Almost the worst customer service ever – Shopify! Fail.

As a small business owner I often find myself in a position to expand business services while at the same time maximizing dollars to put towards expenses.  This fine afternoon I had the bright idea to “just add an online store” to my website to make it more convenient for my clients to make payments against their accounts. Godaddy hosts my site but it didn’t even occur to me to check with their affiliates.  I got on trusty Google and went on a tangent.

Before I knew it I was signed up for Shopify and my current website was redirected to shopify’s password or something site. Either way it wasn’t what I was looking for. I was looking for a software, like paypal, that was embedded on my page for clients to click to pay their invoices (but be able to adjust their payments due). When I realized shopify/amazon pay or whatever the heck i signed up for wasn’t what I was looking for I tried reversing everything I remembered doing initially but still my website was redirected somewhere else.

 

So I called shopify, although not an easy task. I was on hold for a solid 20 minutes when I was greeted by a not so knowledgeable JoeShmo.  He wasn’t privy to my issue and instead of letting me be on my marry way to figure it out myself he preceded to tell me its on Godaddy’s side and to change my DNS settings.  Hey guy, you’re a loser.

Meanwhile, still thinking logically to myself. “you signed up for this shit, you must cancel” -smacks self in head- because I was just on the phone with that guy who should have “cancelled” me right up…

I’ll cut right to the chase.  In shopify – settings, close store.  Website restored.

Getting smart with: Taxes. Why though? Here’s 5 reasons.

Taxes are intimidating.  When tax time rolls around,

stressed lady

stress levels increase and people get hyped.  No one knows what to do and they are definitely not prepared.  Well, that’s not true. Some people out there actually have a clue, but the majority do not.  The more prepared we are at the end of the year, the lower the tax bill.

Why should the average Sally Sue have a basic understanding of income taxes?

  1. Most economic transactions have an income tax effect.  The most common example is the purchase of a home.  Mortgage interest will be deductible on the itemized deductions worksheet.  Another example is withdrawing money from a 401-k retirement account.  The tax burden in doing so could be steep.  Both of these items, for the most part, happen in life prior to discussing it with your tax adviser.  Therefor, you should have a clue whats best for you.  Then, at the end of the year your tax preparer can draft your forms for you easy peasy, because you will be in tune with your transactions for the year and come prepared to your appointment.  Back to the 401K example, if you take money out you will receive an annual tax form with the information. Don’t forget to take it to your appointment.  Along with your W2 and mortgage interest statement.

 

2.  The income tax law influences personal decisions of individuals.  Pretty self-explanatory. 

 

3.  A knowledge of the income tax law enables taxpayers to make decisions that  can reduce other costs. By having a clue one can enter into various transactions that can minimize income tax burden.  Likewise, one can avoid a transaction or defer until a time more beneficial in the future.

 

4.  Protects against an audit.  The IRS isn’t always right and sometimes you will have to state your case or your interpretation of things to justify items on your return if they question you.  It doesn’t mean your wrong it just means you have to be able to explain your rightful position.

 

5.  YOU know your financial affairs better than anyone.  Tax planning and forecasting starts with you, not your accountant, although, you should have a conversation with them for sure and keep them included.  It’s important that you are both on the same page.  Use the tax system to your advantage…free-money-clipart

 

5 Tax Tips To Starting a Business

Source: IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2017-18: Starting a Business This Summer? Here’s Five Tax Tips

 

Starting a Business?  Here’s Five Tax Tips

If you are interested in starting a business, be sure to visit IRS.gov. The IRS website has answers to questions on payroll and income taxes, credits and deductions plus more.

New business owners may find the following five IRS tax tips helpful:

  1. Business Structure.  An early choice to make is to decide on the type of structure for the business. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership and corporation. The type of business chosen will determine which tax forms to file.
  2. Business Taxes. There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax a business pays depends on the type of business structure set up. Taxpayers may need to make estimated tax payments. If so, use IRS Direct Pay to make them. It’s the fast, easy and secure way to pay from a checking or savings account.
  3. Employer Identification Number (EIN).  Generally, businesses may need to get an EIN for federal tax purposes. Search “EIN” on IRS.gov to find out if the number is necessary. If needed, it’s easy to apply for it online.
  4. Accounting Method. An accounting method is a set of rules used to determine when to report income and expenses. Taxpayers must use a consistent method. The two most common are the cash and accrual methods:
  5. Under the cash method, taxpayers normally report income and deduct expenses in the year that they receive or pay them.
  6. Under the accrual method, taxpayers generally report income and deduct expenses in the year that they earn or incur them. This is true even if they get the income or pay the expense in a later year.

Get all the basics of starting a business on IRS.gov at the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

2017 Tax Rate Schedules: Have you adjusted your withholding’s? Calculate your estimated taxable income, and find your tax.

2017 Tax Rate Schedule

Around the middle of the year it is a good idea to ensure that by the end of the year you will have withheld your tax liability due. No more, no less.  It’s common to adjust your withholding’s during the year to reflect life events or just to put more money in your pocket at that time.  Time and time again it’s also common that you forget to adjust the withholding’s back to cover your tax liabilities.  Knowing what your tax due will be is half the battle, but equal parts importance to earning your wage and paying your bills. It should be part o2017 Tax Rate Schedulef your monthly budgeting.

 

There’s more to it obviously, but the Individual income tax formula  is as follows and can be used to estimate your taxable income to give you an idea what your up against and  give you time to gather your options to lower your taxable income in an effort to conserve AFTER TAX WEALTH.

 

Individual Income Tax Formula:

Income (broadly conceived) Add income together if you file married filing joint. Don’t forget distributions from 401k’s, retirement or taxable social security, investment income, and  net self-employment income or loss.

Less: Exclusions   Ill go into the list of exclusions later

= Gross Income

Less deductions

= Adjusted Gross Income

Less: [Itemized or standard deduction] and [exemptions] for every person on the tax form

= Taxable Income

 

To find the estimated tax for your bracket add

the tax + [the % over the amount]= Tax

 

 

 

 

 

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers: VITA

Source: Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers

 

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Before going to a VITA or TCE site, see Publication 3676-B for services provided and check out the What to Bring page to ensure you have all the required documents and information our volunteers will need to help you. *Note: available services can vary at each site due to the availability of volunteers certified with the tax law expertise required for your return.

Some VITA sites offer CAA service to taxpayers along with their VITA program.

Find a VITA or TCE Site Near You

VITA and TCE sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls and other convenient locations across the country. To locate the nearest VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.

When looking for a TCE site keep in mind that a majority of the TCE sites are operated by the AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide program. To locate the nearest AARP TCE Tax-Aide site between January and April use the AARP Site Locator Tool or call 888-227-7669.

At select tax sites, taxpayers also have an option to prepare their own basic federal and state tax return for free using Web-based tax preparation software with an IRS-certified volunteer to help guide you through the process. This option is only available at locations that list “Self-Prep” in the site listing.

What to Bring to your tax preparation appointment/What to send if your returns are prepared remotely.

What to Bring:

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • Health Insurance Exemption Certificate, if received
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider’s tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number
  • Forms 1095-A, B and C, Health Coverage Statements
  • Copies of income transcripts from IRS and state, if applicable