QuickBooks Desktop vs. QuickBooks Online

When choosing whether to invest in a desktop or online QuickBooks product, we would suggest you evaluate three differences in the products.

1. Accessibility

If you want the option to access your QuickBooks file from anywhere with internet connection, you will want QuickBooks Online (QBO). If you prefer to have your file on one laptop or computer in your office, you may want the desktop product.

  • If you use an Apple computer, you will want QBO since Intuit has discontinued the Mac product. If you are on a PC, you may want to use a desktop product.
  • If you need more than five users in the file at one time, you may want QuickBooks Online. If you need less than five users in the file at one time, you may prefer the desktop product.
  • If you want your accountant to have the ability to access your file to make changes or consult at any time throughout the year, you may prefer QBO. If you only need to get your accountant a file quarterly or annually, you may prefer the desktop product.

2. Appearance

The interface and processes of the two products are significantly different. They can both perform the same tasks, but the process of performing those tasks requires different procedures. Learning new processes can be a little difficult, so we suggest you stick with the product with which you are more comfortable.

3. Payment for Product

Last, there is a difference in the way you pay for your QuickBooks product. To purchase the QuickBooks desktop product is a one-time fee. We do suggest that every three years you upgrade your product because Intuit regularly sunsets old products. QBO is a monthly subscription that is continually updated and supported by Intuit.

Overall, both QuickBooks products are great to use. If you need help selecting which product better suits your needs, we would be happy to assist you in making the decision.

Summer Time Clean Up

Summer is the perfect time to get your QuickBooks cleaned up. MKR provides hands-on training and consultation services for QuickBooks during this time of year. It is our pleasure to conduct an on-site visit to assist with any questions or concerns you have in working with your QuickBooks file(s).

We provide consultation by using our accountants’ tools. These tools can help reconcile bank accounts, troubleshoot payroll and bank imports, correct accounts receivable and accounts payable, and update inventory. We provide full-service training if you are new to the QuickBooks software, or partial-service training if you have been using QuickBooks but need assistance with just one area.

Our training is customized to your needs and your business. We walk through what you need from your QuickBooks and customize the best way for you to achieve those goals with your software. With QuickBooks products constantly changing, we are here to keep you updated on the modifications for your software. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of the assistance we provide, so that come tax time you are ready. Please do not hesitate to call!

We have three certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors. Learn more about what they can do.

QuickBooks Certifications

QuickBooks, created by intuit, is an accounting software that many businesses use to track their financial information including invoices, bills, paychecks, and inventory. To become a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, one must complete a series of comprehensive tests to show their knowledge and skills with the QuickBooks software. Here at MKR CPA’s we have three certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors: Jean Miller, Amanda O’Brien, and Tiffany Evans.

Jean Miller has been a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 2006. She is the manager of the accountants in the office and she has worked in the accounting industry for 34 years. She is certified on QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. In our office she is our inventory and payroll specialist, and works on time consuming corrections, data reviews, and consultations. She just recently acquired her Advanced Desktop Certification.

Amanda O’Brien has been a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 2011. She is a staff accountant and has worked in the accounting industry for 8 years. She is certified on QuickBooks Desktop and advance certified on QuickBooks Online. In our office she specializes in QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks for Mac. She works with, but not limited to, veterinary companies, nonprofits, and service-based companies. She also just recently acquired her Advanced Desktop Certification.

Tiffany Evans has been a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 2012. She is a staff accountant and has worked in the accounting industry for 5 years. She is certified on QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Enterprise. In our office she specializes in bookkeeping services and QuickBooks Enterprise. She works with, but not limited to, hardware companies, real estate investors, and product and inventory driven companies. She just recently acquired her Advanced Desktop Certification as well.

Is your QuickBooks ready for a cleaning? Learn about the tools to help you clean your QuickBooks.

2014 Year-End Tax Planning

Year-end tax planning is especially challenging this year because Congress has yet to act on a host of tax breaks that expired at the end of 2013. Some of these tax breaks may be retroactively reinstated and extended, but Congress may not decide the fate of these tax breaks until the very end of this year (and, possibly, not until next year).

These breaks include, for individuals: the option to deduct state and local sales and use taxes instead of state and local income taxes; the above-the-line-deduction for qualified higher education expenses; tax-free IRA distributions for charitable purposes by those age 70- 1/2 or older; and the exclusion for up-to-$2 million of mortgage debt forgiveness on a principal residence.

