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Dental CPA | Converting Leads into Patients

Dental CPA Near Me

Marketing is an essential part of attracting new business. Strong print and internet marketing materials can help introduce your practice to potential new patients. Glowing reviews and testimonials tell people that you have a trustworthy team and offer quality care. However, even the best marketing efforts won’t contribute anything to your business if you fail to convert leads into patients. There are a variety of reasons outside of your control that might stop someone from scheduling an appointment at your practice, but it’s important to make sure you do all you can to help motivate people to seek treatment with you. Below are some tips to help your team more effectively sell the value of your service to potential new patients.

Be responsive and available. As a dental professional, you know what it’s like to be busy. Often, your patients have busy lives of their own. Make sure your team is available to take calls as they come and try to offer flexible appointment times to help people work within their limited free time.

Don’t be too pushy. While it’s helpful to be clear about all the treatments offered at your practice, patients are often turned off by overly “salesy” approaches. Take the time to get to know a patient and their needs, goals, and budget before trying to sell them on dental solutions. This will make them feel valued and understood, increasing the likelihood of treatment plan acceptance.

Offer a friendly and welcoming environment. There are a number of people who absolutely dread going to the dentist. Because of that, some potential patients may already have a negative feeling towards you and your team despite no fault of your own. Work to overcome this discomfort quickly by offering a personable and kind environment. Make sure your team greets patients by name and gets to know a bit about them. A little can go a long way.

Don’t lose track of people. Repetition is one of the easiest techniques for cementing something into memory. If a potential new patient contacts your office, be sure to follow up if you don’t hear from them again. You never know the reason they didn’t call back, so taking that step for them can offer a second chance to make a connection and help your practice stand out more in their mind.

Many dentists find it difficult to think about their practice as a business. It is likely that you chose dentistry due to a passion for service and healing, not bookkeeping or sales. Yet nearly any successful retailer will say that the only way to gain business is to give customers what they want, when they want it. Contact our firm for more strategies on boosting new patient numbers and patient retention!

Miami CPA | Claim Financial Freedom

Dental CPA Near Me

Whether you’re starting a new practice or have been an owner dentist for years, the financial stress that can come from being a business owner can sometimes overwhelm even the most seasoned professionals. Our goal is to help you achieve complete financial freedom so that financial worries don’t interfere with your ability to work well.

Below are some tips you can follow on your own to help build a rock-solid foundation for your practice. Staying organized and up-to-date with your financials allows you to focus on delivering quality care to your patients. Contact our firm today to learn how we can help!

  1. Have a plan. As the popular saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” In order to see true success, you’ll need to have both short and long-term plans for your practice. How will you allocate new earnings? How is your practice prepared to deal with slow seasons? How are you budgeting for new purchases? If you don’t already have answers to these questions, they could be a great place to start. Planning for the unexpected can help safeguard your profitability from being derailed by unforeseen expenses.
  2. Set goals. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Your practice will only be as successful as you make it. Setting goals allows you to have a clear yardstick to measure your success against and can help you make better financial choices in the present. By recognizing the simple truth that every small decision you make now can have a huge impact on the future, you’ll be able to start setting yourself up for success. Your future self with thank you.
  3. Be Smart. When starting or growing your business, there can be benefits to taking on strategic debt. However, doing so in a manner that will benefit, rather than hinder your growth requires an understanding of the returns you can expect on your investment. Don’t jump into big purchases without a plan, rather weigh the potential benefits and risks of all your financial decisions.
  4. Get Organized. Disorganization can be a killer for any business. In order to ensure you’re not letting anything important slip through the cracks, it’s important to have systems in place that will guarantee nothing is missed. In addition to protecting you from unforeseen troubles, efficient organization can also help bring opportunities for improvement to light. Whether it’s money that could be saved or resources that could be conserved, understanding the ins and outs of your financials can help you to understand exactly how your money is being used.

If you feel that you could improve in any of these areas, our firm is here to help! Our goal is to make the process of managing and running your practice as simple as possible, allowing you to focus on delivering quality work to your patients and growing your business. Contact us today to learn more.

CPA in Miami | Building a Better Team

CPA Miami, FL

Recruiting can be a time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes costly endeavor. When you’re looking to build an optimal team, it can be tempting to hold onto old employees for too long and hesitate to hire new ones until you’re confident you’ve found the “perfect” fit. However, both can be damaging to the efficiency and culture of your business in the long term. Building an ideal team can take time, but keeping the following tips in mind can help ensure your business is able to thrive.

