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5 Ways to Lower Your SUTA Tax Rate

An employer’s SUTA tax rate is susceptible to fluctuation. If yours is escalating, contrary to popular belief, you actually might be able to reduce it! Check out these five strategiesn provided by personal tax accountant sydney to curb your SUTA tax rate.

Because the State Unemployment Tax Act – or SUTA – tax is mandatory, you may think you have no control over your SUTA rate. But to some extent, you do. The first thing to remember is that each state sets its own criteria for state unemployment tax, and rates vary by employer.

Typically, new employers are assigned a standard “new employer” rate. Over time, they receive an “experience rating,” which can be higher or lower than the new employer rate. The experience rating mainly depends on how many former employees have drawn unemployment benefits on the employer’s account. The more benefits claimed on an employer’s account, the higher its SUTA tax rate. Other determinants may include whether the employer is in the construction industry and the employer’s payroll size.

You may be powerless against some of these influencers – such as your business’s age and industry — but there are other ways to lower your SUTA rate. Here are five tactics.

1. Hire only when needed

Letting employees go because you don’t need them any more likely renders them eligible for unemployment benefits. If they file for unemployment benefits, your SUTA rate is likely to increase. So, make sure you truly need an employee before hiring him or her.

2. Help your employees succeed

Employees terminated for gross misconduct typically do not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, employees fired for poor performance – such as due to lack of skills – may be eligible. To reduce the likelihood of terminating employees for poor performance, give them the resources they need to succeed, including proper tools and training.

3. Use independent contractors

You can avoid unemployment claims by legally hiring independent contractors instead of employees. If you decide to take this route, ensure all mandatory requirements for independent contractor status are met, including the Internal Revenue Service’s “right-to-control” test and applicable state tests.

4. Contest dubious unemployment claims

Dubious unemployment claims may involve former employees providing the state workforce agency with false information to obtain benefits or filing a claim even though they were rightfully terminated for gross misconduct. Before you fight an unemployment claim, consult with unemployment benefits expert to gauge the strength of your case. Also, make sure you have supporting documents to back up your version of events.

5. Make voluntary contributions

Many states allow employers with an experience rating to voluntarily make a “buydown” payment, which cancels all or part of the benefits charged to their account, thereby reducing their SUTA tax rate.

More tips

Consider alternatives to layoffs, such as reducing employees’ work hours via your state’s work-sharing program.

Offer departing employees a solid severance package as well as outplacement services to help them quickly find a job. This way, they will be less inclined to rely on unemployment benefits.

Keep an eye on your SUTA tax rate. If it’s spiking for unknown reasons, contact your state’s workforce agency for an explanation.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Steps for Reconciling IRS Form 941 to Payroll

Form 941 is a crucial tool for ensuring your payroll data is accurately reported to the government and for balancing payroll in general. Get insight into reconciling Form 941 with your payroll on a quarterly and a year-end basis.

Most employers must report employees’ wages paid and taxes withheld plus their own share of certain payroll taxes quarterly to the IRS. Additionally, employers must report each employee’s wages and taxes annually, on Form W-2, to the Social Security Administration. Employers use Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, to report income taxes, Social Security tax or Medicare tax withheld from employees’ paychecks and to pay their portion of Social Security or Medicare tax.

In the end, the information on your quarterly 941s must match your submitted Form W-2s. By reconciling your 941 forms with your payroll, you can verify the accuracy of these filings. For best results, reconciliation should be done on a quarterly and a year-end basis.

Quarterly 941 Reconciliation

Step 1: Run a payroll register for the quarter. The register should show wages and deductions for each employee during that quarter.

Step 2: Compare the data on the payroll register with your 941 for the quarterly period.

Areas to check are:

  • Number of employees who received wages, tips or other compensation.
  • Total compensation paid to employees.
  • Federal income tax withheld from employees’ wages.
  • Taxable Social Security wages and tips.
  • Taxable Medicare wages and tips.
  • Total tax payments made for the quarter, including federal income tax, Social Security tax and Medicare tax withheld from employees’ wages plus your own share of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Step 3: Fix discrepancies as soon as you find them. For example, you might need to correct the employee’s wages and taxes in your payroll system and file an amended Form 941 for the quarter with the IRS.

