LINDA ROZET, CPA,
CMA 9132 W. Cactus Rd. Ste C
Peoria, AZ 85381
YEAR END NEWSLETTER
December 12, 2012
I hope you have had a terrific year! It’s time to start thinking about tax planning and the upcoming income tax season................
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE 2012 FILING SEASON
Once again, this year my bookkeeping assistant, Kathryn Shaw, will be helping me through the tax season. She has been working with me for a year now and things are working out quite well. We would like to make some administrative changes this year to increase productivity. During the last couple years, I have received quite a lot more work requests in the area of audits, AZ and IRS discrepancy notices, payment plan negotiations, levy issues, etc. In order for me to devote the proper resources to these types of urgent matters, it is necessary for me to have additional help with scheduling appointments and routine matters. This year, Kathryn will be focusing on helping me with more of the administrative and general bookkeeping tasks such as: tax organizer requests, scheduling and rescheduling appointments, taking phone or swiped credit card payments, taking requests for mortgage lender letters, refund tracking information, assisting with duplicate copies of tax returns and general bookkeeping data entry. So if you have an administrative request, either Kathryn or I may respond to assist you with that. Since she only works part-time, your patience would be greatly appreciated if you can give us a 24-48 hour response time. I would like to emphasize that tax questions and tax planning discussions are continually welcomed and I will be glad to continue to assist you in all technical areas related to tax law and tax preparation! We are just trying to change the focus for routine matter requests, when at all possible. We are in the process of potentially switching to an e-fax as the volume of paper faxes coming in and out of the office has been greatly reduced. If we have a change in fax number, you will be notified immediately.
The IRS continues to utilize what is called MODERN E-FILE. This program allows us to know sometimes instantly if a tax return is accepted. Previously, the turn around time was typically 24 hours. I am now offering “video conferencing” using SKYPE for anyone who is interested. I’m excited about this and already have used this with a few interested clients.
Credit/Debit card payments are continued to be accepted through an option on my Home Page.
The IRS is concentrating their efforts in community outreach in the areas of rental property owners and small business clients. If this applies to you, please remember to keep good records of all income and business expenses as this paperwork is required to support any potential deductions claimed on your return.
It is very important to keep an accurate mileage log to support your business use of a vehicle. Just as important is proper documentation of any business meals/entertainment and per diem or travel allowances. Please be prepared to submit this documentation during tax preparation. I am always available to offer advice in any of these technical areas.
There are plenty of tax law changes up in the air right now, waiting on Congress to decide what is going to be extended and what is not. Please stay tuned for these tax law updates.
The Electronic Filing season begins January 22, 2012 and we hope to be hearing from you soon in regards to the preparation of your tax returns. As always, your continued business is greatly appreciated! I have opened up my calendar for tax appointments at this point so you can schedule whenever you are ready. Feel free to email or call with a request for a specific day and/or time for your appointment and we will try our best to accommodate that. As a reminder, evening and weekend appointments are offered. Once again this year I will be using income tax organizers and would appreciate them being filled out as best as you can to help recap the accuracy of your return details. (especially anyone with a small business) Even though it may not seem needed from your perspective, they are a very helpful tool as I may only talk to many of you once a year.
As another reminder, once again this year, I am requesting that we place any large special projects and prior year tax returns on hold during the Jan-April time frame unless it is extremely urgent. If you are behind in your bookkeeping or income tax filings, please contact me and make special arrangements to handle your needs. Due to the demands of the tax season, I regret that as a general rule, I do not have the resources to work on special projects or prior year tax returns during this time frame. I feel this is only fair as a courtesy to all clients trying to meet the regular income tax filing deadlines.
Once again this year I will be offering e-collect products. These products allow you to get your taxes prepared with ZERO out of pocket costs. One option enables you to have your income taxes prepared, refunds direct deposited to your bank account and the tax preparation fee deducted from your anticipated refund. The second option enables you to have your refund deposited on to a debit card (no bank account is needed) and your tax preparation fee can be deducted from your anticipated refund. I received great feedback from the clients who used these products last year. There are very nominal fees associated with these options.
If you are receiving this newsletter by mail, I do not have an updated email address for you on file. There is an area on my new website where you can update me on this information so that you don’t miss out on any updates that may be distributed by email throughout the year. (“SEND US YOUR INFO” PAGE) The options for tax preparation again this year are your own personal choice. While some feel that certain tax issues are best handled and discussed in person, others prefer submitting data electronically if your tax situation is similar to last year and if there isn’t much that warrants a new discussion.
Income tax paperwork can always be mailed, emailed, faxed or delivered to me by a courier service. I have a 24-hour secure paperwork drop slot at my office.
As my business continues to be headed in the direction of electronic communication, I have gained a lot of efficiency in several work areas which has been great. However, the disadvantage of electronic communication seems to be a little bit less personal working relationships at times. If you feel like taking a drive out to my new office…..I’m still just a phone call away. I haven’t seen some of you in a while so you now have a chance to see my new office and to catch up in person .
There are an incredible amount of new tools available to use on the website, such as retirement calculators, payroll withholding calculations, auto buy versus lease calculators, principal & interest loan calculators, etc.
