CLAIMING THE SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH CARE TAX CREDIT

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If you’re a small business owner with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees you may be eligible for the small business health care credit.

WHAT IS THE SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH CARE CREDIT?

The small business health care tax credit, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010, is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations provide health insurance for their employees. Small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible for this credit. Household employers not engaged in a trade or business also qualify.

HOW DOES THE CREDIT SAVE ME MONEY?

The tax credit is worth up to 50 percent of your contribution toward employees’ premium costs (up to 35 percent for tax-exempt employers). The tax credit is highest for companies with fewer than 10 employees who are paid an average of $25,900 or less in 2016 ($26,200 in 2017). The smaller the business, the bigger the credit is. For example, if you have more than 10 FTEs or if the average wage is more than $25,900, the amount of the credit you receive will be less. For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit was 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities.

Note: The credit is available only if you get coverage through the SHOP Marketplace.

If you pay $50,000 a year toward workers’ health care premiums–and you qualify for a 15 percent credit–you’ll save $7,500. If you save $7,500 a year from tax year 2013 through 2016, that’s a total saving of $30,000. And, if in 2017 you qualify for a slightly larger credit, say 20 percent, your savings go from $7,500 a year to $12,000 a year.

IS MY BUSINESS ELIGIBLE FOR THE CREDIT?

To be eligible for the credit, you must cover at least 50 percent of the cost of single (not family) health care coverage for each of your employees. You must also have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and those employees must have average wages of less than $50,000 a year. This amount is adjusted for inflation annually and in 2016 was $52,000.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means. A full-time equivalent employee is defined as either one full-time employee or two half-time employees. In other words, two half-time workers count as one full-timer or one full-time equivalent. Here is another example: 20 half-time employees are equivalent to 10 full-time workers. That makes the number of FTEs 10, not 20.

Now let’s talk about average wages. Say you pay total wages of $200,000 and have 10 FTEs. To figure average wages you divide $200,000 by 10–the number of FTEs–and the result is your average wage. In this example, the average wage would be $20,000.

CAN TAX-EXEMPT EMPLOYERS CLAIM THE CREDIT?

Yes. The credit is refundable for small tax-exempt employers too, so even if you have no taxable income, you may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund as long as it does not exceed your income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability.

CAN I STILL CLAIM THE CREDIT EVEN IF I DON’T OWE ANY TAX THIS YEAR?

If you are a small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments are more than the total credit, eligible small businesses can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit. That’s both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments.

CAN I FILE AN AMENDED RETURN AND CLAIM THE CREDIT FOR PREVIOUS TAX YEARS?

If you can benefit from the credit this year but forgot to claim it on your tax return there’s still time to file an amended return.

Businesses that have already filed and later find that they qualified in 2014 or 2015 can still claim the credit by filing an amended return for one or both years.

Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about the small business health care credit. And, if you need more time to determine eligibility this year we’ll help you file an automatic tax-filing extension.

ESTIMATED TAX PAYMENTS: Q&A

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, and rent, as well as gains from the sale of assets, prizes and awards. You also may have to pay estimated tax if the amount of income tax being withheld from your salary, pension, or other income is not enough. If you do not pay enough by the due date of each payment period you may be charged a penalty even if you are due a refund when you file your tax return.

How do I know if I need to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?

If you owed additional tax for the prior tax year, you may have to make estimated tax payments for the current tax year. The first estimated payment for 2017 is due April 18, 2017.

If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S corporation shareholder, and/or a self-employed individual, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.

To see the rest of the article please visit VAAS Professionals.

Written by Steve Julal of VAAS Professionals

Steve

VAAS Professionals, LLC
325 Edgewood Avenue, S.E
Atlanta, GA 30312
www.vaasprofessionals.com
(404)223-1058

SHOULD YOU FILE AN EXTENSION ON YOUR TAX RETURN?

Come by April 29th and find out How to Turn your Contacts into Contracts, write up your own personalized sales script that fits your company and how to drive business from social media.

If you’ve been procrastinating when it comes to preparing and filing your tax return this year you might be considering filing an extension. While obtaining a 6-month extension to file is relatively easy–and there are legitimate reasons for doing so–there are also some downsides. If you need more time to file your tax return this year, here’s what you need to know about filing an extension.

WHAT IS AN EXTENSION?

An extension of time to file is a formal way to request additional time from the IRS to file your tax return, which in 2017, is due on April 18. Anyone can request an extension, and you don’t have to explain why you are asking for more time.