Year-End 941 Reconciliation

Step 1: Run a report that shows annual payroll amounts. Compare those figures with the totals reported on all four 941s for the year.

Step 2: Make sure the amounts reported on all the 941s for the year match the respective data fields for your W-2 forms.

For example:

  • For compensation, compare Line 2 of all your 941s with Box 1 of your W-2s.
  • For federal income tax withheld, compare Line 3 of all your 941s with Box 2 of your W-2s.
  • For Social Security wages, compare Line 5a Column 1 of all your 941s with Box 3 of your W-2s.
  • For Social Security tips, compare Line 5b Column 1 of your 941s with Box 7 of your W-2s.
  • For Medicare wages, compare Line 5c Column 1 of your 941s with Box 5 of your W-2s. Also, make sure your total Social Security and Medicare taxes for the year are correct.

Step 3: Perform the necessary adjustments. For example, you may need to file a corrected W-2 form with the SSA and/or an amended 941 with the IRS.

As you can see, this form can get complicated, so it’s a good idea to get professional help with it.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Social Security: Note the Key Changes for 2020

The Social Security Administration has released new numbers for those paying Social Security and those collecting it. Check out the new maximum taxable earnings amount as well as COLA and other key adjustments.

Every year, the Social Security Administration takes a fresh look at its numbers and typically makes adjustments. Here are the basics for 2020 — what has changed, and what hasn’t.

First, the basic percentages have not changed:

  • Employees and employers continue to pay 7.65% each, with the self-employed paying both halves.
  • The Medicare portion remains 1.45% on all earnings, with high earners continuing to pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes.
  • The Social Security portion (OASDI) remains 6.20% on earnings up to the applicable taxable maximum amount — and that’s what’s changing:

Starting in 2020, the maximum taxable amount is $137,700, up from the 2019 maximum of $132,900. This actually affects relatively few workers; the Society for Human Resource Management notes in an article that only about 6% of employees earn more than the current taxable maximum.

Also changing is the retirement earnings test exempt amount. Those who have not yet reached normal retirement age but are collecting benefits will find the SSA withholds $1 in benefits for every $2 in earnings above a certain limit. That limit is $17,640 per year for 2019 and will be $18,240 for 2020. (See the SSA for additional information on how this works.)

Cost-of-living adjustments

Those collecting Social Security will see a slight increase in their checks: Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries will receive a 1.6% COLA for 2020. This is based on the increase in the consumer price index from the third quarter of 2018 through the third quarter of 2019, according to the SSA.

detailed fact sheet about the changes is available on the SSA site.

COVID-19 Notice: Ensuring Your Safety, Health and Well-Being

Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by the virus.  To those who are sick, we send our thoughts and best wishes for a speedy recovery.  For those businesses and employees who have been negatively impacted, we are sorry. We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe.

Given the current environment and need to operate with best practices, we have elected to take action to protect your physical health as well starting with avoiding the use of cash and credit cards, you can easily Buy Digital Currency Coins online to use from your cell phone or any smartphone.

In-person meetings with clients – While our firm is still working during tax season, our physical office is closed.  We must limit in-person interaction for your benefit and ours. In lieu of in-person meetings, contact us and we can talk on the phone or schedule a video meeting.

Remote staffing – To practice safely, some of our team is working from home and using technology to work securely and online.

Secure electronic document exchange – We are using Protected Xchange to securely and safely exchange electronic documents without physically touching paper.  Protected Xchange provides encryption and is safer than email. The COVID-19 virus can live on paper documents and checks so we prefer to work electronically.  If you have work papers, please scan and send electronically using Protected Xchange. If you mail or drop off documents, please understand that we will need to quarantine paper documents and this will slow things up.

