Friday, December 28, 2007

AMT Aftermath

The IRS has made great progress in implementing the changes to forms due to the AMT patch. According to recent news, the filing season should start on time for many taxpayers. The others…well due to the AMT, if you are a taxpayer filing the following five forms, processing of your return will not begin until February 14, 2008:

QuickBooks Solutions For Your Industry

• Form 8863, Education Credits.
• Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits.
• Form 1040A’s Schedule 2, Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A Filers.
• Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit.
• Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit.

Be sure to speak with your tax advisor if you have to file these forms for you 2007 returns.

Keeping you Business N Synergy

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I.R.S. says I’m Really Slow

Now that the AMT patch is behind us, many wonder how long it will take to process a return (and get your refund) for the coming season. According to the IRS it needs up to 10 weeks to reprogram systems for the AMT patch. A further detail of the possible delays from the IRS Oversight Board:

AMT Delays

So as it sits right now, the IRS processing of returns will be really slow for 2008. The patch was only extended for one year that makes many wonder how this will affect tax planning for the future. I am sure that we have not seen the last of the AMT issue.

Keeping You & Your Business N Synergy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Holiday Gift from the Government….AMT Patch Passed

Hopefully the AMT saga has ended….for the time being at least. Wednesday, the House passed a one-year "patch" for the alternative minimum tax on Wednesday, joining the Senate in acting to shield taxpayers from an average hike of about $2,000. Now is goes to the president to be signed into law. Once signed by the president, the IRS will have to make a rush effort to change their procedures and tax forms possibly delaying tax returns (and refunds) for the upcoming tax season.

So there is still a little time to meet with your tax advisor and devise a strategy regarding the AMT and your situation. For many American’s (about 20 million) the AMT patch may be an early holiday gift for the AMT will affect taxpayers with incomes less than $100,000.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Saturday, December 15, 2007

AMT Update – Expect Delays

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The House was able to pass an alternative minimum tax (AMT) relief bill on December 12, but the new measure contains more than $50 billion in revenue increases that critics believe are unlikely to win support in the Senate. Some of the highlights include:

AMT relief for nonrefundable personal credits and increases the AMT exemption amount to $66,250 for joint filers and $44,350 for individuals. The bill would also provide relief for AMT taxpayers who have exercised incentive stock options and would make changes to the refundable AMT credit. The measure also includes a provision to increase the eligibility of the refundable child tax credit.

No it is back to the Senate, at the rate things are going the IRS estimates that e-filed returns will not be able to be processed until mid-February.
We will keep a close eye on the developments regarding the AMT and YOU.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, December 10, 2007

AMT Fixed?!?

Many taxpayers are concerned about the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) issue as questions regarding it have been coming into our office a great deal lately. In actuality the AMT, will affect about 23 million taxpayers, so here is the latest news…
A one-year patch of the AMT provisions was approved by the Senate on Thursday, December 6 but without including any of the offsetting revenue-generating provisions included in a version of the bill passed last month by the House. So now it’s back to the House. The Internal Revenue Service has already warned that the delays in patching the AMT already threaten to hold up tax refunds for millions of taxpayers. Twelve different forms need to be revised to reflect the changes.
Be sure to speak with your tax advisor and start planning for the AMT changes now

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

10 Small business start-up sins

With the New Year ahead, many wanna-be entrepreneurs are considering starting their own businesses. Here is a must read for anyone who is considering the leap to the world of independence. One way to ensure that you do not fall into these ten traps is to have a great team of advisors who can guide you through the process of starting your own business. The major sins include:

1. Not learning from one’s mistakes
2. Forgetting one’s personal life
3. Expecting customers to come to you
4. Losing one’s soul
5. Maxing out credit cards
6. Keeping ideas to oneself
7. Not using written contracts
8. Starting a business without passion
9. Selecting a bad location
10. Trying to go at it alone

Read the rest of the article

Good information for those starting a business or even operating an existing on. Use this information to keep your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

SSA/IRS adds to their Technology for SMB’s

Recently the IRS added links for small to mid-sized businesses (SMB’s) on the SSA/IRS website. The links provide SMB’s with resources regarding Employment Tax & Worker Classification, forms, publications, and other small business resources to get SMB’s ready for the upcoming filing season. With the year coming to an end, now is a good time to make sure you are ready to provide your employees with their tax information. W-2’s should be sent to employees by the end of January 2008.

SMB’s can also subscribe to the “e-News for Small Business” that provides timely useful tax information right to your computer. The news is sent to your inbox every Wednesday, and it is FREE.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, November 26, 2007

Inflated Tax Penalties

So we all know that every year one thing is always set to increase…inflation. The IRS is now taking a look at their tax penalties to ensure that they maintain their bite during these inflationary times. A recent report by the GAO (Government Accountability Office) reveals that inflation has significantly decreased the real value of some civil tax penalties with fixed dollar amounts. The report goes on to say that the decline in value could weaken the deterrent effect of penalties and the treatment of taxpayers over time.

Maybe coming soon to a mailbox near you will be an increase in your tax penalties, but of course the easiest way to alleviate this situation is seek out a tax advisor that can keep you ahead of the ball year round. Don’t let inflation bite you in the tax pocket too.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, November 19, 2007

Microsoft Office Accounting 2008 Coming Soon

Microsoft is updating their small business accounting software package for 2008. Get ready for the new Office Accounting Express and Professional 2008. Each software title has enhanced features in addition to the seamless integration with existing Microsoft software titles. The major improvements are:

1. New Bilingual versions
2. New Resource Center
3. Budgeting Functions
4. Universal transaction import
5. Easier Invoicing
6. Enhanced Purchase and Sales Order tools
7. Streamlined Online Banking

Of course Office Accounting has all the features that made over 2million people download the FREE version in 2007. These features include payroll integration, EBay business integration, and the ability to send your books to your accountant remotely. For more information on how Microsoft Office Accounting can make your business run smoothly be sure to visit their website or speak to a Microsoft Office Accounting Certified Consultant.

Business N Synergy

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tax Planning Switch for 2008

The final months of the year are the time that many taxpayers are meeting with their accountants to get a good hold on their taxes for this year. Typically as a small business taxpayer, the strategy for tax planning is to defer income to the next year and accelerate deductions in the current year. This strategy may need to be changed if 2007 was a bad year economically (see previous posts regarding small business sentiments). If there was not very much revenue for 2007, one may ask what the use in accelerating deductions is.

One thing is do is maybe switch your plan and defer deductions until next year. As with any tax strategy what actions your small business takes in the old year need to be examined in regards to the projections for 2008. Be sure to speak with your accountant before taking any actions for the actions you take should not only be to lower your tax bill ,but to keep your business running smoothly for years to come.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Crunching Back the Cash Flow Crunch

Two interesting articles crossed the e-mail today. One article is announcing a new ad campaign that encourages more people to start their own businesses. The launch of Intuit’s “Just Start” will launch in New York’s Grand Central today and tomorrow. Another article probably echoes the sentiments of many existing small business owners that operating a business and managing cash flow are the most important issues to success.

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The numbers in these articles is what really caught my eye. Intuit conducted a survey with accountants and their results found that the majority of accountants tell individuals interesting in starting their own business to create a business plan. Almost all of the accountants surveyed also stated that up to one quarter of their clients did not use accounting software.

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Another survey conducted by CPA2Biz found that over half of small business owners do not use budgets or forecasts to effectively manage their cash flow. These surveys bring up major issues that small business owners must address to keep their business running smoothly. Attending one of our FREE seminars is a good way to get the tools to keep your cash flow smooth.