  • Note: Special rules may apply if you are serving in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous duty area or living outside the United States. Please call the office if you need more information.

Individuals are automatically granted an additional six months to file their tax returns. In 2017, the extended due date is October 16. Businesses can also request an extension. In 2017, the deadline for most businesses (whose tax returns were due March 15) is September 15th (October 16 for C-corporations).

  • Caution: Taxpayers should be aware that an extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes. In 2017, April 18 is the deadline for most to pay taxes owed and avoid penalty and interest charges.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF FILING AN EXTENSION?

As with most things, there are pros and cons to filing an extension. Let’s take a look at the pros of getting an extension to file first.

Pros

1. You can avoid a late-filing penalty if you file an extension. The late-filing penalty is equal to 5 percent per month on any tax due plus a late-payment penalty of half a percent per month.

Tip: If you are owed a refund and file late, there is no penalty for late filing.

To check out the rest of the tips go to VAAS Professionals.

Written by Steve Julal of VAAS Professionals

Steve

VAAS Professionals, LLC
325 Edgewood Avenue, S.E
Atlanta, GA 30312
www.vaasprofessionals.com

LAST MINUTE FILING TIPS FOR 2016 TAX RETURNS

Come by April 29th and find out How to Turn your Contacts into Contracts, write up your own personalized sales script that fits your company and how to drive business from social media.

Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
Are you one of the millions of Americans who hasn’t filed (or even started) your taxes yet? With the April 18 tax filing deadline quickly approaching, here is some last minute tax advice for you.

1. Stop Procrastinating. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. It takes time to prepare accurate returns and additional information may be needed from you to complete your tax return.

2. Include All Income. If you had a side job in addition to a regular job, you might have received a Form 1099-MISC. Make sure you include that income when you file your tax return because you may owe additional taxes on it. If you forget to include it you may be liable for penalties and interest on the unreported income.

3. File on Time or Request an Extension. This year’s tax deadline is April 18. If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six-month extension, bringing the filing date to October 16, 2017. You should keep in mind, however, that filing the extension itself does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. You will still owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late-payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date.

4. Don’t Panic If You Can’t Pay. If you can’t immediately pay the taxes you owe, there are several alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting your own monthly payment amount and due date, and getting a reduced late payment penalty rate. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit card. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but processing companies generally charge a convenience fee. Electronic filers with a balance due can file early and authorize the government’s financial agent to take the money directly from their checking or savings account on the April due date, with no fee.

5. Don’t forget to check the box for healthcare coverage. Checking the box on line 61 of Form 1040 shows that you had healthcare for all 12 months during the tax year (2016). The IRS will still process your tax return if you forget to check the box but this applies ONLY to 2016 tax returns–and you’re not off the hook for any penalty you might owe.

6. Sign and Double Check Your Return. The IRS will not process tax returns that aren’t signed, so make sure that you sign and date your return. You should also double check your social security number, as well as any electronic payment or direct deposit numbers, and finally, make sure that your filing status is correct.

Remember: To avoid delays, get your tax documents to the office as soon as you can.

Written by Steve Julal of VAAS Professionals

Steve

VAAS Professionals, LLC
325 Edgewood Avenue, S.E
Atlanta, GA 30312
www.vaasprofessionals.com
(404)223-1058

“How Smart People Handle Difficult People” Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negativity they spread, while others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos.

Come by April 15th and find out how to maximize your workday, work smarter not harder, and reduce or eliminate common distractions and time wasters in our free workshop.

Difficult people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus — an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success — when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organization needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.

Recent research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions — the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with difficult people — caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome or just plain craziness, difficult people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

For the rest of the article visit Entrepreneur.com

Written by: Travis Bradberry

Travis Bradberry

Award-winning co-author of the best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of TalentSmart — a consultancy that serves more than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies and is a leading provider of emotional…
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What’s the Difference Between an Advisory Board and a Board of Directors? More importantly, which one do you need for your business?

Come by April 15th and find out how to maximize your workday, work smarter not harder, and reduce or eliminate common distractions and time wasters in our free workshop.

Many entrepreneurs I know are confused by the differences between an advisory board and a board of directors.

So, to explain in one sentence: advisory boards are voluntary and have no fiduciary responsibility. I recommend a small one for every startup, starting at inception, prior to a major investor or key business scaling initiative. This board is a good test drive for the more formal board of directors required later, when going public (IPO) or upon the interest of venture capital investors, and can give you plenty of great advice.

