3 Tips for Buying Accounting Software

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When running a small business, purchasing accounting software is typically an essential step so that you can keep track of your business finances. While there are plenty of different options out there for you to choose from, not all accounting software programs are created equally. Here are three tips to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a business accounting software package.

Check Out the User Interface
When you buy an accounting software package, you’re going to be spending a lot of time using it. Because of this, you’ll need to choose a software package that has a user-friendly interface. While they all claim to be user-friendly to some degree, some are better than others in this regard. Typically, you can download a demo or try out the software before you buy it. When you are looking at a few different software options, try out the user interface to make sure that you feel comfortable using it. Look at the different features that the software offers and find out how to access them through the user interface.

Search for Integration
Another word factor for you to consider when buying a business accounting software package is whether it integrates with your current system. If you are already using some other software products, you may want to buy a software program that is designed to work with them. For example, if you are using some kind of payroll software to do your payroll, you may want to buy an accounting package that integrates with it seamlessly. By doing that, you will be able to get right to work once you buy the accounting software. Otherwise, you may have to invest in other software programs to go along with your accounting package.

Look at the Features
The features of the accounting software are what you’ll actually be using on a regular basis. Because of this, you need to check the list of features on the accounting software package to make sure that they meet your needs as a business. Some businesses do not meet all of the features that come with the more advanced accounting software packages. Sometimes, your business might need more features than what some of the smaller accounting software packages offer. Regardless of what you need, make sure that it is included in the package that you’re about to buy. For example, you may need to be able to print purchase orders or invoices with the software. You might need to be able to keep track of employee’s working time through the software program. Once you find a program that provides what you need, purchase the software and get started taking control of your business finances.

For businesses large and small, it’s crucial to have the right tools to help you manage day to day and future growth. For expert business accounting software installation advice, contact Horizon Business Systems today.

All You Need To Know About Dealing With Tax Liability

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Do not let tax liability force you to pay more than your fair share of taxes. The IRS has been providing special reliefs to people who have not been able to meet their tax obligations for the last few years.

The tax revenue authority body through its “Fresh Start” initiative is taking target at small business owners and the unemployed to meet revenue collection targets set previously.

According to Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner, the agency has an obligation to work with struggling taxpayers in order to find a workable solution for both parties.

Every taxpayer should know that failing to file returns or to pay taxes on time will attract penalties which will increase their tax liability.

» Failure to file on time will result in a penalty of five percent per month of the unpaid taxes until the amount is fully settled.

» Failure to pay taxes will lead to a penalty of half of 1 percent of the unpaid taxes every month.

The good news is that the agency is giving a half-year grace period to some self-employed people and eligible unemployed people. During this period, these groups of taxpayers will not incur penalties for late payment or failure to file returns. However, taxpayers who fall into these two categories will have to fill out the IRS Form 4868 to ask for an extension.

Under the Fresh Start initiative, eligible taxpayers will have up to 15th October to pay their taxes. Self-employed individuals who have seen their income drop by more than 25 percent due to the economic crisis in 2011 can also qualify for this deadline extension.

What is the Federal Residential Renewable Tax Energy Credit?

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If you have made renewable energy improvements to your home, or you are considering them, you should know about the Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. The Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit is a program that gives a huge tax incentive to people who install solar-electric systems, solar water heaters, geo-thermal heat systems, fuel cells and/or wind turbines. If you have installed a renewable energy system, or you are planning to install one, the tax credit can help you recoup a large portion of your initial investment.

A Brief History

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was the first act to establish tax credit for residential renewable energy installations. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 further strengthened and extended the original act. As of this writing, the tax credit is available until 2016, although there is a good possibility that this deadline will be extended as it has in the past.

Who Is Eligible?

If you have a solar-electrical system, solar water heater, geo-thermal heat system or wind turbines that were installed after 12/31/2008 then you are eligible for a 30% tax credit with no maximum amount. If you had your system installed before 1/1/2009, then there is a maximum credit of $2,000. In the case of wind turbines installed before 1/1/2009, the maximum credit is $4,000. Additionally fuel cells need to have been installed after January 1, 2006 and the maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt. There are certain federal Energy Star requirements for renewable energy systems, so if you are planning an installation, then you should consult with a professional about which systems are eligible to receive the tax credit. If you already have a renewable energy system installed, you should consult with a tax account to find out if you can still claim the credit.