Our next seminar is this Saturday so be sure to check our website for more information.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cleaning Out Your Tax Fridge

With tax season just around the corner, and tax laws changing all the time, many individuals and small businesses will be looking for the right ingredients to prepare their new tax return entrees for 2008. As with any great entrée one prepares, it all starts with your ingredients. To ensure that your taxes are prepared with the freshest and latest tax changes, here are some tax provisions that will be expiring by the end of the year (2007) that you will need to clean out of your tax fridge:

1. AMT exemption amount
2. State and local sales tax deduction
3. Qualified tuition deduction
4. Residential energy credit
5. Conservation contribution
6. IRA distribution to charities
7. Educator deduction
8. Mortgage insurance premiums
9. S corporation contributions
10. Research credit
11. Contributions of food, books, or computer technology

12.Leasehold and restaurant improvements

Be sure to check with your tax advisor for the expiration date of these provisions and details on how to use them for your tax entrée this year.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Organize Your Medical Expenses

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Rule Will Haunt Poker Players

Happy Halloween to everyone out there in blogger land. Here is a new law that is sure to haunt poker players at tax time. Starting next year, casinos and other sponsors of poker tournaments will be required to report most winnings to winners and the IRS.

The new requirement, which goes into effect on March 4, 2008, was contained in guidance released Sept. 4 by the IRS. The guidance is designed to clear up confusion about the tax reporting rules that apply to poker tournaments. In recent years, some casinos and players have been confused over whether poker tournament sponsors who hold the money for participants in a poker tournament are required to report the winnings to the IRS and withhold tax on the winnings.
For more information on this change be sure to visit this IRS web link.

Keeing Your Business N Synergy

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Small Business Networks a Growing

It seems like every day there is a new smal business network introduced by a large compnay these days. Well today, I found out of another one that is being introduced by AT&T. “The Watercooler” is the newest entrant into the resource portals for SMB’s and it appears on the surface to offer similar resources as the others. SMB resource portals allow small business owners immediate access to information they need to effectively run their businesses. They are also good ways to network with other small business owners online. Below are just a few online resources that are great ways to increase your reach:

ATT OnwardSmallBiz
Intuit's Jumpup
Microsoft Startup Center
Microsoft Small Business Center

Many of these resources also offer FREE products and various other resources that your SMB will benefit from. Be sure to join these networks and get your Business N Synergy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Missed Your S-Corp Election

Let me start off by thanking the many attendees for our fall seminar series yesterday. We hope that the “Getting Sharp as a Tack on Taxes” seminar provided everyone with timely information that will help you save money on your taxes this coming season. A particulr question came up regarding S-Corps and here is a little information regarding Filing a S-Corp election:

Revenue Procedure 2007-62 allows small businesses that missed filing Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, before filing their first Form 1120S, U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation, to file both forms simultaneously. The change is effective for taxable years that end on or after Dec. 31, 2007.

Be sure to speak to your tax advisor regarding additional steps to ensure that your S-Corp election is prepared correctly.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Saturday, October 20, 2007

No Bad Checks to the IRS

The rules are changing for taxpayers who might consider writing a bad check to the IRS. The former rule was a 2 percent penalty of the amount of the check that was payable to the government. The new rule is a flat rate penalty for checks received after May 25th 2007. The new rate is $25 for amounts less than $1250.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Small Business Confidence Drops in 3Q

Bad new from the small business home front. According to the briefing from SMB Finance magazine (Co sponsored by the International Profit Associates), the Small Business Confidence Index slipped three points during the third quarter of this year. The major areas of the country that saw the largest declines were the Midwest, Northeast, and South regions. Details regarding the regions are:

The greatest loss of confidence was among businesses in the southern states where the confidence index dropped to 44 from the 50 recorded during the second quarter.

Small businesses in the western states, where the SBCI reached 47.66, were the only ones who reported improved business prospects from the previous quarter.

Businesses in the Northeast with an SBCI of 42.33 and the Midwest with an SBCI of 39.66 both were both below the national average of 43.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines

The fall season is a busy time: making quarterly filings and payments; verifying employee, wage, and benefit information; processing tax returns. These are just some of the many deadlines coming for a small business owner. Be sure that you have everything you need to get all of your payroll information filed correctly and on time. Here are the upcoming deadlines for payroll tax filings:

Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File form 941 for the third quarter of 2007. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until November 12 to file the return.

Federal Unemployment Tax. Deposit the tax owed through September if more than $500.

There also may be state payroll taxes due for the quarter. Be sure to check with your state.

If this seems like a lot to do, there are ways to make filing easier. By using technology and e-filing most of these tasks can be track and completed with little hassle. Check with your tax advisor for more information on how you can make payroll filings easier.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tuition is the Perfect Medicine

Today’s tax saving topic deals with personal tax deductions for taxpayers with children in college or prep school who pay tuition. For taxpayers with children in college or prep schools tuition can be a large family expense. Now there is a write-off available for a portion of the tuition that is attributable to health care as a medical expense. You must have a breakdown of the tuition costs that’s attributable to health care to take this deduction. For more information see IRS Revenue Ruling 54-457.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tax Provisions….Get your 4th Quarter N Order

The last quarter is upon us!! It is now time for the last push for the year 2007. This is also a great time to take a look at your tax situation so that you will be ready for tax season next year. Now is the time to get a strategy together for tax time, not the yearend. There are a few new tax provisions for 2007, and one many small business owners may want to look at is the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (Code Sec. 199).

This deduction many small businesses qualify for and it allows a deduction from taxable income an amount that is equal to a portion of the small businesses’ gross receipts. The deduction has now been raised to 6 percent (%) up from 3 percent (%) in 2006.

Be sure to speak with your tax advisor for additional rules and qualifications for the deduction. Get your last quarter N order.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Your Spreadsheets won't Excel

Like many small business owners, I was a bit apprehensive about upgrading to the new Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007. After all the listening to others and hearing their problems with the new system, I figured by now that all the kinks should have been worked out of Microsoft’s new offerings. I went ahead and upgraded all our office systems and must say that I have not experienced any problems with the new system so far.

Then I came across the following article that states math errors have been found in the new Excel 2007. It appears the errors have to do something with “floating point numbers” and the programmers at Microsoft are aware of the problem. They just don’t know when it will be fixed.

Check out the article and see if your spreadsheets have any of the errors included in them. As always it is good to foot and cross foot your totals for accuracy.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Monday, September 24, 2007

Max Out Your Retirement Plan

The last quarter of the year is about to begin. This is a great time to take a look at your overall financial picture and make adjustments to your retirement plans. Here are some qualified retirement plan limits for the year 2007:

Pretax contributions for 401(k) and SEP plans: $15,500

Sec. 415(b)(1)(A) defined benefit plan annual benefit ceiling $180,000

Combined employer/employee pay-in limits for all defined contrib.. plans $45,000

SIMPLE plan limits $225,000

For workers aged 50 and over, there are catch up limits that can help you even more at tax time. Be sure to speak with your tax advisor to ensure that you get the most benefits from you retirement investment.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Depreciation OOOPS!!!

With the corporate tax filing extension behind us, many small businesses are focusing on the final quarter of the year…the last push for the finish line. Hopefully you filed your returns correctly and took into account any depreciation for assets purchased. If you did not or if you made a mistake, not to worry for the IRS has made it easier to correct these mistakes.

According to IRS Revenue Procedure 2007-16, taxpayers (and their tax advisors) can now file Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method with either an original, or amended tax return for the year in question. The previous procedures required the taxpayer file an amended return. For more info visit

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Monday, September 17, 2007

Get Help Anytime…Anywhere

You have a problem…your accounting software has a bug and you can’t print a quote for your largest client. You need immediate assistance so that you can get that invoice or quote out to a customer and keep your business running. If you have a financial advisor who is tech savvy, your business will be back up and running in no time with Windows Remote Assistance.