Letting Go of Current Employees

It can be hard to let go of any employee. Ideally, everyone you bring to your business will become a valuable member of the team. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If an employee is displaying any of the following signs, it might be time to consider letting them go:

  • Bad Attitude: This includes eye-rolling, snide comments, complaints, confrontational tone, and passive-aggressive speech or actions. An employee that disrespects their co-workers won’t have the best interests of the whole team at heart.
  • Lack of Engagement: Whether unfocused at work or unresponsive during meetings, an employee that’s not mentally present can’t give their best to their work.
  • Dishonesty: Whether this involves refusal to accept accountability, blaming others for mistakes, or outright lies, dishonesty is harmful to your business and your team.
  • Poor Performance: While it’s expected that an employee in a new role may need an adjustment period, if that employee shows an ongoing inability to grow professionally and exceed the expectations of their position, it might be a harbinger of problems down the road.

Hiring New Employees

Whether you’re looking to replace current employees or meet the demands of a growing business, you want to do everything you can to make sure you’re hiring the right people for your team. Here are some tips that can help streamline the hiring process:

  • There’s No Such Thing as Perfect: When looking to bring in new employees, it can be tempting to wait until you’ve found the “perfect” fit. However, that can unnecessarily slow down the process and cause you to skip over individuals who might become great assets for your team in time. Keep in mind that a good employee is one that grows and performs well, and look for individuals that possess the qualities needed to thrive long-term.
  • Follow Your Gut: Instincts exist for a reason. If something about a prospective employee isn’t sitting right with you, it could be a sign that there’s a deeper problem you’ll have to address in the future. While you shouldn’t necessarily make quick decisions on feelings alone, it’s worthwhile to take them into account.
  • Listen to Your Team: The members of your staff will often be able to offer good insights into how the company can grow. Whether a trusted employee is revealing the poor performance of a co-worker or a team is asking for another member to help manage their growing responsibilities, it’s worth seeking their input when making decisions.

Though there’s no exact science to building a successful team, there are proven strategies you can use to help the process be as painless as possible. By holding current employees to a clearer standard and exercising discernment with new and prospective employees, you can make the hiring process operate more smoothly and increase the overall productivity and happiness of your team.

For more advice on building a better team and managing your practice well, contact our firm today!

Choosing the Right Business Entity

When you decide to start a business, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the right business entity. It’s a decision that impacts many things–from the amount of taxes you pay to how much paperwork you have to deal with and what type of personal liability you face.

Forms of Business

The most common forms of business are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and Corporations (C-Corporations). Federal tax law also recognizes another business form called the S-Corporation. While state law controls the formation of your business, federal tax law controls how your business is taxed.

What to Consider

Businesses fall under one of two federal tax systems:

  1. Taxation of both the entity itself on the income it earns and the owners on dividends or other profit participation the owners receive from the business. C-Corporations fall under this system of federal taxation.
  2. “Pass through” taxation. This type of entity (also called a “flow-through” entity) is not taxed, but its owners are each taxed (more or less) on their proportionate shares of the entity’s income. Pass-through entities include:
    1. Sole Proprietorships
    2. Partnerships, of various types
    3. Limited liability companies (LLCs)
    4. “S-Corporations” (S-Corps), as distinguished from C-corporations (C-Corps)

The first major consideration when choosing a business entity is whether to choose one that has two levels of tax on income or one that is a pass-through entity with only one level directly on the owners.

The second consideration, which has more to do with business considerations rather than tax considerations, is the limitation of liability (protecting your assets from claims of business creditors).

Let’s take a general look at each of the options more closely:

Types of Business Entities

Sole Proprietorships
The most common (and easiest) form of business organization is the sole proprietorship. Defined as any unincorporated business owned entirely by one individual, a sole proprietor can operate any kind of business (full or part-time) as long as it is not a hobby or an investment. In general, the owner is also personally liable for all financial obligations and debts of the business.

Note: If you are the sole member of a domestic limited liability company (LLC), you are not a sole proprietor if you elect to treat the LLC as a corporation.
Types of businesses that operate as sole proprietorships include retail shops, farmers, large companies with employees, home-based businesses and one-person consulting firms.

