virtual tax preparation and filing | woman smiling

What is Virtual Tax Preparation and Filing?

Virtual Tax Preparation and Filing

July 15th is this year’s tax day due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you have not already filed, the deadline is approaching. At Ash CPA, we highly recommend filing virtually with a qualified accountant. This way you and your business can benefit from every qualifying deduction and tax credit. Learn more about virtual tax preparation and filing below. Be sure to contact us for a consultation.

What is Virtual Tax Preparation and Filing?

Just like regular tax preparation and filing, this method is simply done online. Many clients submit their tax documents to their accountant via a secure portal or utilize their electronic bookkeeping records. Some people attempt to file virtually on their own but we recommend not to. Many mistakes can occur and deductions and credits can be missed.

Why Should I Hire An Accountant for Virtual Tax Preparation and Filing?

Hiring an experienced accountant is essential for all types of tax preparation and filing. Whether it’s a simple tax return for an individual or for a dynamic well-established business, an accountant is needed. This professional is educated and trained to help you qualify for as many deductions and credits. Also, it’s a great opportunity to plan for your next year’s tax filing. Accountants can guide you with a tax plan that will benefit you the most based on your unique financial goals. For instance, freelancers can manage their finances in such a way to legally reduce their tax obligation. Reducing your tax obligation requires guidance from a qualified accountant. It’s worth the time and investment.

What Are Other Benefits of Going Virtual?

With COVID-19 cases still affecting America, reducing your contact with others is important. Fortunately, filing your taxes can be a touchless errand when done virtually. Another benefit to consider is convenience. Virtual tax preparation and filing allows you to stay home or take care of other responsibilities while your accountant is hard at work. Overall, virtual tax preparation and filing is a peace of mind from all angles.

How Can I Get Started?

Contact Ash CPA to schedule a virtual consultation today. Our firm happily assists individuals, families, and businesses of all sizes. We will let you know what documentation we need and how to submit them securely. Likewise, if you have other questions regarding financial planning, let us know! We offer an array of services which include financial planning, tax planning, bookkeeping, accounting, tax audit representation, and so much more. Furthermore, we have 20 years of experience assisting clients with various financial needs and goals. In fact, we assist clients from all over the United States. Call (617) 462-6651 or book online here. We look forward to speaking with you!

ppp loan - business owner

The Paycheck Protection Program for Business Owners and the Self-Employed

PPP Loan

On June 5th, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) became law to help business owners qualify for PPP loan forgiveness on simpler terms. The PPPFA was pushed forward due to the many complaints and uncertainty surrounding the PPP loan terms. In fact, many business owners were afraid to accept the loans because the original terms would leave them financially worse. If you are considering applying for the PPP loan, the deadline is approaching! 

Learn more about new loan forgiveness terms below for business owners and the self-employed. As always, request a consultation with Ash Wasilidas, CPA to learn how the PPP loan can help your unique business needs.

What is the PPP Loan?

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is part of the CARES Act of 2020. In short, it was designed to help businesses operate during the COVID-19 pandemic while still paying their employees. Although the program seemed ideal, the terms for loan forgiveness were out of reach for many businesses. Therefore, many business owners did not accept or apply for the loan. This has left many businesses non-operable and employees jobless. 

Fortunately, changes were made in June 2020 to ease the loan forgiveness terms. The terms are as follows.

  • Businesses now have up to 24 weeks to use the funds.
  • Only 60% of the funds are required to use toward payroll, instead of the original 75%.
  • Businesses now have 40% of the funds to utilize toward expenses such as rent, utilities, and inventory.
  • Employees must be rehired by December 31, 2020, which offers more relief compared to the original deadline of June 30th.
  • Loan repayment has also been extended to 5 years should the business not qualify for loan forgiveness.
  • Also, those who qualify for loan forgiveness can defer their payroll taxes.

New PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

With these new changes, the SBA released a revised loan forgiveness application. If you have not applied yet, you can find the application here. There is a simplified version called the 3508EZ. We suggest seeking guidance from an accountant to determine which form you should use.

The PPP Loan for the Self-Employed

Self-employed individuals with no employees can apply for the PPP loan. The most one can receive is $20,833, without employees. This is known as owner compensation replacement. It is recommended that the self-employed individual maintain a separate business account to receive the funds and then disperse the money into their personal account. Doing so will offer an easier way to prove how the money was used.

Should You Apply and Accept the PPP Loan?

Many business owners are worried about accepting the loan due to its terms and the possibility of repayment. Is it right for your business? Find out with a consultation from Ash Wasilidas, CPA. He has over 20 years of experience assisting businesses of all sizes and dynamics. Call (617) 462-6651 or book online here.

the white house | Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act

New PPP Terms: Senate Has Approved More Flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program

Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act

The COVID-19 pandemic sent shock waves of financial hardship across the country. Many Americans were left unemployed as businesses experienced operational interruptions. Fortunately, in late March 2020, the CARES Act was signed which included $2 trillion in relief aid for Americans. Relief came in various forms such as a stimulus check for qualified Americans, federal unemployment benefits, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

While much of the CARES Act was straightforward, many businesses began to question the PPP. The Paycheck Protection Program originally allowed businesses to apply for aid and have their loan forgiven if certain criteria were met. For instance, 75% of funding had to go toward paying employees up to 8 weeks. The PPP Loan was created with the intention of putting Americans back to work and pushing the economy forward. However, many businesses struggled with meeting this stipulation due to their overwhelming expenses such as rent, utilities, inventory, etc. In other words, the remaining 25% simply wasn’t enough to cover expenses and still qualify for loan forgiveness. 

congress podium and flags | Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act

Business owners were left with one of three choices. 

  1. Accept the PPP Loan and follow the stipulations for loan forgiveness, knowing the potential financial risks. 
  2. Accept the PPP Loan, use it as needed, and face the possibility of paying it back. 
  3. Not accept the PPP Loan and hope that the business will survive.

Fortunately, Congress was made aware of the challenge surrounding the current PPP terms and created the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act.

What is the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act?

In brief, the new bill offers business owners more flexibility to allow for loan forgiveness. The new terms include the following:

  • Use of funding has been extended from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • The 75% payroll spending stipulation has decreased to 60%, offering 40% for business expenses.
  • The June 30th deadline to rehire workers has been extended.
  • Loan repayment will start later than originally anticipated, which offers businesses more time to prep for repayment
  • Those who qualify for loan forgiveness will be able to defer payroll taxes

The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act has been passed to President Donald Trump to sign. Hopefully, this final step will occur this week as many businesses are in much need. As an experienced CPA, my firm is ready to assist businesses of all sizes to apply for a PPP loan, or better structure their current one. Request a consultation today. Call (617) 462-6651 or book online here

 

july 15 tax dead line

Tax Deductions to Consider

Many Americans have not filed their taxes yet due to this year’s new deadline on July 15th. If you haven’t filed yet, double-check your deductions with a professional tax accountant. You may have missed one! Did you know that there are items you purchase or services you take part in that are tax deductions? Learn more below and contact Ash CPA for a virtual consultation today.

Income Tax and State Sales Tax 

Sales tax is one of those things you can use as a tax deduction as a tradeoff with your state income taxes. If you’ve made luxury purchases or major home improvements and the cost was greater than your state income taxes, you can claim them as a tax deduction. You can strategically make your purchases so they work to your advantage. Be sure to consult with a tax accountant to learn about tax-saving strategies.

Green Upgrades to your Home

If you have a primary residence that you own, invest in green upgrades. Some are tax-deductible! However, there are requirements for what you intend to do as well as for what state you’re in. The spectrum of upgrades you can make may range from heating and cooling HVAC systems to solar panels and wind turbines. Always consult with your tax accountant to assure you are making smart green upgrades.

