• How to research a business customer’s creditworthiness

    Extending credit to business customers can be an effective way to build goodwill and nurture long-term buyers. But if you extend customer credit, it also brings sizable financial risk to your business, as cash flow could grind to a halt if these customers don’t make their payments. Even worse, they could declare bankruptcy and bow out of their obligations entirely.…

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  • Uncle Sam may provide relief from college costs on your tax return

    We all know the cost of college is expensive. The latest figures from the College Board show that the average annual cost of tuition and fees was $10,230 for in-state students at public four-year universities — and $35,830 for students at private not-for-profit four-year institutions. These amounts don’t include room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other expenses that a…

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  • 5 ways to withdraw cash from your corporation while avoiding dividend treatment

    Do you want to withdraw cash from your closely held corporation at a low tax cost? The easiest way is to distribute cash as a dividend. However, a dividend distribution isn’t tax-efficient, since it’s taxable to you to the extent of your corporation’s “earnings and profits.” But it’s not deductible by the corporation. Different approaches Fortunately, there are several alternative…

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  • The next estimated tax deadline is September 16: Do you have to make a payment?

    If you’re self-employed and don’t have withholding from paychecks, you probably have to make estimated tax payments. These payments must be sent to the IRS on a quarterly basis. The third 2019 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals is Monday, September 16. Even if you do have some withholding from paychecks or payments you receive, you may still have to…

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  • Is it time to hire a CFO or controller?

    Many business owners reach a point where managing the financial side of the enterprise becomes overwhelming. Usually, this is a good thing — the company has grown to a point where simple bookkeeping and basic financial reporting just don’t cut it anymore. If you can relate to the feeling, it may be time to add a CFO or controller. But…

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  • The tax implications of being a winner

    If you’re lucky enough to be a winner at gambling or the lottery, congratulations! After you celebrate, be ready to deal with the tax consequences of your good fortune. Winning at gambling Whether you win at the casino, a bingo hall, or elsewhere, you must report 100% of your winnings as taxable income. They’re reported on the “Other income” line…

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  • The “kiddie tax” hurts families more than ever

    Years ago, Congress enacted the “kiddie tax” rules to prevent parents and grandparents in high tax brackets from shifting income (especially from investments) to children in lower tax brackets. And while the tax caused some families pain in the past, it has gotten worse today. That’s because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made changes to the kiddie tax…

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  • Take a closer look at home office deductions

    Working from home has its perks. Not only can you skip the commute, but you also might be eligible to deduct home office expenses on your tax return. Deductions for these expenses can save you a bundle, if you meet the tax law qualifications. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees can no longer claim the home office deduction.…

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  • Run your strategic-planning meetings like they really matter

    Many businesses struggle to turn abstract strategic-planning ideas into concrete, actionable plans. One reason why is simple: ineffective meetings. The ideas are there, lurking in the minds of management and key employees, but the process for hashing them out just doesn’t work. Here are a few ways to run your strategic-planning meetings like they really matter — which, of course,…

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  • The “nanny tax” must be paid for more than just nannies

    You may have heard of the “nanny tax.” But even if you don’t employ a nanny, it may apply to you. Hiring a housekeeper, gardener or other household employee (who isn’t an independent contractor) may make you liable for federal income and other taxes. You may also have state tax obligations. If you employ a household worker, you aren’t required…

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