Tax Regulations when Donating a Vehicle to Charity

Got an old car you’re thinking of donating to charity to take a tax deduction? Check out the IRS rules first. Here’s a quick overview.

 

  • The maximum amount you can deduct is the fair market value of the car.

 

  • If the claimed value is more than $500, your deduction is generally limited to the actual proceeds from the organization’s sale of the vehicle.

 

  • The “significant intervening use” exception allows you to claim a deduction for the full fair market value when the charity uses the vehicle in its mission prior to selling it.

 

  • You can also claim a fair market value deduction if the charity sells the vehicle to a needy individual for a price that’s significantly below market value (or gives it away).

 

  • The organization receiving the vehicle must be a registered charity.

 

  • You must itemize deductions on your federal income-tax return to claim the deduction.

 

  • You must include Form 8283 with your return when the claimed value is more than $500.

 

To learn more about tax rules and regulations for donations, give us a call today. Our knowledgeable and trained staff is here to help.

 

…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).

Working with Employee Records in QuickBooks Online

Payroll requires countless details about each employee. QuickBooks Online will walk you through the process of entering them. And if you have a lot of employees working from home then you simply must use some work from home tracking software so that you can see what they are doing to make sure that none are doing other things.

If you’ve only been on the receiving end of a paycheck, you may not know just how much prep work went into your neatly-organized paystubs. Those official-looking columns of numbers that described how much you earned and how much was taken out – and for what purpose – were the result of a tremendous amount of data entry when you were hired.

Now it’s your turn to discover how complex that recordkeeping task is. QuickBooks Online was designed for small businesspeople who weren’t schooled in the intricacies of double-entry outsourced accounting, so it simplifies the process of preparing for payroll as much as possible. Still, it will probably be the most challenging element of your web-based bookkeeping.

We can help you navigate these sometimes-choppy waters so that you’ll be ready to run your payroll with confidence. Here’s an overview, though, of one of the most critical steps: creating employee records comprehensively and accurately.

Just the Facts

The left vertical toolbar in QuickBooks Online contains a link for Employees. This is where you’ll add and edit staff records. Once you’re set up and have begun running payrolls, the page that this link opens will display your current year’s payroll cost totals. There will also be a list of employees and their pay rates and payment methods; you’ll be able to click on their entries to view and edit their record details.

To get started, though, you’ll click on Add Employee. This opens a page that asks for the individual’s:

  • Full name,
  • Withholdings (you’ll enter W-4 information here),
  • Pay frequency,
  • Pay type and amount (multiple options are available here besides salary and hourly),
  • Deductions (retirement, health care, etc.), and
  • Pay method (check or direct deposit).

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online and its payroll component contain many screens like this that employ common data entry conventions. The mechanics are easy, but 100 percent accuracy is required.

Some of these requests for information have a small pencil icon next to them. This means that there are additional screens where you can provide the needed details. In the example above, you’re defining pay types that will be available to the employee, like sick pay and vacation pay.

Depending on your company’s benefits, entering deduction information may be the most detailed and time-consuming task. QuickBooks Online first lets you choose between entering a deduction/contribution or garnishment. If it’s health insurance, for example, you’ll have to indicate how much money will be deducted from employees’ earnings each pay period (in dollars or a percentage) and what the company-paid contribution will be (if any). If there’s an annual maximum, you’ll also enter it here, and you’ll indicate whether the premium amount is taxable or pre-tax.

A sample check is displayed in the right column of this page. As you enter information, the check will be filled in with the correct amounts. If you don’t have a particular detail at hand, you can save what you’ve done and come back later to finish the record. And you can always return to edit data you’ve supplied.

When you’ve completed all of this and clicked Done, you’ll be back at the Employees screen.

Click on the name of the staff person whose records you just created, and you’ll see something like this:

Figure 2: Once you’ve created an employee’s record, you can view all of its details and edit it as needed.

There will undoubtedly be times when you’ll want to see your employee data in report form rather than clicking through numerous individual records. QuickBooks Online offers several report templates that accommodate this. You’ll click on Reports in the left vertical toolbar, and then All Reports | Manage Payroll. The most relevant here in terms of viewing employee-related information are:

Running your first payroll can be daunting. We hope you’ll let us help you prepare for 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).

