Safeguarding Your Records
Best Financial Tool For Business Owners
Plan Now For Next Year's Taxes
5 Tips For Safeguarding Your Records
natural disasters are more common in the summer, but major
events such as hurricanes, tornadoes and fires can strike at
It's always a good idea to plan
for what to do in case of a disaster. Here are some basic
steps you can take right now to prepare:
Backup Records Electronically. Many people receive bank
statements by email. This is a good way to secure your
records. You can also scan tax records and insurance policies
onto an electronic format. You can use an external hard drive,
CD or DVD to store important records. Be sure you back up your
files and keep them in a safe place. If a disaster strikes
your home, it may also affect a wide area. If that happens you
may not be able to retrieve your records.
Document Valuables. Take photos or videos of the contents
of your home or business. These visual records can help you
prove the value of your lost items. They may help with
insurance claims or casualty loss deductions on your tax
return. You should store them with a friend or relative who
lives out of the area. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook,
Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a
room-by-room list of belongings.
Update Emergency Plans. Review your emergency plans every
year. Personal and business situations change over time as do
preparedness needs, so update them when your situation
changes. Make sure you have a way to get severe weather
information and have a plan for what to do if threatening
weather approaches. In addition, when employers hire new
employees or when a company or organization changes functions,
plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be
informed of the changes.
Get Copies of Tax Returns or Transcripts. Use Form 4506,
Request for Copy of Tax Return, to replace lost or destroyed
tax returns or need information from your return. You can also
file Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax
Return Transcript or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of
Tax Return. If you need assistance filling this form out,
Check on Fiduciary Bonds. Employers who use payroll
service providers should ask the provider if it has a
fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer
in the event of default by the payroll service provider.
If you fall victim to a disaster, Help is just a phone call
away. Don't hesitate to call the office regarding any
disaster-related tax questions or issues you might have.
The Best Financial
Tool For Business Owners
if there were a tool that helped you create crystal-clear
plans, provided you with continual feedback about how well
your plan was working, and that told you exactly what's
working and what isn't?
Well, there is such a tool. It's called the Budget vs. Actual
Report and it's exactly what you need to be able to
consistently make smart business decisions to keep your
business on track for success.
Clarifying Your Plan
The clearer you are about your business goals, the more likely
you are to achieve them. Creating a budget forces you to
examine the details of your goals, as well as how even a
single business decision affects all other aspects of your
Example: Let's say
that you want to grow your sales by 15 percent this year.
Does that mean you need to hire another salesperson? When will
the business start to see new sales from this person? Do you
need to set up an office for them? New phone line? Buy them a
computer? Do you need to do more advertising? How much more
will you spend? When will you see the return on your
Navigating the Ship
Once you clarify your goals, then you start making business
decisions to help you reach your desired outcome. Some of
those decisions will be great and give you better than
expected results, but others might not.
This is when the Budget vs. Actual Report becomes an effective
management tool. When you compare your budgeted sales and
expenses to your actual results, you see exactly how far off
you might be with regard to your budget, goals, and plans.
Sometimes you need to adjust your plan (budget) and sometimes
you need to focus more attention to areas of your business
that are not performing as well as you planned. Either way,
you are gleaning valuable insights into your business.
It's like sailing a boat. You may be off-course most of the
time, but having a clear goal and making many adjustments
helps you reach your destination.
Just Do It
We often know what we need to do but don't take the necessary
action. It may seem like a huge hassle to create a budget and
then create a Budget vs. Actual Report every month, but as
with any new skill, it does get easier.
Turn your dreams into reality. Give the office a call and let
a tax and accounting professional guide you through the
Planning Now For Next Year's Taxes
may be tempted to forget about your taxes once you've filed
your tax return, but did you know that if you start your tax
planning now, you may be able to avoid a tax surprise when you
file next year?
That's right. Now is a good time to set up a system so you can
keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here are five
tips to give you a leg up on next year's taxes:
Take action when life changes occur. Some life
events such as a change in marital status or the birth of a
child can change the amount of tax you pay. When they happen,
you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your
pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding
Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Call if you need
help filling out the form.
Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance
Marketplace. If you enroll in insurance coverage
through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2016, you should
report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they
happen. Reporting events such as changes in your income or
family size helps you avoid getting too much or too little
financial assistance in advance.
Keep records safe. Print and keep a copy of your
2015 tax return and supporting records together in a safe
place. This includes W-2 Forms, Forms 1099, bank records and
records of your family's health care insurance coverage. If
you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easier
for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your
tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid for
college. You should use your tax return as a guide when you do
your taxes next year.
Stay organized. Make tax time easier on everyone by
having your family place tax records in the same place during
the year. That way you won't have to search for misplaced
records when you file your return next year.
Consider itemizing. You may be able to lower your
taxes if you itemize deductions instead of taking the standard
deduction. Owning a home, paying medical expenses and
qualified donations to charity could mean more tax savings. A
list of deductions is found in the instructions for Schedule
A, Itemized Deductions. As always, if you have any questions
Ready to save money on your taxes?
Planning now can pay off with savings at tax time next year.
Call today and get a jump start on next year's taxes.
If you have any questions about the tax treatment of mutual
funds, don't hesitate to call the office if you would like more information
about tax planning strategies this year. Help is just a phone call away at
you can call our offices if you have any questions about these
or any other accounting, tax, financial planning or insurance
related issues, at (480) 641-8100.
Regards, Nathan DeBacker, CPA
CFO Financial Services LLC