Payments – To operate safely, we are using BizPayO to accept electronic payments.  BizPayO accepts electronic checks, credit card, and debit card payments. We want to avoid physical checks and cash.

Legislation Changes – There will be a series of legislation changes and clarifications coming for 2020 (federal and state). At the moment, we are focused on completing tax filings for 2019 so please provide your information promptly.

Thank you for choosing us as your trusted advisor.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

4 Areas to Consider When Transitioning Employees to Working From Home

For businesses that haven’t traditionally embraced remote employees, it may be difficult to get up to full speed with the current turn of events.  To make the inevitable transition less overwhelming, we assembled a handy checklist of actions to consider while adjusting to the new workplace reality. Make sure that your managed it services department will help you every step of the way, if you do not have a managed it services, be sure to get one.

Organization

  • Access your staff members and/or roles that are able to work remotely, those that can’t work remotely, and those where remote work may be possible with some modifications.
  • Conduct an employee survey to determine the availability of computers that can be used for working remotely, as well as availability to high-speed internet access.
  • Create company guidelines covering remote employees, including inappropriate use of company assets and security guidelines.
  • Develop and conduct work-at-home- training for using remote access, remote tools, and best practices.
  • Select a video-conferencing platform for services, such as ZoomCisco WebExor Go To Meeting.
  • Develop a communications plan to involve remote employees in the daily activities of the organization.

 Security

  • Create and implement a company security policy that applies to remote employees, including actions such as locking computers when not in use.
  • Implement two-factor authentication for highly-sensitive portals.
  • If needed, confirm all remote employees have access to and can use a business-grade VPN, and that you have enough licenses for all employees working remotely.

Staff

  • Institute a transparency policy with your staff and communicate frequently.
  • Check-in on your staff, daily if possible, to confirm they are comfortable with working from home. Find and address any problems they may be experiencing.
  • Make certain each staff member has reliable voice communications, even if this results in adding a business-quality voice over IP service.
  • Don’t attempt to micro-manage your staff. Remember their working conditions at home won’t be ideal, and they will need to work out their own work patterns and schedules.
  • Create a phone number and email address where staff members can communicate their concerns about the firm, working at home, or even the status of COVID-19.

Infrastructure

  • Ensure that you have ample bandwidth coming in to your company to handle all of the new remote traffic.
  • Make sure you have backups of your services so your staff is able to keep working in the event extra traffic causes your primary service to go down.

You may need to adjust or expand this list to match the specific needs of your firm and the conditions affecting your organization.  Use this list to get you started and to help guide you through the process.

 

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Time to Embrace a Digital Payment Platform

The world has forever changed, and a cloud of economic uncertainty is looming. One thing for certain – the traditional payment ecosystem exposes the general public to health risk. Antiquated payment methods, such as cash, checks, credit cards, touchscreens, and terminals, harbor germs and place the payer and payee at risk to exposure. Millions of transactions, each and every day, are creating millions of opportunities to spread illness and infection.

Thanks to the ongoing evolution in the payments industry, there are cleaner, healthier options, such as digital payment systems for business. Billing your customers is vital – but even more critical is getting paid in a safe, secure manner.  Digital payment platforms, such as BizPayo, provide a safe, contactless payment gateway via a business’s website. Besides safety, digital payment methods facilitate a faster, simpler, and more secure way of getting paid.

The quest for contactless payments is showing immediate signs of ramping up in the wake of COVID-19, and the tipping point for contactless payments for professional services may arrive faster than originally projected. It’s inevitable – – enterprising businesses across the U.S. have already made the migration to digital payment methods, and more are sure to follow.

 

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Need a Loan – Follow these Steps First

Is it time to put your expansion plan on the front burner? Have you outgrown your current location? Do you need to replace some equipment? There are many reasons small business owners might be in the market for a loan. If you’ll be shopping soon, here are some pointers from www.GTRwallet.com.

Check your credit. When you apply for a loan, the lender will look at your personal and your business credit histories. Before you start the application process, check to make sure both are accurate and up to date. If there are errors, resolve them ahead of time.