What You Should Know About the QBO Mobile App

QuickBooks Online’s as a result of Android and iOS app creation, lacks some features found in the browser-based version, but it provides mobile access to tools you may want on the road.

First, it’s free (except for your mobile data plan costs). Second, it’s good. And QuickBooks Online’s mobile app offers more functionality than you might expect. Available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, it gives you remote access to the features that you probably use most frequently on your desktop or laptop.

Figure 1: The navigational menu in QuickBooks Online’s mobile app slides out from the left side (iPhone 6+ version pictured here).

Why Mobile?

Since you can already access QBO on a laptop, why would you need an app that’s missing some of the main site’s functionality?

You don’t, necessarily. If your work doesn’t take you out of the office much and you don’t travel for the business, downloading the app may just create one more icon on your smartphone screen that you always see but never open. Check out https://www.sandcastle-web.com/ for best mobile solutions.

But you may want to consider using it if you, for example:

  • Want to work at home or in a coffee shop on your off hours,
  • Regularly purchase items or services that you will submit as expenses to your company,
  • Sell something on the spot and want to create a sales receipt,
  • Need to nail down a sale by creating an invoice immediately,
  • Get a question from a customer or vendor about a past transaction, or,
  • Have to look up a price and description for a product or service.

Figure 2: Using QuickBooks Online’s mobile app, you can create sales transactions wherever you are.

Many Limitations

QuickBooks Online’s mobile app is far from a replacement for the browser-based version. It has numerous limitations. For example, there’s no dashboard – no home page that gives you an overview of your finances and provides reminders about tasks that need to be done. Rather, the app opens to Company Activity, a list of the most recent transactions.

Customer and vendor records are not quite as detailed, and you can’t view or work with your Chart of Accounts. Some settings can be altered, but not nearly as many as on the main site.

There are only two reports available, Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet, which is a tiny percentage of what’s offered online. You can’t enter and pay bills, create purchase orders, or work with payroll. And you can’t check inventory levels.

But the app isn’t designed to be a management or everyday tool. You wouldn’t begin your QuickBooks Online experience with the mobile version; setup and high-level functions like reports, bank reconciliation, and assignment of user roles would be done online by the administrator. There’s a separate application for Intuit’s online payroll, and activities like issuing credits and defining recurring transactions would more likely be done from the office.

While they’re laid out differently, the QuickBooks Online mobile app manages to pack a lot of detail in a small space. It includes the features that a remote worker would most likely need to use. And some of those are quite comprehensive. Forms in the app, for example, lack very little compared to those in the browser-based version, especially those that deal with expenses and payments, which are often done outside of the office.

Figure 3: The QuickBooks Online mobile app looks different from the browser-based version, but it’s very easy to use, and some screens are quite detailed.

Examine Your Workflow

The ability to do accounting work on an app away from the office offers convenience and flexibility that browser-based QuickBooks Online doesn’t. First off, mobile applications show a degree of professionalism and responsiveness to customers and vendors you meet with outside the office. And it keeps you in touch with some of your financial data when you’re on the move.

But can using it create problems? Possibly. Data entered in the app shows up in the browser-based version as soon as it’s entered and saved. But you or your administrator wouldn’t necessarily know to look for an onslaught of expenses or invoices, and by the time they’re discovered, there could be some complications.

So if you’re planning to let employees loose on the QuickBooks Online mobile app and you expect that they’ll use it frequently, it’s best to establish policies ahead of time and make sure that the work that’s done remotely will mesh with the rest of your accounting activities. We can help you prepare well for your new mobile capabilities.

…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).

Why You Should Be Using Mobile Apps with QuickBooks

Intuit discontinued its own QuickBooks mobile app a while back, and decided to shift its focus on creating the best logo animation online software, which, by the looks of it, is impressive.

In days gone by, running a company was a 40 hour per week proposition. You might have taken work home some evenings or gone into the office on weekends.

Those days are over, thanks to the internet and mobile technology. This fundamental change in the way we do business means that it’s now hard to get away from work.

Your smartphone and tablet are usually within easy reach, and they’re always tempting you to check in.

On the flip side, that kind of 24/7/365 accessibility has numerous benefits. There are, for example, apps that can be integrated with your desktop QuickBooks company file, which enable you to:

  • Make sales wherever you are,
  • Document expenses as they’re incurred, and
  • Monitor employee time for payroll purposes.

