Selling Your Company

Posted on 15/07/201106/07/2020Categories Business TrendsTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Selling Your Company

CPA firms, Accountants in Miami | Accounting Services in Miami | Accountants Miami | Certified Public Accountant in Miami | CPA in Miami | CPA Miami | Miami Accountant | Miami Accounting Firms | Miami CPA Firm | Miami CPA | Miami Accounting | Accountant 33157 | Accountant 33176 | Accountant 33186 | Accountant 33183 | Accountant MiamiAs a Miami Accountant, I’m oftemn approached with conversation about selling a company. I will kick off the conversation by laying out the key issues in a company sale. I think the key issues for you, your investors, and your Board to consider when you are selling your company are:

  1.    Price
       Consideration
       Reps, Warranties, and Escrow
       Integration plan
       Stay packages
       Governmental approvals
       Breakup fees
       Timing

Price is the amount the buyer will pay for the business. It is the most important issue and also the simplest.

Consideration is the mechanism the buyer will use to deliver the purchase price. The simplest form of consideration is cash in your local currency. That is also the most common form of consideration. Another common form of consideration is the acquirer’s stock. That could be publicly traded liquid stock or it could be illiquid private company stock. Buyers can also pay with debt obligations, earn out plans, and a host of other esoteric and less common forms of consideration.

Reps and Warranties are the legal promises and obligations you will take on as a seller. A portion of the purchase price is usually held back and escrowed for some period of time to backstop the reps and warranties. The escrow is usually a percentage of the purchase price. Ten percent is common but I’ve seen as little as 5% and as high as 25%.

The integration plan is the way the buyer plans to operate your business post acquisition. Many sellers don’t think this matters too much but I think it is critical. If you think about the interests of all the stakeholders in the business, not just the shareholders, then the integration plan becomes a very important part of the overall deal.

Stay packages are compensation plans put together by the buyer for your team. There may even be a stay package for you if the buyer wants you to stick around and most of the time they should. These packages are a combination of cash and stock that vests over a stay period. It is common that some of the consideration may be applied to stay packages, particularly unvested employee stock in your company.

The government, and not just your country’s government, may be required to approve the sale. This is not common for small deals. Anything sub $100mm would be very unlikely to require governmental approvals. Really big deals, like billion dollar plus transactions, often run into these issues. Big powerful companies that the government worries may have monopolistic properties will usually face governmental approvals for their acquisitions.

If your business will face negative consequences if the sale is announced and then does not close, you will want to ask the buyer to pay a breakup fee if the transaction does not close. Most buyers will resist agreeing to breakup fees but they do exist in many deals, particularly very large deals.

Timing is another important issue that many sellers don’t focus on. Sale transactions are very distracting for the senior team and often for the entire team. A long protracted sale transaction can be very harmful to the business and its stakeholders. You can put time commitments into the letter of intent to sell the company and you can expect the buyer to live up to them.

These are the most important issues in my experience when selling a business. For the next few Mondays we will focus on some real world case studies that will highlight many of these issues.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Selecting a Small Business Accountant

Posted on 26/05/201106/07/2020Categories Business TrendsTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Selecting a Small Business Accountant

Selecting a Small Business Accountant

Many small business owners do their finances and taxes on their own, so you may ask: why should I find an accountant? The reason: no matter what stage your small business is in, you can benefit from having an accountant on your side.

Why Hire an Accountant?

  • Accountants often do more than prepare tax forms for their small business clients. They can act as a trusted consultant and advisor to your small business. A good accountant would be able to advise you on growth opportunities, risk management, bookkeeping, and general financial planning.
  • If your small business is closely tied to your personal finances, a good accountant can help you make sound judgments that are beneficial to both your personal finances and your small business.  This guidance can be especially helpful when you’re just starting up and using your own funds to finance business expenses.
  • Accountants can serve as a great resource that you can tap into for recommendations on which loans to apply for, banks that satisfy your small business needs, and whatever you need on the finance end.

Good Practices for Choosing an Accountant

Here are some tips for avoiding common pitfalls and needless headaches in your search for a small business accountant:

  • Determine your needs
    There is no one-size-fits-all method for managing small business finances. Make sure that your accountant specializes in small businesses, and ideally has knowledge of your industry.  Beyond that, you will need to decide what level of support is appropriate and affordable for your business. Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and tax attorneys bring different skills and charge different rates.
  • Just ask!
    Word of mouth is a good way to find good accountants. Talk to your family, friends, peers, even your attorney for recommendations. You can also inquire with institutions and organizations like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants*, your state Board of Accountants, or a local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Interview your candidates
    Remember that you are hiring someone that will fulfill your business needs and requirements. Treat it like a job interview that you would give to any potential employee. Ask about:
  • Professional qualifications like their licenses and experience
  • Personnel who will actually do the work, and their response times
  • Fees and charges to make sure they are in line with your budget
  • Specialized services that you may want in the future – for example, audit support
  • Clientele (past and current) so you can gauge their expertise

 

What if My Current Accountant Isn’t a Good Fit?

 
If you had a bad experience with an accountant, take what you’ve learned to find a better fit for your business. You should also consider your timing – if you’re just about to file significant tax changes or take on a large financial project, you’ll want to leave yourself enough time to find someone new. After all, a rush to judgment could leave you in the same position you’re in.

Remember…

You are the person who is ultimately responsible for your taxes and finances. Be wary of accountants who promise things that seem too good to be true. If you have concerns about an accountant’s claims you should contact your state’s Board of Accountancy and/or the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility to check their licenses and ensure they are in good standing.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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What Investors Want from a Business Plan

Posted on 04/02/2011Categories Business TrendsTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on What Investors Want from a Business Plan

What Investors Want from a Business Plan

Here are some things that an investor wants to see in a business plan submitted for consideration for investment.  And this is more-or less in order of importance, but that order is not as rigorous as a numbered list might imply.

1. Experienced team

I want people who have done startups before. They tend to know what they’re doing and where they’re going much better once they’ve been through that process. I don’t mind that much if they weren’t the leader before, and not even that the previous startups failed. I’d like them to know the territory because it reduces risk. 

I like a team more than the single entrepreneur.  Building a business takes different skills, so ideally a team has people with diverse experience around different functions of the business: Sales, marketing, administration, and so forth.

2. Believable exits

There’s some irony here, because we built our business without caring a bit about exits, but when I think like an investor, I want to know that the money I invest is going to generate money coming out of the company, going back into my bank account, later. 

So it’s not just a matter of having a good business.  It’s a good business that will grow well and become a business that gets acquired by a larger business in 3-5 years.  A lot of good businesses will never be interesting to an acquirer.  Is it scalable?  Is it defensible?  These things make huge differences.  It’s surprising to me how many people think they can get investors interested in a people-based service business, for which the assets walk out the door every night.  Products are much better for exit than services.

3. Real growth prospects

The key to investment success is making the business worth a lot more later than what it’s worth today. That takes growth. And growth is a matter of scalability and defensibility, which I included above under exits, plus the size of market, the nature of the need, and so forth.

4. Real planning

Like many investors, I can rule out some companies just from reading a summary memo or watching a pitch presentation.  But if I’m still interested after hearing the pitch and reading the summary, then I want to see a plan.  Pitches without plans are obvious, because they don’t have the potential to drill down into the granularity when questions come up.  And of course I like a plan that is easy to decipher and well written, but what I really look for is the pieces coming together.  I want to see the conceptual links between product, marketing, sales, and financial plans.  Are they aligned with each other?  Do they indicate understanding the keys to success?  Does this look like a plan that will be managed, that can be reviewed and revised, and will remain flexible?  Or is this a plan that was done once and then forgotten.  I want to see planning and management, not just a plan. 

A final thought

None of this is completely predictable. Good investments will sometimes appear that don’t have all of the characteristics I’ve listed here. Still, all things being equal, this is a good filter to start with.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Miami Bookkeeping Services

Posted on 02/02/2011Categories AccountingTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Miami Bookkeeping Services

Miami Bookkeeping Services

Our Miami Bookkeeping Services handle all your daily accounting needs: invoices and statements, accounts payable, cash receipts and disbursements, payroll, bank reconciliations and recurring reports. Your bookkeeper will be in contact with you daily by Instant Messenger, email or phone with any questions or concerns. All under the supervision of our accountants in our Miami CPA Firm.

Accounts Receivable

Get your invoices out promptly and send monthly statements on the date of your choice.

We offer two options:

  • We prepare your sales invoice from information you email to our bookkeeper. We email you the final invoice for approval.
  • You generate invoices and statements through time and billing software. Your bookkeeper posts or imports the invoices into your accounting software.

Whether we prepare your invoices for you or you generate them yourself, we can print and mail or email customer invoices and statements on your behalf.

Accounts Receivable reports for collection and cash flow management are prepared and delivered to you on a schedule of your choice. Finance changes are assessed on overdue invoices based on your company’s payment terms and conditions, and statements can be initiated and transmitted on a schedule of your choice.

Accounts Payable

Invoices you receive from vendors will need to be scanned and emailed to us. We provide a scanner with PaperPort scanning software at no cost.

This process is as simple as 1-2-3:

1. Insert the invoice into the scanner then press the Scan button.

2. Name the file that appears on your screen (give it a unique name)

3. Click the email icon to create an email, attach the file and send.

That’s it! You’re done! Your vendor invoices for the day are on the way to us for recording into your accounting file.

Alternately, you can have vendor invoices mailed or emailed directly to us for processing.

On a schedule determined by you, we will email you a report of all open vendor invoices. Just indicate which invoices you want paid, then email the report back. We will set up the requested bill payment checks in your accounting file.

Once the checks are ready to print, we offer two options for printing:

  • You or a designated staff member can log into your accounting software and print checks directly to your local printer.
  • We can print the checks and mail or deliver them to you.

The printed checks are signed and mailed from your office. You maintain full control over your funds.

Cash Receipts

Prior to taking deposits to the bank, you will scan the deposit slip and each of the items to be deposited. Then create an email and upload the file at your convenience. We will post the customer payments against the appropriate customer invoices and record the bank deposit.

Payroll Services

We either processes payroll or makes the necessary entries to record payroll processed by a third-party provider. In either case, payroll entries will include complete recording of gross wages, employer taxes and other payroll expenses, and payroll liabilities, and quarterly and annual reconciliation of general ledger balances to payroll returns. If needed, we can also initiate transfers from your operating bank account to your payroll bank account to cover payroll if these accounts are held by the same bank.

We do recommend direct deposit of employee paychecks whenever possible.

Banking Activities

We will have access to view and download transaction history and bank statements, and, if desired, to transfer funds between business accounts at your bank. We will not have the authority to sign checks or to initiate electronic payments that have not been pre-approved by you or a designated staff member.

Bank account activity is updated daily in your accounting file, so that you always know your available cash balance. Transactions that appear in your bank account that we have no knowledge of will be posted, but we will inform you of these transactions and request supporting information by email. Bank account balance notifications and cash receipts and disbursement reports can be emailed to you daily, weekly, or monthly as desired.

Banking, credit card, and loan accounts are reconciled to the corresponding statements each month, and the reconciliation reports are emailed to you promptly. When emailing the reconciliation report, we will call your attention to old outstanding items that require resolution and will also provide a list of any missing check numbers for security and control purposes.

Bank Reconciliation

Reconciling your business checking account each month allows us to keep your bank account, accounting, and taxes up-to-date.

Having us reconcile your account each month allows you to…

  • Identify lost checks, lost deposits and unauthorized wire transactions.
  • Detect and prevent excess/unjustified bank charges and ensures transactions are posted correctly by your bank.
  • Detect and prevent embezzlement of funds from within your company.
  • Know how your business is doing. You can’t really know unless all accounts are reconciled and properly accounted for on your financial statement.
  • Manage your cash more effectively. Proper management of funds not only saves money, it makes money for you.
  • Protect yourself. By timely reconciling and promptly objecting to your bank about any unauthorized, fraudulent or forged checks presented to your bank and paid by that bank, you can relieve your agency of responsibility for the shortfall and transfer the risk to the bank. This reason to reconcile alone should be enough. Crime exists.
  • Sleep Better. You will sleep more peacefully at night knowing your bank accounts are reconciled, in balance and that all escrow funds, accounts, checks and disbursed funds are properly accounted for.

Compiled Financial Statements

You’ll get a complete set Compiled Financial Statements of on either a monthly or quarterly basis (you’re preference). The financials will consist of a Balance Sheet and Income Statement also known as a Profit & Loss. We will set up a Web Conference to review your financial results each quarter. This gives you and us a forum for Q&A and advisory type services.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Two Tax Credits to Help Pay Higher Education Costs

Posted on 02/02/2011Categories TaxTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Two Tax Credits to Help Pay Higher Education Costs

Two Tax Credits to Help Pay Higher Education Costs

There are two federal tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education for yourself or your dependents.  These are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

To qualify for either credit, you must pay postsecondary tuition and fees for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. The credit may be claimed by the parent or the student, but not by both. If the student was claimed as a dependent, the student cannot file for the credit.

For each student, you can choose to claim only one of the credits in a single tax year. You cannot claim the American Opportunity Credit to pay for part of your daughter’s tuition charges and then claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for $2,000 more of her school costs.

However, if you pay college expenses for two or more students in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. You can claim the American Opportunity Credit for your sophomore daughter and the Lifetime Learning Credit for your senior son.

Here are some key facts the IRS wants you to know about these valuable education credits:

1. The American Opportunity Credit

  • The credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • It is available for the first four years of post-secondary education.
  • Forty percent of the credit is refundable, which means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if you owe no taxes.
  • The student must be pursuing an undergraduate degree or other recognized educational credential.
  • The student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period.
  • Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, coursed related books supplies and equipment.
  • The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers who make less than $80,000 or $160,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

2. Lifetime Learning Credit

  • The credit can be up to $2,000 per eligible student.
  • It is available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills.
  • The maximum credited is limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your return.
  • The student does not need to be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
  • Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, course related books, supplies and equipment.
  • The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers who make less than $60,000 or $120,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

You cannot claim the tuition and fees tax deduction in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. You must choose to either take the credit or the deduction and should consider which is more beneficial for you.

For more information about these credits see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education available at http://www.irs.gov or by calling one of our Accountants at 786-250-4450

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Do I have to File a Tax Return?

Posted on 02/02/2011Categories TaxTags , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Do I have to File a Tax Return?

Do I have to File a Tax Return?

You must file a federal income tax return if your income is above a certain level; which varies depending on your filing status, age and the type of income you receive.

Check the Individuals section of the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov or consult the instructions for Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ for specific details that may help you determine if you need to file a tax return with the IRS this year. You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant available on the IRS website to determine if you need to file a tax return. The ITA tool is a tax law resource that takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

There are some instances when you may want to file a tax return even though you are not required to do so. Even if you don’t have to file, here are seven reasons why you may want to:

  1. Federal Income Tax Withheld  You should file to get money back if Federal Income Tax was withheld from your pay, you made estimated tax payments, or had a prior year overpayment applied to this year’s tax.
  2. Making Work Pay Credit  You may be able to take this credit if you had earned income from work. The maximum credit for a married couple filing a joint return is $800 and $400 for other taxpayers.
  3. Earned Income Tax Credit  You may qualify for EITC if you worked, but did not earn a lot of money.EITC is a refundable tax credit; which means you could qualify for a tax refund.
  4. Additional Child Tax Credit  This refundable credit may be available to you if you have at least one qualifying child and you did not get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit.
  5. American Opportunity Credit  The maximum credit per student is $2,500 and the first four years of postsecondary education qualify.
  6. First-Time Homebuyer Credit  The credit is a maximum of $8,000 or $4,000 if your filing status is married filing separately. To qualify for the credit, taxpayers must have bought – or entered into a binding contract to buy – a principal residence located in the United States on or before April 30, 2010. If you entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, you must have closed on the home on or before September 30, 2010. If you bought a home as your principle residence in 2010, you may be able to qualify and claim the credit even if you already owned a home. In this case, the maximum credit for long-time residents is $6,500, or $3,250 if your filing status is married filing separately.
  7. Health Coverage Tax Credit  Certain individuals, who are receiving Trade Adjustment Assistance, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, may be eligible for a Health Coverage Tax Credit worth 80 percent of monthly health insurance premiums when you file your 2010 tax return.

For more information about filing requirements and your eligibility to receive tax credits, visit our Miami CPA Firm website www.vieracpa.com

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Top 10 Tax Tips Miami

Posted on 01/02/201112/07/2020Categories TaxTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Top 10 Tax Tips Miami

Top 10 Tax Tips Miami

It’s that time of the year again, the income tax filing season has begun and important tax documents should be arriving in the mail. Even though your return is not due until April, getting an early start will make filing easier. Here are our top 10 tips that will help your tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.

  1. Start gathering your records Round up any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you’re claiming on your return.
  2. Be on the lookout W-2s and 1099s will be coming soon; you’ll need these to file your tax return.
  3. Use Free File: Let Free File do the hard work for you with brand-name tax software or online fillable forms. It’s available exclusively at http://www.irs.gov. Everyone can find an option to prepare their tax return and e-file it for free. If you made $58,000 or less, you qualify for free tax software that is offered through a private-public partnership with manufacturers. If you made more or are comfortable preparing your own tax return, there’s Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic versions of IRS paper forms. Visit www.irs.gov/freefile to review your options.
  4. Try IRS e-file: After 21 years, IRS e-file has become the safe, easy and most common way to file a tax return. Last year, 70 percent of taxpayers – 99 million people – used IRS e-file. Starting in 2011, many tax preparers will be required to use e-file and will explain your filing options to you. This is your chance to give it a try. IRS e-file is approaching 1 billion returns processed safely and securely. If you owe taxes, you have payment options to file immediately and pay by the tax deadline. Best of all, combine e-file with direct deposit and you get your refund in as few as 10 days.
  5. Consider other filing options There are many different options for filing your tax return.You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer.You may be eligible for free face-to-face help at an IRS office or volunteer site.Give yourself time to weigh all the different options and find the one that best suits your needs.
  6. Consider Direct Deposit If you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than waiting for a paper check. 
  7. Visit the IRS website again and again The official IRS website is a great place to find everything you’ll need to file your tax return: forms, publications, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes.
  8. Remember this number: 17 Check out IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax on the IRS website. It’s a comprehensive collection of information for taxpayers highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return.
  9. Review! Review! Review!Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush.Mistakes will slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all the Social Security Numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors made by taxpayers.
  10. Don’t panic! If you run into a problem, remember our Miami Accountants are here to help. Try www.vieracpa.com or call us at 786-250-4450.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Own a small business? 6 new tax breaks

Posted on 01/02/2011Categories TaxTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Own a small business? 6 new tax breaks

Own a small business? 6 new tax breaks

 Doing your taxes stinks, right? No fun at all. But take note as you brace for your 2010 return: A handful of changes in the tax code could translate into a fatter refund check. The Small Business Jobs Act, passed last September, and the historic health care reform law, passed in March, enacted hefty credits and deductions for capital investments and employee health insurance costs.

Here is a rundown of six new credits and deductions likely to affect the most small business owners.

Health care tax credit: Small businesses that pay at least half of their employee’s health coverage can get a significant tax refund.

The maximum credit goes to businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees with annual wages that average $25,000 or less. The break phases out for firms with 25 employees or that pay average wages above $50,000.

For 2010 through 2013, the tax credit covers up to 35% of the money that a qualifying business spends on its health insurance premiums. In 2014, the top tax credit bumps up to 50%.

Tax-exempt organizations can claim 25% in the first time period and 35% after that.

The credit is available for a maximum of six years: 2010 through 2013 and for any two years after that.

Health insurance deduction for self employed: Are you your own boss and paying for your own health insurance?

Normally, you can deduct your insurance costs from your business profits, but you can’t deduct those costs from your self-employment taxes.

But in 2010, the self-employed can deduct their health insurance costs from their business profits for both taxes.

Let’s say Sally, an architect, makes $50,000 in net income and pays $6,000 for health insurance.

In other tax years, Sally would pay income tax on $44,000 and self employment tax on $50,000. But in 2010, Sally will pay income tax and self employment taxes on $44,000.

Super-charged ‘Section 179′ provision: OK, this one is a little wonky. But it’s worth knowing about.

The extension of “Section 179″ of the tax code allows businesses to write off the full amount of qualifying equipment or computer software made in 2010 or 2011, up to $500,000 per business, per year.

What qualifies? Think tractors, robots and equipment. New and used items are eligible but, sorry, buildings aren’t.

Instead of having to deduct your capital expenditures slowly, the temporary change to Section 179 allows businesses to get more cash up front.

Section 179 is specifically targeted to help small business: A business that spends more than $2 million in one year on qualifying capital will not be able to get the full benefit of the Section 179 write-off.

You can only take advantage of the full Section 179 write-off if your small business booked a profit. A Section 179 write-off can not cause your business to “make or increase a loss” for the year, explained Brosi.

Bonus depreciation extension: For 2010, there is an accelerated depreciation schedule: The point is to get cash into the hands of small businesses quickly. Unlike Section 179, you can depreciate items even if your business is in the red for the year.

Bonus depreciation covers new equipment only, and can be taken in addition to a Section 179 write-off, if the item is eligible for both benefits. You can depreciate “tangible property,” like buildings, machinery, vehicles, furniture, and equipment, as well as “intangible property,” such as patents, copyrights and computer software. (Sorry, if you bought a plot of land, that doesn’t qualify.)

Businesses that bought a qualifying item after Sept. 8 can claim 100% of its cost (so long as it is used before Jan. 1, 2012). Businesses that bought such items before Sept. 8 can claim 50% (so long as it is put into service before Jan. 1, 2013).

Depreciation on a business car or truck: Did you buy a new car, van or truck for your business last year? Ka-ching!

For 2010, business owners who buy and use a brand new passenger vehicle will depreciate much more than usual — $11,060 for a car, and $11,160 for a light duty truck or van. That includes an extra $8,000 bonus depreciation, on top of the usual first-year depreciation. If you buy an SUV or heavy pickup, the rules are slightly different, said Brosi.

General Business Credit: If you are one of those unlucky business owners affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax, you might get a little break in 2010.

Boiled down, if you have to calculate your taxes under both the regular tax structure and under the AMT, you pay Uncle Sam whichever one is more. If your taxes calculated normally are $10,000 and $12,000 under the AMT, you owe $12,000.

Usually, general business credits do not apply toward the AMT calculation. But for 2010, deductions included in the “General Business Credit” part of the tax code are also allowable under the AMT. Applying these credits to your AMT will reduce what you owe under the AMT, explained Brosi.

There are a couple dozen credits in this category: Some that might impact small biz include a benefit for hiring someone unemployed, the costs for starting up an employer pension plan or the costs of employer-provided child care services.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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IRS: Miami Accountant Must E-File Tax Returns for 2010

Posted on 31/01/2011Categories TaxTags , , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on IRS: Miami Accountant Must E-File Tax Returns for 2010

IRS: Miami Accountant Must E-File Tax Returns for 2010

The IRS noted that beginning after Dec. 31, 2010, all tax return preparers must have a PTIN that was applied for and received at the time and in the manner as prescribed by the IRS.

Until further guidance is issued, the IRS, in accordance with the authority to provide exceptions to the PTIN rules under Section 1.6109-2(h) of the Tax Code, will permit any individual 18 years or older to pay the applicable user fee and obtain a PTIN permitting the individual to prepare, or assist in the preparation of, all or substantially all of a tax return or claim for refund for compensation if: (i) the individual is supervised by an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or enrolled actuary authorized to practice before the IRS under Circular 230 Section 10.3(a) through (e);

(ii) the supervising attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or enrolled actuary signs the tax returns or claims for refund prepared by the individual;

(iii) the individual is employed at the law firm, CPA firm, or other recognized firm of the tax return preparer who signs the tax return or claim for refund; and

(iv) the individual passes the requisite tax compliance check and suitability check (when available).

The notice defines a certified public accounting firm as a partnership, professional corporation, sole proprietorship, or any other association that is registered, permitted, or licensed to practice as a certified public accounting firm in any state, territory, or possession of the United States, including a Commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.

A recognized firm is a partnership, professional corporation, sole proprietorship, or any other association, other than a law firm or certified public accounting firm, that has one or more employees lawfully engaged in practice before the IRS and that is 80 percent or a greater percent owned by one or more attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, enrolled actuaries, or enrolled retirement plan agents authorized to practice before the IRS under sections 10.3(a) through (e) of Circular 230, respectively.

Individuals applying for a PTIN under this provision will be required to certify on the PTIN application that they are supervised by an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or enrolled actuary who signs the tax return or claim for refund prepared by the individual and provide a supervising individual’s PTIN or other number if prescribed by the IRS.

If at any point the individual is no longer supervised by the signing attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, enrolled retirement plan agent, or enrolled actuary, the individual must notify the IRS as prescribed in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance and will not be permitted to prepare, or assist in preparing, all or substantially all of a tax return or claim for refund for compensation under this provision.

Individuals who obtain a PTIN under this provision and prepare, or assist in preparing, all or substantially all of a tax return or claim for refund for compensation will not be subject to a competency examination or continuing education requirements. These individuals, however, may not sign any tax return they prepare or assist in preparing for compensation, represent taxpayers before the IRS in any capacity, or represent to the IRS, their clients, or the general public that they are a registered tax return preparer or a Circular 230 practitioner.

Although individuals who obtain a PTIN under this provision are not practitioners under Circular 230, they are, by preparing, or assisting in the preparation of, a tax return for compensation, acknowledging that they are subject to the duties and restrictions relating to practice in subpart B of Circular 230.

The IRS said it may, by written notification, revoke a PTIN obtained under this provision if the tax return preparer willfully violates applicable duties and restrictions prescribed in Circular 230 or engages in disreputable conduct.  The tax return preparer may, within 30 days after receipt of the notice of revocation of the PTIN, file a written protest of the notice of revocation as prescribed in the revocation notice.  A protest is not a proceeding under subpart D of Circular 230.’

The notice also covers individuals who prepare tax returns not covered by the registered tax return preparer competency examination. It said the Treasury Department and the IRS have proposed rules that will require an individual to pass a registered tax return preparer minimum competency examination (competency examination).

The IRS anticipates, however, that the tax returns and claims for refund covered by the competency examinations initially offered will be limited to individual income tax returns (Form 1040 series tax returns and accompanying schedules). Although the IRS anticipates the types of returns and claims for refunds covered by the competency examinations may expand in the future, the IRS recognizes that certain compensated tax return preparers do not prepare Form 1040 series tax returns or related claims for refunds and that the tax returns and claims for refunds prepared by some of these individuals may not be covered by the competency examinations for a significant period of time.

The IRS has determined that individuals should not be required, as a condition to obtaining a PTIN, to pass a competency examination covering tax returns and claims for refunds not prepared by the individual. Therefore, until further guidance, this notice, in accordance with the authority under section 1.6109-2(h), provides that any individual 18 years or older may pay the applicable user fee and obtain a PTIN if:

(i) the individual certifies that the individual does not prepare, or assist in the preparation of, all or substantially all of any tax return or claim for refund covered by the competency examinations for registered tax return preparers administered under IRS oversight (1040 series until further notice); and

(ii) the individual passes the requisite  tax compliance check and suitability check (when available).

Individuals who obtain a PTIN under this provision and prepare, or assist in preparing, all or substantially all of a tax return or claim for refund for compensation will not yet be subject to a competency examination. These individuals are not currently required to satisfy the same continuing education requirements that a registered tax return preparer must complete to renew their PTIN. In the future, the IRS may require through forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance that these individuals complete continuing education to renew their PTIN.

Individuals who obtain or renew a PTIN under this provision may sign the tax returns or claims for refunds that they prepare for compensation as the paid preparer. These individuals may also represent taxpayers before revenue agents, customer service representatives, or similar officers and employees of the IRS (including the Taxpayer Advocate Service) during an examination if the individual signed the tax return or claim for refund for the taxable year under examination.

They may not, however, represent to the IRS, their clients, or the general public that they are a registered tax return preparer or a Circular 230 practitioner.  Enrolled retirement plan agents and enrolled actuaries who obtain a PTIN under this provision may continue to practice and represent as provided in Circular 230. 

Although individuals who obtain a PTIN under this provision are not practitioners under Circular 230, they are, by preparing, or assisting in the preparation of, a tax return for compensation, acknowledging that they are subject to the duties and restrictions relating to practice in subpart B of Circular 230.  The IRS may, by written notification, revoke a PTIN obtained under this provision if the tax return preparer willfully violates applicable duties and restrictions prescribed in Circular 230 or engages in disreputable conduct.

The tax return preparer may, within 30 days after receipt of the notice of revocation of the PTIN, file a written protest of the notice of revocation as prescribed in the revocation notice. A protest is not a proceeding under subpart D of Circular 230.

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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Two Tax Credits to Help Pay Higher Education Costs

Posted on 26/01/2011Categories TaxTags , , , , , , , , , ,   Leave a comment on Two Tax Credits to Help Pay Higher Education Costs

Two Tax Credits to Help Pay Higher Education Costs

There are two federal tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education for yourself or your dependents.  These are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

To qualify for either credit, you must pay postsecondary tuition and fees for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. The credit may be claimed by the parent or the student, but not by both. If the student was claimed as a dependent, the student cannot file for the credit.

For each student, you can choose to claim only one of the credits in a single tax year. You cannot claim the American Opportunity Credit to pay for part of your daughter’s tuition charges and then claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for $2,000 more of her school costs.

However, if you pay college expenses for two or more students in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. You can claim the American Opportunity Credit for your sophomore daughter and the Lifetime Learning Credit for your senior son.

Here are some key facts the IRS wants you to know about these valuable education credits:

1. The American Opportunity Credit

  • The credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • It is available for the first four years of post-secondary education.
  • Forty percent of the credit is refundable, which means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if you owe no taxes.
  • The student must be pursuing an undergraduate degree or other recognized educational credential.
  • The student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period.
  • Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, coursed related books supplies and equipment.
  • The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers who make less than $80,000 or $160,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

2. Lifetime Learning Credit

  • The credit can be up to $2,000 per eligible student.
  • It is available for all years of postsecondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills.
  • The maximum credited is limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your return.
  • The student does not need to be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
  • Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, course related books, supplies and equipment.
  • The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers who make less than $60,000 or $120,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

You cannot claim the tuition and fees tax deduction in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. You must choose to either take the credit or the deduction and should consider which is more beneficial for you.

For more information about these credits see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education available at http://www.irs.gov or by calling one of our Accountants at 786-250-4450

Gustavo A Viera CPA

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