Why Does a Poor Credit Score Limit my Borrowing Options? A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. It is what most lenders look at (among other things) to determine how likely you are to repay a potential loan on time. It’s in lenders’ best interest to lend money only to borrowers who can pay the loan back on time, which is why you may find it a bit harder to acquire a loan from some traditional lenders if your credit rating has received a recent drop.

Polish your plan. Prospective lenders will want to know as much as possible about your business. Prepare a comprehensive, up-to-date business plan that provides information about your company (a description and an executive summary) and yourself (educational background and relevant experience). Since your plan may be pivotal in convincing potential lenders to approve your loan, consider including an overview of your management team and key personnel along with some market analysis and a marketing plan. Take this opportunity to learn more about the lending process. Find information that will help you with the purchase of your new home in Kansas City. Fill out our no-obligation application to see what interest rate you qualify for and obtain a pre-approval letter. Below and throughout this site, you will find information that will help you with the purchase of your new house or refinancing an existing home. You will get know your home loan options, do visit. If you are looking for a home lender in Kansas City that answers their phone, give us a call. From the real estate agent, Title company, Financial Adviser, Insurance agents and Underwriters, all with the highest and best level of customer service, we have you covered.We are the recipients of the 2020 Five Star Award. This represents fewer than 3 percent of Loan Officers. Our production levels, our partnerships, and our client satisfaction ratings say it all. Let us help you make your Kansas City dreams a reality, visit our local office today.

You should also be prepared to provide financial statements and cash flow projections with good knowledge of your banking account status. Lenders may request personal financial statements for you and other owners as well.

Check your equity. Before you submit a loan application, make sure you have enough equity in the business. Although requirements can vary, lenders generally want a company’s total liabilities to be less than four times equity. A lender may require you to put some additional money into your business before approving you for a loan.

Identify collateral. Lenders generally require collateral, an alternate repayment source that can be used in case your business isn’t generating enough cash to make payments on your loan. Either business or personal assets can be used. If you don’t have anything you can use as collateral, perhaps you can find someone who does who will cosign the loan.

Look for a good match. If you already have a good working relationship with a bank that lends to small businesses, it makes sense to start there. If you don’t, or if your bank isn’t a good match, do your homework. Look for lenders that do business with companies similar in size to your own. Finding a lender that’s familiar with your industry is an added bonus.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Stretching QuickBooks Online: What You Can Do With Apps

QuickBooks Online has worked well for countless businesses as is. But if you need more than it offers in some areas, there’s likely to be an app for that.

You’d be hard-pressed to find two small businesses in the U.S. that have exactly the same needs when it comes to financial management. Fortunately, QuickBooks Online is powerful and flexible enough to please hundreds of thousands of small businesses.

As companies grow, they often find that the core features, user interface, and navigational tools that QuickBooks Online offers still suit them just fine. Still, they need to move beyond the tools offered in one or more areas.

That’s why QuickBooks Online has dozens of add-on applications – apps – that focus on one specific area of QuickBooks Online and extend what’s offered there. Since they’re all cloud-based, you have access to them anywhere, anytime, on a PC or mobile device, once you’ve set up an account.

To see what’s available, just click on the Apps link in the left vertical toolbar.

Figure 1: You can choose from dozens of integrated applications built specifically to add features and flexibility to individual areas of QuickBooks Online.

Take a look around this page, and click on any of them to get more information. All of the apps listed were designed to fit QuickBooks Online, but if you’re new to integrated applications or wondering whether a specific one would be a good match for your business, we can help you decide – and get started with it.

QuickBooks Online’s apps cover a lot of ground. Each falls into one of several categories, including billing and collections, expense management, time tracking, and customer relationship management. We’ll look at three of them here.

