceptions for active financing income
4. Look through rule for related controlled foreign corporation payments
5. 100 percent exclusion for gain on sale of qualified small business stock
6. Enhanced deduction for charitable contributions of food inventory
7. Treatment of certain dividends of regulated investment companies (RICs)
8. Treatment of RICs as qualified investment entities
9. Basis adjustment to S corporation stock making charitable donations of property

The 2014 Tax Prevention Act has a significant impact on all taxpayers. If you have any questions about the extenders or how it affects you, please call our office (949) 910-4255 for an appointment. We will be happy to assist you.

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Brad Hall featured in Mainstreet.com article today

Posted on by HallCPAManager

Brad Hall, Managing Director, was featured in the article “You Can’t Deduct Your Wedding and Other Things You Shouldn’t Be Expensing” for Mainstreet.com today.

Hall – MainStreet 12-15-14

 

 

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Why Should I Hire A CPA?

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Why Should I Hire a CPA?

Why do you need a CPA?

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) act as trusted advisers to individuals, businesses, financial institutions, nonprofit organizations and government agencies on a wide range of financial matters. Today, many individuals and businesses turn to CPAs for help with tax preparation, tax planning, personal financial planning, financial statement audit services, and advice on developing effective accounting systems.

What can a CPA do for you?

CPAs are no longer just number crunchers and tax preparers. They are business and financial strategists who help chart the paths of businesses and individuals. Individuals turn to their CPAs for tax and financial planning services, investment advice, estate planning, and much more.

Businesses are tapping CPAs to not only manage finances and taxes, but also to determine profitable new product lines, help diversify investments, and provide a variety of other consulting and business services.

CPA vs. Non-CPA

Many people do not know how a CPA is different from a bookkeeper or tax preparer. The CPA designation is one of the most widely recognized and highly trusted professional designations in the business world. CPAs are distinguished from other finance professionals by stringent qualification and licensing requirements.

Individuals have worked hard to obtain the CPA designation, and they are committed to working even harder to deliver the value that it conveys.

What qualifications should you look for when choosing a CPA?

Before you select a CPA, make sure you consider the following questions:
• Does the individual hold an active CPA license?
• Are your needs compatible with the CPA’s personality and communication style?
• Does the CPA have the experience you need?

It’s important to establish a practitioner’s credentials before you retain his or her services. You need to feel that this person has integrity/ethics before you will trust him or her with your financial information.

Be aware that fee structures vary and that different types of practitioners have different levels of training and experience and the greater the experience typically the higher the value and therefore higher the rates.

Keep in mind that you are looking to establish a long-term relationship. You want someone who will learn your business inside and out, and who will become a trusted advisor on major business and financial decisions and transactions. Look not only for technical competence but also for interpersonal and communication skills.

Membership in a professional association is also an important qualification. Members of the California Society of CPAs are governed by a stringent code of professional ethics. Also, many larger CPA firms in California submit to Peer Review and must undergo a comprehensive review of their accounting and auditing practice every three years. Those that are PCAOB approved must submit to even higher outside review so that they can report on publicly traded companies. If you are thinking about taking your company public in the future this is something to consider now.

Defining your objectives and expectations will help you ask the kind of specific questions necessary for finding the CPA best suited to your needs. Think about the services you will need not just today but further down the road.

How do I choose a CPA?

When looking for a CPA, consider the following:
• Ask your lawyer, banker, insurance agent, or investment advisor for recommendations. Speak with colleagues in your field of business about CPAs they know and trust.
• Develop some of your own plans and objectives before you talk with a CPA. Gather information about business and personal financial decisions under consideration so you can ask specific questions.
• Make sure the CPA is licensed to practice in California.
• Ask what professional organizations the CPA belongs to and how active he or she is in those organizations. Many of these organizations require adherence to technical and professional standards, thereby helping to ensure the quality of a CPA’s services.

How can you get the most value from a CPA’s services?

When it comes to working with a CPA, you are in control. There are a variety of things you can do to get the most value out of your time and money spent with a CPA.

Before you even contact a CPA, be prepared with your goals and objectives of what you want the CPA to do for you. Have a list of questions and a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.

Before you meet with a CPA, gather all the documents and information you think you may need – past tax returns, financial statements, investment documents, business plans – and take this information with you to the first meeting.

Keep your CPA up-to-date on what’s happening in your life. Are you getting married, divorced, having children, needing to plan for your child’s college education, expanding a business, merging with another company, selling out or giving the business to your kids? You’d be surprised what life experiences can have a significant impact on your tax liability and personal financial goals.

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