An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

A Guide to Tax Savings for Consultants

An Amazon sellersets up her accounting reports on her computer

If you’re living the independent consultant life, you probably think it’s pretty sweet that you don’t have a boss over you, telling you what to do. But aside from your mini-bosses (AKA clients), you still have one more entity to which you report: The IRS. 

The IRS watches consultants closely, and every tax dollar that is owed has to be accounted for. The good news is that the money you spend on your business can often become “yours” again through tax savings.

Here are some tax-saving tips for consulting firms to minimize what they owe to the IRS at the end of the fiscal year.

Internet, Phone, & Business Utilities

Whether you work from a home office or rent a separate building that you commute to, the cash you spend on the necessities of doing business can often be deducted. 

Keep track of your basic operational overhead, including internet costs, your cell phone minutes, electricity bills, and any other utility costs that come about in the normal course of business.

Don’t forget about the software you use. If you have any subscriptions for programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe Suite, they might just be deductible expenses. Although it can be a pain to subscribe for software instead of purchasing it outright, as far as your tax returns are concerned, they’re the gift that keeps on giving!

Office 

Perhaps you have a home office. Congrats! Working from home means your commute is simply a few steps that you can take in your slippers and robe. But is it a source of tax savings?

The IRS lets you deduct the expenses related to this space as long as it is solely used for your consulting duties. For your home office, there are two ways to write off costs for your tax return:

Actual Expense Method 

The total expenses for your office include “direct expenses” for things like supplies and repairs, as well as “indirect expenses,” which might account for portions of your utilities, mortgage, and insurance.

The Simplified Option

Take the standard rate (which is currently set at five dollars) and multiply it by the square footage of your office (as long as it’s less than 300 square feet). If you take this option, you can still write off your office supplies, too!

If you commute to a separate fixed location office, know that you can’t deduct your mileage to and from that office. You can, however, deduct any business insurance you pay, as well as rent or any utility bills.

Entertainment and Meals 

Be prepared to defend your entertainment, travel, and meal expenses to the IRS! They’ll want to ensure that these costs were truly necessary for doing business, like meeting a client at a restaurant to talk shop or taking them to a show. 

Unfortunately, you can’t deduct a meal that came with entertainment, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, unless the meal was a separate expense from the entertainment portion.

You can deduct 100% of your travel fees, airfare, gas, and hotels, while you can also deduct 50% of your meal costs. 

Deducting anything that could (to an outside observer) look like pure fun, rather than work is where you’re going to need impeccable accounting and bookkeeping. It would be wise to keep a journal of your travel activities should the IRS have any questions for you.

Educational Materials and Courses

Whether you’re starting your consulting career right out of school or you’re a lifelong learner, your thirst for knowledge can come with some serious tax savings. 

Education tax credits and the Lifetime Learning Credit can earn you tax breaks if you’re taking courses at a recognized institution of higher learning. If you’re paid for any seminars, lectures, conferences, or even any certifications, write those costs off, too!

Not only can education lower your taxes, but anything that could be considered to be education is most likely deductible, too! 

Your magazine subscriptions and books (related to your industry), as well as research services, allow you to stay on top of the latest developments in your field. 

As a short aside, this is the kind of thing your clients will want to see, too. Positioning yourself as an expert that keeps abreast of trends and news for your area of expertise proves you’re worth your customers’ money and time!

Mileage 

If you take the standard mileage deduction, it does reduce your upfront work when it comes to keeping track of vehicle-related expenses. However, you won’t be able to write off your gas, repairs, maintenance, or insurance. 

If you want to get the biggest possible tax savings, go the extra mile and track your mileage!

Let’s say you choose to keep track of work-related car use. Remember that you can’t deduct mileage to and from your house and your permanent office location, even if you’re meeting with a client. 

You can write off your mileage when you’re commuting to meet clients at other locations, as well as when you run work-related errands. Write down your odometer readings or find an app that lets you track mileage.

Office Supplies 

Look around your desk. That stapler? Those pencils and pens? The paper in the printer? Post-It Notes? Stamps? Write them off! You can also deduct printing services. 

Any consumable materials you use in the course of your work in your office, as long as they are being used for work, count as expenses you can deduct.

Marketing and Advertising 

Building your brand will require getting your name and logo in front of as many eyes as possible. Your web hosting service, graphic design, and any ads you run, regardless of the medium, are deductible expenses. 

Now, if you’re savvy and able to do some of the work yourself, like photoshopping a logo or building your website, unfortunately, you can’t deduct what you would have spent for someone else to do the work for you! 

You might be able to create graphic designs worthy of tens of thousands of dollars, but unless that’s what you spent to have someone else do it, just consider it to be upfront savings, as it’s not a deduction.

Health Insurance 

As an independent consultant, you will have to pay for your own health insurance, but the good news is that it is a deductible cost. All health, dental, and vision coverage you purchase for yourself and your family can be written off. However, if you’re covered under your spouse’s plan, you can’t deduct those costs.

Client Gifts

Write off expenditures of up to $25 for any client gifts. The more clients you have, the more you can give. The more you can give, the more you can write off. 

However, if you choose to buy a client a solid rosewood dining table that costs as much as a new car — sorry, you’ll only be able to write off $25 of what you spent! 

Keep in mind that the IRS will frown on you giving multiple $25 gifts to the same client at the same time. These don’t count as separate gifts — they’ll be considered to be one lump expenditure.

Be Your Own Boss (and Spend Less Doing It)

As you try to figure out what is the best business structure for consultants, you might feel alone as you gain your footing. Know that it’s a path that many others have walked before you. The IRS will be watching you closely, but your friends at Xendoo are watching them right back! 