As a sole proprietor, your net business income or loss is combined with your other income and deductions and taxed at individual rates on your personal tax return. Because sole proprietors do not have taxes withheld from their business income, you may need to make quarterly estimated tax payments if you expect to make a profit. Also, as a sole proprietor, you must also pay self-employment tax on the net income reported.

Partnerships
A partnership is the relationship existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business. Each person contributes money, property, labor or skill, and expects to share in the profits and losses of the business.

There are two types of partnerships: Ordinary partnerships, called “general partnerships,” and limited partnerships that limit liability for some partners but not others. Both general and limited partnerships are treated as pass-through entities under federal tax law, but there are some relatively minor differences in tax treatment between general and limited partners.

For example, general partners must pay self-employment tax on their net earnings from self-employment assigned to them from the partnership. Net earnings from self-employment include an individual’s share, distributed or not, of income or loss from any trade or business carried on by a partnership. Limited partners are subject to self-employment tax only on guaranteed payments, such as professional fees for services rendered.

Partners are not employees of the partnership and do not pay any income tax at the partnership level. Partnerships report income and expenses from its operation and pass the information to the individual partners (hence the pass-through designation).

Because taxes are not withheld from any distributions partners generally need to make quarterly estimated tax payments if they expect to make a profit. Partners must report their share of partnership income even if a distribution is not made. Each partner reports his share of the partnership net profit or loss on his or her personal tax return.

Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure allowed by state statute. Each state is different, so it’s important to check the regulations in the state you plan to do business in. Owners of an LLC are called members, which may include individuals, corporations, other LLCs and foreign entities. Most states also permit “single member” LLCs, i.e. those having only one owner.

Depending on elections made by the LLC and the number of members, the IRS treats an LLC as either a corporation, partnership, or as part of the LLC’s owner’s tax return. A domestic LLC with at least two members is classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes unless it elects to be treated as a corporation.

An LLC with only one member is treated as an entity disregarded as separate from its owner for income tax purposes (but as a separate entity for purposes of employment tax and certain excise taxes), unless it elects to be treated as a corporation.

C-Corporations
In forming a corporation, prospective shareholders exchange money, property, or both, for the corporation’s capital stock. A corporation conducts business, realizes net income or loss, pays taxes and distributes profits to shareholders.

A corporate structure is more complex than other business structures. When you form a corporation, you create a separate tax-paying entity. The profit of a corporation is taxed to the corporation when earned and then is taxed to the shareholders when distributed as dividends. This creates a double tax.

The corporation does not get a tax deduction when it distributes dividends to shareholders. Earnings distributed to shareholders in the form of dividends are taxed at individual tax rates on their personal tax returns. Shareholders cannot deduct any loss of the corporation.

If you organize your business as a corporation, generally are not personally liable for the debts of the corporation, although there may be exceptions under state law.

S-Corporations
An S-corporation has the same corporate structure as a standard corporation; however, its owners have elected to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes. Shareholders of S-corporations generally have limited liability.

Generally, an S-Corporation is exempt from federal income tax other than tax on certain capital gains and passive income. It is treated in the same way as a partnership, in that generally taxes are not paid at the corporate level. S-Corporations may be taxed under state tax law as regular corporations, or in some other way.

Shareholders must pay tax on their share of corporate income, regardless of whether it is actually distributed. Flow-through of income and losses is reported on their personal tax returns and they are assessed tax at their individual income tax rates, allowing S-Corporations to avoid double taxation on the corporate income.

To qualify for S-Corporation status, the corporation must meet a number of requirements. Please call if you would like more information about which requirements must be met to form an S-Corporation.

Professional Guidance

When making a decision about which type of business entity to choose each business owner must decide which one best meets his or her needs. One form of business entity is not necessarily better than any other and obtaining the advice of a tax professional is critical. If you need assistance figuring out which business entity is best for your business, don’t hesitate to call.

IRS Warns of Fake Tax Bill Emails

Numerous reports of scammers sending fraudulent CP2000 Notices for tax-year 2015 have been received by the IRS, resulting in an investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The notice relates to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and requests information regarding 2014 coverage. It also includes a request for payment of unpaid taxes.

Here’s what taxpayers need to know:

What is a CP2000 Notice?

A CP2000 Notice is generated by the IRS Automated Underreporter Program when income reported from third-party sources (such as an employer) does not match the income reported on the tax return. It provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed.

