How Accounting Management and Software Can Help Your Business

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With every new company, it is important to have an accounting system that works well and is prepared to grow with the business. Office work may be the least favorite part of getting a start-up off the ground, after all, you are a visionary with a great business idea, and taxes and sales reports aren’t exactly exciting. The future of any new business depends on careful planning. Not being prepared with the tax and bookkeeping management can turn even the greatest business plan into a failure.

Choosing Software

The type of accounting software you choose really depends on the type of business. For many small companies, QuickBooks is the first choice, mostly because it has been around long enough to improve itself over the years. If your business is more global, a cloud-based program such as Salesforce.com may be more your speed. This application is useful for customer relationship management. It combines record keeping with customer interactions, which can help a new company grow. Freshbooks is another program that provides streamlined billing and organization tools you can manage online.

Keeping Track

A new business should keep track of all receipts and all expenses from the beginning. It is crucial to know how much money is going in and out of the accounts. Taxes aren’t something you think about once a year, as your business grows, new requirements come with it, such as quarterly filings with the state or federal governments. Many Balancing books and keeping track of the latest tax laws could very well be the reason why one business outperforms a competitor. Keeping the books balanced means you have fewer problems to fix, and let an owner spend time making the business a success.

Hire an Expert

The best way to make a company more productive is finding the right people to do the job. If you have an employee who is a natural with numbers and bookkeeping, let that be their specialty. If your establishment has more of the innovative and imaginative types, let them shine where they belong and hire an outside firm to do the books. Many accountants make a living helping small firms with their tax and record keeping tasks.

Plan Ahead

Getting a new business off the ground can be difficult, but the mistake many of them make is not continuing with their planning. Very few successful companies still use the same bookkeeping system they started with. Maybe a laptop and a simple software program was all you needed to get started, but after a while, your needs will change as the business does. Thinking about an expandable accounting system from the start will ensure that you have a start-up that takes off and stays profitable for the long haul.

Aristides Trimindis is the Managing Director of Istos Global Limited an independent Firm offering Cyprus Accounting, Audit, Cyprus Tax services and Advisory services. In addition to the above Istos Global can help you Register a Company in Cyprus.

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.

Succeeding With Your Taxes

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Tax season is never fun. Man individual, especially if they are self-employed, dread the April deadline. Fortunately, it is possible for almost everyone to at least reduce their tax burden. It simply takes a keen mind and the ability to wade through quite a bit of paperwork. If you do not feel like you fall into such a category, you may want to make sure that you can find someone that will be able to help you. If you are familiar with the system, you should take the time to gather all the necessary data before filing. If not, you should make sure you work with someone that knows taxes well.

Take Your Time

In an era of quick online tax processing, one of the most important tips for a successful tax season is making sure that you take your time. Your taxes do not have to be filed the day your W-2 comes in, and it may be wise to wait a few weeks to gather the necessary information. Search out the relevant receipts from the last year, and do what you can to find out if you can take more than the average deductible. You may find that taking some time to do some research can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year.

Turn to a CPA

Whether you have exhausted all other possibilities or simply do not feel comfortable doing your own taxes, you may reach a point at which you have to find a CPA. Fortunately, there are many accounting professionals in almost every area, and finding the right professional can help you to get your taxes done quickly. A great way to find such a professional is to use a business social networking site such as SaleSpider.com. Many professionals use such sites to find clients, and finding a well-recommended individual from contacts on the site is a great way to feel safe with your choice.

If you want to succeed in filing your taxes without having to overpay, you should make sure that you take the process seriously. Do not rush through an online program, and make sure to contact a CPA if you do not feel comfortable filing on your own. Taxes can be complicated, but there is no reason to pay more than necessary merely to avoid trouble. A bit of professional help can often mean the difference between owing money and getting a refund, so always be prepared to seek out the necessary aid.

Annuity Quotes- its day to day application

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If you are nearing retirement you might start worrying about the different pension policies and the annuities. Whatever may be the pension policies, most importantly one should focus on the lifestyle that one will carry on after one stops working. An annuity converts a huge amount of sum generally the lump sum amount of the pension into a guaranteed income after retirement that will exist for entire life you live. Retirement annuities which give the best annuity quotes include increasing annuities, guaranteed annuities, joint-life annuities and investment-linked annuities.

Annuity quotes keep on changing from one holder to the next. The main reason why rates would constantly change is due to the insurance company where the annuity is purchased. There can be up or down in the rating of the quotes because of the clauses in the contract which the insurance company applies. The companies also control the rate of quotes which is responsible for the lifestyle and health condition of the contract holder and whenever there will be a change in the lifestyle the insurance companies will have the privilege to discontinue.

The type of annuity too has an effect on the annuity quotes. As for example life annuity would have a notable effect on the quotes since such a type of payment will be based on the entire span of one’s life. This means that the holder of the contract will stop with the payment upon death. Some annuity plans also consider the dates in the contract. This involves the cancellation of the contract well before the death of the contract holder. But this is not beneficial for the plan holder since he won’t be able to claim any more money in the near future. This is why each option of the annuity must first be reviewed before taking up of any claims. Again it is the discretion of the holder of the contract if he would stick to the laws set by the insurance company or whether he would be applying for another option after the expiry of the contract.

Apart from the contract and the type of annuity, annuity quotes can always be controlled through claiming. If a contract holder would not claim his earnings in a couple of months, the insurance company will have to increase the rate of interest from about 1 to 2%. Some insurance companies increase it to about 6%. The increase in the rate of interest depends upon the bylaws of the state as well as the boundaries in the contract. Any breach of contract is entitled to immense penalty.

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.

The Findings Of An IRS Watchdog

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Some reports from an IRS watchdog have indicted the federal tax agency for certain practices regarding offshore account disclosure. An arm of the IRS known as the Taxpayer Advocate Service has been responsible for reporting these kinds of voluntary disclosure policies aimed at wealthy Americans. According to the watchdog report, the IRS has failed to cap penalties in cases of this kind of disclosure.

A standard practice of the IRS has been to reduce the penalties for those who willingly disclose that they have hidden offshore bank accounts. These taxpayers have often accumulated this wealth from overseas jobs or from family inheritances. The discovered lack of penalty caps has been linked to higher-than-necessary tax payments for some American taxpayers. Some experts believe that this lack of consistency could undermine the IRS’s credibility in the future if the agency implements similar types of programs.

Prior IRS voluntary disclosure programs have netted over $4.4 billion USD in unpaid taxes from these kinds of offshore accounts over a recent two-year period. A renewal of this disclosure is expected to bring in more names of wealthy Swiss bank account clients who have avoided their obligatory tax payments.

Information from this IRS watchdog report reveals that the ordinary cash penalty is supposed to be a maximum of $10,000 for account holders who accidentally fail to report these assets. Willful withholding of information on foreign bank accounts can carry a penalty of up to 50% of the highest account balance for each covered year of tax nonpayment.