We help consultants every day with bookkeeping and tax preparation services. Going out on your own doesn’t mean going it all alone. Contact us today and give yourself the best start you can as you forge your path to being a successful independent consultant.

A broker goes over his taxes for his real estate business.

How to Prepare Your Business for Tax Time

A broker goes over his taxes for his real estate business.

Planning ahead is always a good business strategy, especially when it comes to taxes. Adopting a proactive strategy can help you stay ahead of business tax filing deadlines, avoiding the rush and the headache during tax season! 

To help business owners with their tax preparation, we’ve prepared a business tax filing guide to walk you through the process.

Deadlines

Any good business tax filing guide should start with the various filing deadlines associated with taxes for businesses. For a detailed explanation of these dates, you can check out this helpful article from Karen Doyle. 

Here, we’ll summarize the need-to-know facts about various filing deadlines.

Income Tax for Individuals, Sole Proprietors, and Single-Owner LLCs

Individual taxpayers, sole proprietors, and single-owner LLCs must make estimated tax payments on a quarterly basis and file an annual income tax return. 

The filing deadline is typically April 15, but the IRS moved this deadline to March 15, 2021 for this past year. Deadlines for state income tax can vary, so your state’s tax collection authority can be a helpful tax guide for local deadlines.

2021 Tax Filing Deadlines for Estimated Income Tax

Businesses and self-employed individuals must submit quarterly estimated tax payments according to the following schedule:

  • First Quarter: April 15
  • Second Quarter: June 15
  • Third Quarter: September 15
  • Fourth Quarter: December 15

Estimated payments can be calculated using Form 1120-W.

Income Tax Returns for Partnerships and S Corporations

S Corporations and partnerships must file a return by March 15, 2021, or the 15th day of the third month following the end of the organization’s tax year. 

These organizations must generate a Schedule K-1 earnings statement for each partner or for the organization. The following forms will be needed to generate a Schedule K-1:

  • Partnerships: Form 1065
  • S Corporations: 1120S

You may file for a six-month extension by submitting Form 7004. You will also need to submit a deposit equal to the amount of tax owed. The return will be due on September 15, including any interest and penalties.

Corporate Income Tax Returns

Companies must submit a corporate income tax return by April 15, 2021. Corporations can request a six-month extension by filing Form 7004, though they will also be required to submit a deposit for their estimated taxes.

If your business requests an extension, the new deadline will be October 15, 2021. This will also be the deadline for your first quarterly tax payment. 

If you do decide to request an extension, you’ll need to be prepared to pay your annual income tax from 2020, your quarterly tax payment for 2021, and any penalties or interest no later than October 15, 2021.

Employment Tax Filings for Wages and Non-Employee Compensation

Employers must distribute physical copies of tax forms by January 31 to any individual who received cash payments that include:

  • Wages
  • Non-employee compensation
  • Dividends
  • Royalties
  • Profit-sharing distributions

Electronic copies may be submitted instead, but only with the consent of the employee. 

Electronic copies must also be submitted to the Social Security Administration by the same date. The following documents are subject to the January 31 deadline:

  • Forms 1097, 1098 and 1099
  • Forms 3921 and 3922
  • Forms W-2 and W-2G

Small businesses must submit corresponding copies to the IRS by February 28. Keep in mind that you may also be required to submit the following forms:

  • Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns
  • Form 8027, Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips

You may be able to receive an extension for filing electronically, though this varies by year.

Employment Taxes and Payroll Withholdings

Small businesses must file Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, according to the following schedule:

  • April 30
  • July 30
  • October 29
  • January 31

The following forms are due on the last business day of the first month after the end of each calendar year:

  • Form 940, Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Return
  • Form 943, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return for Agricultural Employees
  • Form 944, Employer’s Annual Federal Tax Return
  • Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax

In 2022, this deadline falls on Monday, January 31.

Federal Excise Tax Requirements for Small Businesses

Some industries are required to pay excise taxes. Retailers, manufacturers, travel services, and communication companies file Form 720, the Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, on the following dates:

  • April 30
  • July 30
  • October 29
  • January 31, 2022

Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering, is used for businesses that accept bets. This form must be submitted before accepting any bets. Form 730 must be submitted monthly.

Form 2290 is used for businesses that rely on heavy highway vehicles. This form must be filed by the last day of the vehicle’s first month of use. After this, the excise tax period runs between July 1 and June 30.

Tips

What can you do to adopt a proactive strategy when it comes to your business tax filings? Our business tax filing guide offers three tips that can help you be prepared for next year’s tax season.

Make Sure Your Books Are Caught Up

Keeping your books up-to-date is one of the most important things you can do for your business. The further you get behind in your bookkeeping, the harder it will be to stay current with your financial and legal obligations — that can quickly make tax season a nightmare!

Many small business owners cut corners by handling their own books, only to later discover that they’re in over their head. Sound familiar? Don’t worry; you’re not the first. 

Outsourcing these needs to a professional bookkeeping service can help you get caught up, while keeping your business running smoothly all year round.

Gather Important Documents

You’ll also want to establish an organizational system to gather and preserve your important financial documents. We’ve already mentioned some of these earlier on this business tax filing guide, but the most important documents include: 

  • W2s from employers
  • 1099s from contractors or miscellaneous income
  • Documents showing itemized expenses (medical, educational, child care, etc.)
  • Statements regarding investments
  • Statements regarding mortgage interest payments
  • Receipts from charitable donations
  • Receipts for deductible expenses

These documents will be essential for calculating the federal income taxes that you owe. 

