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How the Supreme Court’s State Tax Ruling Impacts You

President Trump tweeted his approval for a Supreme Court ruling last Thursday, saying it’s a “big victory for fairness and for our country. Great victory for consumers and retailers.”

Get ready, you are probably going to be paying a little bit more for that eBay purchase. If you run an online store, you might have just inherited a virtual state tax headache (no pun intended).
2018 State Sales Tax Ruling

What Just Happened?

In a decision with potentially enormous consequences, the Supreme Court in a close landmark decision, ruled 5-4 on Thursday (June 21,2018) to allow states to collect sales tax from online and out-of-state retailers, regardless if they have a physical presence in the state. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, said that times have changed to such a degree that online retailers no longer qualify for “an arbitrary advantage over their competitors who collect state sales taxes” by claiming they don’t have a physical presence in a state which came from outdated rulings dating back to mail-order days.

The ruling allowing states to tax e-commerce providers outside their state borders will be almost guaranteed to create added headaches for companies handling online transactions, but the bright side is that it may help brick-and-mortar retail businesses.

Aren’t States Already Collecting Online Tax?

Currently, forty five states collect sales tax. The only states that don’t have sales tax are: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. All other states have some sort of sales tax and the tax rate for each state can differ, even down to the county level.

This is what makes it hard for online merchants to track it by hand or even in a spreadsheet. Major e-commerce sites like Amazon have already been adding state sales tax into consumers’ purchases, and is equipped to deal with the complexity, while other smaller online merchants will have to adapt to the changes.

Who’s Impacted

In short, everyone. We are all going to be paying a little more for online purchases. With millions of American online sellers be impacted the most by this ruling, it’s going to take a while to measure the entire scope of this ruling.

There are well over 10,000 state, city and local sales-tax jurisdictions in the country, and the responsibility for figuring out how much tax to collect and where to send it ultimately will be the responsibility of the online sellers.

Online sellers are among a growing segment of Americans, who either supplement their income or rely on internet sales as their sole source of income. This is made possible from digital platforms such as Etsy, Shopify, eBay and even WordPress.

It’s still unclear on the specifics including if the state where the server is located that hosts the website will be able to get their share as well. These details will have to be sorted out and may prompt Congress to introduce new legislation for national standards around interstate commerce to avoid a patchwork of state sales tax laws that can be difficult for retailers (especially small businesses) to navigate. Many major online retailers are looking to Congress to clarify the ruling with a framework to defend small businesses and provide uniformity and consistency. We can expect an overhaul on unifying e-commerce for all 50 states. It’s going to take time, is not going to be fixed over night and it’s not going to be easy.

Follow the Money

In a 2017 federal report to Congress, it was estimated that state and local governments were missing out on $8 to $13 billion in tax revenue from online retailers. Retail e-commerce sales in the United States in 2016 was $322 billion. In 2017, online consumers pushed e-commerce sales to $452 billion, which was about 9% of all retail sales with the online giant Amazon reporting $54.5 billion in e-retail sales of physical goods in 2017.

The ruling overturns a prior 1992 court decision, Quill Corp vs. North Dakota, which established the “physical presence” standard for sales tax. Approximately 2% of Americans had internet access in 1992 compared to nearly 90% today. Those of us old enough will remember that in the early days of e-commerce, purchasers of items over the internet paid NO sales tax at all. Since the advent of the internet, the dynamics of retail industry have evolved and this is just another of those evolutions.

What Can I Do?

Don’t panic, there are a several software companies that are available if you plan on tracking it yourself. The three main software providers: TaxJar, Taxify, and Avalara. TaxJar is built for small to medium sized companies, and we have found it to be the better software for our e-commerce clients. Taxify and Avalara are built to support the larger companies and with that said, also have a larger price-tag to go with it.

If the thought of tracking your own sales tax is too daunting or you just don’t have the time to do so, we would recommend that you seek out an accounting firm that you feel the most comfortable with that specializes in sales tax (or give us a call at 888-620-0770).

Like all things in the e-commerce industry, sales tax laws will continue to evolve and it is important as an e-commerce entrepreneur to keep up to date on the new rulings and laws.

