Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tax Solutions For Small Businesses

A small business owner should think about his or her taxes before the business grows too large. When tax season comes, there are many things to think about and options to consider. When leaving this to chance or ignoring it for a while, an entrepreneur will waste an excellent opportunity to develop a viable and workable long-term tax solution. With that being said, here are a few things to consider when thinking about tax solutions for your small business.

tax seasonContract out the work: If you run a small, one man firm, you will probably want to save money and avoid hiring a professional to do your taxes. This may or may not be a good idea based on your circumstances. For instance, if you are a web developer and run a simple company, you can probably use programs or a website to file your taxes. This is certainly true if you do not have employees, worry about an office location or depreciate items. On the other hand, if you run a larger firm with a lot of employees and inventory, you must hire an accountant who can help you develop a workable system. Furthermore, if your business is large and established, you should consider paying a CPA to file on your behalf. Without a doubt, when hiring a professional, you can avoid common pitfalls with the IRS.

Find a good company: It is beneficial to find a solid accountant who can do a great job. Start by asking other small business owners if they have an accountant they would recommend. Usually, when this is the case, a fellow entrepreneur will have no trouble sharing this information. Not only that, when looking for a person to help you with your business, you should consider going to a few local small business meetings or conferences. With this, you can talk to dozens of business owners about the situation. Most importantly, come prepared and ask a lot of questions. On the other hand, it will require more work for you to find a qualified and hardworking CPA. Simply put, most will work in a particular area of expertise. For example, some CPA firms do real estate while others work for farms. For this reason, it is wise to speak with a lawyer who can help you find the right CPA for your business.

Study each program:
As mentioned, some people will run a small company and will want to do their own taxes. One easy and simple way to do this is to use an Excel spreadsheet. If you work as an independent contractor and run a small corporation, you will not need a lot more. Of course, if you buy equipment, pay contractors and employees and sell products, you will need a program. Many consider TurboTax or one of the many other available programs. When looking for the right software for your needs, you should think of the features that you desire. Not only that, you should think of the day-to-day bookkeeping as some software makers offer a better user experience. Either way, if you want to take your own route and save money by not hiring a professional, you should take a long and hard look at multiple software options.

Without a doubt, when running a company, you must worry about the tax implications from day one. Furthermore, you need to develop a long-term and practical strategy that will see you get the desired results. Otherwise, with one mistake, you can set yourself back for a long time. Finally, you must understand that it is hard to recover from accounting errors and issues. When this happens, a company will have to hire an auditor to go back and look at everything. For this reason, one must come up with a viable tax strategy.
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Amy Thomson writes about technology, career success, and education. When she’s not writing, she’s skydiving over the Rocky Mountains.

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

5 Practical Uses For Your Tax Return

As Tax Day draws near, your tax return should be coming in soon, if it hasn’t already.  There’s always temptation to blow it all on something frivolous, but savvy spenders smartly put that money towards more practical uses.  Whether they get their car a new set of Nokian tires or replace their old dishwasher, there are plenty of things people can spend their tax return money on that don’t feel like wasting it.

Do Some Repairs or Remodel Your Home

Your home should be a place you can be proud of, but sometimes, it can be easy to neglect some things that you didn’t have the money to address in the past.  With a tax return, suddenly those things can find their way into your budget.  Whether you just need to fix a leaky roof or you’re planning a revamp to your kitchen, giving your home a makeover is always money well spent.

Fix Up Your Car

If you’re living in a temperate climate, your car has probably taken a beating for the past few months.  Between the snowfall and the salt on the roads (not to mention the potholes), cold weather is not too kind to automobiles.  If you’ve got yourself some money to spend thanks to your tax return, it’s always a good idea to make sure your car is running in tip-top shape.  Bringing your car in for a tune-up, an oil change, or even getting a set of brand new Nokian tires are just a few ways to restore your car to great health.

Further Your Education

College can be expensive.  Most people don’t get a four-year education’s worth of money on their return, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t put that money to good use to further along your college career.  Adult education classes, especially those that offer certification for a certain skill, can be a valuable investment for your career.  The old saying is that it takes money to make money and that fact-of-life is more than appropriate in the pursuit of higher education.

Restock the Fridge

Is there any view more comforting than seeing a fridge that is stocked to the doors with food?  Feeding a family can be expensive, so when you come into some money, it’s never a bad idea to take it to the grocery store and get some food that will feed your family and that can help them eat healthy.  There’s no better time to get back into healthy eating than when the weather starts to warm, so luckily that also means that it’s time to reap the benefits of a year of paying taxes.

