Posts Tagged "business owner"

Add tax savings to your summer plans

Posted on Jun 17, 2011

Summertime fun can be made even more enjoyable by adding tax savings. Here are some tax-saving ideas to consider.  * If you have summer travel plans and the primary purpose of your trip is business, you can deduct all the travel costs to and from your business destination and all other business-related costs even if you add on a few extra days for pleasure. You can’t deduct costs related to the pleasure portion. Including a spouse or friend on your trip is permissible, but you can’t deduct the additional costs for that person.  * If you itemize your deductions, you can deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes paid for your vacation home. A boat or RV can qualify as a vacation home if it has sleeping quarters, cooking facilities, and a bathroom. If a retreat also serves as rental property, you can control your tax deductions by changing the number of days you use it for vacation.  * If you and your spouse work, the cost of sending your children to a summer day camp may qualify for the child care credit.  * If you own a business, consider hiring your child for the summer. Your child can earn up to $5,800 tax-free this year, and your business is entitled to a deduction for the wages paid. You must pay your child a reasonable wage for the work...

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How to prevent employee theft

Posted on Aug 24, 2010

Employee embezzlement and other forms of theft often follow a predictable pattern. First, the employee is faced with significant external pressures such as high gambling debts, mounting medical bills, or substance abuse problems. To relieve this pressure, he or she finds an opportunity to steal from the company, especially if the firm’s internal controls are perceived to be weak. From there, it’s easy to rationalize fraudulent behavior – “I’ll just take some money now, and pay it back later,” or “I deserve a raise, but management’s stingy, so I’ll provide it myself,” or “They’ve got plenty. They’ll never miss it.” As a business owner, what can you do to prevent employee embezzlement and theft? * Screen job applicants thoroughly. Review a potential employee’s criminal history, verify education and past employment, and check references. If an applicant is willing to lie on a resume, why should you trust that person with your business assets? * Make your policy crystal clear. Your employees should know that theft of any kind will not be tolerated, and managers should model integrity in their interactions with clients, competitors, and government regulators. * Segregate duties. If one employee takes in cash, someone else should prepare or oversee preparation of the cash deposit, and another should record transactions in the company books. Although such separation of duties may be hard to establish in a small company, creative owners will find ways to prevent such transactions from being concentrated in the hands of a single employee. * Conduct regular audits. Employees should know that their activities are subject to surprise reviews and an annual independent audit. They’ll be less likely to steal if they know that someone is following after them, checking their work. * Track down customer complaints. If a customer claims that a bill was paid but a credit doesn’t show up in the accounting records, an employee might be stealing your business...

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