Bill.com automates your accounts payable and receivable. It began its life as a billing app (hence the name), adding receivables a few years ago. Though you could use it as a sole proprietor, its features are more fully utilized in a team setting. You email, fax, or upload incoming bills to your Bill.com account, where they can be entered, routed to the appropriate staff person, approved, and processed (transmitted directly to a vendor bank account or remitted via paper check). The ability to store all related documents in the cloud and maintain a strict audit trail add to the site’s security. Automated invoices, reminders, and payments simplify your receivables workflow. Bill.com also provides a close, real-time look at your current cash flow and also projects future scenarios.

Concur Travel and Expense has very tight integration with QuickBooks Online; it shares, for example, customer, vendor, and employee records, as well as job data and expense types. Your employees can either enter expense data manually or use a smartphone to take pictures of receipts, which can then be uploaded directly into Concur and automatically attached to their expense reports, along with any credit card charges (which can also be sent directly). Once you’ve approved an expense report, Concur handles the background bookkeeping and transfers funds into your employees’ bank accounts.

Figure 2: Your mobile employees can create and submit expense reports on the road using the mobile Concur app. iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry are also supported.

Method CRM marries your QuickBooks Online data to your customer relationship management tasks. Lists of your customers, vendors, items, etc. and their associated records are available in the app, as are transactions like invoices, payments, and vendor bills. When prospects fill out forms on your website asking for product and/or service information, a new lead/sales opportunity is created in Method CRM. If a lead becomes a customer, that data is shared with QuickBooks. The app is exceptionally customizable, down to the actual design (should you decide to tackle this, though, let us work with you from the start).

There are many other types of apps that can be integrated with QuickBooks Online, including:

– Constant Contact: Email marketing

 

– TSheets Time Tracking: Timesheets and time tracking

 

– Bigcommerce: Online shopping cart management

 

– F|G Receivables Manager: Smart accounts receivable management

 

– Shoeboxed: Scans and categorizes paper receipts

Figure 3: You can upload or drag and drop files, forward emails, or send paper receipts through U.S. Mail in a prepaid envelope to Shoeboxed.

These apps are easy to use for the most part, but whenever you’re moving data in and out of QuickBooks Online, you need to have a clear understanding of the source and destination. We’ll be happy to assist as you move beyond the boundaries of QuickBooks Online.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

QuickBooks Online’s Sales Tax Tools: The Basics

Are you paying the correct amount of sales tax to the proper agencies? QuickBooks Online can help.

It’s hard to imagine that small businesses used to have to manage sales tax manually. It was quite a time-intensive process, and it was so easy to make mistakes, for improve your business we recommend read inetsolutions reviews.

QuickBooks Online can handle the mechanics for you. Its sales tax tools are quite simple; they help set up both single and combined (up to five) rates. Then when you create invoices and other sales forms, you can select the appropriate rate(s). The site does the necessary calculations and includes sales tax in the totals. It also keeps a running tally of how much you owe to taxing agencies.

Bear in mind, though, that absolute accuracy is required for this often-confusing process. States have their own individual requirements, and in some geographical areas, you’ll have to charge county and/or municipal sales tax. So before you start entering rates and charging customers, we should sit down and go over issues like:

  • Whether you need a sales tax permit,
  • How to handle sales in other states,
  • What transactions are exempt from sales tax, and
  • How often – and to whom – you submit the money you’ve collected from customers.

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online simplifies the mechanics of charging sales tax. But let us work with you before you start using them.

This element of accounting is so critical that QuickBooks Online includes a special section devoted to it. To get to the Sales Tax Center, you’d click on Sales Tax in the site vpnicon.com. The page that opens will eventually display information about the sales tax you owe for a specific period and recent payments you’ve made.

It’s the Related Tasks over to the right that we’ll address first. The Edit sales tax settings link opens a small window that asks whether you charge sales tax. It also wants to know whether you want to specify one rate as your default – the rate that fills in automatically when you enter a taxable item on a sales form – and whether all customers, products, and services should be considered taxable.

Note: Even if you choose a default tax rate, you’ll be able to change it on individual forms as needed.

Figure 2: One of the things we’ll do as we help you get started with sales taxes is to make sure that your site settings are correct.