Commonly mailed to taxpayers through the United States Postal Service, a CP2000 Notice is never sent as part of an email to taxpayers.

What to watch out for:

Taxpayers and tax professionals should be on guard against fake emails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. Generally, the scam involves an email that includes the fake CP2000 notice as an attachment.

Indicators that the CP2000 Notice you received is a scam include the following:

  • Notices are sent electronically, even though the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email or through social media platforms;
  • The CP2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address;
  • The underreported issue is related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requesting information regarding 2014 coverage;
  • The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C.

The fraudulent CP2000 Notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” and sent to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address. This is in addition to a “payment” link within the email itself. In addition, if taxpayers are unable to pay, it provides instructions for payment options such as installment payments.

Unlike the fake version a real CP2000 Notice provides extensive instructions to taxpayers about what to do if they agree or disagree that additional tax is owed. A real notice also requests that checks be made out to “United States Treasury.”

To determine if a CP2000 Notice that you received in the mail is real, go to the IRS website and use the search term, “Understanding Your CP2000 Notice.” You will see an image of a real notice.

IRS Impersonation Scams

IRS impersonation scams take many forms: threatening telephone calls, phishing emails, and demanding letters. Anyone who receives this scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and then immediately delete it from their email account.

Taxpayers should always beware of any unsolicited email purported to be from the IRS or any unknown source. Never open an attachment or click on a link within an email sent by an unknown person or a source you do not know.

What you should do:

Individuals with questions about a notice or letter they receive from the IRS can generally do a keyword search for “Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter” on the IRS.gov website and view explanations and images of common correspondence.

Don’t hesitate to contact the office if you have any questions about IRS notices or letters you have received in the mail or otherwise.

Tax Due Dates for October 2016

October 11

 
Employees who work for tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during September, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

October 17

 
Individuals – If you have an automatic 6-month extension to file your income tax return for 2015, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due.

Electing Large Partnerships – File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065-B). This due date applies only if you timely requested a 6-month extension of time to file the return.

Employers Nonpayroll Withholding – If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in September.

Employers Social Security, Medicare, and Withheld income tax – If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in September.

October 31

 
Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax – File form 941 for the third quarter of 2016. 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 10 to file the return.

Certain Small Employers – Deposit any undeposited tax if your tax liability is $2,500 or more for 2016 but less than $2,500 for the third quarter.

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

Cash Flow Management: The Secret to Success

Cash flow is the lifeblood of any small business. Some business experts even say that a healthy cash flow is more important than your business’s ability to deliver its goods and services.

While that might seem counterintuitive, consider this: if you fail to satisfy a customer and lose that customer’s business, you can always work harder to please the next customer. If you fail to have enough cash to pay your suppliers, creditors, or employees, you are out of business!

What is Cash Flow?

Cash flow, simply defined, is the movement of money in and out of your business; these movements are called inflow and outflow. Inflows for your business primarily come from the sale of goods or services to your customers but keep in mind that inflow only occurs when you make a cash sale or collect on receivables. It is the cash that counts! Other examples of cash inflows are borrowed funds, income derived from sales of assets, and investment income from interest.

Outflows for your business are generally the result of paying expenses. Examples of cash outflows include paying employee wages, purchasing inventory or raw materials, purchasing fixed assets, operating costs, paying back loans, and paying taxes.

Note: A tax and accounting professional is the best person to help you learn how your cash flow statement works. He or she can prepare your cash flow statement and explain where the numbers come from. If you need help, don’t hesitate to call.

Cash Flow versus Profit

While they might seem similar, profit and cash flow are two entirely different concepts, each with entirely different results. The concept of profit is somewhat broad and only looks at income and expenses over a certain period, say a fiscal quarter. Profit is a useful figure for calculating your taxes and reporting to the IRS.

Cash flow, on the other hand, is a more dynamic tool focusing on the day-to-day operations of a business owner. It is concerned with the movement of money in and out of a business. But more important, it is concerned with the times at which the movement of the money takes place.

In theory, even profitable companies can go bankrupt. It would take a lot of negligence and total disregard for cash flow, but it is possible. Consider how the difference between profit and cash flow relate to your business.

Example: If your retail business bought a $1,000 item and turned around to sell it for $2,000, then you have made a $1,000 profit. But what if the buyer of the item is slow to pay his or her bill, and six months pass before you collect on the account? Your retail business may still show a profit, but what about the bills it has to pay during that six-month period? You may not have the cash to pay the bills despite the profits you earned on the sale. Furthermore, this cash flow gap may cause you to miss other profit opportunities, damage your credit rating, and force you to take out loans and create debt. If this mistake is repeated enough times, you may go bankrupt.

Analyzing your Cash Flow

The sooner you learn how to manage your cash flow, the better your chances of survival. Furthermore, you will be able to protect your company’s short-term reputation as well as position it for long-term success.

The first step toward taking control of your company’s cash flow is to analyze the components that affect the timing of your cash inflows and outflows. A thorough analysis of these components will reveal problem areas that lead to cash flow gaps in your business. Narrowing, or even closing, these gaps is the key to cash flow management.

Some of the most important components to examine are:

  • Accounts receivable. Accounts receivable represent sales that have not yet been collected in the form of cash. An accounts receivable balance sheet is created when you sell something to a customer in return for his or her promise to pay at a later date. The longer it takes for your customers to pay on their accounts, the more negative the effect on your cash flow.
  • Credit terms. Credit terms are the time limits you set for your customers’ promise to pay for their purchases. Credit terms affect the timing of your cash inflows. A simple way to improve cash flow is to get customers to pay their bills more quickly.
  • Credit policy. A credit policy is the blueprint you use when deciding to extend credit to a customer. The correct credit policy – neither too strict nor too generous – is crucial for a healthy cash flow.
  • Inventory. Inventory describes the extra merchandise or supplies your business keeps on hand to meet the demands of customers. An excessive amount of inventory hurts your cash flow by using up money that could be used for other cash outflows. Too many business owners buy inventory based on hopes and dreams instead of what they can realistically sell. Keep your inventory as low as possible.
  • Accounts payable and cash flow. Accounts payable are amounts you owe to your suppliers that are payable at some point in the near future – “near” meaning 30 to 90 days. Without payables and trade credit, you’d have to pay for all goods and services at the time you purchase them. For optimum cash flow management, examine your payables schedule.

Some cash flow gaps are created intentionally. For example, a business may purchase extra inventory to take advantage of quantity discounts, accelerate cash outflows to take advantage of significant trade discounts or spend extra cash to expand its line of business.

For other businesses, cash flow gaps are unavoidable. Take, for example, a company that experiences seasonal fluctuations in its line of business. This business may normally have cash flow gaps during its slow season and then later fill the gaps with cash surpluses from the peak part of its season. Cash flow gaps are often filled by external financing sources. Revolving lines of credit, bank loans, and trade credit are just a few of the external financing options available that you may want to discuss with us.

Monitoring and managing your cash flow is important for the vitality of your business. The first signs of financial woe appear in your cash flow statement, giving you time to recognize a forthcoming problem and plan a strategy to deal with it. Furthermore, with periodic cash flow analysis, you can head off those unpleasant financial glitches by recognizing which aspects of your business have the potential to cause cash flow gaps.

Make sure your business has adequate funds to cover day-to-day expenses.

If you need help analyzing and managing your cash flow more effectively, please call the office.

Eight Ways Children Lower Your Taxes

Got kids? They may have an impact on your tax situation. If you have children, here are eight tax credits and deductions that can help lower your tax burden.

  1. Dependents: In most cases, a child can be claimed as a dependent in the year they were born. Be sure to let the office know if your family size has increased this year. You may be able to claim the child as a dependent this year.
  2. Child Tax Credit: You may be able to take this credit on your tax return for each of your children under age 17. If you do not benefit from the full amount of the Child Tax Credit, you may be eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit. The Additional Child Tax Credit is a refundable credit and may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax.
  3. Child and Dependent Care Credit: You may be able to claim this credit if you pay someone to care for your child under age 13 while you work or look for work. Be sure to keep track of your child care expenses so we can claim this credit accurately.
  4. Earned Income Tax Credit: The EITC is a benefit for certain people who work and have earned income from wages, self-employment, or farming. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may also give you a refund.
  5. Adoption Credit: You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt a child.
  6. Coverdell Education Savings Account: This savings account is used to pay qualified expenses at an eligible educational institution. Contributions are not deductible; however, qualified distributions generally are tax-free.
  7. Higher Education Credits: Education tax credits can help offset the costs of education. The American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning Credit are education credits that reduce your federal income tax dollar for dollar, unlike a deduction, which reduces your taxable income.
  8. Student Loan Interest: You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income, so you do not need to itemize your deductions.