Remote Assistance works with Windows XP and Vista operating systems that allow your advisor take control of your desktop to walk you through any problems you may have with your system. All you need to work proactively with your advisor is internet access, an e-mail account, and Windows Vista or XP operating system on your computers.

For more information regarding how to work proactively with your advisor and keep your Business N Synergy visit and search for Remote Assistance.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bad Tech Attitude

Microsoft conducted a telephone survey of 252 small business owners and found out that 60% of family owned businesses with multiple generations working together have had a disagreement regarding technology spending. Other findings include:

83% of small business owners were satisfied with their recent technology investment

24% look for technology advice from technology consultants

29% from family and friends for advice

Those that look for advice from technology consultants for technology were the most likely to be satisfied with their purchases coming in at 95%. Small business owners typically purchase PC’s, laptops, and industry specific software. Be sure to keep your Business N Synergy by making an investment in technology.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Small Business Mistakes are YOU making any???

According to Betty Price of the Price Group there are five fatal flaws that many small business owners make when operating their small businesses. They include:

1. Failure to work from a plan
2. Failure to understand and implement marketing
3. Failure to effectively deal with the people factor
4. Failure to communicate effectively
5. Failure to adapt with the times

Does this sound like you? These are some very important areas that need to be addressed and according to Price small business owners will have a greater opportunity to increase profits and sustain growth.

For details regarding the Price Group’s study view the following link:

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Scam uses the IRS as Cover

The IRS has announced a new scam that has surfaced in some taxpayers’ e-mail accounts. The scam consists of a two-step e-mail that falsely promises recipients they will receive $80 for participating in an online customer satisfaction survey. The e-mail contains a URL linking to an online "Member Satisfaction Survey." In this case, the e-mail notifies the recipient that he or she has been randomly selected to participate in a survey. In return, the IRS will credit $80 to the taxpayer's account. There are references to the IRS in the "from" line and the "subject" line of the e-mail. The link to the survey and a copyright statement at the bottom of the e-mail also reference the IRS. The survey form features the IRS logo.

For more information regarding the scam check the IRS website link:,,id=173424,00.html

Taxpayers Beware!!!

Business N Synergy

Monday, September 03, 2007

IRS is Wrong!!!

According to information from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS is often wrong when assisting taxpayers in properly preparing and filing return.

When auditors posed as taxpayers recently, they found that one third of the test returns assisted by the IRS were given incorrect information to prepare the return. The incorrect returns could have been subjected to interest and penalties for underpayment.

The IRS Free File Program also came under scrutiny by the auditors due to problems with the software how it applied the law in some situations. They also found that the Taxpayer Assistance Center visits were also time consuming and usually took multiple tries to have a return prepared.

For more information on the report follow this link:

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Owe Taxes?? The IRS won’t call the bill collector anymore

In July, the House Ways and Means Committee repealed the ability of the IRS to use private debt collections to collect taxes. Under current law, the IRS uses private debt collection services to seek out taxpayers and arrange payment. The Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007 can change that.

Other parts of the Act will fill in the holes opened by the change and possibly make up for the 1.1 billion in lost tax revenue. These changes include:

  • Increasing the penalties on failures to file Form 1099 information returns
  • Temporary increases for required estimated tax payments
  • Immediate tax on individuals who renounce citizenship

Be sure to speak to your tax advisor if any of these issues affect you or your business.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Monday, August 27, 2007

12 Reason to E-File Your Tax Returns

According to the IRS, the following are benefits that not only you as a tax payer but also your tax advisor will enjoy by e-filing tax returns:

1. 99% of all forms and schedules for individuals are available for e-file
2. Filers receive notifications within 48hrs
3. Accepted e-file returns have a 99% accuracy rate
4. Get your MONEY in half the time by choosing direct deposit
5. Extend your tax payment if you owe by delaying payment until the due date
6. Mistakes are immediately uncovered
7. 37 states and D.C. taxpayers can use Federal/State e-filing program
8. Returns entered into the IRS database remain unchanged by IRS employees
9. Electronic signatures are allowed through self-selected PIN’s
10. Transmission methods meet or exceed all government security standards
11. No chance of being audited
12. High satisfaction rating

Things to ponder as tax season draws near. Let this be your year to E-file

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Saving the Middle Class some Cash

Congress thinks it has the answer to saving us from the burden of taxes. The Senate Finance Committee is thinking about lowering the tax burden on the middle class. The Tax Foundation an independent expert warns that passing laws that benefit the middle class may not be the right way to go. The best course they feel is to do less to the individual tax level and cut the corporate tax rate.

Is this a ploy to help out big businesses? Here are some interesting facts:

The Americans with incomes in the bottom 20 percent pay only $171 in personal income taxes but pay $271 in higher prices arising from corporate income taxes. The top 20 percent income bracket pay an average of $48,390 more in taxes than they get in government services. Meanwhile the lowest 20 percent receive $31,032 more in government services than they pay in taxes.

Definitely something to ponder as the tax season rolls near. Let us know your thoughts. Do you favor corporate tax cuts or raising federal rates to levels from the year 2000?

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Independent Contracts and Your Business…Are YOU being Audited?!?

The federal government and the IRS is clamping down on businesses that misclassify workers as independent contractors. Of course this is all directed in an effort to close the tax gap (standing at $345 billion). Some of the planned initiatives include:

1. Congress possibly rewriting the rules on work classification
2. Increase federal tax compliance on employment taxes, including a written understanding with all 50 state agencies that administer state employment taxes
3. More Audits using the 20 factor test and audits of S-Corps
4. Increase criminal investigations of businesses that engage in wage schemes

This is just another call for many to get their act together as stated in a previous blog post. For more information regarding this and other issues regarding your business and its workers, be sure to speak to your tax advisor.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sole Proprietor Shame

According to new information from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), sole proprietors (SP’s) are one of the main culprits of contributing to the Tax Gap. At least 61% of sole proprietors are underreporting their net business income. Of that, 10% of SP’s understatements range from 6k-18k.

The GAO is recommending the Treasury Department come down hard on SP’s, so it may be a good time to get your act together.

GAO also estimates that $68 billion of the $345 billion tax gap is from the shameful SP’s

Keeping Your Business N Synergy (sans shame)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Intuit Discontinues Quicken Products

For those out there that use Intuit’s personal financial products, here is some news that has been recently announced by Intuit:

Over the past few years, we've added new features and streamlined the Quicken product lineup to make it easier to choose the right product for your customers. Intuit is no longer offering new versions of Quicken Basic as of August 2007.
What this means is that if you are interested in upgrading to the newest Quicken 2008 products you will more than likely have to purchase Quicken Deluxe 2008. New tools that are included in Quicken Deluxe 2008 are:

  • Easily migrate your existing Quicken Basic data, including bank, credit card and all online account information, transaction history, reports, and customized preference options
  • Track everyday spending with the new "My Savings Plan" so you can save for the bigger things you and your family really want
  • Plan for college savings with 529 support
  • Track and categorize expenses to help make tax time easier
  • Scan and store important documents and statements in one place

The Quicken 2008 line of products is planned to be available in August. Planned shipping will begin the week of August 27th.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Technology Can Save You Money

Many small business owners and individuals feel that investing in technology is very expensive. Some also feel that using technology in their everyday lives is complicated in addition to the high costs. When you really get down to it however, technology can really save you money. Take the example of online tax payments and filing.