There is an area on the website (Send Us Your Info) where you can register your client information and you can obtain a password to transfer data through a secure server.
There is an area for a monthly newsletter where you will find a good deal of tax information and tips updated monthly. Also external links such as “refund tracking.
Feel free to browse the testimonials I have received from current and former clients. The comments I received over time have been very much valued and appreciated!
Any new customer testimonials are always welcome at any time and are greatly appreciated!
YEAR END AND YEAR ROUND REMINDERS
The following list is a summary of what I feel are important tasks to review before year end. A lot of these I feel are worth repeating, as many of these are frequently overlooked by many businesses and individuals each year.
- Mail your January mortgage payment early enough to be posted this year if you are needing deductions or HOLD your January mortgage payment to defer deductions if your itemized deductions are LIMITED this year
- Make donations this year of any unused household items
- Take advantage of the AZ School Tax Credits http://www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits.asp
- Take advantage of the AZ Charities that provide assistance for the Working Poor Tax Credit http://www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits/CharitableTaxCredit.aspx
- Request a personal tax projection from me if you have had an issue with under-withheld taxes in the past. (The tax planning charge would be quite justified if it helps you in managing your financial affairs and eliminates year end surprises)
- Make Educational and Individual IRA contributions
- Keep better track of moving, charity, medical and business mileage
- Sign up for employer flexible spending accounts (Section 125 plans) and retirement benefits (dependent care, medical, 401K)
- Make sure to use all of the funds left in your flexible spending accounts
- Make 4th quarter estimated income tax payments (AZ deduction counts this year if mailed during December)
- Consider selling losing securities to benefit from the allowable capital loss deduction and to net losses against gains in the same year
- Install qualified energy efficient home improvements or solar equipment
- Submit all medical expenses with your tax preparation as medical is 100% deductible for ARIZONA even though there is a FEDERAL 7.5% of AGI limitation
- Upgrade your QuickBooks if you are a 2010 user. File your corporate and partnership income taxes on time! There are now steep penalties assessed for non-filing of your income taxes.
- Corporations: Generate your annual meeting minutes and any bylaw changes. IMPORTANT: All Corporations are required to have stock registers/certificates, minutes and bylaws! If you do not have these on file, contact me for a referral source.
- Corporations: File your Arizona Corporation Commission reports on a timely basis. I have seen a lot of delinquent reports this year and the Commission can dissolve your Corporation if reports are not filed on time. I believe the Commission has discontinued mailing out annual updates so it is very important to know when your annual reports are due!
- Accelerate any foreseen equipment, auto and supply purchases into this year
- Consider taking advantage of the Section 179 deduction for vehicle purchases
- Make SEP contributions
- Log in cash expenses for the year
- Document business miles traveled on your mileage logs (see me for a sample)
- Keep better track of expenses for home utilities for businesses operating from home
- Claim up to a maximum of $25 for any valid business gifts given to individuals or businesses
- Delay billing customers in December to defer revenue into January, if possible
- For cash basis businesses, pay all outstanding bills if cash flow allows
- Remember that credit card purchases are deductible in the year the items are purchased
- Make sure you are in compliance with the State Fund mandatory coverage requirements for
- contractors that do work for you.
- REMINDER: Workers Compensation Insurance is mandatory for all employees with owner/officers being the exception to the rule.
- If applicable, I’d recommend becoming more knowledgeable in regards to the particular sales tax requirements for your business and respective filing deadlines. I’ve seen several penalties and confusion in this area this year and I’d like to help eliminate those if possible. (see me for more info)
- Turn otherwise hobby expenses into legitimate business deductions by converting into and setting up a sole-proprietorship
- Calculate any payroll bonuses or shareholder loan payments
- Sole proprietors-pay children for services rendered to shift income to a lower tax bracket
- Order a current tax table if you are a QuickBooks payroll user (not required if I enter your payroll for you)
- Report new employees to the New Hire Reporting Division (mandatory through the year ) THIS HAS BEEN OVERLOOKED BY MANY BUSINESSES.
- Obtain current addresses and taxpayer identification numbers for any 1099 subcontractors, employees and previous employees (for 2012) and enter these into QuickBooks
- Reimburse employee business mileage at .555/mile
- Check your files to make sure that valid I-9, W4 and A4 forms exist for every employee
- Make sure you are aware of your required tax deposit and quarterly report deadlines. I have seen excessive penalties again this year relating to late reports that could have been easily avoided.
- Contact me for a payroll chart if it would be helpful. I know the economy has hit businesses this year but it definitely helps to make sure you understand the specific payroll filing requirements for your business. I’d love to see these reduced or completely eliminated for next year.
- Consider setting up a small business profit/sharing or retirement plan.
- Consider setting up an HSA (Health Savings Account) for employees.
Hopefully, I have suggested some items that can be of assistance to you or your business and can possibly save some money. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to call me.
Hope to see or hear from you soon………..
I WILL NOTIFY YOU BY EMAIL WHEN I HAVE MORE INFORMATION ON TAX LAW CHANGES.
LINDA ROZET, CPA