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Mobile Sales

Figure 1: One of the oldest apps that integrates with QuickBooks is GoPayment. You can process transactions on your smartphone or tablet from anywhere.

Payment-processing on smartphones has become commonplace these days. You’ve probably seen merchants accepting credit cards on mobile phones in one of two ways: by swiping the card on a small card reader that attach to their device or by entering bank cards numbers directly.

Intuit’s GoPayment lets you do either. You can download the free app and process a customer’s payment on your smartphone. However, you still have to download it into QuickBooks and either create a sales receipt or match it to an open invoice. This isn’t a difficult process once you understand it, but you must be sure to do it correctly from the start. We can do some practice runs with you.

Benefit: Improved sales that aren’t dependent on location

Travel Expenses On the Go

One of the smartest, most useful apps that has ever been created is the expense reporter – particularly when used by your road warriors for on-the-go expenses. There are a handful of these. Travelers can record expenses in two ways: they can either enter the information directly or snap a picture of a receipt with a smartphone. When your employees get back to the office, they’re able to prepare complete expense reports, whose approved data can be transferred into QuickBooks.

Concur is one of these apps. When you set it up, it imports Account Codes, Customers, Jobs and Classes, and Vendor and Employee Records from QuickBooks so that these can be assigned for each expense entry. Credit card transactions can be imported directly. When an expense report is completed, it can be sent to a manager for approval, and reimbursement is then deposited in the employee’s bank account.

Figure 2: Intuit’s App Center is home to hundreds of add-on applications for QuickBooks.

Tallie works similarly. It can automatically categorize expenses and alert approvers to expense policy violations. Used in conjunction with Bill.com and SmartVault, it can accommodate a sophisticated, seamless accounting workflow. We’ll see more multi-app integration as cloud-based financial solutions mature, but if you’re going to attempt such a setup, let us help you with the initial mechanics.

Benefit: More accurate, policy-compliant expense reports

Time-Tracking and Timesheets

If all of your employees walk through the office door every morning and stay there, you don’t need a mobile app for time-tracking. But for businesses whose cash flow depends on recovering and recording every minute of billable time, a smartphone time-tracker is ideal

 

TSheets Time Tracker can help improve your bottom line in numerous ways. This particular app:

  • Accomodates real-time mobile data entry,
  • Tracks employee locations using GPS, and
  • Creates timesheets that can be synchronized with QuickBooks, tracking billable time by customer, job, employee, etc.

Benefits: Employee accountability; recovery and correct classification of all billable hours; and less time required to create timesheets.

Moving Toward Integration

Given the size limitations of smartphones, some mobile apps contain only a subset of the features found in their desktop counterparts. But that subset is chosen based on the needs of mobile users.

Fewer features mean that your learning time for the mobile apps that integrate with QuickBooks will be minimal. But the steps to sync with QuickBooks must be followed to the letter, and you may not be familiar with such a process. We want you to experience the benefits that these smartphone solutions can offer without compromising the integrity of your QuickBooks company file. Let us introduce you to these forward-looking, beneficial tools.

…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).

Working With Your Accounts in QuickBooks Online

“Account” can mean more than one thing in QuickBooks Online. Here’s a look at its multiple concepts.

Until you started doing your company’s accounting, the word “account” probably meant a checking or savings account at a bank or your identifying information at a place like a brokerage.

In QuickBooks Online, “account” can mean the same things. It can also refer to one entry in your Chart of Accounts or your Intuit payment account, a customer or vendor account, and more.

You’ll probably work with all of these in the course of your lifetime with QuickBooks Online, except one: the Chart of Accounts. Although the site allows you to modify the Chart of Accounts by adding, deleting, or renaming accounts, please talk to us if you feel a change is in order. The Chart of Accounts forms the framework of your QuickBooks Onlinecompany, and altering it could have adverse effects on your entire accounting operation.

Everyday Use

One of the first things you probably did when you created your company was to create at least one banking account, probably checking accounts. You can set this up without connecting to a bank site; however, that defeats the purpose of QuickBooks Online, which is to have access to your web-based accounts.

Figure 1: QuickBooks Online’s home page displays balances for all of the accounts you’ve connected.

Setting up a connection to your online bank, brokerage, credit card, orother online financial service like PayPal is easy. On the home page or the Transactions | Banking page, click the Add account button in the upper right. QuickBooks will display logos for some of the most popular financial institutions. If yours isn’t there, enter its name or URL in the box at the top.