Plan Ahead

Our business tax filing guide is based on a key principle: it’s better to be proactive than reactive. Not only does that mean keeping deadlines on your company calendar, but it also means finding creative ways to handle your tax debts each year. 

For instance, you might plan a series of charitable donations that can be deducted from your income each year. You might also plan some type of investment or savings account that can be used to pay your tax debts. 

Consulting a tax preparation service can help you to take advantage of every available deduction, which can lower your total tax payments for a given year.

Xendoo, Offering Proactive Solutions for Your Business

At Xendoo, we understand the demanding nature of modern businesses. We also understand that since the services of a CPA cost roughly $60 an hour, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on your books. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-quality accounting and bookkeeping services that won’t break your budget. 

When you partner with Xendoo, you’ll be able to rely on industry-leading services that include tax preparation, bookkeeping, and more, thanks to our experienced team of professionals. 

Want to learn more? Reach out today, and we can start you and your business on the path to success.

Four Signs it is Time to Hire an Online Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is Holding You Back

Business owners know their companies like the back of their hands. They are the head of every department and perform the work of multiple people. Of all the roles they play, our customers express that the bookkeeper role is their least favorite. 

DIY bookkeeping holds business owners back from fully focusing on their business, which is why they decide to outsource it. Is it time for you to do the same? Let’s take a look at 4 signs that it could be time to hire an online bookkeeper! 

#1. Bookkeeping Takes Time Away from Your Business… and Your Life

Assess what bookkeeping is costing you. Is it taking significant time away from running your business? Let’s break it down. 

Suppose your time is worth $200 per hour, and you spend 10 hours per month doing your books. That costs you $2,000 per month just for bookkeeping! How much could you increase your sales? What else could you accomplish with that time? 

How does bookkeeping affect your personal life? Before partnering with us, many of our customers were up late at night and missed out on time with loved ones due to bookkeeping. Whether you are closing sales or enjoying a family dinner, your time is valuable. DIY bookkeeping does not make sense when you could be spending your time on the things that matter to you.

#2. Your Books are Behind

It is impossible to evaluate your business’ financial health when your books are behind. Old data cannot predict cash flow, track your revenue, or indicate if you are profitable. Out-of-date books may prevent you from making the best financial decisions for your business.

A professional bookkeeper can bring your books up to date. Bookkeepers input and classify your monthly activity. They also generate vital monthly reports such as Profit & Loss statements and Balance Sheets, which display your total income and expenses and your assets and liabilities, respectively. They also provide actionable insight to the current state of your finances. Xendoo bookkeepers reconcile your books weekly to keep you on track for future success.

Guess what! You are not alone. 25% of business owners are behind on their bookkeeping. Whether you are behind a few months or a few years, Xendoo will bring your finances up to date in no time. To get your books caught up, click here.  

#3. You are Not Sure if You are Doing Your Books Correctly

DIY bookkeeping leaves room for error, especially in the hectic life of a business owner. It is rarely anyone’s area of expertise (or passion). If your numbers are not adding up, do not wait until tax season to figure out why.      

Bookkeepers connect the dots between your sales, expenses, and profits to ensure business growth. They know how to properly categorize your transactions, keeping your books compliant and ready for tax season. At Xendoo Online Bookkeeping, you can rely on your dedicated team of finance experts to deliver accurate statements and financial peace of mind year-round.

#4. Tax Season is Chaotic

When tax season rolls around, do you drop off a 30-pound box of receipts at your accountant’s office and hope for the best? After all the back and forth, are you disappointed by your tax refund? 

A chaotic and unrewarding tax season is a surefire sign that it is time to hire a bookkeeper. Your bookkeeper’s meticulous organization of your finances sets you up for smooth sailing during the most dreaded time of the year. 

Best of all, because your bookkeeper understands your business and your finances, they recognize every opportunity to maximize your tax savings! You will never have to worry if you pay too much in taxes. With a bookkeeper on your corner, you can walk into tax season prepared – and you will walk out knowing you maximized your tax savings!

The Importance of Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is vital to the success of every business. It provides insight into your financial health and drives your decisions. When your books are in order, you can strategize effectively and plan for growth. Keeping your books compliant and up to date is crucial throughout the year so that you are ready for tax season. Consistent bookkeeping habits maximize your deductions and make an otherwise stressful time, a breeze. 

Bookkeeping is preventative care for your business. It puts a microscope on your finances to help you catch small problems before they snowball. A professional bookkeeper can take the stress of bookkeeping off of your plate so you can fully focus on running your business. 

Xendoo Does it for You

Bookkeeping does not have to be an uphill battle. Let Xendoo’s expert online bookkeeping and tax team handle the hassles so you can have more time for what you love!

Schedule your free consultation today!

 

 

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

A real estate records her numbers for the week on a laptop,

How Much Does a CPA Cost?

A real estate records her numbers for the week on a laptop,

How much is your business currently spending on accounting costs? According to the small business organization known as SCORE, roughly 1 in 5 small businesses are sinking as much as $10,000 in bookkeeping costs and other fees. Roughly 1 in 6 are spending $20,000 or more!

How much does a CPA cost in 2021? Do you really need a CPA as well as a bookkeeper

Before you start hiring financial staff, you should consider the needs of your business. Let’s take a closer look at the costs and benefits of these financial services, as well as how outsourcing might be a good solution for your small business.

What Does a CPA Cost?

How much does a CPA cost? The typical rate for a CPA is $40 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though in 2017, the Journal of Accountancy claimed that the average salary for a CPA was $119,000 per year, which translates into roughly $60 per hour.

