IRS notices: How to deal with the IRS

In this article we are going to address how to deal with the IRS. We are also going to go over some information you should have if you receive an IRS notice.

Let’s assume for a moment that you are a good taxpaying citizen and have filed your tax returns for the last few years. You have filed them timely, and paid your taxes with Uncle Sam.

Then it comes. That day; when you receive the letter from the IRS. For most taxpayers, the IRS letter you will receive will be a CP2000 notice. These are automated notices that the IRS sends out which tell you the information you filed does not match with the records the IRS has on file. There are a couple of very important facts about this notice:

  • The IRS does screw up! You may owe less than the notice states, or nothing at all, but…
  • You cannot ignore this notice even if you believe you do not owe any money (we will cover this at length in a minute)
  • Take a minute to make sure that you owe taxes with this notice, and that the notice includes only known income sources.
  • Take out your tax return and compare it to the notice you received. Obviously you will be looking for differences between the summary information in the IRS letter, and your filing.
  • It takes time for the IRS to process information. Often it can take more than 90 days for the IRS to process one form. For this reason, the IRS is often dealing with old information.

The next step is usually to call us! We offer complimentary reviews of these notices to our clients, and in many cases can resolve the issue with the IRS without charging you for the service. There are a few reasons why we help taxpayers to fight these IRS letters:

  • The information on the IRS notice is inaccurate
  • There are additional credits that are available due to the adjusted income
  • There are additional expenses that can be applied to income before assessing tax that the IRS either did not know about, or did not process correctly
  • The IRS is understaffed and often unavailable. Tax professionals have tools available to deal with the IRS directly, that are not available to the general public
  • We know how to deal with the IRS, and know how to work within their systems to get results

If you decide not to consult an professional on the matter, it is important that you know a few facts. An IRS CP2000 notice becomes final and accepted as an adjustment to your return, if you do nothing 30 days after the notice issuance date. So, you only have a limited amount of time to ask that the IRS change the information contained on this notice. Once the IRS has adjusted your return for a CP2000 notice, you will usually receive a bill from the IRS. Even after the IRS has billed you, there are still things you can do to eliminate or minimize this tax bill, especially if you believe you do not owe the taxes due.

If you have not filed your returns and paid taxes over the last few years, we should also talk, but that is not the focus of today’s article. IRS notices are very important and timely pieces of information. For this reason, it is important to understand what the notices mean. If you have received IRS notices and are concerned about what will happen to you or your business. Contact us 

More than tax advice…

Are you launching a business or product line? You may have relied on us for years for timely and personalized tax advice, but you may not be aware that we help business owners start and expand their companies every day with several types of services. In fact, we frequently serve as a business coach or mentor for owners seeking help in their strategic planning, setting up payroll or other systems or selecting the best accounting software, among other projects. Due to our extensive contacts in the community, we can also recommend attorneys and bankers to work with your business.

We’ve seen the many kinds of challenges business owners face and we know how to implement the right solutions. And we’re business owners ourselves! If you are interested in advice that is more than tax advice, be sure to contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve business success.

Useful financial information (Part 1)

As I mentioned last week in my post titled: Accounting what does it mean to you? I mentioned that accounting is the business of information. Without useful financial information your business can falter, or experience stagnated growth.

Today, I will spend a little time talking about quality financial information, and the unintended consequences of having poor, or outdated, or useless accounting information/records.

If high quality, accurate and timely financial information is important for businesses to make accurate decisions about their businesses, then why do so few businesses invest in quality accounting and financial information, and what are some of the consequences of poor investments?

Why do so few businesses invest in quality accounting and financial information?

  • They believe this information is too expensive
  • They do not have the right type of training to use or analyze the information they have
  • They spend more time working in their business than working on their business
  • They have other problems that are more pressing

So what are some of the consequences of having poor financial and accounting information available?

  • Bills are not paid timely, and interest charges and penalties are incurred
  • Major decisions are made before taking the proper time to analyze how those decisions will affect things like client relations, cash flows, client acquisition/retention, capital improvements, employee needs…the list goes on and on…
  • Taxes- while not usually the driver of the bus, taxes are very important and most small businesses do not spend enough time forecasting how they will pay their bills, and the tax man
  • Funding sources/Investor relations- There are few things that will turn off an investor quicker than finding out that your reports are incomplete, inaccurate or non-existent.
  • Increased receivable balances- So you are working harder, but making less money…Usually the problem is in receivables. As businesses grow, they can no longer rely upon their old collection methods with clients.
  • Inaccurate break-even points for product or service analysis by type.