QuickBooks Online will then create a link between itself and your account, and it will download the most recent transactions (usually 90 days’ worth). Sometimes, it might recommend a chartered accountant to help with your small business needs. Now when you click on
Transactions | Banking, you’ll see all of your activity in table form with columns labeled Date, Description, Payee, Category or Match, Spent, Received, and Action.

Most of these are self-explanatory; they just provide information about the transaction. You may be unfamiliar, though, with Category or Match and Action (Add). We recommend that you let us guide you the first time you launch and work with a transaction download. It’s very important that transactions are classified correctly.

The Chart of Accounts
The Chart of Accounts, which is a standard, required element of any double-entry accounting system, is a very different set of accounts. To display it, you’d click on your company name in the upper right corner, then Settings | Chart of Accounts. We see a mini-spreadsheet that lists all of your accounts. QuickBooks Online selected these based on the information you provided when you were first setting up your company on the site.

Each account is assigned a Type that describes its accounting function.

Figure 2: Every transaction that represents money you spend on Advertising/Promotional activities should be assigned to this Expense in the Chart of Accounts.

Category Types are used by all businesses for classification purposes. There are only a few of them, such as:

  • Expenses (Bad Debts, Bank Charges, Insurance, Job Materials, etc.)
  • Income (Billable Expense Income, Gross Receipts, Markup, etc.)
  • Cost of Goods Sold (Cost of Labor, Freight & Delivery, etc.)

You don’t have to do anything with your Chart of Accounts. In fact, we suggest you don’t try. As we’ve said, if we see a reason in your bookkeeping to add, edit, or delete an account, we’ll be happy to do it for you. But you will encounter these accounts in numerous QuickBooks Online activities.

Sometimes they’ll be pre-selected for you by the site, but other times you’ll need to make a choice. For example, when you create a Product or Service, there will be three account fields that will already be populated. They are:

  • Inventory Asset Account = Inventory Asset
  • Income Account = Sales of Product Income
  • Expense Account = Cost of Goods Sold

The word “account” is used in so many different ways that it can get confusing. For example, if you wrote a check at the UPS Store for some shipping charges, you’ll be asked for the Account when you enter this in QuickBooks Online. It’s an Expense, but one of its more specific sub-categories.

Figure 3: QuickBooks Online provides the correct drop-down list in form and record fields.

QuickBooks Online takes care of a lot of the background work of double-entry accounting. But it necessarily exposes you to the concept of accounts. We’re here to help if this causes confusion in your daily bookkeeping.

…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).

Understanding Background Check Laws

As a business owner, it is normal to want to know as much as you can about a potential employee. That’s where background checks come into play, but before you dive in, you need to have a firm understanding of the laws (possibly through the help of an Overland Park Criminal Lawyer) that surround background checks to ensure you are in complete compliance.

Before you even begin, keep in mind that regardless of how you obtain information about an employee, you must still comply with federal laws put in place to protect prospective and current employees from discrimination. As an employer, you cannot discriminate in your hiring practices for reasons of national origin, religion, race, disability, color, family medical history, or for age over the age of forty, and you cannot collect information due solely to one of these factors.

Before you get any background information, you need to notify the employee that you are doing so, and that this information can or will be used to make employment decisions. When obtaining an investigative report, meaning using interviews with family members and associates, you must inform the prospective employee that they have the right to ask for a description of the investigation that lays out the nature and scope. However, snooping on a higher level and on VIPs would always result in a futile outcome because agencies like Los Angeles executive protection company are hired to keep all data confidential, and also to protect the one who hires these agencies.

In addition, you will need to obtain the employee’s or applicant’s written permission to perform a background check. Finally, you must certify to the vendor that will perform the background check that you have received said permission and have notified the prospective employee.

If you receive a negative background check for an applicant or employee, you must notify them in writing or verbally that any adverse action you take is a result of the information received.

Finally, any background information gathered must be retained for no less than one year. Once the year is up, the information can be disposed of in a secure manner including shredding, burning, or removing digital information so it cannot be reconstructed.
Background checks are an integral part of the hiring process. As long as you understand and follow all laws and regulations, you and your business should be well protected.

If you are interested in a personal background check for your records, apply here today.

…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).