Sound Business Planning and Consulting In Troubled Times

Every successful business requires strategic business planning and effective management and consulting. As our country continues to move toward a healthier economy these business staples will continue to play a key role in how much success companies have moving forward.

At GROCO we offer strategic business plans that can help lead your company in the right direction. We have years of experience assisting companies from many different industries, including real estate, manufacturing, high tech, retail and many more. Our effective business planning, management and consulting can help lead your company in this new economy. Of course, we can help your company with accounting and taxes as well.

Our company will help you develop strategies to move you towards further success and give you the tools to maintain that success. We take it upon ourselves to partner with you as you look to increase your profits and your competitiveness in the market. We have the knowledge and expertise it takes to build your company and help you achieve your business goals.

To learn more about the business planning and strategic management and consulting services we offer, please click here. At GROCO we take business planning seriously and we can help you prepare for the future with effective planning, organization and training. We will help you develop leaders and in turn increase your company’s chances of obtaining long-term success and sustainability. Please contact us online today or call us at 1-877-CPA-2006.

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Startups Should Pay Heed to These Tax Tips

Tax season us winding down and there’s a good chance that most businesses have already filed their tax returns. If you’re a business owner and you still haven’t filed then contact us right away to get it done. In any case, now is a good time to review some tax tips for businesses, especially for those companies that are just starting out. As a startup you have to be sure you’re doing everything you can to help minimize your taxes and maximize your revenue.

One mistake some owners of startup companies make is to overlook their accounting and taxes because they’re so focused on growing their business and improving their bottom line. However, this can be very costly.  After all, a lower tax bill means a greater bottom line. So what should startups be looking for when it comes to their taxes?

  • Keep The Books – any business, including a startup, needs to have a good bookkeeping system set up right from the get-go. Don’t wait till “some other day” to keep a detailed record. Start from the beginning and never get behind.
  • Hire a CPA – finding a good certified public accountant (CPA) is a very smart move. The right CPA can get you pointed in the right direction right off the bat. He or she can also help you choose the right bookkeeping software for you business and show you how to set yourself up for the best tax results.
  • Keep Business & Personal Separate – make sure you always keep your business and personal purchases separate. Get a card for business and use it for business expenses.
  • Retirement Plan – if you can afford it, set up a retirement plan for your employees. It’s an attractive incentive and it gives you another tax break.
  • Estimated Taxes – make sure you are paying sufficient estimated taxes throughout the year.

These are some smart moves to make for any business, whether you’re just starting out or not. If you need sound accounting advice or tax information regarding your business, then please contact GROCO today at 1-877-CPA-2006, or click here.

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Change in the World

Be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

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Will Illegal Immigrants Really Get A Huge Check From the IRS?

Whether you are for or against President Obama’s immigration plan, the fact that all the illegal immigrants in the country could file tax returns and claim refunds for the last three years, seems outrageous. However, according to the IRS, under the Earned Income Tax Credit, that is precisely what could happen. It doesn’t matter if a person has never even filed a return or reported any income.

Under the president’s plan an illegal immigrant could get a Social Security number, and then qualify for the Earned Income Credit for the last three years, thanks to a current IRS practice. That means even though someone who has only been in the country for a short time could actually claim money for three years just by acquiring a Social Security number and filing for the Earned Income Credit.

The country would literally be giving away billions of dollars in free money to people who are illegally living in the United States. However, according to reports, one U.S. lawmaker has already created a bill that would prevent undocumented workers from receiving this tax credit.

Representative Patrick McHenry is also concerned that the President’s actions could open the door to dozens of fraudulent returns and billions of dollars in lost tax revenue. He claims that any illegal worker in the U.S. that broke the law to get here should not receive benefits from the country’s tax system.

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California Comes Out on Top of Estimated Tax Revenue

Who says California isn’t doing well financially? When it comes to taxes, it appears that the Golden State is doing just fine. California is definitely one of the worst locations to live if you want to keep your tax bill low. With the latest report from the state’s Controller, Betty Yee, it’s no wonder that taxpayers wonder why they lose so much money to the government.