Revamp Your Wardrobe

While it may not sound like it’s all that practical, you can’t go anywhere without clothing, and having a wide wardrobe is even more important if you work in a corporate environment.  Dressing to impress goes a long way in the business world, so if you’re feeling like your wardrobe could use an upgrade, then there is no reason you cannot spend at least a little bit of money on some practical clothing.

In the end, your tax return money can be spent however you please.  Although that Jet Ski may be a tempting impulse buy, you may want to take stock of any needs that you can address.
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George is a writer currently residing in New York City. When he's not writing, he enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, and walking his dog, Max.

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Monday, 10 March 2014

Why Is Britain Europe's Financial Centre?

It is pretty frightening to think that Britain is the financial centre of Europe considering that it is so small geographically. It is a testament to the success of our Empire and the remnants of it remain in our financial capacity. The world is changing yet Britain still remains at the top of the financial tree, there are financial HUBS such as Canary Wharf which if you visit are extremely impressive and revolutionary in my opinion.

Euro Currency
The role of Great Britain in the world economy is negligible compared to the larger countries but in regards to financial policy and banking Britain is certainly a world superpower.

This article will highlight what it is about Britain that has cemented its position at the head of world financial affairs and whether it will remain there for the near future.

The world is changing and it remains to be seen if Britain can confirm their financial superiority.


Britain is the financial centre of Europe for a variety of reasons and the most important of those reasons is the stability it boats. Stability in Britain is both infrastructural and governmental, this in turn has led to an increase in foreign investment and the number of companies from overseas backing the British financial markets and institutes.

In all honesty I don’t see this changing in the future, naturally Germany is a rival in a sense to Britain economically but it doesn’t really effect the fact that Britain is the HUB financially of Europe.
It is frightening to think that Britain has so much monetary fire power when as a country it is so small compared to the rest of the world but the banking industry is born upon trust and Britain has made a strong name for itself over the years for being stable, trustworthy and progressive.

Banking Presence

This is where the prominence of Britain comes from financially. There are so many large investment banks centered in London from which dealings with the rest of Europe are centred. London is still developing and the importance of the financial sector in this country particular is extremely high.
Bankers haven’t had the best of press in recent years nor have any companies in that sector but that is slowly changing. The introduction of new companies such as ACPI and the reintegration with existing institutions can only be a good thing.

The industry is progressing and moving forward and with that Britain is solidifying its position at the helm.

A History

The history if Britain is important when addressing this question. Britain, historically has been an imperial power and with that comes pressure to have a strong infrastructure back home in order to transfer that abroad. Britain has thus been the one of the leading proponents of financial stability since their empire began and it continued even after its fall.

The British empire was a relic of a past world but their historic strength financially has transcended many years and continues to do so in a way that reflects their bizarre imperial power.
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Rick Walia has been writing for many years now about the economy. He comes from an international background and has worked in a bank in India for many years now.

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Friday, 7 March 2014

Tax Fraud: It Can Happen To You

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans have their tax returns prepared by a "licensed preparer" who promises bigger than normal refunds. Are you getting a good deal or asking for an audit?

Fraud Is Easy, Taxes Are Hard

Combine a complex tax code with understaffed consumer protection agencies and you get a situation ripe for tax fraud. The most frequent victims are immigrants and families with low income, but anyone can fall victim. When was the last time you read any of the 70,000 pages in the Internal Revenue Code? Do you know whom you can claim as a dependent? Are you entitled to a child tax credit or education credit? Think how easy it would be for a tax preparer to fudge some numbers, inflate your refund and ask for a percentage of the profit. You might never spot the error, but your IRS auditor would.
Here are a few of the dishonest ways people get large tax refunds:
  • Excessive exemptions
  • Incorrect credits
  • Unwarranted deductions
  • Large losses for side businesses or hobbies
  • Inflated personal expenses
  • Reduced income figures
Watch Out for Small Fees and Big Guarantees
Whether you get your tax return prepared in an accountant's office, at the H&R Block store or in your Uncle Sal's basement, you need to know that you are responsible for the return you submit. Some preparers will help out with your tax defense during an audit, but ultimately it's not their money or reputation on the line.