Mid-Year Financial Analysis: How are You Doing So Far?

It’s hard to believe that the year is already half-way over! How has your business been doing this year? Right now is a great time to assess the progress of your company and make adjustments if needed to finish the year in a stronger financial position.

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Progress Can Help You Improve

If you aren’t tracking your results, then you won’t have any information about the progress that has been made over the year. These reports can give insight into profitability, momentum, cash flow, and more. By tracking the financial results and sales numbers within your company, you will know exactly where the business stands. Additionally, you will be in a better position to make accurate decisions based on the current health of your company.

Every business owner wants to improve the results that they are achieving, and the only way to get better results is to know where you are starting from. Keep track of the numbers over the years so that you can ensure that your company is moving in the right direction.

Changing the Focus Mid-Year

When you analyze the mid-year results, what are you going to discover? It might be good news that you are on track with growth for the year. Or, you might find that your company is growing more than you had anticipated. The third outcome is that your growth has slowed, and you are behind the projections for the year.

Regardless of the outcome of the information, this point is an opportunity for you to make adjustments and changes if they are needed. If you are experiencing higher growth than what you originally anticipated, then it is essential to be sure that the cash flow will be available to support the extra inventory that will be required.

On the other hand, slower growth might change the decisions that you are making. It is essential that you look towards the future to put together the plan that will be best suited for your company.

If you don’t have experience with accounting or financial management, then there are many advantages to hiring an accountant to assist with the reporting and financial analysis. At Easier Accounting, we have the financial experience that you are searching for. Our team will gladly help with your accounting and bookkeeping needs throughout the year. We are happy to include a mid-year financial analysis in your accounting services. Contact us today to learn about all of the services that are offered: (888) 620-0770

Accounting and Bookkeeping Services for Home Based Businesses

If you run a home based business, then it is likely that you are wearing many hats throughout the day: manager, customer service representative, bookkeeper, and more. It takes a lot of work to get a start-up off the ground, and many people are looking for ways to cut costs and maximize financial accounts.

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Even though you are trying to minimize costs, there are some benefits to hiring outsourcing services for certain tasks. As a business owner, you need to make sure that you are focusing on your strengths instead of wasting your time on tasks that can be easily outsourced.

Benefits of an Accountant

Most small business owners don’t have experience in accounting or bookkeeping. As a result, these types of tasks take quite a bit of time and cause a lot of frustration throughout the week. Additionally, it is common for small business owners to make mistakes with their financial records, simply because they don’t have the knowledge or experience to know how to manage the books.

Instead of feeling stressed over the financial records, it is much better to have an accountant handle these tasks. You can focus on other responsibilities within your company and pay a small fee for the services of a bookkeeper or accountant.

The experience of an accountant can be very beneficial to help your small business grow. An accountant will offer suggestions to maximize cash flow and minimize expenses. As a result, the profitability of the company can be maximized.

Leveraging Home Based Business Write-Offs

When you are running your small business from home, there are certain write-offs that can be used to minimize tax burden. If you want to leverage the maximum amount of write-offs, then you need to be sure that you are working with an experienced accountant for tax preparation each year.

An accountant can assist with annual tax filings, as well as quarterly tax payments, employee taxes, and more. These services can be catered to match the needs of your company. Your accountant can help you put together the best plans to help your business succeed.

Are you ready to learn more about how these accounting services can be beneficial for your business? Call our experienced team at Easier Accounting for more information! We offer accounting services to small businesses, and we know what works best for home based businesses. Contact us by calling: (888) 620-0770

Easy Tax Credits for Small Business Owners

Do you own a small business, or you have plans to start a business venture in the future? There are many financial aspects that need to be considered to ensure the success of your company, and it is important that you look for tax credits to reduce your tax burden. Working with an experienced tax accountant is one of the best options that you should consider, and you need to make sure that your accountant has worked with many other types of small business owners.

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Do-It-Yourself vs. Hiring an Accountant

Some small business owners want to save money, so they go through the hassle of trying to do their taxes without consulting an accountant. Even though it might seem like a good solution, the truth is that it is likely costing you money if you don’t work with a small business accountant!