As you can see, having children can make a big impact on your tax profile. Make sure that you’re getting the appropriate credits and deductions by speaking to a tax professional today.

Lending Money to a Friend? It Pays to Plan Ahead

Lending money to a cash-strapped friend or family member is a noble and generous offer that just might make a difference. But before you hand over the cash, you need to plan ahead to avoid tax complications for yourself down the road.

Take a look at this example: Let’s say you decide to loan $5,000 to your daughter who’s been out of work for over a year and is having difficulty keeping up with the mortgage payments on her condo. While you may be tempted to charge an interest rate of zero percent, you should resist the temptation.

Here’s why:

When you make an interest-free loan to someone, you will be subject to “below-market interest rules.” IRS rules state that you need to calculate imaginary interest payments from the borrower. These imaginary interest payments are then payable to you, and you will need to pay taxes on these interest payments when you file a tax return. To complicate matters further, if the imaginary interest payments exceed $14,000 for the year, there may be adverse gift and estate tax consequences.

Exception: The IRS lets you ignore the rules for small loans ($10,000 or less), as long as the aggregate loan amounts to a single borrower are less than $10,000, and the borrower doesn’t use the loan proceeds to buy or carry income-producing assets.
As was mentioned above, if you don’t charge any interest, or charge interest that is below market rate (more on this below), then the IRS might consider your loan a gift, especially if there is no formal documentation (i.e. written agreement with payment schedule), and you go to make a nonbusiness bad debt deduction if the borrower defaults on the loan–or the IRS decides to audit you and decides your loan is really a gift.

Formal documentation generally refers to a written promissory note that includes the interest rate, a repayment schedule showing dates and amounts for all principal and interest, and security or collateral for the loan, such as a residence (see below). Make sure that all parties sign the note so that it’s legally binding.

As long as you charge an interest rate that is at least equal to the applicable federal rate (AFR) approved by the Internal Revenue Service, you can avoid tax complications and unfavorable tax consequences.

AFRs for term loans that is, loans with a defined repayment schedule, are updated monthly by the IRS and published in the IRS Bulletin. AFRs are based on the bond market, which changes frequently. For term loans, use the AFR published in the same month that you make the loan. The AFR is a fixed rate for the duration of the loan.

Any interest income that you make from the term loan is included on your Form 1040. In general, the borrower, who in this example is your daughter, cannot deduct interest paid, but there is one exception: if the loan is secured by her home, then the interest can be deducted as qualified residence interest–as long as the promissory note for the loan was secured by the residence.

If you have any questions about the tax implications of loaning a friend or family member money, don’t hesitate to call.

Five Tips for Starting a Business

When you start a business, you need to know about income taxes, payroll taxes, understanding your tax obligations, and much more. Here are five tips to help you get your business off to a good start:

1. Business Structure. One of the first decisions you need to make is which type of business structure to choose. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership, and corporation. This is an important step because the type of business you choose will determine which tax forms you file. See, Choosing the Right Business Entity, above.

2. Business Taxes. There are four general types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax, and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax your business pays depends on the type of business structure you set up. You may need to make estimated tax payments. If you do, you can use IRS Direct Pay to make them. It’s the fast, easy and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account.

3. Employer Identification Number (EIN). You may need to get an EIN for federal tax purposes. The easiest way to find out if you need an EIN is to use the search term “do you need an EIN” on the IRS.gov website. If you do need one, contact the office or apply for one online at IRS.gov.

4. Accounting Method. An accounting method is a set of rules that you use to determine when to report income and expenses. The two that are most common are the cash and accrual methods, and you must use a consistent method. Under the cash method, you normally report income and deduct expenses in the year that you receive or pay them. Under the accrual method, you generally report income and deduct expenses in the year that you earn or incur them. This is true even if you get the income or pay the expense in a later year.

5. Employee Health Care. The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit helps small businesses and tax-exempt organizations pay for health care coverage they offer their employees. You’re eligible for the credit if you have fewer than 25 employees who work full-time, or a combination of full-time and part-time. The maximum credit is 50 percent of premiums paid for small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid for small tax-exempt employers, such as charities.

Questions about starting a business?

Don’t hesitate to call the office if you need answers!