For both boards, members should be selected individually for their ability to independently add value to the expertise and experience of the management team, with no obligation or intent to add weight to internal views. The details of these considerations are outlined in The Board Book, the classic written by board expert and founder of The Board Institute, Susan F. Shultz.

Shultz provides a set of considerations that I recommend to every entrepreneur for deciding when and how to create the board that has the most value to a specific CEO and a specific business. These considerations include the following:

  1. Are you looking for advice or a boss? Most founders and CEOs will not voluntarily establish a formal board of directors unless they are trying to attract a major investor, preparing for an IPO or planning for an acquisition. As an alternative, every CEO needs an advisory board to help them grow, which they can ignore or fire at their pleasure

For the rest of the article visit Entrepreneur.com

Written by:
MARTIN ZWILLING

Martin Zwilling

Martin Zwilling is the founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides products and services to startup founders and small business owners. The author of Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur? and…

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Taking Customers With You When You Start a Business

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Come by April 15th and find out how to maximize your workday, work smarter not harder, and reduce or eliminate common distractions and time wasters in our free workshop.

Entreprenuer.com

A reader sent in the following question recently in regards to the ramifications of notifying your employer’s customers that you’re leaving to start a similar business:

“For the past several years, I’ve been employed by a local accounting firm and have have developed close relationships with several of the firm’s clients. A number of these clients have been dealing exclusively with me as opposed to the firm’s partners, and I view them (rightly or wrongly) as ‘my’ clients. I’m leaving the firm shortly to set up my own practice in the same town and would like to notify these clients of my change in status, but I’m afraid the firm will sue me for ‘stealing business’. I’ve never signed any sort of noncompete agreement with the firm. What are my legal risks here?”

First of all, no business “owns” its clients or customers. People are free to use whichever service providers they like, and agreements that prevent them from doing so are often viewed as illegal “restraints of trade” and are generally struck down by the courts.

Second of all, as I’m sure you already know, this situation is every employer’s worst nightmare: You spend years training someone in the hopes they’ll help you grow your business, and the next thing you know, they’ve quit and taken half your customers with them.

Shame on this accounting firm for not requiring all its employees to sign a “nonsolicitation” agreement, in which the employees promise not to contact any of the firm’s customers or clients for a period of XX months after leaving the firm’s employ for any reason. Unlike noncompete agreements–which prohibit ex-employees from working in the same field or profession within a certain geographic area–nonsolicitation agreements are viewed as a legitimate effort by a business to protect its goodwill, and are often upheld by the same courts that routinely strike down noncompetes.

To read the full article go to entreprenuer.com.

Written by Cliff Ennico on Entreprenuer.com

Cliff Ennico is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series MoneyHunt. His latest book is Small Business Survival Guide(Adams Media). This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. Copyright 2006 Clifford R. Ennico. Distributed by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Clifford R. Ennico

FINANCIAL FOCUS – How Can The Sandwich Generation Relieve Financial Stress?

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Come by April 15th and find out how to maximize your workday, work smarter not harder, and reduce or eliminate common distractions and time wasters in our free workshop.

Don’t worry too much if you haven’t heard, but April is National Stress Awareness Month. Of course, stress can present emotional and physical challenges to all of us, but if you belong to the “sandwich generation” – that is, you may be caring for aging parents while still supporting your own children – you may be facing some financial stress as well. What can you do to relieve it?

For one thing, be aware that you’re certainly not alone. About one in seven middle-aged adults is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child, according to the Pew Research Center.

Still, knowing that you have plenty of company won’t provide you with solutions for your own situation. So consider the following:

 

  • Suggest “downsizing.” Are your parents still paying a costly mortgage on a house that’s now too big for them? You might want to encourage them to think about downsizing. They may be emotionally attached to their home, but they might benefit substantially if they moved someplace that’s less expensive.

 

  • Talk to parents about their income sources. Are your parents maximizing their Social Security payments? Are they following a sensible withdrawal strategy for their IRA, 401(k) or other retirement accounts? You may want to recommend that they work with a qualified financial professional.

 

  • Discuss all legal arrangements. Be aware of your parents’ estate plans and the status of important legal documents – will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and so on. When the time arises for any of these arrangements to take effect, you don’t want to face any unpleasant – and possibly costly – surprises.

 

  • Find out about health care. Try to learn about your parents’ health insurance coverage. And have they done anything to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of long-term care, such as an extended nursing home stay? You may not be able to do a great deal for them in these areas, but at the least, you may be able to get them to take some positive action on their own behalf.

 

  • Don’t ignore your own retirement savings. Even if you can afford to provide some financial support to your parents, don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to yourown retirement savings. You don’t get a “do-over” when it comes to putting away money for retirement, so contribute as much as you can afford to your IRA and your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan.

 

  • Prioritize your investment choices.If you would like to help your children go to college, you might want to consider a college savings vehicle. Still, you may need to prioritize your investments. After all, your children will likely have a variety of options – such as loans and scholarships – to help them pay for school, and they may also be able to reduce costs substantially by going to a community college their first two years. But you are basically “up against the clock” when it comes to saving for retirement, so you’ll want to take that into account when allocating your investment dollars.

 

Belonging to the sandwich generation can certainly produce feelings of anxiety. But by following the above suggestions, you may be able to reduce some of this stress. And by doing so, you can help your parents, your children – and yourself.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

Entrepreneurs, Beware This Terrible Way of Networking on Social Media

Check out Connecting Atlanta for all of our up to date business workshops.

There’s a trend emerging on social media. Someone you don’t know but who may be connected to some of your friends or your network sends you a friend request. Shortly after, they send you a private message or email telling you what they want from you.

Every single day, I get these type of friend requests and messages. Someone’s first interaction with me is to ask me to write about them or their company, or they want to pick my brain about how to book paid speaking and consulting gigs internationally. No “hello,” no small talk. They just get right to what they want and how it somehow benefits me.

This is a terrible way to network and will never make a connection with fellow entrepreneurs. Social media works a lot like real life. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger, say “hello” and then try to kiss them. There are three things you should understand in regards to networking.

1. Lead with value.

Human nature is to focus on what we want and what will help us. Networking done right leads with value for the person you’re approaching.

I’m not going to give you the old-school advice to tell people you will work for free just to get their radar. It can be as simple as sharing a book suggestion or a helpful article that complements what that person has shared on social media. It’s not about a grand gesture, it’s about finding some way to approach that person with value.

Also, understand that trying to get them on the phone right away is too much. They don’t know you, a phone call right off the bat is not a great ask. Your asks should not exceed the realities of your relationship.

To read the rest of the article, click Entreprenuer.com.

Check out Connecting Atlanta for all of our up to date business workshops.

Written by:

KIMANZI CONSTABLE

25 Features Every Business Website Must Have in 2017 (Infographic)

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Even though online businesses are becoming more prevalent, they haven’t become any easier to launch.

To give your online business a greater chance to succeed, there are certain things you need to incorporate on its website. Of course, there are the simple things such as an easy domain name, a phone number and a logo, but it’s also vital to think about the content, links and navigation that will go onto your site.

When building your website, sometimes it’s helpful to think of its setup like that of a newspaper — organizing the most important content “above the fold,” and the less exciting material “below the fold.” In addition, having a strong call to action will help hook potential customers.

For the rest of the article, click here.

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Rose Leadem is an online editorial assistant at Entrepreneur Media Inc.

3 Ridiculously Easy Hacks to Get People to Sign Up to Your Email List

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Have you ever changed the oil in your car?

It’s a pretty basic skill that surprisingly few people actually know how to do. If you do, you’ll most likely have used a funnel before.

The main idea behind a funnel is to cast a wide net that you can pour the viscous liquid into it without spilling it all over the engine block. The oil flows through the wide top end of the funnel and is neatly deposited into the narrow bottom end, filling your engine up so that the car runs smoothly.

In the internet marketing world, we also have funnels. Their purpose is to cast a wide net and find people across the web who might be interested in our material, then get those people to neatly file themselves into our email database so that we can provide them with valuable content, market to them and eventually make some money.

Getting people to opt-in.

Once a member of your audience has interacted with your content, it’s time to get them on your email list. This might seem challenging at first, but think about your own inbox. How many newsletters are you subscribed to?

The average person subscribes to anywhere between 20 and 30 free newsletters from a variety of businesses. Anything from a department store doing a semi-annual sale, to the Nissan dealership giving away insane deals on the 2018 Altima, to content-based emails about things that interest you.

At one point you weren’t receiving emails from that business…and now you are. How the hell does that happen?

In most cases, it people sign up to an email newsletter to get something for free. This is called an “opt-in,” and it’s your bread and butter if you want to build an online business — especially one that’s based on information products.

For the rest of the article, click here.

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Daniel DiPiazza is the founder of Rich20Something, where he teaches young people how to start businesses that they care about and live happier lives.