 

What does accounting mean to you?

Accounting is the business of information. Without useful financial information your business can falter, or experience stagnated growth.

This love of information and specifically financial information is what has always drawn me to the accounting industry. When I was new to the business, I always explained it as ” I love helping businesses and individuals”. I think as we grow, we have more time to analyze what things are really important. I have also found myself trying to define what that means.

Accounting to me is the conduit by which businesses and individuals can make informed decisions in their personal and professional life(s). If you think about it, it is very hard as a business to make a major decision without some financial component that surrounds or supports that decision.

Next week I will spend a little time talking about quality financial information, and the unintended consequences of having poor, or outdated, or useless accounting information/records.

We moved!

We have officially moved to the our new downtown Grand Rapids location, and are very excited about the move! We are conveniently located on East Fulton St, near the corner of Lafayette and Fulton streets (a map is included on our website). Come and check out the new digs!

While we have been providing excellent accounting services to businesses and individuals in and around the City of Grand Rapids, we felt it was time to make the move official. Hopefully you have a few minutes in the next few weeks to stop in and check out our new Grand Rapids location. kindle

 

Five important questions to answer before starting your business (part 2)

So, this is part two of this post sequence. In part one, I talked about how not planning ahead for capitalization of your business can kill your dreams. Having a very distinct plan for cash and cash flow is very important for a new business. But, in part two we are going to focus more on the psychological change that you have to go through when starting your business.

But, surprisingly I agree with item #3 the most: Do you have the humility and willingness to do it all? This is one factor that I think most aspiring entrepreneurs take for granted. Can you operate your business effectively with limited/non-existent resources? While at the same time being able to envision goals for you and your business? While blocking out all the noise that surrounds your business/personal life?

So I ask you, what question do you agree with on this list? Or what question do you wish you had asked yourself before starting your business?

Check out the full article here.

Five important questions to answer before starting your business (part 1)

Sometimes, other people come up with great articles that really make you think. I just read an article titled: Five questions to ask yourself before starting your business. I find that items number two and three are very true. Having enough business capital is very important (big surprise that the CPA feels this way).

It is very hard to plan your exit strategy (presumably from a former job) and new business strategy in such a way as to have enough money/credit available to start your business. While trying to keep your own personal finances in order. While there are a lot of rules of thumb out there. What strategy did you use when starting your new business, regarding business capital?

Also, what important questions did you answer before starting your own business?

 

Check out the full article here.

Michigan Unemployment Rate Changes

Recently, the State of Michigan unemployment insurance agency, commonly known as UIA, changed its annual wage base per employee from $9,500 down to $9,000.

This change is effective for all employers who have wages and have paid wages in 2015. The change will be effective as of the third quarter 2015, and will not be retroactively applied. While this is a small incremental change it will save the average taxpayer approximately $18.50 per employee, per year in unemployment taxes. This is a nice surprise for Michigan employers; it’s always nice when your unemployment rate changes for the better.

If you have unfiled reports or you have an outstanding balance on your Michigan Unemployment Account (UIA account), your business will not qualify for these changes. If however you pay your delinquent unemployment taxes due and/or file your unfiled unemployment reports you may be able to qualify for this change.

If you have any questions in regards to these changes please feel free to reach out to us. For more information about these changes click here.

Business growth

Business growth can be good—or it can be a disaster. If you’re considering growing your small business, consult with a CPA for strategic advice that will help you determine your next steps. Your business growth strategy is an important step in the progression of your small business. See how Capstone CPA Group can help

White House proposes sweeping changes to overtime rules

file4741281776353As many business owners already know overtime rules are traditionally pretty standard. There are two basic principles: One, if you pay more than a very low threshold in salary per year (23,660). And, your employee performs executive, administrative tasks, or is a special class of worker called a professional worker then this employee would not be subjected to the overtime rules.

Under the changes proposed and to be ruled on in 2016, the Department of Labor is suggesting some large and sweeping changes. First, the pay threshold to avoid paying overtime would be increased to $50,440 and be adjusted for inflation thereafter. Second, there would be more restrictive rules on which types of jobs would qualify as executive, administrative and professional workers. These changes are estimated to affect nearly 5 million workers in the US. Since this is a short-story format. I cannot include all the information that has been proposed. For this reason, if you need more information, click here.

Normally, we are not in the business of reporting or commenting on proposed changes, however the information contained in this proposal is very significant. If you have any questions about overtime rules, or the proposed changes, feel free to reach out to us.