Be extra cautious around these preparers:
  • Criminals waiting to scam you out of a refund: They may send the IRS their own checking account details instead of yours. They may operate individually or as part of a network. They pop up one day and disappear a few weeks or months later. They're not licensed to practice in your state, and they use free software anyone can get off the Internet.
  • Seasonal employees with good intentions and little training: They let you have that home office deduction because they want to go home in 10 minutes and you mentioned you make jewelry in the guestroom. They often have full-time jobs in an area unrelated to accounting or finance.
  • Professionals with many clients and little focus: They have good resumes, but you need them more than they need you. Did you know that the American tax code changes on average once per day? These preparers complete your return based on outdated rules and then let you deal with the fallout later.
Find a Legitimate Tax Preparer
Before you file your taxes this spring, do your homework. The few minutes you put into finding a good preparer now may save you harsh penalties later.
  1. Get recommendations from satisfied friends and family members.
  2. Look for long-term, positive reviews from consumer groups and financial professionals. You want to work with someone who can come to your defense years after filing your return.
  3. Favor businesses charging flat fees instead of a portion of the refund.
  4. Ask about credentials, continuing education and ethics. You need someone who understands the changing tax laws and how they apply to your situation. Keep in mind that only certain people, including CPAs, tax attorneys and enrolled agents, can represent you during an IRS audit.
  5. Ask questions about anything you do not understand. Don't be scared to check the preparer's work.
  6. Never sign a blank form.
  7. Always review your completed tax return before signing it. Ask for the preparer's signature and Preparer Tax Identification Number.
Featured images:
About the author: Mary Sutton is a Senior Writer for Fertile Content and a frequent guest contributor to many blogs

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Monday, 3 March 2014

Ten Tips For Choosing A Short Term Loan

Ten tips for choosing a short term loan

If you’re strapped for cash, then it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and borrow money from the first lender who comes along. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that short term lenders vary hugely, and so does the cost of the loan. So before committing to a loan, follow these ten top tips to make sure you’re not selling yourself short.

Do You Need to Borrow?

Remember that borrowing is a financial commitment, so only take out a loan if you have no other option.

Check your credit score

Before going ahead and contacting any lenders, always be sure to check your credit score first. You credit score will affect the cost of borrowing, and as many banks will not lend to those with bad credit, so you’re options will be more limited and you’ll be paying a higher rate of interest for borrowing.

Credit Applications

You should never make multiple applications for credit as this can damage your credit score. Instead, take time to find a suitable lender and stagger any applications you make.

Interest Rates

Once you have established how lenders will view any applications you make for credit, you’ll have more of an idea of who to approach for a loan. If you have poor credit, short term lenders such as payday lenders will charge higher rates of interest, but are likely to be your best option.

Understand APR

No one wants to spend time trying to understand the complexities of interest rates, but the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) is an important factor when considering a loan. The APR explains the total amount a loan will cost you over a period of one year and includes fees. Some lenders advertise what they term as a ‘typical APR’ but this doesn’t mean you will be charged the rate quoted. So always check for the ‘actual’ APR rate with a lender, before agreeing to a loan.

Understand APR and Short Term Loans

Because it’s an annual figure, APR is often a poor way of calculating the cost of a short term loan. Instead, look at how much interest is charged per day, or per every £100 borrowed. You should be paying something in the region of £30 for every £100 borrowed.

Hidden Fees

Always establish what types of fee you will be charged, and whether this is included in the cost of the loan or is payable upfront.

Lenders to Avoid

Always steer clear of lenders who pressurise you to take out loans, and who do not make responsible enquiries as to your financial situation.

Consider the Repayments

Before taking out any type of loan, always ask yourself if you can repay it. Fail to repay in time, and you will build up the costs of the loan and could find yourself with debt problems.

Early Repayment Fees

Always check to see if you’re able to repay a loan before the end of the term to save costs, but check that you don’t have to pay a fee for this.

Wendy Lin is a successful female entrepreneur. Her passions and work include private business consultancy, writing, and watercolour painting.

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Sunday, 2 March 2014

What You Need To Know Before Applying For Child Tax Credit

According to a definition provided by the Webster dictionary, " A Welfare State is a system whereby the state undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social needs, by means of grants, pensions and other benefits." The Child Tax Credit benefits are designed keeping in mind the very best traditions of an archetypal Welfare State. Child Tax Credit is a life saver in particular for young single mothers lacking the means and the support system to take care of their children. This benefit greatly supplements their income, helping them to provide a better future for their children. We discuss the basic concepts of this benefit, as well as a guideline on the eligibility criteria and the process of application.

Child Tax Credit :

Child Tax Credit is a yearly payment given by the British government to the mother or father of a child, as long as the parent fulfills certain eligibility requirements. The benefits available amount to a basic payment of £ 545 a year. For each child under the age of 16, a yearly payment of £ 2,720 is provided for. For a disabled child, the amount given is £ 3,015 per year. For a severely disabled child a sum of £ 1,220 per year is given in addition to the disability benefits already received.