Other Caveats

The home or homes served by the solar panal installation system do not have to be the taxpayer‘s primary residence, except in the case of fuel cells, where only the taxpayer‘s primary residence is eligible. For solar water-heating systems, the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable state agency must certify the system for performance. Additionally, the solar water-heating system must heat at least 50% of the home’s water. Hot tubs and swimming pools with solar water heat are ineligible for the tax credit. Fuel cells must generate at least .5 kilowatts and have electricity generation efficiency greater than 30%.

Although determining your eligibility may seems confusing, it is actually not that difficult. Most renewable energy systems installed after 12/31/2008 are eligible. However, you should check with the IRS or with a tax accountant if you are not certain. If you are planning on installing a new renewable energy system, than you should definitely consult with the company doing the installation to make sure that you get a system that will get you the tax credit so that you can offset your initial investment.

About the Author: Odette Maupredi has spent months researching residential solar panel benefits and highly recommends everyhomeowner look into both state and federal energy programs. You could stand to save quite a bit of money if you can afford to participate.

Tax Breaks for Homeowners: Are You Missing Out?

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There are many tax breaks that get overlooked, but homeowners often overlook the most obvious deductions. The truth is, as a homeowner, you stand to save hundreds if not thousands off your taxes. However, it all boils down to knowing what you qualify for. The following are just some of the tax breaks homeowners may be missing out on.

Mortgage Interest

The interest you pay on your mortgage should be one the first tax breaks you take advantage of. Those filing single can deduct mortgage interest on homes up to $500,000 ($1 million for married couples). This will require a bit more work because you will need to itemize your deductions, which means you should see an accountant.

Points

Sometimes people are required to pay points on their mortgage to get better rates on their loan. These points may offer a tax break if they meet certain requirements. First of all, points must be allowed in the area where the home was purchased. Second, the mortgage must be for a home that is being bought or built as a main residence. The deduction must also be taken the year the loan to buy a home was obtained and the points cannot be out of the normal range.

Property Taxes

Each year, for as long as you own your home, you can deduct the amount of your property taxes. With most loans these taxes make up a percentage of your monthly payment and are set aside to be paid once a year. You will receive information on the cost of these taxes when you receive information about the interest from the lender.

Mortgage Forgiveness

The Mortgage Forgiveness Act extends through 2012 and allows those that fell into foreclosure the ability to not pay taxes on the forgiven amount. In most cases, forgiven debt is taxed as income. Those that restructured their loan also qualify. The amount forgiven is up to $2 million for married couples and $1 million for single homeowners.

Tax-Free Capital Gains

A capital gain occurs when something is sold for a profit. With most capital gains, the seller is taxed on the amount gained. However, with residential real estate, the homeowner may qualify for a tax break on the first $250,000 ($500,000 if married) of the gain.

Energy Saving Improvements

Last, but certainly not least, homeowners making improvements to their property, in order to have a more energy efficient home, can also take advantage of tax breaks. There are a number of items that qualify ranging from windows to roofing and you may be able to deduct up to 30% of the costs from your taxes up to $1500.

As a homeowner, it pays to take advantage of these tax breaks. While this may mean getting the assistance of a professional accountant, it also means saving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

About the Author: Dennis Allenbaugh is a mortgage specialist who loves seeing people benefit from homeownership each year. He recommends sites like Home Loans Australia and others to those looking to qualify for a home loan. Now’s the time to start thinking about purchasing a home.

A Tax Consultant Can Help You Save on Your Taxes

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Do you currently run your own business? Do you find that taking care of the finances and taxes more bothersome than you care to admit? If you’re looking for ways to save on your taxes, why don’t you hire a professional tax consultant? Even if you know the tax laws yourself, since the laws are always being updated, there is a huge chance you could miss something. That’s why it is best if you find a professional that lives and breathes the tax code. If you manage to locate a good one, they can save you countless amounts of time, energy, and money. Of course, there is still the possibility of finding an inexperienced one that just causes anguish and wastes money, so watch out.

Before you choose a tax consultant for you, ask advice from friends and family. If you can find recommendations from someone you know, you may be able to find someone that is hard working enough and cares about you. Depending on the tax specialist’s speciality and who they work which, different kinds of consultants will be able to work with you. It’s often a good idea to review several candidates before you pick one and be aware that even if you hire someone that sounds the best for the job, you may still get a lemon. Listen to what your gut tells you and you should be fine.

You may not neccessarily need a professional but you’ll find that if you own a business, they can be invaluable. Some people don’t want to hire a tax consultant because it can be expensive, but they’ll make up for their cost in time. You’ll be glad you did, because they may be able to save money in places that you never noticed before. At the very least, you get to avoid the anguish of excessive paperwork.