Actual accountant pricing tends to vary widely and will depend on the actual needs of your business. Additionally, what accountants charge is often based on their experience or specialization.

Some basic factors to consider are:

  • The accountant’s fees
  • The tasks you ask them to perform
  • The frequency with which you use their services

Hiring a full-time accountant may seem like a logical step for many businesses, but keep in mind that your accounting needs might not be uniform throughout the year. 

For example, some companies might have a greater need for professional help when preparing their taxes, but less during the remainder of the year. 

At the same time, handling your own accounting might seem like a convenient way to cut down your business expenses, but that can be a dangerous approach to take. You may soon discover that tax preparation takes a considerable amount of time and attention, both of which could be better spent on growing your business.

What Does a Bookkeeper Cost?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a bookkeeper was $42,410 in 2020, which translates into roughly $21.00 per hour. Since the services of a bookkeeper tend to be more uniform, bookkeeping costs tend to be a bit more predictable than expenses associated with a CPA.

Part of the reason for this lower cost is that a bookkeeper doesn’t require the same level of specialized training as a CPA. A bookkeeper may be an affordable staff position for some small businesses, though there are some distinct advantages to outsourcing these needs to an accounting firm instead.

The Difference Between a CPA and a Bookkeeper

Not sure of the difference between a CPA and a bookkeeper? You’re not alone. While these positions may have some overlapping responsibilities, each role has a unique focus. We’ll explore each of these in depth below.

What is a CPA?

A certified public accountant is a specialized role that is responsible for the analysis and communication of financial data. If this sounds broad, that’s because modern CPAs can be responsible for a broad range of financial tasks. These trained professionals typically have an area of specialization that can be a valuable asset to a company.

At a minimum, a CPA must possess a bachelor’s degree, though it’s not at all uncommon for CPAs to have a master’s degree or higher. As the acronym indicates, a certified public accountant is someone that has successfully passed an official certification exam. 

Modern CPAs can specialize in a variety of areas, including:

  • Tax preparation
  • IT auditing
  • Non-profit or 501(c)3 organizations
  • Managerial accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Personal financial assistance or planning

When a CPA works directly for your company, they will bear responsibility for the company’s finances, including bookkeeping methods and policies.

 A CPA can also prepare a company’s financial statements and represent the company when dealing with the IRS. Both of these skills go beyond the scope of a regular accountant, which partially accounts for the higher certified public accountant pricing shown above.

This list of specialties raises an important question:  How many modern CPAs can boast all of these skills? 

Increased regulation has often driven the need for increased specialization, which means that many businesses find that they need a variety of specialists to serve their needs. 

For this reason, outsourcing to accounting firms can provide access to industry specialists that can provide the required services on an as-needed basis. 

If, for example, you require the services of a forensic accountant to investigate fraud, you will likely have to proceed with a third-party forensic accountant to ensure that your business is secure, rather than bringing someone in-house.

What is a Bookkeeper?

While a CPA is responsible for analyzing data and preparing reports, a bookkeeper is responsible for managing a company’s existing data. This includes everything that relates to a company’s income and expenses, which are usually recorded using some type of accounting software.

Because of this movement toward digital platforms, modern bookkeepers are often responsible for training other employees on the best ways to enter expenses so that the company’s overall cash flow can be monitored smoothly. 

A bookkeeper is also responsible for sorting out errors in a company’s books and ensuring that financial records are accurate and up-to-date. When they are working for a company, a bookkeeper may also be responsible for smaller tasks, like making bank deposits or assisting financial personnel with special projects. 

Unlike a CPA, a bookkeeper does not need to have an advanced degree or specialized skill set, which means that the position is considerably easier to fill. 

Keep in mind that the ongoing needs of this position will almost always require a full-time employee, which means paying an annual salary in addition to employment benefits.

Why You Need an Accountant and Bookkeeper

Does your small business need both an accountant and a bookkeeper? By now, you’ve probably realized that these two positions both play a valuable role in the financial health of your company. A bookkeeper can handle your day-to-day operations, but a CPA is necessary when you need to handle specialized tasks, most notably tax preparation.

This can pose a challenge for many small businesses and start-ups. If you’re a business owner, you may be looking for ways to cut costs and reduce overhead, and the prospect of needing two separate financial employees may seem daunting. 

While you could cut costs by handling your own books and preparing your own taxes, these time-consuming tasks might pull you away from what you’re most passionate about:  Managing and growing your business. When you handle your own taxes or specialized financial tasks, you run the risk of making a mistake, which could result in an audit, penalties, and other fees that you just can’t afford.

Thankfully, there’s a solution. By outsourcing your company’s financial tasks to an accounting firm, you get all the benefits of an accountant and a bookkeeper without the overhead of hiring more personnel. Online bookkeeping and other financial services can ensure that your needs are met without excessive expenses.

Xendoo Pricing:  Cut Costs, Not Quality

At Xendoo, we provide expert-level financial services so that your small business can thrive. Why pay salaries for full-time employees when you can rely on the affordable services that Xendoo has to offer?

Xendoo pricing is made with your small business in mind. We can offer regular bookkeeping services for your business and deliver specialized services such as tax preparation and more, thanks to our team of knowledgeable financial professionals. Reach out today to learn more about the ways that we can help your business to thrive! 

Xendoo vs. Bench: Comparing Online Bookkeeping Services for Small Business Owners

Bookkeeping is vital to the success of every business, but business owners rarely have the time (or desire) to manage it themselves. In order to save their time and sanity, many partners with an online bookkeeping and accounting team. There are many options available, ranging from traditional CPAs to tech-savvy online providers. How do you choose the right financial partner for your business?

