IRS

Business disaster recovery plan essentials

Posted on Nov 15, 2017

Irish writer Oscar Wilde advised us to “expect the unexpected.” He would have made a good disaster planner. Small businesses are the most impacted because they do not usually have a formal disaster recovery plan. As a result, 40 to 60 percent of small businesses close permanently after a disaster, according to Liberty Mutual Insurance. Don’t be a part of that statistic. Now is a great time to review your business’ disaster recovery plan, or to make one if you don’t have one. By focusing on some of the most critical elements of a disaster plan, you can avoid being overwhelmed by the challenge. Set your roster The first step in your disaster plan should be to determine what skill sets you will need in a disaster, and who should be part of the team. The size of your team will vary, but could include IT, HR and operations personnel. Determine who your backups are and what outside resources and personnel you can use. Assess your risk You need to understand your risks before you address them. Consider your physical locations and determine the hazards unique to your region – floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, etc. Focus on the events most likely to occur, but also save some time to consider outside possibilities. Create your plan Determine and rank the most critical functions and processes for your business. Next, determine how these could be affected by the risks you’ve identified. You should end up with two lists: your most important business factors, and those most at risk. Now you are ready to create a recovery plan that focuses on critical business functions and applies them to the various types of possible business interruption. Your plan should: Consider offsite backups and vendors to help assist with implementing a data storage backup plan. Assess where you store the critical information upon which each of your business functions rely. Establish alternative or remote work arrangements for employees, including their physical, logistical and data needs. Create an annual review of your insurance policies. Evaluate the worth of business interruption coverage within your property and casualty insurance. You may wish to offset some of the potential loss of both business income and recovery expenses within these policies. Consider any opportunities for tax relief from losses sustained as a result of a disaster. Have a plan to keep detailed records and build the appropriate supplier team to help determine the best approach for your business. Make sure you plan for a variety of losses. This can be loss of electricity, a fatal crash of your business systems or material damage to inventory and production capacity. Communicate Document your plan so it is clear, accessible and easy to implement. Share it with everyone on your disaster roster so they know who is responsible for what and how they should act. Review and test your plan at least annually with your roster, and distribute any changes to keep everyone informed. With luck, you will never need to use your business disaster recovery plan. Although we can never prevent disasters, we can do our best to reduce the impact they have on business operations. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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2018 Social Security changes announced

Posted on Nov 13, 2017

The Social Security Administration stated there will be a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for 2018. This is the largest increase since 2012. Up to $128,700 in wages will be subject to Social Security taxes (up $1,500 from 2017). Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Renew your ITIN by Dec. 31

Posted on Nov 10, 2017

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) that have not been used when filing a tax return at least once in the past three years will automatically expire on Dec. 31, 2017. There’s also a rolling expiration date affecting certain ITINs. The key number to look for is in this position: 9xx-XX-xxxx. If your ITIN has the middle digits of 70, 71, 72 or 80, you’ll need to renew it before the new year. To renew, fill out Form W-7 with the required support documents. To learn more, visit the ITIN information page on the IRS website. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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6 must-dos when you donate to charity

Posted on Nov 8, 2017

Donations are a great way to give to a deserving charity, and they also give back in the form of a tax deduction. Unfortunately, charitable donations are under scrutiny by the IRS, and many donations without adequate documentation are being rejected. Here are six things you need to do to ensure your charitable donation will be tax-deductible: Make sure your charity is eligible. Only donations to qualified charitable organizations registered with the IRS are tax-deductible. You can confirm an organization qualifies by calling the IRS at (877) 829-5500 or visiting the IRS website. Itemize. You must itemize your deductions using Schedule A in order to take a deduction for a contribution. If you’re going to itemize your return to take advantage of charitable deductions, it also makes sense to look for other itemized deductions. These include state and local taxes, real estate taxes, home mortgage interest and eligible medical expenses over a certain threshold. Get receipts.  Get receipts for your deductible contributions. Receipts are not filed with your tax return but must be kept with your tax records. You must get the receipt at the time of the donation or the IRS may not allow the deduction. Pay attention to the calendar.  Contributions are deductible in the year they are made. To be deductible in 2017, contributions must be made by Dec. 31, although there is an exception. Contributions made by credit card are deductible even if you don’t pay off the charge until the following year, as long as the contribution is reported on your credit card statement by Dec. 31. Similarly, contribution checks written before Dec. 31 are deductible in the year written, even if the check is not cashed until the following year. Take extra steps for noncash donations.  You can make a contribution of clothing or items around the home you no longer use. If you decide to make one of these noncash contributions, it is up to you to determine the value of the contribution. However, many charities provide a donation value guide to help you determine the value of your contribution. Your donated items must be in good or better condition and you should receive a receipt from the charitable organization for your donations. If your noncash contributions are greater than $500, you must file a Form 8283 to provide additional information to the IRS about your contribution. For noncash donations greater than $5,000, you must also get an independent appraisal to certify the worth of the items. Keep track of mileage.  If you drive for charitable purposes, this mileage can be deductible as well. For example, miles driven to deliver meals to the elderly, to be a volunteer coach or to transport others to and from a charitable event can be deducted at 14 cents per mile. A log of the mileage must be maintained to substantiate your charitable driving. Remember, charitable giving can be a valuable tax deduction – but only if you take the right steps. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Updated deadlines for Harvey, Irma and Maria victims

Posted on Nov 3, 2017

The IRS has postponed various tax deadlines for individuals and businesses in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as in parts of Texas. They will have until Jan. 31, 2018 to file and pay the affected returns and taxes. The new deadline applies to business extensions that ran out Sept. 15 and quarterly estimated tax payments due Sept. 15 and Jan. 16, 2018. Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on Oct. 31, as well as 2016 calendar-year tax-exempt organization extensions due Nov. 15 are also included. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Beware of email hacks

Posted on Oct 31, 2017

One of several identity theft scams IRS Commissioner John A. Koskinen spoke about at a recent IRS Nationwide Tax Forum is a client email hack scam. This happens when a thief uses a taxpayer’s email address to send an email to a tax preparer with instructions to redirect refunds into a different bank account. Protect your tax returns this tax season by ensuring your email accounts and important data is kept safe with strong passwords, malware protection and other security measures. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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