I recently had to update my tag and pay the taxes for my automobile. The Georgia Department of Revenue now handles all the tag and tax filings for the state. There are two ways a person can pay for their tag/taxes, either go to the county tag office and wait in line (usually takes about 45 minutes to and hour) or simply pay for the tag/taxes online. This year I chose the online alternative. Usually when a person makes a payment online, there is a “convenience” fee that it paid to the third party that handles the transaction and it typically no more than $5. I personally felt that this fee was not to steep and once you factor in the total costs (travel time, waiting in line time, and gas), the $5 fee comes out to be considerably less than paying in person. With gas prices where they are presently, $5 would not have even paid for gas to get to the county tag office.

So the next time you need to make any kind of payments, consider making them online. It can save you time, money, and even a bit of your sanity.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The 8 areas of Business Synergy

The word “Synergy” can loosely be defined as two or more agents working together to create a greater effect than working by themselves. When operating a small business it is important that ALL aspects of your business are on the same page working together. When this is accomplished, a small business owner can separate themselves from the rest of the pack. There are 8 major areas that a small business can focus on to ensure that their business is above the rest:

1. Management
2. Operations
3. Business Finance
4. Human Resources
5. Personal Taxes
6. Business Taxes
7. Marketing
8. Sales

By focusing on these eight areas and ensure that they are all working together toward the common strategy of the business, a small business owner can realize increase profits, better productivity, and stable work environment for their employees. It may take a little effort, but with the help of advisors, your firm can be on top.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Death of the SBA?!?!

Here is an interesting article that came to view today; many small business friendly banks feel that the SBA is NOT doing their job. The major concerns with the SBA are the doubling of loan-application fees, the toughening of loan requirements, and the halving of the SBA's budget.

The SBA supports their position with year 2006, when it backed record 100,000-plus loans under two primary small-business programs, worth $19.1 billion, also a record high. Outsiders point out that SBA bank-issued loans are responsible for about 8 percent to 10 percent of all external small-business loans.

When we recently hosted one of our Small Business Series seminars, we spoke with small business owners to get their thoughts on the SBA and if they are a viable solution for funding. Many attendees felt that they would use alternatives to the SBA due to the many hurdles one has to cross to get a SBA loan.

Now that small business friendly banks feel just as disgruntled as the small business owner, where is the SBA going to fit into the strategy of the business owner?

One critic even feels that the SBA is a relic of a different market from 30 years ago and wonders whether the SBA will even exist in 20 years.

Click here for more information on the SBA’s fall.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tax Updates for YOUR Small Business

As the year moves closer to the end, now is a good time to start taking a look at your tax situation (if you haven’t started already). There have been quite a few advantages of the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 (2007 Small Business Act) that all small business owners may want to take a look at. Here is one that will help closely owned family businesses simplify their taxes.

Prior to the 2007 Small Business Act, if an unincorporated business that was jointly owned by a married couple filed as a sole proprietorship (as opposed to a partnership), only the filing spouse would receive credit for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. Furthermore, unless the married couple was located in a community property state, both the married couple and the business would have been subject to penalties for failing to file as a partnership. As a result, some married couples who were in business together filed a partnership return.

Under the new law, an unincorporated business that is jointly owned by a married couple in a common-law state may file as a sole proprietorship without penalty provided the business elects not to be treated as a partnership. The new law also ensures that both spouses receive credit for paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. The provision is effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2006.

Be sure to speak to your tax advisor regarding this and the many other changes affecting your small business.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hey Slacker What’s The DEAL?!?!

Here we all are as small business owners taking it to the max everyday, and now there is a book by Timothy Ferriss called “The 4-Hour Work Week” that claims that a small business owner can increase their profits and have more “me” time by working less. The book has also been on the nonfiction best-seller list since its May publication.

The book boasts a method to his madness by using the acronym DEAL which stands for, Definition, Elimination, Automation and Liberation. This may be one to put on your late summer reading list if you are a small business owner looking for a change of pace.

For the real “DEAL” and more details of the plan check out this link:

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ways and Means Votes to End IRS Private Debt Collection

Here is some mixed news regarding debt collection and the IRS from the National Society of Accountants:

The House Ways and Means Committee voted July 18 to repeal the private debt collection program used by the IRS to collect federal income taxes. The vote was 23-18, with all 17 Republicans on the committee (and one Democrat) voting against the bill, H.R. 3056, The Tax Collection Responsibility Act of 2007. The Administration had supported the private debt collection program as a means of reducing the $345 billion tax gap. Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee ranking member Jim Ramstad (R-MN) took the position that without the program, the IRS would assign workers elsewhere and the tax debt would go uncollected. Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-GA) countered that the collection of taxes “is a core government function. It is the Internal Revenue Service’s mission.” Lewis said the program wastes tax dollars by paying a bounty up to 24 percent to the private contractors hired to collect tax debt from delinquent individuals. “The private debt collection program is an insult to the American taxpayer and our federal tax system,” Lewis said. A copy of the bill is available at the following link:

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Technology Trends for the Small Business Owner

I had an opportunity to take part in a webinar yesterday for accountants that discuss the trends in electronic transactions and how they can impact the bottom line for a small business owner. Electronic transactions include ACH (Automatic Clearing House), EFT (Electronic Funds Transfers) and electronic checks. If you have not already implemented these functions into your small business, this may be a good time to take a look. According to data gathered from various banks, there has be a downward trend in the amount of checks that are pass at the counter, just one sign that there are additional ways to make and receive payments.

I know many of you are probably thinking “that’s okay, I’ll still make and receive payments the old fashion way and feel more secure”. Well using electronic transactions can provide you with the piece of mind that you need. Specifically, electronic transactions can provide the small business owner with speed, control, security, flexibility, and efficiency that they need to streamline cash flow, speed collections, and improve reporting capabilities.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Sunday, July 15, 2007

2007 Small Business Tax Act and Your S-Corp

Congress has passed the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 (2007 Small Business Act), which eliminates gains from sales or exchanges of stock or securities as an item of passive investment income. For tax years beginning after May 25, 2007 this legislation also generally defines passive investment income as gross receipts derived from royalties, rents, dividends, interest, and annuities, subject to several exceptions.

What does this mean for your S-Corp?

This change may be in your favor when planning for future investments. The change can possibly lower the portion of your income subject to the corporate-level tax at the highest corporate tax rate applicable for excessive net passive income. Be sure to speak with your tax advisor for more information regarding the tax law changes and how the will affect your small business.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Make Technology a Reality Today!!!

Small business owners, there is no time like the present to integrate technology into your small business processes and strategies. One of our previous posts dealt with the urgency small business owners need to have to keep up the ever changing business environment. A recent study (second installment) from Intuit’s Future of Small Business Report™ states that technology will change considerably the way small businesses are started, operated and grown. The study recognizes three trends that will emerge in the next ten years that will become the norm for small businesses:

1. On My Time, On My Terms – small business management will be this way for owners
2. Global, Local, Virtual – web and technology will fuel innovation
3. From Push to Pull – Marketing approach will shift

After looking at these trends and analyzing my own personal small business experience, I can attest that these trends are already a reality for myself and many other small business owners. With the use of WiFi networks and various other technology (video/web conferencing, online training, etc.) a small business owner can operate a business on their own time and virtually everywhere. This will allow small business owners to tap into markets that are typically outside their reach. If you have not already, take a look your own small business tech strategy and see if any changes can be made to ensure your place in the future.