Today, we will take a look at two popular options: Xendoo Online Bookkeeping and Bench. Both provide quality bookkeeping and tax services, but there are some key differences in features that may tip the scale for you: 

  • Online bookkeeping and tax services 
  • Accounting software 
  • Free trial

In this blog post, we will explore these key differences so that you can make the best choice for your business!

Online Bookkeeping and Tax Services

Xendoo’s online bookkeeping and tax packages start at $295, with a bookkeeping-only plan that starts at $195 per month. We reconcile your books weekly, and deliver your reports as early as the 5th business day of the month, depending on the plan you select!

Bench offers three bookkeeping and tax plans, with prices starting at $299 per month ($249/annual). Bench’s Core package requires a partnership with LendingClub. You can connect your existing bank accounts and debit cards on the Flex and Pro plans, which are more expensive. Tax services are available on all plans, but they do not offer a bookkeeping-only package at this time. 

What if you are behind on your bookkeeping? Outside of the ongoing subscriptions, Xendoo and Bench both offer catch up services so you can get previous months’ books in order!

Accounting Software

The biggest difference between Xendoo and Bench is the software used to do your bookkeeping and accounting. 

Xendoo works with both Quickbooks Online and Xero. The biggest advantage of these two programs is that you own the software. Working with Quickbooks Online and Xero ensures that you will always have access to your financial records, no matter who does your bookkeeping.

Bench only uses their proprietary software, which does not integrate with any other accounting programs. If you ever need to leave Bench, your records will not go with you and your financial history will have to be rebuilt. If you want to be able to hold onto your data, Bench may not be the best choice for your business. 

Try Us Out

Both Xendoo and Bench offer a free trial in which we complete your books from the previous month, and provide a Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet. 

What happens if Xendoo is not the best fit for you? In that case, we will gladly connect you with others in our network so you can find your ideal financial partner. The completed books and financial reports are yours to keep in your QuickBooks Online or Xero subscription! 

If you decide not to work with Bench, you can hold onto the financial reports, but you will no longer have access to the previous month’s bookkeeping as it is done in their proprietary software.  

For a brief summary of how Xendoo and Bench compare, check out the chart below:

*Some options may only be available on certain plans. 

Who is Right for You?

It depends! Every business owner needs their bookkeeping done, and they deserve the freedom to take their data with them, no matter who they partner with. Xendoo Online Bookkeeping works with industry-standard accounting software, ensuring you will always have access to your financial records and data.

Bookkeeping. You hate it. We love it. We do it. Take your time back and do more of what you love!

Are we a fit for your business? Schedule your free consultation today!

 

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

A real estate agent holds out the key for his buyer's new home.

7 Tax Tips for Independent Realtors

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

As a self-employed realtor, you face some unique challenges when tax season comes knocking at your door. Since you don’t have taxes withheld from a regular paycheck, it’s up to you to lessen your tax burden by identifying all of the deductible expenses you incur throughout the year. Without careful planning, the tax bill you face when April rolls around can be quite a shock.

But here’s the good news: there’s probably more you can deduct than you realize! By carefully assessing not only your properties but your business as a whole, you can hold onto more of your hard-earned cash at tax time. The following tax tips for real estate agents are a great place to start looking for valuable deductions.

7 Tax Tips for Real Estate Agents

 

A real estate agent drives his car to a client meeting.

#1 – Mileage & Auto Expenses

Realtors tend to spend a lot of time behind the wheel. The miles you rack up can include getting to appointments, taking clients to see new properties, and staging homes. Don’t also forget to include car maintenance like new tires, tune-ups, and even car washes! At tax preparation time, you will need to determine whether the standard or actual cost deduction will save you the most money.

#2 – Office Space

Whether you pay desk fees under another agent or work from a home office, the IRS allows you to deduct the cost (or a percentage of) your office space. Depending on your situation, this could be a rather significant expense over the course of a year, so you don’t want to miss out on this deduction. 

It’s important to note that you won’t be able to deduct both the desk fees you pay and the space you use at home for an office. Instead, you can only deduct one or the other – whichever is greater. Keep careful records of how much you spend on any office-related rent and purchases, so you have an accurate accounting of this component when it comes time to file.

#3 – Marketing

Business cards, website maintenance, mailers – any method you use to get your name out there is deductible as a business expense. Did you have a new logo designed? Maybe you purchased a mailing list? Those are included, too. 

Unfortunately, many agents simply fail to track these kinds of costs throughout the year. The money just goes out to various vendors and services, and a (digital) paper trail is not kept up. This can be an expensive mistake. Instead, by utilizing online bookkeeping for real estate agents, you can adequately record all marketing expenses along the way, saving them in one central location for use at tax time.

#4 – Supplies & Equipment

Think of all the tools you use to run your business: a nice camera to photograph properties, your computer, lockboxes, and staging decor. Did you buy a new vacuum to clean up that “fixer-upper” you were showing? Work-related cleaning supplies are also deductible! Once you start keeping careful track of everything you purchase, you might be surprised to find how many items fall into this category over the course of a year. 

A man reads a book to help imprve his real estate selling skills.

#5 – Licenses & Fees

As a real estate agent, you are all too familiar with the various fees you pay throughout the year. Fortunately, MLS, brokerage, and legal fees — to name just a few — are all deductible. You can even deduct professional membership fees — just remember that any portion of dues designated for lobbying or political advocacy is not deductible. And don’t forget about your state license renewal.

#6 – Meals & Entertainment

Do you take clients out for lunch after a morning of showing properties? Did you meet up with a prospective business partner for happy hour? Did you cater an open house? If you discussed business before, during, or after the meal, it could be deducted on your tax return. Using the right accounting software will make it much easier to track all of these types of casual expenses throughout the year. 

#7 – Professional Development

Staying at the top of the real estate market in your area means you’re always looking for ways to expand your learning and stay on top of industry trends. Professional development events, along with any trade events, can be deducted. Also, books you purchase or publications you subscribe to can be subtracted from your revenues.

Utilizing the services available from Xendoo can help make tracking all of your business expenses a whole lot easier, so you can spend more time selling and less time worrying about next April. Get started today!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

Sunshine Tax: Taxes for Small Business in Florida

Florida is among the most tax-friendly states in America. If you have a small or midsize business in the state of Florida, you may be shielded from many typical forms of small business taxesBut how can you know which tax laws apply to your business? This post will cover some of the more common tax questions related to taxes for small businesses in Florida.

What Types of Tax Liabilities Are There for Florida Small Businesses?

Florida business owners should be aware of the following:

  • Corporations that do business in Florida must pay a 5.5% income tax
  • Florida has a sales tax rate of 6%
  • S Corporations are exempt from paying state income tax
  • Sole proprietorships, partnerships, and most LLCs are exempt from state income tax
  • Florida residents do not pay a state income tax
  • Business owners should expect to pay federal income tax on business earnings
  • Business conducted in other states may be subject to additional state laws

Because so many businesses are exempt from Florida state income tax, many small business owners can benefit from having their business shielded from traditional tax liabilities.  Below, we’ll go into greater detail regarding the rules for taxes for different types of business entities in the state of Florida.  

What Kinds of Taxes Can an S Corporation Expect to Pay in Florida?

In Florida, S Corporations are not treated as traditional corporations when it comes to taxes. Thus, S Corporations do not pay the state’s 5.5% corporate tax. S Corporations are also exempt from federal income tax.

How is this possible? With an S Corporation, the income earned by the business goes directly to the business owners. The owners are then expected to pay federal income tax based on the income they receive from their company. However, this income is not subject to Florida state tax.

A man and a sketch out a project for their LLC business

How Are Small Business LLCs Taxed in Florida?

An LLC can be classified in one of two ways. Typically, LLCs are designated to be partnerships or disregarded entities. However, in this case, the LLC does not pay Florida income tax simply because it is not classified as a corporation.

However, some LLCs can be classified as incorporated. If they are classified as an incorporated business, the LLC must pay the standard 5.5% Florida state income tax—or at least the 3.3% alternative minimum tax. LLCs classified as corporations will file Form F-1065 if one or more of its owners is a corporation.

The actual business owner does not have to pay tax to the state of Florida for the income they personally receive from the business, except in those cases in which the LLC is incorporated.

How Are Small Business Partnerships in Florida Taxed?

Business partnerships can be classified as general partnerships, limited partnerships (LPs), and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Regardless of these specific designations, none of these partnerships are required to pay state income tax in Florida.

However, the partners of these businesses are required to pay federal income tax on the money they receive from these businesses, based on standard income tax rates. But because Florida does not tax ordinary income, business owners of partnerships are not required to pay Florida state income tax.

A Florida business owner sits at a table with a pile of tax papers.

What Tax Obligations Are There for Sole Proprietorships in Florida?

Florida treats a sole proprietorship like a partnership. The only difference is that the state looks at the distributed income to one proprietor instead of many partners. Thus, like partnerships, sole proprietorships are shielded from traditional state income tax.

This also means that the proprietor is expected to pay tax on any business income he or she receives, though only to the federal government. Since it is considered to be personal income, the individual does not pay state income taxes.

What If You Have a Multi-State Business? How Are You Taxed?

For most organizations, there are no required taxes for small businesses in Florida. However, if you own a business in Florida but earn money from another state, you are considered to have a nexus in those states. Therefore, in these situations, your business may be subject to the tax laws in those states.

Because different states have different state tax laws, this can be confusing. If you earn money in multiple states, it may be prudent to review nexus rules to see how they may impact your business. 

Let Xendoo Help You

Looking for Florida bookkeeping services? Xendoo can help. We understand the rules regarding taxes for small businesses in Florida and help you keep your books up-to-date. We can even help with Florida tax preparation. When you have questions, contact the experts at Xendoo.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

Eight Tax Tips for Restaurant Owners

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

You know that filing taxes can be stressful even in the best of times, but as a restaurant owner, tax time can leave you feeling in the weeds because your deductions are exponentially more complex. Never fear, though, because Xendoo is here to help. If you aren’t yet taking advantage of our full suite of professional business accounting services, here are a few quick restaurant tax tips for filing returns that can help save you some headache and money.

1. Document, Document, Document!

Did we mention that you need to document everything?  One of the best restaurant tax tips is to document and keep every invoice, every check stub, and every e-mail, no matter how inconsequential you might think it is at the time. You just never know when you might need to produce that little receipt during an audit, and running across a receipt might even remind you of something that you almost forgot to deduct. Set up a sound filing system where you can locate any tax documents you might need by vendor or category and keep it up to date.

2. Deduct All Food and Beverage Expenses

Since food cost is almost certainly your largest expense category (with the possible exception of labor), you should be deducting the cost of everything on your menu as an ordinary and necessary cost of doing business. But it’s not just the actual ingredients that you can write off. You can also deduct the cost of preparation materials like fryer oil and condiments, as well as any food that you have to throw out because it’s expired or spoiled. This is one restaurant tax tip that can take the sting out of tossing out old produce.

3. Deduct All Employee Compensation

Payroll is your other big expense category, and it’s deductible as an ordinary and necessary expense because obviously, your business can’t operate without staff. But, again, it’s not just the weekly payroll that you get to deduct. You can also deduct the cost of any employee discounts on meals, paid vacation or sick days, and any dental, vision, health, life, or other types of insurance you might provide for your team members. However, business owners don’t generally get to count salaries or benefits to themselves as deductions because doing so would essentially make any profits from the business tax exempt.

4. Deduct Mileage and Business Travel

Do you or any of your employees drive a personal vehicle as part of the business? Are you maybe making deliveries or picking up supplies? What about to or from training events? If you have any sort of driving directly related to your business, you can deduct that at the current standard mileage rate. But be careful—this is an often-abused deduction, so your documentation of it needs to be meticulously maintained. Driving to and from work doesn’t count as a business expense. Use either a separate ledger or a smartphone app that’s designed to track mileage. Also, if you have overnight travel for training, food shows, conferences, or other business-related events, you can deduct hotel and food expenses, as well.

5. Deduct Large Equipment Purchases

Under a 2016 change to the tax code, you can now deduct the total cost of certain equipment purchases up to $500,000 for the year of purchase instead of depreciating equipment over time in the traditional manner. Known as the ‘Section 179 deduction,’ this change is meant to ease the cash flow for small businesses. It covers a wide array of equipment such as computers, office furniture, vehicles, and machinery. That means the new walk-in cooler you just bought because the old one finally bit the dust can start working for you right away.

 

A server pours coffee into mugs.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

6. Take Advantage of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Many business owners aren’t aware that the tax code rewards employers for hiring people from certain groups that have historically had difficulty finding employment. Known as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), these groups might include military veterans, summer youth employees, long-term unemployment recipients, rehabilitated felons, residents of designated Empowerment Zones, and many others. This restaurant tax tip is an excellent way to save your business some money while contributing to the community through socially responsible hiring practices.

7. Make Use of Enhanced Charitable Deductions

With a handful of exceptions, the IRS allows businesses to deduct donations to §501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations just like individuals do, including some enhanced deductions specifically for restaurants donating food. Take advantage of these types of restaurant tax tips can be a little tricky, though, so you probably want to hire a small business accounting firm like Xendoo to help navigate these waters safely. You can’t deduct staff time or the total fair market value of the food, but these deductions can still help boost your profit margin significantly.

8. Track Employee Tips Meticulously

Reporting credit card tips is pretty easy since they are tracked through the POS system, but cash tips can get messy. It’s the responsibility of servers to report their tips accurately, but if they don’t report cash tips, the IRS will assume an 8% tip rule. In cash sale situations, the business owner’s responsibility is to withhold 8% of the employee’s cash sales as an assumed tip, and liability for failure to do so could land on the employer. It’s a good idea to go over these rules with your team because you also have to file a Form 8027 each year, and the IRS expects to see accurate records, so it’s in everyone’s interest to pay attention to this one.

 

These restaurant tax tips are a good start for any business owner, but bookkeeping for restaurants isn’t for the faint of heart, which is why Xendoo is ready to help with our affordable bookkeeping and accounting services. Instead, it would be best if you spent your time growing your business and let our team of experts lift the tax burden and do what they do best.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

Two business woman smile discuss accounting at a desk

Why You Should Hire an Experienced Florida Accountant

As a small business owner, you want to keep your head in the game. After all, you started your business because you’re passionate about the work you do, and you want to connect your products and services to customers.

So why are you trying to juggle your own books?

We understand the pressures that small business owners are experiencing. Handling your own bookkeeping and accounting may seem like an easy corner to cut, but the chances are that you’ll pay for it in one way or another. 

You simply might not be able to give your books the time and attention you need—a problem that can snowball out of control and leave you with a disaster once tax season approaches. There are many online accounting services available. You can’t discount the value and simplicity that these services can offer, but how can you be confident that these services will understand your local business or Florida state law? Unfortunately, accounting software is similarly generic and can only take you so far in navigating the needs of local Florida businesses.

An experienced Florida accountant can help you with more than just the books. So let’s explore the various benefits of hiring a Florida accountant for your business.

A Florida Accountant Can Help with the Legal Structure of Your Business

On paper, businesses are largely defined by their legal structure. A business can be a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership or corporation, or a sole proprietorship. These structures are based on characteristics such as:

  • Liability
  • Taxation
  • Fees and forms
  • Investment needs and opportunities
  • Maintaining operations

When you set up your business, how will you consider these factors? This is where an experienced Florida accountant can really be helpful. Choosing an accountant can help your business to navigate these questions and ensure that your business is optimized according to Florida business law.

A Florida Accountant Can Keep Your Books and Records Up-to-Date and Accurate

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of working with a Florida accountant is that they can keep an eye on your books. Ideally, an experienced accountant will monitor your books all year long (or at least at regular intervals), which is vital when it comes to tax planning.

Two business women discuss Florida tax laws

A Florida Certified Public Accountant Can Help You to Understand Sales Tax Laws

Tax laws are notoriously complicated. Sales tax laws in Florida are no exception. Unless you have a degree in accounting, you could quickly start tearing your hair out trying to stay above board. And if you slip up, your business could face stiff penalties for violating tax laws or failing to meet deadlines for your tax returns. This doesn’t just affect you — it will also affect your staff and your loyal customers.

What about an eCommerce business? Organizations that work with out-of-state customers create a business connection called a “nexus” that requires them to pay sales taxes. An experienced accountant can help you to navigate these twenty-first-century questions and spare you the penalties that might come your way for improper financial reporting. 