First, it is much faster to hand over the financial details and let the accountant work through the tax preparation and filing. You have plenty of other responsibilities to focus on, and you shouldn’t be spending your time trying to figure out the tax code.

Additionally, many inexperienced business owners overlook tax credits that could be used. If you aren’t familiar with the different types of write-offs that are available, then it is likely that you are paying more in taxes than you need to. Instead of paying the higher taxes, you should invest a little bit of money into an accountant. These services are worth their weight in gold, especially when you see how much money you will be saving when it is time to cut the check for the annual tax payment.

Types of Tax Credits for Small Businesses

These are some of the common tax credits that can be helpful for small businesses:

  • Office Supplies and Equipment: Is there anything that needs to be purchased for the office? If you have been thinking about a new computer, right now is a great time to make the purchase and use it as a tax write-off.
  • Disability Tax Credits: Do you have an employee on your team suffering from some type of disability? If you are incurring additional costs to make the business more accessible for someone with a disability, then it might be possible to write off those expenses.
  • Maximize Retirement Contributions: Self-employed individuals can maximize the funds that are contributed to a retirement fund to reduce their tax burden.

The best thing that you can do is talk with an accountant to learn about the tax credits that are applicable for your situation. For more information, talk with our team at Easier Accounting: (888) 620-0770

Are Electronic Records Sufficient for Your Financial Tracking?

Most business use digital systems for tracking financial records and other information, and there are a lot of benefits to using these online accounting systems. Does your company utilize a digital software to manage financial details? Even though the transactions are recorded in the system, it is still essential that you have receipts and other records to back up the transactions.

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Why are Receipts and Records Needed?

The reason that you need to keep the receipts and records is to provide verification in case your company is audited by the IRS. If an audit occurs, then they will need more information than just the basic transactions in your accounting system. These receipts and financial documents back up the records, showing that the transactions were real and legitimate.

There are cases where the backup documentation wasn’t available, causing the company to get in trouble with the IRS. Additionally, this information allows your company to verify the transactions in the system in order to ensure that the records are maintained correctly.

Paper Records to Back Up Your Electronic Journal

When the IRS looks at your digital system, it is assumed that you have paper documentation to back up the information in the software programming. Digital transactions can be changed, but a paper record provides the verification that is needed to increase the reliability of your tracking system.

In fact, the tax court has said that it is negligent to rely on electronic entries without maintaining supporting record to validate the transactions.

Staying Consistent with Documentation

The best thing that you can do to keep your company protected is to maintain consistent documentation at all times. Many business owners don’t have the time or knowledge to maintain accurate record keeping, which is why it is beneficial to work with a professional company that offers the bookkeeping services that you need. Having a bookkeeper on your team will ensure that you are keeping track of the right information throughout the year, and you can have the peace of mind to know that a professional is staying ahead of the changes in tax law.

Here at Easier Accounting, we want to make it easy for you to manage the accounting for your business. For more information about working with a small business bookkeeper, we encourage you to contact us right away. We are always here to answer your questions so that you will have success with your accounting and bookkeeping efforts. Call us today: (888) 620-0770

Small Business Accounting: What You Need to Know

Every small business owner needs to understand the basics of accounting, because the financial tracking system is the foundation to help the company succeed. If you own a small business or you are putting together a start-up, then it is essential that you talk with a small business accountant to learn more about the financial systems that need to be in place. These are some of the most common topics that you need to consider:

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Use a Trusted Accounting System

It is essential that you use a high quality accounting system, because the software provides the framework that you need to stay ahead of the financial tracking for your company. Don’t make the mistake of using Excel or an outdated system that requires manual tracking and calculations.

You will find a number of cloud-based software programs that can be accessed from anywhere, making it easier than ever to keep up with the financial details for your company. Using a cloud-based accounting system is beneficial, especially if you decide to hire a small business bookkeeper to help with payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and any other accounting support that your business needs.

Stay Current with Invoicing and Payments

Even though it can be a lot of work to keep up with the transactions, it is essential that you stay up-to-date with essential tasks such as invoicing, payroll, and payments. These tasks can easily be outsourced to an online bookkeeper, which is a great way that you can keep up with the financial tracking without dedicating your time to the tasks.