Get all the details regarding the future at:

Keeping your Business N Synergy for the future

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Windows Vista and YOU

By now many of you have heard about the new operating system being offered by Microsoft called Windows Vista. If you haven’t already upgraded, be sure to test your existing software titles to ensure that they will work in the new Windows Vista operating environment. But what if you have checked all of your software and systems and still have problems in the Vista environment? There may be a possibility that you are not running a genuine Windows Vista product. The tell tell signs that you are running a non-genuine Vista product are:

1. Constant desktop warnings
2. New features are disabled
3. Non-security updates and downloads are denied
4. Information stored on the PC may be exposed to risks
5. PC will have reduced functionality

If you are experiencing any of these problems, there is a chance that you are not using a genuine Vista product. Microsoft has setup a site(s) to ensure that users have the right software to run their businesses. You can also consult with a Microsoft Partner in your area that can assist you in the process of checking your systems. Getting your systems up to date and “genuine” will ensure that your Business is N Synergy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

E-bay Versus Craigslist

As small business owners, we are always looking for ways to save money. Typically we find those savings by shopping and searching for goods and services on the sites like E-Bay and Craigslist. Now these two giants of the cyber world are going at each other. E-Bay has announced a new service called “Kijiji” an online classified ad service. This was quietly done last week and E-Bay feels they will bring viable competition to their rival Craigslist.

Oddly enough, E-Bay owns a 25% stake in Craigslist. The site will be part of E-Bay’s classified ad strategy for the US and has ad pages for some 220 cities. It will allow users to buy and sell items in a variety of categories. I am eager to see what happens with this battle, but I think Craig may have a jump start in this one.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sales Taxes are coming to the Internet

Earlier this week I was speaking to a client about sales taxes and how they are very complicated since each state and smaller municipalities make up their own rules when it comes to sales tax collection. Well it appears that the federal government is getting in on the issue. Right now two bills are circulating in Congress that are looking at ways to collect sales taxes on internet purchases. Backed by the state and local governments, Congress is pushing for the ability to impose sales taxes on internet purchases and charge monthly taxes on internet connections. All parties are looking at the billions of dollars that can be gained from the taxes, but at the expense of the consumer.

In May, Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill that would make it mandatory to collect sales taxes on internet purchases; all the while the House is considering allowing a temporary ban on internet access taxes to lapse when it expires in November of this year.

Typically sales taxes pay for state and local resources (schools, police, etc.) and most lobbyists feel that reduced sales tax revenue threatens those resources. A major hurdle to the change however is that it will be very difficult to overhaul the sales tax systems of the 7500 different tax agencies involved in sales tax collection and compliance. Will these changes affect your small business? Enzi’s bill would exempt small businesses with less than 5 million in out-of-state sales from paying the taxes, but as of now that is the only silver lining behind this dark cloud. We will keep a close watch on this situation in Congress.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Small Business Tax Woes

A recent study states that taxes top the list of the small business concerns as the second quarter of the year came to an end. The Small Business Research Board study says that taxes replaced healthcare costs as the leading concern. The study was co-sponsored by the International Profit Associates and polled some 770 small businesses. The second concerns for small business owners were the overall economic conditions following by fuel/energy costs.

Healthcare (which was number 1 on the list before) was moved down to fifth. The study also listed taxes as the leading concern in the Southeast and western regions and ranked second in the Midwest regions. Economic conditions were the leading cause of concern for the Northeast and Midwest regions.

It appears that it depends on which region of the country one resides in, but taxes are still a high priority on all the lists. This is for quite a few reasons. The most important are the recent tax changes and efforts by the IRS to close the tax gap at the expense of the small business owner. There have been quite a few updates regarding the small business owner and their tax situation thanks to Congress’ passing of the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007. This Act increased the minimum wage which will possibly adversely affect small business owner’s bottom line, but there are also some incentives for small business owners buried within the Act. Over the years the provision and retroactive changes within the bill should benefit the small business owner. Be sure to speak to your tax advisor to see how you can make taxes become less of a concern for your business.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summertime Small Business Snags

With the summer season starting this past week, most people are looking for some much needed time off to take vacations and be with their friends and families. This is usually a hectic time for the small business owner that wears all the hats in their firm. Summertime can be a particularly challenging time for certain kinds of small businesses. Employees and contractors have their own plans for the summer and it makes it difficult for small business owners to support their clients when staffing is short or even non-existent. These actions can typically cause a cash flow crunch for small businesses and we all know that effective cash flow is the lifeblood for any small business.

To alleviate this problem, small businesses need to live by what I like to call the “5 P’s” of business. The five P’s are:

“Proper Planning Prohibits Poor Performance”

By planning for the shortage of workers in the summer months, small business owners can continue to serve their existing client base and even possibly gain more business. Some ideas for keeping your small business up and running are:

1. Bring on your kids to do some of the grunt work
2. Cross train your existing workers
3. Use the downtime to your advantage by planning for the future
4. Reward staffers with incentives to keep them motivated
5. Be sure to build a cash “cushion” before the summer months hit

Use these tips to keep your business up and running smoothly through the summer months and maybe you can take a vacation when everyone is back from their summer fun.

Let me also take this time to thank everyone that came to our Small Business Solutions Seminar yesterday at the College Park Library. It was a pleasure meeting everyone who attended and learning more about your businesses. Next seminar is scheduled for July 10th 2007. See our website for more details

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Protecting Your Small Business

According to research conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) suffer more fraud losses than their large counterparts with the median loss per incident at $190,000. Most large businesses however, have an internal audit department to combat fraud whereas this department is non-existent in small businesses. What is a small business to do to combat fraud? The ACFE has provided 5 steps to prevent fraud:

1. Establish internal controls
2. Setup formal employment guidelines
3. Fraud prevention training
4. Conduct random and routine checks
5. Hire a CFE Certified Fraud Examiner

Fraud is definitely more prevalent in small businesses due to their small size and budgets that do not allow them to attack the problem like larger businesses. It is important for small businesses owners to take some precautions to ensure that employees, contractors or anyone else that has access to the businesses information and/or assets has been properly screened and controls are in place so that fraud can be detected. By incorporating these small steps into your existing operation, the potential for a fraud loss can be minimized.

For more information on fraud and how to prevent it, feel free to check out the ACFE’s site and the following links:

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Sunday, June 17, 2007

QuickBooks is NOW OPEN/SMB’s relieve their gas

Here are the weekly updates affecting small and medium sized businesses (SMB’S).

QuickBooks takes a shot at rival Microsoft in an effort to gain market share. Recently Intuit, (makers of QuickBooks) announced that they will allow users of their QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions software access to servers running Linux open-source. In the past users of Linux had to have a separate Windows based server to house the QBE database. By allowing the QBE dbase to run on Linux, IT professionals can cut costs in their SMB’s. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft counters this punch from Intuit.

In Congressional news, Senator John Kerry and Maria Cantwell are looking for solutions for small business owners suffering from the increase in gas prices. They will introduce legislation to establish a fuel emergency program for small firms struggling to cope with rising gas costs. Kerry and Cantwell's bill, the Small Business Emergency Fuel Assistance Act, will be offered as an amendment to H.R. 6, the CLEAN Energy Act. Their proposal would create a grant program within the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Agency that authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to issue grants to states to provide assistance for fuel-dependent small businesses in the wake of a Presidential fuel emergency declaration. Small firms and farms demonstrating need and a plan toward becoming more energy efficient would be eligible for these grants.

This will definitely be a step in the right direction for SMB’s to relieve their costs and hopefully not pass the fuel increases on to their customers. Hopefully this bill will pass.

For more information regarding these developments visit:

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Your Entrepreneur Skills

I would like to start this post off and thank everyone for attending our first seminar in the Small Business Series yesterday at the College Park Library. It was a pleasure meeting everyone and hopefully you got some information and help tools to assist you in starting your own small business. To recap from yesterday, anyone can be an entrepreneur, people are not born with the skills; they are learned. The typical skills that an individual needs to become a successful entrepreneur are:


Starting a business venture can be a tough undertaking, but once an individual takes the necessary steps to get the skills they need to be an effective entrepreneur the rewards can be endless. Be sure to do research to understand the business you want to start. You should also understand your funding requirements and what type of technology you will need to effectively run your operation.

All this and more will be addressed at our next seminar Saturday June 23, 2007. We will begin the process of putting your ideas into action and start preparing business plans. Be sure to come out and get your business off on the right foot.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Updates from The IRS/Congress

There have been some new developments recently from our friends at the IRS and the congressional government. One has to do with a previous post regarding compliance and the tax gap, and another has to deal with new legislation that may benefit the small business owner. If you are a small business owner, both new developments will be of importance to you.

Audits Will Be Up for 2006 Returns

The IRS will launch “The National Research Program” project that will focus on individual tax returns for 2006. About 13,000 individual tax returns will be audited starting in October. The audits will focus on areas of the income tax return that can not be verified by third-party information reporting. For details see the IRS article or contact your tax advisor.

Bush Signs Bill….Small businesses get 4.8 billion

The President signed the Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007 thus triggering retroactive and immediate changes affecting small businesses. Since the minimum wage has been increased (and is adversely affecting some small businesses), the Act provides tax incentives to help businesses absorb the cost of the higher federal minimum wage. Highlights of the Act include:

an extended and enhanced small business Code Sec. 179 expensing;
a FICA tip credit calculation that ignores the new hike in the minimum wage; and
an extended and enhanced Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

For more information regarding the new legislation passed and how it will affect you be sure to speak to your tax advisor.

Updates to keep your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Software N Synergy!?!

Businesses large and small all need to have the right software to effectively run their business operations. Typically the larger businesses have deep pockets to purchase large “enterprise” software to keep track of all of their business information and processes. What is the small business owner to do to compete with their larger counterparts? Implement your own enterprise software, but on a smaller scale. Enterprise software allows business owners to get a snapshot of their whole operation from start to finish. This allows the business owner to track the sales of goods and services from lead generation to sale completion.

Right now, there is a great deal of software titles out there geared toward the small business owner, the majority of them are integrated through small business accounting software via add-ons or software that works with the accounting software. The only problem affecting small business owners right now is if the software will work with your Microsoft operating system (Vista). Microsoft owns the market for operating system software and now small business owners can setup their own enterprise software system with their new products.

Imagine being able to track accounting processes from your MS Outlook software, or integrating online payment processing that uploads transactions directly to your accounting software, also being able to bank online and have transactions uploaded to your accounting software. All this and more can be accomplished when you implement Microsoft’s new products into your business operations.

We will discuss these new software technologies and more at our Small Business Seminar series starting next week. For more details feel free to see our website. Before you know it you can and will have your small business software working together making you and your operation more efficient.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Sunday, June 03, 2007

SBA a Little Help!!!

The SBA (Small Business Administration) is an organization that is suppose to help small business owners and entrepreneurs get the necessary tools and funding they need to successfully start and run their small business operations. Lately however, there has been a great deal of frustration felt by many small business owners that have looked toward the SBA for assistance. According to a report in the NY Times this past week, “recent policy changes and severe budget and staffing cuts in the last six years have left the agency unable to fulfill its mission to provide programs and services to the nation's 25 million small companies, which the agency defines as businesses with 500 or fewer workers. Since 2001, the agency's budget has been sliced nearly in half, to $464 million in the proposed 2008 budget. Staff cuts have been almost as deep, with the agency losing 31 percent of its work force.”

The SBA is also has seen an increase in their fees on their most common loan packages the 7(a) program and a decline in the amount of banks participating in the SBA’s loan program. These changes have all accounted for the loss in potential contracts for small business owners, and have many small business owners looking toward other sources for funding.

What is a small business owner/entrepreneur to do? Many small business owners have turned to the credit card industry and are using debt to finance operations and provide more capital for their businesses. The only problem with this strategy is that the interest rates on the credit cards are considerably higher than those on the SBA loans.

The Brico Group, Inc. will address these and other issues in our Small Business Seminar Series at the College Park Library this month. The first seminar will begin June 12th. Small business owners and entrepreneurs will get information regarding what the SBA can really do for them right now, and also what banks are entrepreneur friendly. Be sure to join us for these informative seminars.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So You Want To Be An Entrepreneur??

Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding experiences that a person can have. If, the entrepreneur knows what it takes to get the business started and also making a profit. In addition to money and resources, there is a time and “sweat equity” factor that plays into the equation. What many entrepreneurs must realize is that it takes a great deal of energy to keep the wheels of your operation moving together. Entrepreneurs need to take time away from the business to regain lost energy, thus taking a vacation is an important part of your strategy.

A recent study done by Information Strategies, Inc. is stating that entrepreneurs take only 5.5 days of vacation a year, compared to 14 by the average American. Among their other findings:

·41% had not taken a vacation of more than seven days in the past two years.
·33% had not taken a vacation in two years.
·27% said they did not expect to take a vacation this year.
·31% had not been abroad in three years.
·41% said their business suffered when they were on vacation.
·44% said their families had taken vacations without them.

Rather high numbers, but just goes to show that the entrepreneur is putting in the work for their business. Let’s also think about the reasons for starting your business now. I’m sure one of them was to have more time to spend with friends and family. Might be a little confusing now…huh?

It is good to know that you are the entrepreneur type before starting a business. Once you know that you are, you then move to your business idea and starting planning your business. By properly planning to prohibit poor performance, you will have your business profitable, use less energy, and enjoy more vacations.

For more information on finding out if you are an entrepreneur, stop by for one of our seminars starting next month (June 12th) at the College Park Library Atlanta, GA. More information is on our website below.

Keeping your Business N Synergy and Using Less Energy

Sunday, May 27, 2007

USA the best place for Entrepreneurs?

I was able to read an interesting article on this week regarding the climate for small businesses in the world. I was rather shocked to find out that the USA is NOT on the top of the list. Although we are near the top, the US did not make the first spot. The major factors that make a country entrepreneurial friendly include but are not limited to bankruptcy laws, tax policies, and employment regulations. Countries that have a solid foundation of laws and regulations typically faired better than their counterparts who did not have established laws, policies, and regulations.

For a look at the detailed list of countries by their rank, and to read the article on, check out the following link:

This article is a great read for those thinking about starting a business in the near future and/or thinking of starting an international operation. After gaining insight from the article, be sure to stop at the College Park library for the “Small Business Series” seminars, hosted by The Brico Group, Inc. These powerful seminars will provide the attendee with useful information on various topics including are you’re an entrepreneur type, business formation which entity is right for your business, taxes, and accounting, organization, filing and much more. For more information feel free to visit our website.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

FREE E-Newsletter for Small Businesses

The IRS has started a new service called “e-News for Small Businesses”. This e-Newsletter will be distributed every Wednesday (today) and will provide small business owners and the self employed with useful tax information including:

Important, upcoming tax dates
What’s new on the IRS website
Reminders and tips to assist business with tax compliance
IRS news releases and special IRS announcements

The new e-Newsletter will be an easy way for small business owners and self-employed to gain insight from the IRS regarding tax issues and how they will affect their businesses. It also give the IRS an new angle to provide information electronically to small business owners, keeping in line with their strategy of embracing technology and cutting down on sending paper information to taxpayers.

For more information regarding the e-Newsletter, simply go to the IRS website at

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The IRS Results Are In!!!

Now that the 2007 tax filing season is behind us (well some of us at least), the IRS has come out with their report regarding electronic filing of returns for the season. It would appear that the IRS is making good on their strategy to increase the number of e-filed returns and cut down on paper filings, a strategy that the IRS has been trying to implement for some time now. The major IRS statistics are:

The over 76.7 million e-filed returns accepted through May 4 topped the more than 73.2 million electronically filed returns received for all of 2006. That is also an 8.9 percent increase over last year at this time, with most of the increase coming in March and April.

A record 22 million taxpayers e-filed from a home computer, up 11 percent over the same time last year and eclipsing 2006’s year-long total of 20.3 million.

This filing season visits to, the agency’s popular Web site, climbed almost 10 percent, to more than 140 million.

More than 59 million refunds, a new record, were deposited directly into savings, checking and brokerage accounts, representing more than 61 percent of all refunds issued.

Nearly $158 billion has been directly deposited so far this year, an 11 percent jump over last year at this time, which surpasses the 2006 year-end total of $149.2 billion.

The number of balance-due returns filed electronically surged 14.2 percent to a record 9.4 million. For all of last year, almost 8.9 million balance-due returns were filed electronically.

Rather interesting information and it looks like the individual taxpayer is jumping on board of the idea of paperless tax filing. The IRS is embracing technology and many taxpayers are beginning to see the light also. It is possible that in the future ALL returns will be filed electronically. If you are one who still paper files your tax return, this may be the year for you to jump on the technology wagon. There are many resources out there to provide you with information on how to e-file your returns and you can always speak to your accountant about the benefits of e-filing.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

5 Most Important Decisions to Make When Starting a Business

ere is something I came across today in my inbox. Paul V Thompson, EA, ABA, ATA, ECS and fellow member of the National Society of Accountants wrote an article listing the 5 most important decisions potential entrepreneurs came make when starting a business:

  1. Create a Business Plan
  2. Choose the Right Business Formation
  3. Setup a Good Recordkeeping system
  4. Know Your Tax and Filing requirements
  5. Acquire a Banker, Accountant, and Attorney

I really feel that the last one will greatly increase the chances of your business venture becoming successful because those individuals can assist you with the preparation of any of the other four decisions.

In an ongoing effort to assist individuals thinking of starting their own business, The Brico Group, Inc. is bringing back their Small Business Seminars. The first seminar will begin Tuesday June 12th at the College Park Library. For more information feel free to visit our website.

Keeping Your Business N Synergy

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Keeping Your Small Business from Falling in the “Tax Gap”

The IRS has developed an equation for reducing the “tax gap” (the amount between the taxes that should be paid and the amount that is actually paid), and the equation was provided compliments of the recent SSA/IRS Reporter:


How will this affect the small business owner?

Staying in “compliance” with the following obligations will ensure that your small business is not an audit priority for the IRS:

Business Income and the Tax Gap
Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
Third Party Reporting
Home Office Deductions
Car and Truck Expenses
Business Supply Deductions
Travel, and Entertainment and Gift Expenses

For more information regarding these issues and how the affect your small business visit the following links:

IRS Tax Gap Website:,,id=158619,00.html

Get the facts and keep your Business N Synergy

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Can You Shorten Your Work Week???

As with most small business owners and entrepreneurs, finding more time to actually “do” your business is a must. Most small business owners are always trying to find time to bring in more business, but usually get caught up doing the day to day tasks and rarely get time to plan for the growth of their operation. By delegating some of their daily tasks to a trusted advisor, a small business owner can take back some of that lost time. A small business owner can also borrow some of the techniques applied by Timothy Ferriss in his own business from the article on “The 4 Hour Work Week”. Check this article link out and see if these techniques can work for you.

Also feel free to post your opinions about some of his techniques and if you have some of your own that are not listed within the article, please post those also.

Time management techniques to keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, May 06, 2007

No Tax Consequences for FSA's, HRA's and HSA's

The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 allows rollovers to be made without any tax consequences when rolling assets from flexible spending accounts (FSA's), health reimbursement accounts (HRA's) and health savings accounts (HSA's). To obtain this tax free treatment on rollovers the following conditions must be met:

  1. The employer must have amended the FSA or HRA to allow for qualified HSA distributions to any qualified individual by year-end;
  2. The employee must elect the rollover by year-end;
  3. The year-end balance must be frozen;
  4. The funds must be transferred within two-and-a-half months after the end of the plan year;
  5. The transfer must result in a zero balance in the FSA or HRA; and
  6. The individual must remain eligible to make HSA contributions for the month of the rollover and the next twelve months.

For more information regarding these changes, be sure to speak to your tax advisor.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

5 Productivity Killers in Your Small Business

According to Laurie Shufeldt, VP of Strategic Business Development at FileVision the following are the top five productivity killers that many small business experience. See if YOUR firm is affected by any of these:

Lack of automation
Inefficient internal communications
Lack of planning and workflow processes
Handling the same papers (or data) more than once

For more information on these productivity killers and ways to combat them, be sure to check out the details of her article at:

Using Laurie’s strategies for productivity will keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tax Relief is on the way for Small Business…Hopefully

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have come to an agreement on the tax package that would give relief to the many small businesses in the country. This bill will provide nearly 5 billion in tax relief for small businesses if passed. The major portion of the bill is a 3 ½ year extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which accounts for more than 2.5 billion of the tax relief. The bill also proposes:

Tax preparer penalties for understating liabilities on income tax returns would also be raised

a new penalty on claims for refunds that are filed without any reasonable basis would raise an estimated $100 million

increase the expensing limits of Section 179 of the tax code -- which allows businesses to deduct the cost of certain types of property on their taxes as an expense -- by $17,000, to a total of $125,000, through 2008

Extending the enhanced credit for low-income housing and treating certain qualified Gulf Opportunity Zone repairs or reconstruction as “qualified rehabilitation” for purposes of bond rules;

Allowing an unincorporated business owned jointly by a married couple to file as a sole proprietorship, instead of a partnership;

Modifying the “kiddie tax” -- the point at which a child's unearned income is taxed at the parent's rate -- to increase the age from under-18 to under-19, or under-24 for students (intended to prevent parents from shifting income to children to take advantage of lower tax rates); and,

Doubling the period before which the Internal Revenue Service must stop imposing fees and penalties on taxpayers who have not been notified of a deficiency, from 18 months, to 36 months.

These changes can make a big difference in your tax planning strategy for 2007 and beyond if signed into law. Be sure to speak with your trusted advisor to ensure that your tax strategy is in line with these potential changes.

Keeping your Business N Synergy as always :-)

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Tax Season is over, but Tax Planning Isn’t

The 2007 tax filing season is over and I’m sure many accountants and tax professionals are looking forward to some vacation time. There are however, the people that filed extensions (as always), and the IRS has extended the deadline for the following groups:

Northeast storm victims have until April 26 2007 to file their returns
Virginia Tech Shooting victims have until October 15 2007 to file
Intuit customers had until April 20, 2007 to file due to a “database” problem

There is still a little work out there for everyone to focus on before these deadlines past which makes it a great time to continue tax planning for the current year. Many individuals and small business owners think that tax time is the only time for planning. When this attitude is taken, the filer along with the accountant take on a reactive role instead of a proactive role in planning for the future. It is more beneficial for the filer to work proactively with their tax advisor before making major purchase decisions and/or any changes in the strategic vision of the company. This way the accountant along with the tax filer can work out the best scenario to minimize their tax liability for the year. Typically your tax planning should be done on a quarterly basis unless there are major changes during the quarter. In the coming weeks we will address some of the tax law changes and how they will affect your 2007 tax return filing in 2008. Be sure to check in for these tips may assist you and your accountant in keeping your Business N Synergy in 2007.

We are already in the 2nd quarter of 2007 so tax planning should be an integral role in your overall strategy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Senate’s Reaction to the Recent Tax Problems

Congress is now putting together a plan to close the tax gap and clamp down on the many fraudulent returns being filed by taxpayers. The Senate Finance Committee meeting hearing “Filing Your Taxes: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure” is focusing on the filing of fraudulent returns similar to the ones filed by many Jackson Hewitt franchises in the past years. Oddly enough the IRS and the Senate are at war with who to blame. Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) feels that the IRS is not doing their job and the IRS Commissioner Mark Everson feels that there needs to be more funds allocated to the IRS for enforcement.

The ultimate goal of the Senate is to introduce another bill similar to S. 832 filed last year which would make tax preparers required to take an exam to prove they are competent in preparing tax returns and that they are also registered with an independent administrative entity. It appears that changes to the tax and accounting industry are coming soon. This will benefit everyone as a whole in the long run. Be sure that your tax returns are prepared by a professional and you can lower your risk of a fraudulent return being filed on your behalf.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hewitt’s Rotten Egg/Small Business Lay More Eggs

With the Easter season upon us, I was somewhat surprised (but not really) by the news of Jackson Hewitt’s run in with the Justice Department. If you haven’t heard the news yet, Hewitt is accused of defrauding the government out of more than 70 million dollars by filing fraudulent tax returns using phony W-2’s and claiming bogus deductions and tax credits. The franchises affected are in Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, and Raleigh and it even alleges that managers and employees were in on the scam. For many individuals, it may be a better idea to go to a trusted advisor or purchase software and file your taxes yourself. You will definitely come out better, and you will also stay away from those refund anticipation loans that typically take a majority of your hard earned dollars. I wonder how business is doing at Hewitt offices these days. Hewitt officials have launched an internal probe into the allegations. We’ll see what happens.

There was however good news this week from the small business/self employed front. According to an article in USA Today, the Labor Department saw the number of self employed individuals rise by 132,000 from February to March of this year. The self employment rate also edged up to 8.6% of all private sector employment. This is great news for the small business sector (see last weeks post). Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and with the sector growing, everyone will benefit.

Just may want to seek tax assistance from someone other than Hewitt. Happy Easter everyone and continue to keep your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Mixed Small Business News

With tax season almost over, many small business owners scramble to finalize the all their records to ensure a smooth tax filing process. In actuality, many small business owners are not aware that for corporations, the tax deadline is March 15th not April 15th. Hopefully small business owners filed extensions 6months using Form 7004. A recent survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports LLC for Discover Small Business Watch states that a quarter of small business owners feel that tax season is a distraction from growing their business. With the proposed changes to the tax code (see previous blog post) for small business in the next few years, this burden could increase substantially.

Not all the news from the survey was bad however; almost 50% of small business owners feel that the economy was getting better. This is up from 44% of respondents in February. The small business owner feels better about the economy than their larger Wall Street counterparts. This in turn means that the small business owner feels better about their cash flow situation in the coming quarters of the year. It will be interesting to see how things pan out as the year progresses.

The survey also stated that almost 75% of small business owners used a tax pro to prepare their taxes and handle all the paperwork that comes with filing. Hiring a tax pro may be a good idea for a small business owner. By passing their tax information to a professional, the small business owner can focus on bringing in more business, thus keeping their Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Small Businesses Will Feel the Bite

Recently the Treasury Department has issued proposals to close the “tax gap” and unfortunately the small business owner and sole proprietor are going to feel the blow. The proposal would include more paperwork to be filed, and possibly more audits of small businesses and the self-employed. Specifically the proposals require:

Businesses to file Form 1099 for payments of $600 or more to corporations that provide services,

Businesses to check the Taxpayer Identification Number of their contractors with the IRS and withhold taxes if the TIN is not verifiable,

Credit card companies to report their annual payments to small businesses and sole proprietors.

Meanwhile the IRS Taxpayer Advocate feels that audits targeted at specific groups would close the tax gap. The main groups focused for audits would be the small business/self-employed that are paid in cash. Audits focused on Schedule C filers are proposed to be on the rise in the future also according to USA Today.

It is important for a small business owner and/or self employed individual to have the right controls in place to ensure that you financial records are kept in compliance with IRS regulations. Look out “Main Street” businesses; it appears we will be used as the bridge to close the tax gap.

Keeping your Business N Synergy

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Entrepreneur Friendly Bank

One of the most important factors that keep a small business afloat is adequate cash flow and financing for the future. Recent small business surveys have listed these two factors as the most important concerns for small business owners in the new year. Maybe this year, there may be a friend of the small business owner than can assist with cash flow and financing needs….the community bank.

A community bank is typically a bank with local ties that have between 15 million to 30 million in capital and operates under a federal and state charter. These banks service the small end of the market, typically those companies with 100or fewer employees with annual revenues ranging from 3 – 50 million. These banks are a bit friendlier to the small business owner than their larger counterparts, so this may be an opportunity for a small business owner to improve their financial situation with a small community bank.

Be sure to search for community banks in your area to keep you Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Intuit’s Take on Technology and the Future

Recently there was an article in the New Your Times that featured Stephen Bennett, CEO of Intuit and his views of the future of business and technology. Bennett’s comments reveal some interesting assumptions regarding technology and how it will impact the way business is conducted in the future. Intuit purchased an online bank in an attempt to enter the bill pay market recently and this is definitely a sign that technology is an important part of the small business market’s growth. Bennett feels the online banking suite will create a “service suite that integrates all the data flow that makes it one place for small businesses to do online banking, bill payment and customer management.”

This is just one of the many changes taking place in the small business market. Intuit has taken the lead currently by introducing products that small business owners can use to make them more efficient and to have the information they need readily available. Other software makers are sure to follow. The time is now for your small businesses to at least test drive some of the new technologies. The new age of small business will be online, and NOT pen and paper. Be sure that your Business is N Synergy in the new age.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, March 04, 2007

2007 Tax Filing Season, Off To a Good Start???

The 2007 tax filing season is in high gear! If you haven’t already, you too will soon be testing the efficiency of the IRS this year. According to the IRS, the season is off to a good start, with no glitches during the first month of the e-filing season. The IRS however believes that it will not reach the 80% e-filing goal set for 2007.

The IRS continues to move toward a paperless filing process and from the most recent results; this may be the most efficient way for taxpayers to file their returns. Whether you are an individual or a business, use software or take your information to a professional, e-filing returns will be the filing procedure of the future. Software vendors have incorporated it into their tax preparation software for not only individuals, but accounting professionals too. And the IRS continues their push with the MeF program. The MeF (Modernized E-File) program also business owners to e-file their returns through the internet.

E-filing is here to stay it appears, so if you have not considered e-fling as part of your tax strategy, there is no better time than the present. Keeping your Business N Synergy.

Brian N. Stovall

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Ever Changing Small Business Arena!?!?

Recently a study was conducted by Intuit and the Institute for the Future says that the next decade will introduce an “era of economic decentralization” and the small business owner will look quite different than the current. By the year 2017, the study states that the small business owner will be more diversified than ever before. In particular the small business owner will include:

Professional Women tired of hitting the glass ceiling
Baby Boomers not ready to retire, and
Generation Y-ers

This comes as little to no surprise to me. In the current small business arena, these trends have already begun. With the introduction of technology, a small business owner can reach customers worldwide and this entices many diverse groups into owning their own business. I currently speak to numerous individuals that are planning on starting a business and many of them do fit in the previous categories. Diversity in the small business community will be an exciting event in the next coming years, and it will be exciting to see how these new entrants keep their Business N Synergy.

For more information regarding Intuit’s small business study, check out the following link:

Brian N. Stovall