This is where Xendoo can be especially helpful. Our online financial experts provide tax services to a variety of businesses, but our real advantage is our understanding of the Florida economic landscape. 

Businesses looking for bookkeeping in Naples or bookkeeping in Gainesville, for example, can take advantage of our financial expertise and local knowledge.

A Florida Accountant Can Help to Expand Your Business

Are you looking to grow your business? An accountant can help with that, too. Good accountants can distill your financial statements into a digestible summary of your overall cash flow. 

Understanding your company’s financial health can be a great first step to discovering growth opportunities. An accountant can point out ways to leverage your assets so that your business can grow and flourish without sacrificing the organizational strategies necessary for filing taxes.

When certified public accountants handle the books, you can focus on the day-to-day operation of your business.

We Handle the Books; You Handle the Business

Ready to hire an accounting professional for your small business? As you’ve seen, there are many benefits of hiring an accountant. The average base salary for a Florida accountant is over $50,000, plus benefits. Most small businesses simply can’t afford to hire someone for the position. If your company needs bookkeeping services in Orlando, where can you turn?

This is where Xendoo truly shines. With our localized knowledge, we can provide expert  Tampa bookkeeping services as well as almost anywhere in Florida. You won’t have to pay a full-time professional or contract with expensive accounting firms.

Businesses grow when they are well-managed, and an accountant can handle the books while you run the business. When you’re ready to stop juggling the books and get back in business, contact us and see how our online services can help your business to thrive.

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

A woman stress bites a pencil going over her Florida business taxes

How to File a Business Tax Extension in Florida

With so many day-to-day responsibilities that go into running a small business, such as inventory accounting, staffing, bookkeeping, and marketing, it can be easy to forget about the tax deadline. Yet, before you know it, their tax deadline came and went. 

Without a filed return, you may be wringing your hands and asking yourself questions on what to do next. Can you even make payments after a down year? Do you have the necessary paperwork? What do you do now that they’ve missed their deadline? Chances are that you are not alone, but don’t panic. Florida allows businesses to file a tax extension, but you can’t wait too long. Putting it off even further could increase your penalties and put you in financial hardship.

We’ll walk you through the process for filing a Florida business tax extension, so you can keep your business moving without the added stress. 

What is the Deadline for the Florida Business Tax Extension?

Different deadlines apply for federal and state taxes. Below are the deadlines for Florida’s state tax extension and the federal tax extension. 

State Tax Extension

Tax returns for Florida businesses are due by May 1 (the 1st day of the 4th month following the end of the taxable year). However, Florida allows for a six-month extension, which would move the new deadline to November 1st.

Federal Tax Extension

2021 tax deadlines have the following due dates:

  • Sole proprietorships and single-owner LLCs: May 17, 2021
  • Partnerships: March 15, 2021
  • S Corporations: March 15, 2021
  • C Corporations: April 15, 2021 

A Florida partnership or business has the option to file for a six-month extension, which would move the deadline to the following dates:

  • Sole proprietorships and single-owner LLCs: November 17, 2021
  • Partnerships: September 15, 2021
  • S Corporations: September 15, 2021
  • C Corporations: October 15, 2021 

Be prepared to pay a deposit for the taxes you owe. You will also be expected to pay your first quarterly taxes for your business on this date.

Image of tax forems 1120 on a desk next to a laptop bag

What Forms Do I Need to File to Apply for a Florida Business Tax Extension?

The form you need will depend on the type of business you’re operating. For the Florida business tax extension, you will first need to complete the form for a federal tax extension:

Please note that if you are filing for a federal tax extension, you must also file for an extension with the state of Florida. However, an approved federal extension will not guarantee an extension with the state.

Can I Pay My Balance When I Submit an Extension?

Businesses will have the option to pay their balance when they file for an extension, but all businesses should be prepared to pay at least a down payment for the taxes that they owe.

How Do I Submit My Forms?

It’s faster and easier to file electronically. Form 7004 can either be submitted electronically to the Florida Department of Revenue through Florida’s “File and Pay” e-service system or through the postal service by mailing your completed form to the following address:

Florida Department of Revenue

5050 W. Tennessee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0135

You do not have to send payment with your tax form, but you should be prepared to pay a deposit, as we already noted. Moreover, you should also account for possible late charges or penalties.

Can I File My Extension Electronically?

You may file Form 7004 through Florida’s “File and Pay” e-service system. Most tax preparation software can interface with this system, though if you have trouble, you may wish to contact your software provider or consider filing on paper.

What Happens if I Don’t Pay My Taxes?

If you pay your taxes late, charges will apply in the amount of 10% of your unpaid taxes. An additional 10% will accrue every month in which your taxes are unpaid, up to a possible penalty of 50% of your total outstanding taxes. Underpaying your taxes could also result in interest being applied, though this number varies.

If you don’t owe Florida taxes, you must still file for this fiscal year. Failing to do so can result in a late charge of $50 per month, up to a possible total of $300.

Can Xendoo Help with My Florida Business Tax Extension?

Our bookkeepers and tax specialists are well versed in Florida small businesses and can ensure that your taxes are filed correctly and on time. Plus, Xendoo’s financial experts can keep your records up to date and accurate, so you aren’t panicking but prepared when tax season comes around. If you’re looking for bookkeeping services in Orlando and the surrounding areas, Xendoo can help you to complete forms, meet deadlines, and more. 

Xendoo offers tax and bookkeeping services all over Florida, including:

When you need help, we’re only a click away. Reach out to our team today!

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.