For businesses: tax breaks that expired at the end of last year and may be retroactively reinstated and extended include: 50% bonus first year depreciation for most new machinery, equipment and software; the $500,000 annual expensing limitation; the research tax credit; and the 15-year write off for qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and qualified retail improvement property.

Higher-income-earners have unique concerns to address when mapping out year-end plans. They must be wary of the 3.8% surtax on certain unearned income and the additional 0.9% Medicare (hospital insurance, or HI) tax that applies to individuals receiving wages with respect to employment in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly and $125,000 for married couples filing separately).

The surtax is 3.8% of the lesser of: (1) net investment income (NII), or (2) the excess of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) over an unindexed threshold amount ($250,000 for joint filers or surviving spouses, $125,000 for a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 in any other case). As year-end nears, a taxpayer’s approach to minimizing or eliminating the 3.8% surtax will depend on his estimated MAGI and net investment income (NII) for the year. Some taxpayers should consider ways to minimize (e.g., through deferral) additional NII for the balance of the year, others should try to see if they can reduce MAGI other than NII, and other individuals will need to consider ways to minimize both NII and other types of MAGI.

The additional Medicare tax may require year-end actions. Employers must withhold the additional Medicare tax from wages in excess of $200,000 regardless of filing status or other income. Self-employed persons must take it into account in figuring estimated tax. There could be situations where an employee may need to have more withheld toward year end to cover the tax. For example, an individual earns $200,000 from one employer during the first half of the year and a like amount from another employer during the balance of the year. He would owe the additional Medicare tax, but there would be no withholding by either employer for the additional Medicare tax since wages from each employer don’t exceed $200,000. Also, in determining whether they may need to make adjustments to avoid a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax, individuals also should be mindful that the additional Medicare tax may be overwithheld. This could occur, for example, where only one of two married spouses works and reaches the threshold for the employer to withhold, but the couple’s income won’t be high enough to actually cause the tax to be owed.

We have compiled a checklist of additional actions based on current tax rules that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all actions will apply in your particular situation, but you (or a family member) will likely benefit from many of them. We can narrow down the specific actions that you can take once we meet with you to tailor a particular plan. In the meantime, please review the following list and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can advise you on which tax-saving moves to make:

Year-End Tax Planning Moves for Individuals

  • Realize losses on stock while substantially preserving your investment position. There are several ways this can be done. For example, you can sell the original holding, then buy back the same securities at least 31 days later. It may be advisable for us to meet to discuss year-end trades you should consider making.
  • Postpone income until 2015 and accelerate deductions into 2014 to lower your 2014 tax bill. This strategy may enable you to claim larger deductions, credits, and other tax breaks for 2014 that are phased out over varying levels of adjusted gross income (AGI). These include child tax credits, higher education tax credits, and deductions for student loan interest. Postponing income also is desirable for those taxpayers who anticipate being in a lower tax bracket next year due to changed financial circumstances. Note, however, that in some cases, it may pay to actually accelerate income into 2014. For example, this may be the case where a person’s marginal tax rate is much lower this year than it will be next year or where lower income in 2015 will result in a higher tax credit for an individual who plans to purchase health insurance on a health exchange and is eligible for a premium assistance credit.
  • If you believe a Roth IRA is better than a traditional IRA, and want to remain in the market for the long term, consider converting traditional-IRA money invested in beaten-down stocks (or mutual funds) into a Roth IRA if eligible to do so. Keep in mind, however, that such a conversion will increase your adjusted gross income for 2014.
  • If you converted assets in a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA earlier in the year, the assets in the Roth IRA account may have declined in value, and if you leave things as is, you will wind up paying a higher tax than is necessary. You can back out of the transaction by recharacterizing the conversion, that is, by transferring the converted amount (plus earnings, or minus losses) from the Roth IRA back to a traditional IRA via a trustee-to-trustee transfer. You can later reconvert to a Roth IRA, if doing so proves advantageous.
  • It may be advantageous to try to arrange with your employer to defer a bonus that may be coming your way until 2015.
  • Consider using a credit card to pay deductible expenses before the end of the year. Doing so will increase your 2014 deductions even if you don’t pay your credit card bill until after the end of the year.
  • If you expect to owe state and local income taxes when you file your return next year, consider asking your employer to increase withholding of state and local taxes (or pay estimated tax payments of state and local taxes) before year-end to pull the deduction of those taxes into 2014 if doing so won’t create an alternative minimum tax (AMT) problem.
  • Take an eligible rollover distribution from a qualified retirement plan before the end of 2014 if you are facing a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax and having your employer increase your withholding isn’t viable or won’t sufficiently address the problem. Income tax will be withheld from the distribution and will be applied toward the taxes owed for 2014. You can then timely roll over the gross amount of the distribution, i.e., the net amount you received plus the amount of withheld tax, to a traditional IRA. No part of the distribution will be includible in income for 2014, but the withheld tax will be applied pro rata over the full 2014 tax year to reduce previous underpayments of estimated tax.
  • Estimate the effect of any year-end planning moves on the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for 2014, keeping in mind that many tax breaks allowed for purposes of calculating regular taxes are disallowed for AMT purposes. These include the deduction for state property taxes on your residence, state income taxes, miscellaneous itemized deductions, and personal exemption deductions. Other deductions, such as for medical expenses, are calculated in a more restrictive way for AMT purposes than for regular tax purposes in the case of a taxpayer who is over age 65 or whose spouse is over age 65 as of the close of the tax year. As a result, in some cases, deductions should not be accelerated.
  • You may be able to save taxes this year and next by applying a bunching strategy to “miscellaneous” itemized deductions (i.e., certain deductions that are allowed only to the extent they exceed 2% of adjusted gross income), medical expenses and other itemized deductions.
  • You may want to pay contested taxes to be able to deduct them this year while continuing to contest them next year.
  • You may want to settle an insurance or damage claim in order to maximize your casualty loss deduction this year.
  • Take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA or 401(k) plan (or other employer-sponsored retired plan) if you have reached age 70- 1/2. Failure to take a required withdrawal can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount of the RMD not withdrawn. If you turned age 70- 1/2 in 2014, you can delay the first required distribution to 2015, but if you do, you will have to take a double distribution in 2015—the amount required for 2014 plus the amount required for 2015. Think twice before delaying 2014 distributions to 2015—bunching income into 2015 might push you into a higher tax bracket or have a detrimental impact on various income tax deductions that are reduced at higher income levels. However, it could be beneficial to take both distributions in 2015 if you will be in a substantially lower bracket that year.
  • Increase the amount you set aside for next year in your employer’s health flexible spending account (FSA) if you set aside too little for this year.
  • If you are eligible to make health savings account (HSA) contributions in December of this year, you can make a full year’s worth of deductible HSA contributions for 2014. This is so even if you first became eligible on Dec. 1, 2014.
  • Make gifts sheltered by the annual gift tax exclusion before the end of the year and thereby save gift and estate taxes. You can give $14,000 in 2014 to each of an unlimited number of individuals but you can’t carry over unused exclusions from one year to the next. The transfers also may save family income taxes where income-earning property is given to family members in lower income tax brackets who are not subject to the kiddie tax.

Year-End Tax-Planning Moves for Businesses & Business Owners

  • Businesses should buy machinery and equipment before year end and, under the generally applicable “half-year convention,” thereby secure a half-year’s worth of depreciation deductions for the first ownership year.
  • Although the business property expensing option is greatly reduced in 2014 (unless legislation changes this option for 2014), don’t neglect to make expenditures that qualify for this option. For tax years beginning in 2014, the expensing limit is $25,000, and the investment-based reduction in the dollar limitation starts to take effect when property placed in service in the tax year exceeds $200,000.
  • Businesses may be able to take advantage of the “de minimis safe harbor election” (also known as the book-tax conformity election) to expense the costs of inexpensive assets and materials and supplies, assuming the costs don’t have to be capitalized under the Code Sec. 263A uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules. To qualify for the election, the cost of a unit-of-property can’t exceed $5,000 if the taxpayer has an applicable financial statement (AFS; e.g., a certified audited financial statement along with an independent CPA’s report). If there’s no AFS, the cost of a unit of property can’t exceed $500. Where the UNICAP rules aren’t an issue, purchase such qualifying items before the end of 2014.
  • A corporation should consider accelerating income from 2015 to 2014 where doing so will prevent the corporation from moving into a higher bracket next year. Conversely, it should consider deferring income until 2015 where doing so will prevent the corporation from moving into a higher bracket this year.
  • A corporation should consider deferring income until next year if doing so will preserve the corporation s qualification for the small corporation alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption for 2014. Note that there is never a reason to accelerate income for purposes of the small corporation AMT exemption because if a corporation doesn’t qualify for the exemption for any given tax year, it will not qualify for the exemption for any later tax year.
  • A corporation (other than a “large” corporation) that anticipates a small net operating loss (NOL) for 2014 (and substantial net income in 2015) may find it worthwhile to accelerate just enough of its 2015 income (or to defer just enough of its 2014 deductions) to create a small amount of net income for 2014. This will permit the corporation to base its 2015 estimated tax installments on the relatively small amount of income shown on its 2014 return, rather than having to pay estimated taxes based on 100% of its much larger 2015 taxable income.
  • If your business qualifies for the domestic production activities deduction for its 2014 tax year, consider whether the 50%-of-W-2 wages limitation on that deduction applies. If it does, consider ways to increase 2014 W-2 income, e.g., by bonuses to owner-shareholders whose compensation is allocable to domestic production gross receipts. Note that the limitation applies to amounts paid with respect to employment in calendar year 2014, even if the business has a fiscal year.
  • To reduce 2014 taxable income, consider deferring a debt-cancellation event until 2015.
  • To reduce 2014 taxable income, consider disposing of a passive activity in 2014 if doing so will allow you to deduct suspended passive activity losses.
  • If you own an interest in a partnership or S corporation consider whether you need to increase your basis in the entity so you can deduct a loss from it for this year.