Most small business owners don’t have the time to manage financial transactions, but they don’t want to hire a full-time employee either. Instead of putting money into another employee, consider the benefits of hiring an online bookkeeping service that can help you keep up with invoicing and payments.

Monitor Financial Performance

Once you have a good financial tracking system in place, your small business accountant can help you run reports and decipher the information that is coming through. These reports are critical to help you assess the health of your company, so that you can make informed decisions about the management of the business. Run these reports regularly, so that you can stay current with the cash flow and profitability of the business.

Here at Easier Accounting, our team is ready to help you manage the financial details for your small business. We invite you to contact us anytime to learn more about the accounting and bookkeeping services that are available: (888) 620-0770

Modern Business: Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

People have often dreamed about building their own business, but it can be scary to take the first step into the world of small business ownership. If you have always wanted to start a small business, then right now is better than ever to take a chance and see how it goes. The first step is to decide that you want to begin, and then start taking action in way that will get you closer to your goals.

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Modern Business Management

The reason why it is a great time to start a small business is because there are so many resources and online tools that can be used to help you grow your business. Previously, it was necessary to hire a staff of employees to help, which meant that small businesses needed a large amount of capital to get started.

But, things have changed. The online world has created an environment where anyone can get started with minimal out of pocket costs, because there are options for outsourcing that are quite a bit cheaper than hiring a team of employees.

Connecting with Customers

Additionally, the internet has opened a worldwide platform that makes it easier than ever to connect with customers who are interested in the products or services that you are offering. No need to manage a brick-and-mortar office building, because there are many platforms that can be used to manage online sales and offer products to customers all over the world.

Marketing is much more effective when you are using demographic-targeting methods online. Because of the online opportunities, there are many people who have experienced high levels of success by building their businesses online.

Business Building Tools

If you are planning to get started with your online business, then you need to think about the tools that can be used to help you get started. Here at Easier Accounting, we can help you choose the right online bookkeeping tools that should be used to track the financial details of your new company. Our team is experienced with helping small businesses and start-ups handle their finances, and we would love to help you.

Whether you are looking for ongoing small business bookkeeping services or you need someone to help once a year with tax preparation, we are here to offer the assistance that you need! Call us anytime and we will gladly answer your questions and help you choose the best bookkeeping and accounting services that are needed for your growing company: (888) 620-0770

Hiring Independent Contractors? Don’t Forget These Important Steps

It is easy to see why business owners frequently hire independent contractors instead of hiring an employee, because a contractor can be beneficial to reduce costs and provide a temporary relationship when the skills are needed. You can pay for specific projects and tasks, instead of having the hassle of bringing on a full time employee.

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If you are hiring independent contractors to help with your business, then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. These important steps will ensure that you are following the laws and staying compliant with your workforce:

Ask for a Signed W9

You need to be sure that the person can work in the United States, so you should ask for a copy of their W9. This form will verify that they are a US citizen or resident, and you will have the peace of mind to know that you aren’t hiring an illegal. This form will provide the tax information needed that will be used when filling out the 1099 at the end of the year.

Submit a 1099

At the end of the year, you need to send a 1099-MISC form to any contractor who earned more than $600 during the calendar year. This form needs to be provided to the contractor, and you also need to send a copy of the form to the IRS. It is essential that the contractor receives their copy by January 31st, or the next Monday if the 31st happens to be on a weekend. The IRS copy needs to be sent by the last day in February.

Maintain Good Records

Make sure that you keep up with records throughout the year, so that you have information about the work that was performed and how much was paid to each contractor. For example, keep copies of the invoices that were provided, as well as information about the payments that are sent. The easiest way to handle these details is by hiring a small business bookkeeper to help with ongoing accounting and record keeping.

Have a Signed Agreement

Before the contractor starts working on the project, it is best to have a signed contract in place. This contract will keep you protected, and it ensures that all parties are on the same page with the work that will be delivered.

Do you need help with the financial side of running a business? We are here to help! We offer a number of bookkeeping services and other accounting services, and we invite you to contact us anytime to learn more about how your business will benefit: (888) 620-0770