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Why You Should Contract a Payroll Service

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tax

 

When you own your own business, it can sometimes be hard to let other people take over tasks you’ve been doing yourself. This is exacerbated if you started out as a sole proprietor and slowly grew to the point of needing a team. If you started out doing everything yourself, whenever you consider hiring someone to take on a task there’s going to be a little voice in the back of your head that says, “Oh come on, I could just do this myself and save the money.”

This is an understandable impulse, but if you persist in this kind of thinking, it will hold your business back from the kind of growth that you could accomplish by outsourcing certain tasks or projects out to others. One terrific example of this is when it comes to doing payroll for your business. In all likelihood, at some point you did some portion of the payroll work yourself, but as your business grows you owe it to yourself to turn this over to people like our experts here at Baker Business and Tax Solutions. Here’s just a few of the benefits you can reap:

 

Staying compliant

The law changes on a regular basis when it comes to matters dealing with pay rates, taxes, and benefits. Here in the greater Cincinnati area, this is made worse when you consider that your employees may reside not only in different municipalities from each other and your business, it’s not terribly uncommon for your employees to reside in a different state. These variances, along with changes in Federal Law, mean there are different rules and guidelines to follow when it comes to anything involving your payroll. While there are ways you can stay informed through local business networking groups or news organizations, you may not find the information you’re given to always be accurate, and you’ll nevertheless be held accountable. A dedicated payroll service will have clear policies in place to ensure ongoing compliance so you don’t have to.

 

More responsive to your needs

Whether it’s because you want to offer a promotion, an employee’s check has gone missing, or any other unexpected issue that may arise, having dedicated payroll specialists can actually make you more responsive when action is needed. If you’re trying to handle payroll yourself, you need to figure out how to fit this kind of problem solving in with the rest of your day. When you’re already booked with meetings on a Friday, taking the time to sit down and come up with a resolution to a payroll issue can be cumbersome to fit in at best. Meanwhile, notify a payroll specialist and they can begin working on a solution right away, letting you get back to your day.

 

Keeping your focused on your business

Which is going to help you grow your business? Spending an afternoon meeting with potential clients or sitting around trying to get your books together to cut paychecks for the week? This is a tough decision no business owner should have to make. At the end of the day, the biggest benefit of having a payroll service is that it gives you your time back to invest in your business. While it might seem tempting to consider the services you do yourself as “Free,” in reality you are paying big money in the form of business growth you are passing up trying to do these things yourself. Someone else can complete your payroll, and probably do it faster and better than you can. What they can’t do though is be you. The passion and drive you bring to the table when it comes to critical decisions for your business just simply cannot be matched by an outside person. You can either spend your time writing paychecks, or you can have us take care of it for you while you work on employee training and development, or building customer relationships.

Let us take payroll off your plate so you can focus on the things that brought you into business in the first place. Call us today, and we’ll show you all the benefits we can offer for your business. Let us do our work so you can get back to yours!

How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

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It can be tempting to consider your whole life as a series of numbers. Your phone number, your address, your social security number, your credit card number, the list goes on. Almost every aspect of our daily lives is attached to a string of numbers which we have to communicate on a regular basis. This brings on a sense of existential anxiety when we realize that the methods we use to communicate those numbers are less than secure more often than not. What’s worse, with the modern era of electronic information gathering, someone doesn’t really need to capture all of your information to put your financial well being at risk. Someone with your name and address can probably then get ahold of your credit card number, then they can access your social security number, then they can begin to open new lines of credit and you’re suddenly getting unpleasant surprises in the mail.

Identity theft is the common plight of our new age, and it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You may not have the experience of having your full credit identity compromised, but even having a single account accessed in your name can be costly and frustrating. There are, however, a few ways to ensure you are protected.

 

Check your credit reports

One of the most important steps to take is to periodically check your credit report with the main credit bureaus. They are required to offer you a free copy of your credit report once every year, and you can request it at www.annualcreditreport.com. There are other sites that will advertise free access to your credit report, but this site is set up by the credit bureaus in compliance with federal guidelines. You can also register for credit monitoring services to be alerted when new applications are made with your identity or if new debts are reported.

 

Keep secure passwords

Any system you log into online should require secure password, especially if that system has access to any financial information. This is not just restricted to bank accounts, but also accounts that may have saved credit cards. A national pizza chain website, for instance, might be vulnerable to be compromised, allowing someone to place orders on your account, with you footing the bill. You should not use the same password for multiple websites, and your passwords should have a minimum level of “complexity.” That is a mix of upper and lower case letters and special symbols where allowed.

 

Be cautious when answering questions

From time to time, you may have legitimate contact regarding a financial issue. A debt collector, bank representative, or your business accountant may call regarding an important issue. In these cases, especially when you weren’t expecting that contact, be particularly cautious. Different companies will have different policies on what information they will or will not request over the phone. For instance, passwords for online accounts should never be requested over the phone, especially in an instance where they have called you. If you are ever in doubt, advise the caller that you will disconnect the call and call them back at a publicly verified contact number for that institution. Contact by mail is generally safer, but could still be susceptible to risks. Ensure that the return address you are provided matches one that can be verified for the company in question. If you aren’t certain, call the company at a listed customer service number or visit your local branch.

