Posts Tagged ‘Small business’

Articles

Holiday Guide Part 2:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Entertainment,Family,Taxes on December 14, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

MH900363532Seasonal Strategies for Your Small Business

‘Tis the season to spend time with family, but also ‘tis the season for shoppers to spend money on lots of presents. That means small businesses have to get down to business right now if they want the extra holiday business, especially since Super Saturday (December 22nd)– one of the biggest shopping days of the year – is close at hand.

MH900082871Special offers can easily increase your sales volume. Everybody likes any kind of discount, so come up with deals like “purchase one product and get the other at half price” or “buy one at full price and get a free gift to give.” A business that doesn’t sell seasonal products can be just as successful as one that does, as long as you promote your products as suitable gifts. You can also donate a portion of the price of your product to a charity so that customers feel they too are contributing to that charity. Hand out samples in exchange for customer’s e-mail addresses so you can send them promotions and keep them coming back after the holidays. Finally, get shoppers in the holiday – meaning spending – spirit by decorating your store and offering a free gift wrapping service.

e-Filing BagIf you have a store website and social media pages, also decorate those with festive graphics and designs. Organize merchandise so that it’s easy for online buyers to find holiday gifts – for example, “Gifts for Him,” Gifts under $50,” etc. Use email, blogs, and web banners to make gift suggestions, and to showcase popular items and why people have to have them this holiday season. Offer downloadable gift certificates when holiday shipping deadlines have passed and use your site to make people want to visit your brick and mortar store.

Budget CutYou should also be aware of several business-related tax credits and deductions that you’ll want to take advantage of before New Year’s Day. For example, did you know that you can get a tax credit for hiring an unemployed veteran before December 31, 2012? Or that Section 179 of the tax code provides tax benefits for equipment purchases made before the end of the year? Now would be a good time to review your equipment so you can replace any obsolete assets.

You can read this U.S. Small Business Administration bulletin to find out many more holiday marketing tips, answers to your small business tax questions, and more details on the above tax credits and deductions. If you feel stressed out in the coming weeks, just keep in mind that being busy is always a good thing when you’re a small busyness owner.

MH900354203Happy Holidays!

Sufen Wang,

Wang Solutions

Articles

How to Barter Responsibly…

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Taxes on March 8, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

“I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!”
  
That classic Wimpy phrase was not just about hamburgers, it’s about bartering – one of the oldest business transactions in human history. Well, in Wimpy’s case, it was probably more like an “I.O.U.” than an actual bartering exchanging hands.  Yes, before coins and dollars were invented, folks survived by trading stuff. Bartering is back in full swing now that the country is going through some hard times, so it’s time to dust off your haggling skills.
 
The official definition of bartering is “the trading of one product or service for another.” If you offer your friend three cookies in exchange for a sandwich, you have just bartered. Of course, it gets more complicated than this in the business world, and small business owners can save a lot of money by bartering for the products and services they need.
 
In general, bartering involves no exchange of cash, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook with the IRS. The fair market value of property or services received through barter is taxable income. Since it takes two to barter, both parties must report this income for the year in which the transaction is performed. How you report your transactions depends on which form of bartering takes place. In most cases, you’ll use Form 1040, Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business, or other business returns such as Form 1065 for Partnerships, Form 1120 for Corporations, or Form 1120-S for Small Business Corporations.
 
You might still imagine bartering to be like a crowded swap meet, with people yelling and pushing you. Actually, the internet has allowed bartering to get a lot fancier than that and now there are even things like organized barter exchanges. A barter exchange organizes a marketplace where members buy and sell products and services among themselves. If you choose to use such a marketplace, every year you’ll have to fill out Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions.
 
You, yourself, might find that you really like bartering – if you start to do it a lot, congratulations, you may have started what the IRS calls a “barter business.” Once you’re established enough, you can even deduct business expenses. Or you might have a regular business and are simply using barter transactions to help your sales; then you’ll have to include those sales in your business income.
 
If you really want to be a savvy barterer, here’s a tip: never barter outside of your industry.  When you mix two different types of businesses, one party of the bartering partners will always feel short-changed. That’s why a uniform currency was invented in the first place. So, stick with the same business if you want to barter – otherwise, just pay for each other’s services and be done with it!
 
The IRS provides a Bartering Tax Center for all of your bartering needs. And no, you don’t need to trade anything to read it!
 
On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions
 

Articles

Not making the Grade in Your Business?

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Education,Taxes on November 21, 2011 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Get Schooled by the IRS for Free
 
Wall Street isn’t the only place that’s been occupied lately. Proposed tuition increases have caused students on college campuses across the U.S. to stand up and say “NO” to raising the cost of higher education. If attending a university will break your bank, the IRS has a solution: the agency offers a variety of excellent educational training and learning tools for small businesses for FREE……
 

Those of you who consider yourselves tax pros should check out
IRS Live. A real-time webinar, IRS Live is a panel discussion among IRS experts and industry professionals aimed at educating tax professionals on current and complex tax issues affecting them and their clients. You can actually earn Continuing Professional Education credits for participating in the webinar! IRS Live is broadcast bimonthly and the next program airs on Dec. 14.
 
For small business owners who are too busy to hit the books can boost their knowledge by visiting the
Small Business/Self-Employed Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop. The curriculum caters to new owners and features lessons about how to set up and run your business so paying taxes isn’t a hassle, what you need to know about Federal Taxes and your new business, and much more. The best part is that you can go to recess whenever you get tired of listening to the teacher talk about retirement plans and tax obligations.
 
While you’re on the computer, you should print the handy-dandy
2012 tax calendar for small businesses and the self-employed, or set it as your desktop wallpaper. It reminds you about everything from the exact days you should deposit your payroll tax, to what forms you need to file and when. Or, if you’re an avid reader and don’t want to get too lost in that novel, just order a tax information bookmark – or even 100 if you want one for every book! You can go shopping for other business products here, and remember, everything is always free from the IRS.
 
Brochures are nice, but could you spot a
tax scammer walking down the street? The IRS even provides tools to help identify, avoid, and report different types of scams. Still can’t get enough? Whether you’re a teacher looking to freshen up those old lesson plans or just somebody who wants to become more proficient in the business world, Understanding Taxes is a gold mine of educational resources. It provides detailed lesson plans, interactive activities, simulations, and answers for the hows and whys of taxes. The only thing the IRS doesn’t give you is an apple for the teacher.
 
On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions