Articles

Are You Ready For Year-End?

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Taxes on December 14, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

 
The end of the year is almost here and it’s the perfect time for business owners and individual tax payers to dust off their financial documents and confirm that everything is in order. You’ve got a lot to do, so let’s get started before those April tax showers come storming in! 
 
 
Business Owners:
 
You’ll need to review all of your vendor payouts for the year: any vendor who has provided you labor services for more than $600 must be reported to the IRS via Form 1099. As a rule of thumb, always ask your vendors, regardless of the amount of their services, to complete a new W9 at the beginning of each calendar year; so that you do not have to chase them at year end for information. The W9 provides their legal name, address, and tax payer ID – whether it’s an EIN number or a regular social security number – and also requires the vendor to claim responsibility for any taxes due from payments issued to him.
 
Check your payroll to ensure payments to your employees have been recorded correctly throughout the year, any corrections may be still processed onto their year-end W2’s.  Also, make sure that your payroll taxes have been submitted to the proper governmental agencies on a timely basis, and better take care any late payment before you close your books for the year.  Any year-end bonuses and/or profit sharing to officers and employees must also be processed and to be included in their individual W2’s, and recorded as business expense accordingly.
 

Review your retirement plan, i.e, 401k Plan, if you have one.  Make sure that all of the employees’ deferral have been deposited into their accounts; and any and all profit sharing or employer matching funds have been accurately distributed accordingly.The good news is that those profit sharing and/or employer matching distributions within a retirement plan are actually business write-offs and can help ease your year-end tax liability!
 
 Take the time to reconcile your business checking and money market accounts with their corresponding bank statements – that means making sure the interest income has been recorded. Then move on to your credit card accounts and verify any and all business related charges and finance fees are in the record books. You should do the same with your cash expenses (i.e. count the petty cash drawer one last time) and dig out those receipts you knew would come in handy to support any expenditures.
 

Moreover, any capital expenditures?  Section 179 will allow you to deduct a large amount of assets (expenditures) that you purchased throughout the year for business use.  Again, make sure you have the proper receipts and purpose of the equipment clearly stated for your tax preparer. 

 
Last but not least, the company cars are going to require a little inspection. Always reexamine the mileage log and odometer of what are supposed to be strictly business-used vehicles; your tax preparer will need this information to complete your business tax returns.
 
Individual Tax Payers:
 
Now where did you put those year-end W2’s? Your tax preparer will ask you for them, along with childcare-related expenses, and interest income received and mortgage payment 1098’s from your financial institutions. Keep an eye out because these documents must arrive on your doorstep by January 31.  Next is the numbered forms category, check for 1099’s received from your investment accounts, such as mutual funds dividends and/or interest received for the year, and any stocks sold with their proper gain or loss data. 
 
You can deduct any charitable donations you made during the year. Unfortunately, this does not include the time you spent doing laundry and taking the kids to school. Most charity organizations will issue a year-end summary of funds received from you by January 31. Any other small donations to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. must have a receipt with a description of the donated items and their estimated value.
 
To all the homeowners out there, do yourself a favor and confirm that you recorded your property tax payments. If you own rental properties, be sure that the collected rent has been properly documented as income, and related expenditures noted as rental expenses – this should include the property taxes you paid in the calendar year. While you’re searching through your “Property” file, if you refinanced, purchased, or sold any real estate this year, set aside your final closing document issued from the escrow company for your tax preparer. Please note that this must be the final closing statement and NOT the estimated statements.
 

Finally, gather up all of your medical expenses, doctors and medicine expenses alike.  They are tax deductible if you are filing itemized personal income tax returns.  Make sure you have the proper receipts to support your claims.  Dont’ forget those glasses and dental appointments you had throughout the year!

Now you’re ready to welcome in the new year with a (temporarily) clean filing cabinet!

 

On the Year End,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions
 

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