According to recent reports, the month of February was a very good month for the state treasury. That’s because Ms. Yee reported that California beat it’s tax revenue for the month of February by about $1 billion. In fact, the state received about $6.6 billion in total tax revenue in February, which beat Governor Jerry Brown’s estimates by close to 18 percent.

Of that amount, $2.6 billion came from tax receipts from personal income taxes. That was 26 percent more than expected. Meantime, taxes for retail and use were up about 16 percent. As for the fiscal year, revenue for the general fund is already 1.4 percent higher than forecasted.

While the news is good for the state, the extra money could be gone fast. That’s because with all the extra cash, many expect that democratic lawmakers will encourage the governor to increase spending.

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Wondering Where Your Tax Refund Might Be? Check Your Student Loan Debt

By now millions of taxpayers have already filed their returns and have received their refunds. Still, there are others who are waiting for that check to show up in their account. For some, that wait can be very difficult and even cause a little anxiety. In most cases, there’s no need to worry. Just give it enough time and the IRS should be sending your refund soon. On the other hand, for some people who owe money on their student loans, the news might not be so good.

Several taxpayers are discovering this year that the refund they were expecting to get has instead been allocated for something else: to pay off their student loan debt. While this may come as a surprise to many, the law allows the Department of Education to take your tax refund if your student loan debt is in default. They can do this by using the Treasury Offset Program, which allows federal payments you would have otherwise received, to be taken and used to pay off debts to federal agencies.

However, according to the law, anyone who has a loan in default should first receive a warning that his or her tax refund could be used for paying down that student loan debt. In addition, if you do lose part or all of your refund, you can contest the decision. However, in order to win your protest essentially you have to prove that your student loan is not actually in default.

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How to Choose Your Tax Filing Status if You’re Married

If you’re married then you’ve probably just always filed a joint return with your spouse. In fact, chances are you’ve never even considered filing any other way. However, for some people, married filing jointly is not the best option. Depending on your situation, it could be more advantageous to file separately. Here are some things to consider when choosing what filing status to use if you are married.

While in many cases, filing together could help lessen the tax hit on you and your spouse it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, the only advantage of filing jointly is that you only have to worry about one return. If you and your spouse both work and one of you earns a lot more than the other, then it will typically be better to file jointly, as it will usually help reduce your combined tax bill.

On the other hand, there are other circumstances wherein it that might better to file separately. For example, if you both have taxable income and one of you has a lot of itemized deductions limited by adjusted gross income (AGI), then it might make sense to file separately. That’s because by filing separately, you can also separate both of your AGI’s. If your AGIs are lower on your separate returns, you can save on your tax bill.

This is just one example of where filing separately from your spouse could be helpful. However, it’s best to weigh all your options before making that choice. If you’re not sure what status to choose, you can contact us at GROCO for help. We’ll look at all the numbers and all the possible scenarios and choose the best path for you. Call us at 1-877-CPA-2006, or click here.

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There Is a Bright Side for Early Filers Victimized by Obamacare Gaffe

There’s been no shortage of complaints and problems with Obamacare since the nations new health care coverage law went into effect. In fact, the debate continues to rage on and another major decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is forthcoming in the months ahead. However, for the time being, Obamacare has been a problem for many taxpayers at this time of year.

The biggest gaffe came when the Obama administration announced in February that as many as 800,000 taxpayers who followed directions and purchased their health insurance through the government marketplace had received invalid tax statements. The government mailed out Form 1095-A, which showed healthcare credits, to millions. However, up to 800,000 of the forms that the government sent contained the wrong information.

The good news is that only about 50,000 people among the 800,000 had field their taxes before the mistake was discovered. So what about those 50,000? Will they be penalized? There’s more good news. The Department of Treasury has announced that anyone who has already filed their taxes with the incorrect information will not have to file an amended return. Therefore, even those who would have ended up owing more if they had filed their tax return with the correct information will not have to worry about re-filing.

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IRS Has Handed Out More Than $100 Billion in Refunds so far

As with every tax season there have been some mistakes that have caused problems for some taxpayers, as well as the usual battle with tax scams that pop up every year. However for the most part, the refund process has gone well to this point. In fact, at the end of February, the IRS reported that it had issued $125 billion and processed nearly 40 million tax returns. The average refund was reportedly $3,120.

Compared to last year, the IRs is only about .1 percent behind in the number of returns it has processed. As for refunds compared to the same time last year, the IRS has issued 1.1 percent fewer than in 2014. The average amount is up by $4, which individually isn’t much, but it’s a good sign for the country as a whole. The IRS says that so far about four out of every five returns has received a refund this year.

On the downside, that trend is not likely to continue, given that most of the early filers are typically expecting a refund. Those who expect to owe money often wait as long as they can before sending in their return. Overall, the nation’s top tax agency expects to process more than 150 million income tax returns before the tax season officially ends on April 15.

Still haven’t filed your return? It’s not too late. Contact GROCO today for help at 1-877-CPA-2006, or by clicking here.

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Do not Be the Victim of a Tax Scam

As the tax season continues to be in full swing we here at GROCO continue to hear of more and more tax scams making the rounds. We’ve discussed tax scams before, but it never hurts to repeat this important information, especially at this time of year when tax scammers are so prevalent. In fact, several of our clients have already shared with us some of tricks that scammers have tried to use against them. Even some of our own accountants have received some very convincing calls regarding their taxes. According to federal authorities more than 360,000 people have already reported receiving a call from one of these scam attempts. In addition, more than 3,000 taxpayers have been victimized to the tune of $15.5 million so far this year.

Very Convincing

The problem with these scams is that they sound very credible and if you don’t know what to look for, then you could easily fall prey to one of these con artists. We discussed several of these common tax scams in a recent post, which you can read about by clicking here. Plus, you can also click here to learn about tax scams and consumer alerts from the IRS. While there are several different types of scams that you could encounter, let’s focus on the two that seem to be the most prominent: Telephone scams and Phishing scams.

The IRS-Impersonator Telephone Scam

This is probably the most common tax scam every year. The exact methods might change from year-to-year, but the overall con is the same. The caller claims to be an IRS employee and they can sound very convincing when they call. They share their name and an IRS ID number but neither piece of information is legitimate. They also seem to already know some info about their would-be victim and they can even make their caller ID look like it comes form the IRS. They tell the person that they owe the IRS money and ask for immediate payment. If the would-be victim doesn’t comply they begin to make serious threats, including jail time.

Other Phone Scams

That is not the only phone scam out there. Another tactic scammers use is to tell you that you have a refund solely to get you to share personal information, which they can use for illegal purposes, like stealing your identity or your refund. Some scammers go so far as to use automated dialing systems that can be relentless. If you choose not to answer they will usually leave threatening messages. It’s important to remember that the IRS will not call you to request immediate payment. In fact, they won’t call you unless they have first contacted you by mail. They will not ask for your personal information over the phone and they won’t make threats regarding law enforcement and arrests.

Don’t Believe the “Phishing” Stories

The other most common scam is known as “phishing,” which consists of using an email to con you out of money. The email looks very real and it includes a link to a website that also looks very real. In fact, it looks almost identical to the IRS’s website. The directions tell the victims to update their IRS e-file immediately. However, the IRS won’t contact taxpayers by using email in order to request financial or personal information. If you receive one of these bogus emails, don’t even click on the link and don’t respond. Instead, simply forward it to this address phishing@irs.gov

Don’t Be Fooled

Remember to be very cautious when you receive any correspondence regarding your taxes. If you haven’t received a letter in the mail from the IRS first, then you won’t be hearing from them over the phone or via email. Never give out any personal information over the phone or online, no matter how convincing the caller or the email might seem. If you have any other questions about tax scams, or about filing your taxes, then you can also contact us at GROCO. Call 1-877-CPA-2006.

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