Chris Blach, QuickBooks ProAdvisor
Let’s take a look. Reporting changed a lot between QuickBooks 2009 and 2010 in terms of interface, navigation, and access to reports. We’ll look at version 2010 since the core reporting mechanisms are similar, and wrap up with a brief summary of the new features in 2010.
Posts Tagged ‘Accounting’
|Each year, many taxpayers overlook tax credits, even though they often qualify for one or more of them. Though both tax deductions and credits save you money, they do it in different ways. A deduction lowers the income on which tax is figured. The tax credit is even better because it lowers the tax itself. Take time now to review your records and see if you qualify for one of these tax credits; many are new or expanded for the 2009 tax filing year.
First-time Homebuyer’s Credit
A credit limit of $8,000 for qualified first-time homebuyers is available in 2009. Further, long-time residents who owned and used the same principal residence for any 5 consecutive years of the last 8 years prior to purchasing a subsequent new principal residence, may now qualify for a tax credit of up to $6,500. Contact us for further information regarding this credit.
Energy Improvements Qualify for Expanded Tax Credits
People who weatherize their homes or purchase alternative energy equipment may qualify for either of two expanded home energy tax credits: the Residential Energy Property Credit and the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit.
American Opportunity Credit Helps Pay for First Four Years of College
More parents and students can use a federal education credit to offset part of the cost of college under the new American Opportunity Credit. This credit modifies the existing Hope credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers. Income guidelines are expanded and required course materials are added to the list of qualified expenses. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.
New Vehicle Purchase Incentive
New car buyers can deduct the state or local sales or excise taxes paid on the purchase of new cars, light trucks, motor homes and motorcycles. There is no limit on the number of vehicles that may be purchased, and eligible taxpayers may claim the deduction for taxes paid on multiple purchases. However, the deduction is limited to the tax on up to $49,500 of the purchase price of each qualifying new vehicle. Qualifying new vehicles must be purchased, not leased, after Feb. 16, 2009, and before Jan. 1, 2010.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps low- and moderate-income workers and working families. Working families with incomes below $48,279 (married filing jointly in 2009) and childless workers with incomes under $18,440 often qualify. Ordinarily, you must have earned income as an employee, independent contractor, farmer or business owner. Some disability retirees are also eligible. There is only a slight increase in these income levels for 2010; for example, working families with incomes below $48,362 (married filing jointly) and childless workers with incomes under $18,470, may quality in 2010.
Child Tax Credit
If you have a dependent child under age 17 at the end of 2009, you probably qualify for the child tax credit. This credit, which can be as much as $1,000 for each qualifying child, is in addition to the regular $3,650 personal exemption for 2009 you can claim for each dependent. A change in the way the credit is figured means that more low- and moderate-income families will qualify for the full credit on their 2009 returns. Don’t confuse the child tax credit with the child care credit.
Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses
If you pay someone to care for your child so you can work or look for work, you probably qualify for this credit. Normally, your child must be your dependent and under age 13. Though often referred to as the child care credit, this credit is also available if you pay someone to care for a spouse or dependent, regardless of age, who is unable to care for himself or herself. In most cases, you need to obtain the care provider’s social security number or taxpayer identification number and enter it on your return.
The saver’s credit helps low-and moderate-income workers save for retirement. You probably qualify if your income is below certain limits and you contribute to an IRA or workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k). Income limits for 2009 are $27,750 for singles and married filing separately, $41,625 for heads of household and $55,500 for joint filers. These income limits are adjusted annually for inflation, however, will remain unchanged for 2010.
The credit, up to $1,000, is based on a percentage (10-50%) of each dollar placed into a retirement plan, up to the first $2,000. The lower the adjusted gross income, the higher the credit percentage; resulting in the maximum credit of $1,000 (50% of $2,000).
A taxpayer’s credit amount is based on his or her filing status, adjusted gross income, tax liability and amount contributed to qualifying retirement programs. Form 8880 is used to claim the saver’s credit, and its instructions have details on figuring the credit correctly.
Other Credits Available
IRS.gov has information on these additional credits:
Tax Credits Can Save You Money
These credits can increase your refund or reduce the tax you owe. Usually, credits can only lower your tax to zero. But some credits, such as the EITC and the child tax credit, can actually exceed your tax. Though some credits are available to people at all income levels, others have income restrictions. These include the EITC, saver’s credit, education credits and child tax credit.
Tax credits help you pay part of the cost of raising a family, going to college, savings for retirement, or getting daycare so you can work or go to school.
Â Chris Blach, QuickBooks ProAdvisor
|Every QuickBooks upgrade has something for everyone, but some releases raise the bar more than others. QuickBooks 2010 is one of them. New features in the Pro and Premier versions help you:
Keep a closer eye on your bottom line
Present a more polished image
Better manage documents
Stay in touch with old and new customers
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|Cash is essential to the success of any business. Cash is the “life blood” that keeps a business operating. If cash dries up, the business fails. Understanding your business’ cash flow is a key managerial skill. Failure to properly plan cash flow is one of the leading causes of small business failures. Understanding the basics will help you better manage your cash flow. Cash flow considerations become even more important as the economy struggles and businesses need to tighten all financial controls.Your business’ monetary supply can exist either as cash on hand or in a business checking account available to meet expenses. A sufficient cash flow covers your business by meeting obligations (i.e., paying bills), serving as a cushion in case of emergencies, and providing investment capital.
The Operating Cycle
The operating cycle is the system through which cash flows, from the purchase of inventory through the collection of accounts receivable. It measures the flow of assets into cash.For example, your operating cycle may begin with both cash and inventory on hand. Typically, additional inventory is purchased on account to guarantee that you will not deplete your stock as sales are made. Your sales will consist of cash sales and accounts receivable credit sales, usually paid 30 days after the original purchase date.This applies to both the inventory you purchase and the products you sell. When you make payment for inventory, both cash and accounts payable are reduced. Thirty days after the sale of your inventory, receivables are usually collected, increasing your cash. Now your cash has completed its flow through the operating cycle, and the process is ready to begin again.
Cash and other balance-sheet items that convert into cash within 12 months are referred to as current assets. Typical current assets include cash, marketable securities, receivables and prepaid expenses.
Cash-flow analysis should show whether your daily operations generate enough cash to meet your obligations, and how major outflows of cash to pay your obligations relate to major inflows of cash from sales. As a result, you can tell if inflows and outflows from your operation combine to result in a positive cash flow or in a net drain. Any significant changes over time will also appear. Understanding this will lead to better control of your cash flows and will allow adequate time to plan and prepare for the growth of your business.It is best to have enough cash on hand each month to pay the cash obligations of the following month. A monthly cash-flow projection helps to identify and eliminate deficiencies or surpluses in cash and to compare actual figures to past months. When cash-flow deficiencies are found, business financial plans must be altered to provide more cash. When excess cash is revealed, it might indicate excessive borrowing or idle money that could be invested. The objective is to develop a plan that will provide a well-balanced cash flow.
Planning a Positive Cash Flow
Your business can increase cash reserves in a number of ways.