These are just some of the basic habits you want to build when it comes to protecting your identity. When it comes to managing your taxes, play it safe and work with a reputable tax preparer like Baker Business and Tax Solutions. Contact us today!

What Do I Do if I Can’t Pay My Tax Bill?

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Tax season is stressful enough for all of us. Trying to track down your receipts and records, making sure you have all of your information correct, worrying that you’re missing some little thing that could blow up in your face later, all thoughts that might be rushing through your head as your prepare to file your taxes. As the deadline swiftly approaches though, there’s one fear that leaves many taxpayers feeling like they shouldn’t be bothering with it at all. What if you can’t afford to pay? Especially with recent changes in the tax law, particularly with adjustments that were made to withholding by many employers, more taxpayers than usual are finding themselves owing money this year. For some, they may think it’s tempting to just not file, believing that if they don’t face the problem, it will wait. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, but tackling the issue as quickly as possible will give you the best chance to navigate the situation as smoothly as possible.

Get Help

The first thing to do is get help. This can be a long and complicated process, and having someone in your corner is the single best factor in making sure you get through this in an orderly manner. The IRS does have a help line you can contact that will explain your options to you. It’s important to remember though that these agents are working for the IRS, and their goal is not to save you money, but to help you get your bill paid in full. Our tax professionals can review your records and ensure you’re taking advantage of all of the deductions that should apply for you, as well as following the correct filing procedure to save you money. Because you pay us, we work for you and our incentive is to help you legally save as much as you can. We also offer IRS representation if needed.

Pay what you can

If you can’t pay the full amount you do owe, you’ll want to pay as much as you can. Any unpaid amount will be subject to compounding interest as well as late fees, so reducing this amount as much as possible will save you money. Because of the high interest rates, you’ll want to make sure whatever plan you have for paying the remaining balance moves as quickly as possible.

Make arrangements with the IRS

You’ll need to make some kind of arrangement to pay off the remaining balance that you owe. The IRS has a few options available, or you can go through a private lender for assistance. The IRS offers installment agreements that can apply, with different fees depending on if you can make the full payment within 120 days after the due date, or if it will require longer. The interest rate the IRS charges on your past due amount is usually lower than you’d find by paying the balance with either a personal loan or credit card, but depending on your personal situation, the fees the IRS charge may cause the final amount to pay to be higher. You’ll need to consider all of these factors when deciding, and because the IRS fees are different for some taxpayers due to income and financial situation, the answer may be different for everyone. Finally, you might be able to qualify for an Offer in Compromise, or OIC, in which the IRS will accept a lower amount, though the rules for this are very narrow and may not apply in your situation.

Regardless of the amount or status your tax bill, you can face it with the confidence of help from expert professionals if you work with us at Baker Business and Tax Solutions. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

Is This Donation Deductible?

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While recent changes in the tax code have made it less attractive to donate to charity due to an increase in the standard deduction, for some taxpayers, there are still some benefits to be had from donations, depending on your specific tax situation. However, it’s always important to remember that not every donation you make can be tax deductible. There’s a few crucial questions you want to ask that will help you determine whether a given deduction is going to qualify.

First, you need to verify that the organization you’re donating to qualifies as a tax deductible one. While it’s true that most religious or veterans organizations qualify, some organizations might use a name that indicates such an affiliation while not actually qualifying. You can ask the organization directly if they qualify for tax deductible status, but if you have reason to be concerned, the most certain way to verify if an organization qualifies as tax deductible is to check their registration on the IRS website’s tax exempt organization search here. There are some caveats to note, however. Some churches, group ruling subordinates, and governmental units, and other organizations may qualify but not be listed on the IRS website. Information about those groups can be found on the IRS website here.

Once you’ve verified that the organization you are donating to qualifies, you’ll need to make sure that the donation you’re making does as well. If you receive any kind of goods or services in return for your donation, the value of those goods or services would need to be deducted from the value of your donation. For instance, if you sign up to sponsor a non-profit organization and in return receive a welcome basket with items worth $25, that amount would need to be excluded from your tax deduction. If you are donating to a charity as part of raising money for a trip, such as a missions trip, you might be able to deduct those costs, depending on the itinerary of the trip. According to IRS Publication 526, “Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel.”  So your deduction would be depending on the trip not having a “personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation” to it.

Ultimately, it’s crucial that before taking any deduction, you’ve carefully checked the relevant legal guidelines as well as your own personal tax situation. The best way to have peace of mind about your taxes is to schedule an appointment with us today. Our tax professionals will ensure your taxes and your deductions are filed correctly and you get the full return you are due.