These are just some of the year-end steps that can be taken to save taxes. Again, by contacting us, we can tailor a particular plan that will work best for you. We also will need to stay in close touch in the event Congress revives expired tax breaks, to assure that you don’t miss out on any resuscitated tax saving opportunities.

Do not hesitate to call us to set up an appointment before end of the year to make sure you are taking the right steps for year-end tax preparation. You are also always welcome to give us a call with any questions. 317-549-3091 or email us at cpa@cwmcf.com

 

FASB Proposes Changes to Presentation of Reclassified Income

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued for public comment a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that is intended to improve the presentation of reclassifications out of accumulated other comprehensive income. The proposed amendments balance the benefits to users of financial statements without imposing significant additional costs to preparers, according to FASB’s In Focus documents. The proposed update would apply to all public and private organizations that issue financial statements in conformity with US GAAP and that report other comprehensive income.

The ASU Comprehensive Income (Topic 220), Presentation of Items Reclassified Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income, would require a tabular disclosure of the effect of items reclassified, which presents, in one place, information about the amounts reclassified and a road map to related financial disclosures. This information is currently presented throughout the financial statements under US GAAP.

Other comprehensive income includes gains and losses that are initially excluded from net income for an accounting period. Those gains and losses are later reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income into net income.

Some items of other comprehensive income that are reclassified after a reporting period, and which FASB uses in its presentation examples, include cash flow hedges, unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale securities, and foreign currency translation adjustments. US GAAP disclosure requirements already require this information to be disclosed, the Exposure Draft (ED) of the amendments states.

The ED provides examples of tabular formats and addresses the needs of life insurers. It also refers to US GAAP requirements for defined benefit pension costs.

“Stakeholders raised concerns that certain requirements about the reclassification of items out of accumulated other comprehensive income would be costly for preparers and add unnecessary complexity to financial statements,” said FASB Chairman Leslie F. Seidman. “Based on this new feedback, the Board is proposing a revised approach that will present information about other comprehensive information in a useful way that is more cost-effective.”

No decision has been made regarding an effective date. Stakeholders are asked to provide their written comments on the proposed ASU by October 15, 2012.

Full article: http://www.accountingweb.com/article/fasb-proposes-changes-presentation-reclassified-income/219733

The JOBS Act: Economic Solution or Investor Nightmare?

In an effort to jump-start the US economy and create more jobs, both the House and Senate passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, and President Obama signed the act into law April 8, 2012. With bipartisan support, the bill is designed to make it easier for small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs to raise capital by decreasing government oversight and federal regulations.

Now the intrigue begins. Many questions arise from this new legislation. What kind of impact will the JOBS Act have on small businesses, start-ups, and the economy in general? Will the JOBS Act open the door for new IPOs? Or will it provide more incentive for companies to stay private? What impact will the JOBS Act have on investors who rely on full disclosure when reviewing the filings of IPOs?