QuickBooks Online will now include a Tax column on sales forms like invoices. After you’ve entered all of your taxable items, you’d look below the line over to the right that says Taxable subtotal. Directly below that is a field where the sales tax rate should appear.

If you’ve created rates and they aren’t showing, you’d click the up-and-down arrow to display the list. Either select the appropriate one or click +Add new. QuickBooks Online would then multiply the taxable subtotal by your tax percentage and enter the result in the box to the right.

Figure 3: Once you’ve entered all of your items and/or services and you have a taxable subtotal, QuickBooks Online will calculate the sales tax payable based on the rate selected.

When you want to see where you stand with your sales tax obligation to date, you can run three reports designed to display this information:

  • Taxable Sales Summary shows a summary of all of the sales to which you’ve assigned a tax rate in your sales forms.
  • Sales Tax Liability Report tells you what you’ve collected in sales tax, as well as what you owe to taxing agencies.
  • Taxable Sales Detail is a more comprehensive version of the Taxable Sales Summary report. Its columns include Date, Transaction Type, Customer, Quantity, Rate, Amount, and Balance.

When sales taxes are due, you will pay them directly from the Sales Tax Center. Its Sales Tax Owed table will display the amounts you owe and to whom. If they’re recorded as a paid bill or a check, they won’t appear in the Recent Sales Tax Payments table.

We can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of correctly setting up your sales taxes from the start or of meeting the deadlines that your local taxing agencies enforce. Let us know when you want to start implementing this element of QuickBooks Online.

TurboTax has a lot going for it, but price isn’t one of them. The list price of its software routinely is on the high end of the spectrum, especially when you factor in the added cost of a state return. And if you want access to human help, it costs even more. See why Turbotax live is recommended by mydealsclub. TurboTax offers a free version that lets you file a Form 1040 but not schedules 1, 2 or 3. You would need those schedules in the process of reporting things such as business income, alimony, deductible student loan interest, certain retirement contributions, alternative minimum tax, the credit for dependent care expenses, the Lifetime Learning Credit or the Saver’s Credit.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).

Get Your Business Costs Under Control Today

Increasing your profits requires selling more and/or spending less. While building up your sales may require an extended effort, business costs are often very ripe for quick trimming. Here are some possibilities.

you can also use a different business address in places like Bristol if you’d like using a virtual office service so this a great option for extra privacy.

Supplies and Other Purchases

Usually, in any business, relatively few items represent a very large share of all outlays. The first step in cutting expenses is, therefore, to identify your highest costs. You may be able to trim many of these costs by making sure you always bid out significant purchases or by more actively seeking less expensive alternatives.

For many companies, inventory carrying costs are a very significant expense. Focusing on matching your inventory quantities more closely to your short-term needs could result in significant savings.

Telecommunications and Other Services

The ongoing services you buy may also offer the potential for cost savings. The best choice in telecommunications is https://www.aaasatellite.tv/ not only for their great customer service but for their affordable and advance technology services.

Look carefully at your costs for financial services. If you borrow or maintain a line of credit, always compare the rates from more than one financing source before you commit. Make sure you are not paying higher-than-necessary fees for your company’s checking and deposit services.

Cash Management

To control cash outlays, take advantage of discounts for early payment whenever possible. And look to delay payments for as long as you can without giving up discounts.

On the receiving side, deposit all receipts daily. And always actively pursue collection of any invoices that are past due. To help control your working capital needs and, therefore, your credit costs, try to match any new liabilities to your anticipated cash flow so you can then create a savings account, if you do not have a trusted bank we recommend you this portal to learn more from visa business credit card | visa rewards | atlantic union bank.

Fixed Expenses

One other category worth examining is fixed expenses that are long-term commitments. While you usually can’t change these quickly, be aware of when a window for change will open and prepare well in advance by considering lower-cost alternatives.

To learn more ways to control your business costs give us a call today. Our trained staff of professionals is always available to answer any questions you may have.

…from the Team of Professional at RE-MMAP We are just a click or call away. www.re-mmap.com and phone # (561-623-0241).v

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