Who Can Apply For Child Tax Credit ?

You may apply for Child Tax Credit if you are a parent of at least one child under the age of 16, or, if not the parent, you are responsible for the child. Having a child under the age of 20 also makes you eligible provided the child is studying in a government approved training facility. You are said to be "responsible" for the child if the child lives with you all the time, you are the child's sole source of financial support as well as the child's main carer. You shall be given extra Child Tax Credit if the child is disabled, and even more if the disability of the child is severe - as in complete blindness. Only British citizens or long time British residents may apply for this benefit. Recent immigrants to the United Kingdom are not eligible.

How To Apply For Child Tax Credit ?

If you are claiming Child Tax Credit for the first time, you shall need to fill in a form and send it to the nearest Tax Credits office. To get this form, please call Tax Credit Helpline and have them send it to your address. If you are already claiming Child Tax Credit, and only need to update your claim, you may do so by telephone by making use of the dedicated Child Tax Credit phone number that connects you to the Tax Credits Helpline. Tax Credits Helpline is open on Monday to Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and on Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm. Please note, you shall have to keep renewing your claim every year. Otherwise you lose your benefit.

Summary :
The primary function of a democracy is to take care of the poor and unfortunate in the society, and the primary duty of a national government is towards the children of the country. Child Tax Credit is a laudable initiative on part of the British government to do the best it can to help financially disadvantaged children and their parents.

Bio :
Crystal is a social worker and an activist. She is also the mother of a wonderful child and a proud beneficiary of the Child Tax Credit. She tries her best to spread awareness among poor and underprivileged single mothers about this excellent government policy, helps them with their applications for this benefit and provides them with detailed information such as Child Tax Credit phone number, as well as the various eligibility requirements needed.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Manage Your Money Online

When it comes to our finances, most of us adopt a ‘head in the sand’ approach. Money comes in and money goes out. How that happens is mostly a mystery. But living from one payday to the next is not the ideal. Not if there are any hopes of building a nest egg, buying a home or taking that long-desired overseas holiday.

So how do we achieve all of our life ideals? We do it by taking charge of what happens to our bank accounts. By carefully considering each and every cent we spend. By keeping track of our expenses and comparing it to our income. And last, but not least, by living within our means.
But what if percentages, ledgers and sums-of create nothing but confusion in your head? Is the only option to enlist the services of a financial planner? If you have access to the internet (and since you’re reading this, you do), then the answer is no. You need nothing more than an internet connection to manage your finances from this day forward.

Manage your monthly budget

The internet is awash with online money management tools. There are options for everyone, from budgeting rookies to families and those looking to get out of debt.

The simpler budgeting tools, like PearBudget, ask you to enter your income and monthly expenses, both fixed and variable, and help you draw up a budget. Some tools make it as easy as dragging and dropping suggested expenses into place! You just check in weekly or monthly to ensure that your finances stay on track.

Other budget tools enable more editing and return more information, in the form of graphs, pie charts and informational snippets. These are more suited to families, someone with an investment portfolio, or anyone who’s consciously working towards a big goal.

Enter into big buys with peace of mind

As mentioned, we have to live within our means and while budget tools can help us do this month-to-month, specialist online money management tools assist us with big life purchases.
Home loan affordability calculators, for instance, will help you calculate how much you can afford to spend on a new home. In the same way, a mortgage calculator will tell you how much you’ll spend a month on that home you’re eyeing. Both of these are great tools to have access to, because a home is not something you want to overspend on. You’ll be doing it every month for the next 20 years, remember!

Buying a car is another big purchase all of us makes at least once in our life. In this instance, ensuring that you stay within your means is as easy as consulting a purchase price calculator or vehicle repayment calculator. As the names suggest, the former looks at total cost, while the latter deals with monthly repayments.

Some of the tools you’ll find online will come at a cost, but finding a free tool won’t be hard. And rest assured that the free tools are just as good, if not better, than those you have to pay to use. Mint, for instance, is free and one of the most recommended budgeting tools.

Now all you have to do is find the right tool for you. Then make it a habit to manage your money. Before you know it, you’ll be jetting off into the sunset - with money left over to put away for a rainy day.


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This article was written by Daniel Stevens who is an avid reader and gamer. He's also a fan of the great outdoors and when he's not writing up a storm, thats where you'll find him ;)

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