These open-ended questions have answers that vary depending on who you are asking – the opponents or proponents. Those in favor of the JOBS Act see it as an opportunity for growth; while those against it worry that loosened regulations may lead to investor fraud and abuse. Whether for or against the legislation, the JOBS Act will:

Create emerging growth companies. One provision of the JOBS Act essentially creates a new category of public companies. Businesses that have under $1 billion in annual revenue during its most recent fiscal year would qualify “emerging growth companies” (EGCs) and would not be required to comply with certain Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting regulations for up to five years; less than five years if the company reaches $1 billion in gross revenue, $700 million in public float, or issues more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt in the previous three years. Companies that complete or have completed an IPO after December 8, 2011, will be eligible to qualify as an EGC. Through this legislation, EGCs would be exempt for their first five years on the public market from the compliance burdens of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404(b), such as requiring an auditor’s attestation report on internal controls over financial reporting. The JOBS Act will also allow pre-IPO EGCs to confidentially submit a draft registration statement for SEC review. Other reporting requirements will be “phased in” over the initial five-year period. These relaxed regulations will allow smaller companies to go public sooner.

Allow equity-based “crowdfunding.” New businesses will be able to raise up to $1 million in equity capital from unaccredited investors. This provision facilitates the utilization of online trading portals, a mechanism used to solicit a large number of smaller investors. The Senate version of the JOBS Act created a number of restrictions aimed at protecting investors. Among those restrictions are limiting individual investments to (1) the greater of $2,000 or 5 percent of the investor’s annual income or net worth if either annual income or net worth is less than $100,000; and (2) 10 percent of the investor’s annual income or net worth, not to exceed $100,000, if annual income or net worth is greater than $100,000 and also requiring registration by intermediary platforms and issuers with the SEC. Federal law would preempt state regulations, meaning that issuers could raise funds from across the United States. The SEC will have 180 days after the bill’s enactment to publish rules for crowdfunding.

Remove prohibitions on general solicitation of Regulation D offerings. The JOBS Act allows for advertising of Regulation D 506 offerings, as long as advertisements are focused on accredited investors. Affluent individuals who provide capital for a business start-up, also known as “angels,” should especially note the McHenry Amendment, which clarifies that angel and incubator platforms that do not charge a fee connected to the purchase or sale of securities would be exempt from broker-dealer registration. This exemption from registration will be helpful for Internet platforms, such as AngelList or Gust and venture forums aimed at accredited investors, and also for some angel groups.

Increase the threshold for Regulation A “mini-public offerings.” Regulation A currently allows companies to go public and be exempted from SEC registration for offerings up to $5 million. The JOBS Act will increase the offering threshold for this little-used exemption to $50 million, perhaps making it a more useful option for angel-backed companies.

Raise the cap on private shareholders from 500 to 2,000. Many private companies are forced by regulations to file as a public company once they exceed 500 shareholders and $10 million in assets. The bill will increase the shareholder limit to 2,000 accredited investors or 500 unaccredited investors. The increased limit will give some flexibility to companies like Facebook in deciding whether to stay private or go public, and it could also benefit secondary market platforms that can offer a more robust market for the shares of private companies.

From the above analysis of the bill, it is clear how the JOBS Act will help small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs raise capital, but the question that remains is how will the bill create jobs? Here are a couple of thoughts: (1) the $1 billion ceiling on regulation will spur job growth since it will provide an incentive for companies to go public instead of selling, and (2) the cost savings for new IPOs will allow them to spend more money on growing their businesses and hiring personnel instead of regulatory compliance.

Despite the apparent benefits of the bill, the legislation still has its detractors. Critics fear that the JOBS Act will lead to massive fraud due to a lack of regulation and oversight. Investors will not see the “full picture” when making their investments. For example, the online coupon company, Groupon (that who went public in 2011 and had over $1 billion in revenue at the time), was faced with major SEC scrutiny over its accounting methods during its IPO. The company suffered a significant market capitalization reduction when going public due to reported questionable accounting methods and the loss of investor confidence. Had the JOBS Act been in effect prior to its IPO, Groupon could have gone public before it reached the $1 billion mark and not dealt with the intense scrutiny that resulted in its reduction in market capitalization. Conversely, the investing public would not have been aware of the apparent “red flags” had the reporting regulations been relaxed.

To address these concerns, the Senate attached an amendment to the bill, requiring the business to warn investors that there are risks when it comes to investments. The amended bill requires that a business “takes reasonable measures to reduce the risk of fraud with respect to such transactions” and gives the investor its company address and website, which must be kept up-to-date. The JOBs Act also requires the SEC to implement various actions on a tight time line from as little as 90 days after enactment of certain aspects of the law, while up to 270 days for other portions.

The President and Congress are hoping the JOBS Act will generate as much economic growth as it did bipartisan support. It originally passed the House by a vote of 390 to 23, and then passed the Senate 73 to 26. However, only time will tell.

Full Article: http://www.accountingweb.com/topic/accounting-auditing/jobs-act-economic-solution-or-investor-nightmare