Electric Cars

Don’t have a primary residence? Invest in an electric or Hybrid-Electric car. You could get a tax credit. The stipulations include the following.

  • Car must be purchased new
  • Car must not be leased

Be sure to double-check with your accountant as some car models may not qualify for one or reason or another.

Medical Expenses for Dependents

If you are north of 65 years old and your medical expenses, excluding elective and cosmetic surgery, exceed 7.5% of your gross adjusted income, you can deduct the expense. If you have dependent people that have incurred medical bills that exceed your gross adjusted income, you can deduct the expenses as well. This includes dental as long as it’s not cosmetic. 

Medical Tax Shelters

Medical savings accounts are a great tax shelter. A lot of companies offer these as a benefit. They aren’t the most popular for consumers because of the policies attached to them. However, you can claim the amount you personally contribute to it.

Service Animals

Service animals are a blessing to the lives of many people with disabilities. They’re a source of safety and comfort to those who care for them. The animal must be trained in some cases. They also have to be fed and medically kept up to par. So dog food, health checks, and training are deductible. 

Gambling Losses

If your losses offset the gains of your gambling, you can deduct them. Yes, the flight and hotel and what it cost you to have fun! So what’s included?

  • Trips and prizes won deducted at fair market value.
  • Raffles
  • Casino Gaming
  • Horse and dog racing
  • And of course Lotto

Learn More

Schedule a virtual consultation with Ash CPA to learn more about this year’s upcoming Tax deadline.  Our team can also prepare and file your taxes virtually! Call (617) 462-6651 or schedule an appointment here. We look forward to meeting you.

 

cares act - worker

Protecting Your Business with the CARES Act

It’s no question that America is suffering greatly from the effects of COVID-19. Infection and economical impacts are at large. Until a vaccine is created, America is likely to continue a health and financial impact. Fortunately, the CARES Act was created to offer relief to Americans including businesses. If your business has been impacted, we’ve summarized how the CARES Act can help protect your investment. Read more below and contact Ash CPA for further guidance.

What is the CARES Act?

The CARES Act stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security. In brief, it is a $2 trillion dollar aid to help individuals and businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus. The aid is designed to stimulate the economy by relieving some of the financial hardship that many Americans are experiencing. More information is found below.

Individuals and Families

In this package, individuals making $75,000 or less are eligible to receive a stimulus payment up to $1200. Those with children can also receive an additional $500 per child. However, those who make more than $75,000 will receive less and those who make $99,000 will not receive the payment. In addition, married couples making $198,000 or more are also not eligible.

Federal student loans are also included in the relief package. From now until the end of September 2020, federal student loans are suspended. This includes garnishments. Borrowers can still make payments. However, interest will not accrue during this period.

CARES act - warehouse worker

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment is also included in the CARES Act. Individuals who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits can earn an additional $600 per week and extend the payments up to 13 weeks. Also, independent contractors, gig workers, and freelancers are eligible for unemployment benefits. Ultimately, the amounts and total weeks will vary between states.

Business Protection with SBA Loans

Businesses can apply for payroll tax relief. This option helps keep businesses operating and pay their employees. Essentially, the relief offers tax credits and defers payroll taxes until the end of the year. It is important to note that businesses that apply for SBA loans will not qualify for the payroll tax relief. Also, business owners will have to repay the payroll taxes over the next two years.

Another option for businesses are Small Business Association (SBA) loans. SBA loans can assist businesses with 500 or less employees. They are meant to prevent layoffs and pay working employees. In summary, the loan will cover up to 6 weeks of payroll. This includes a weekly maximum of $1540 per employee. The total amount of the loan is calculated using last year’s total payroll cost and then multiplying that number by 2.5. Businesses that were not established in 2019, will need to represent 2020’s total payroll cost for January and February.

The SBA will require verification of payroll before and after receiving the loan. Specific details regarding the application and loan terms vary between applicants. Therefore, we highly recommend assuring that your financial documents are up to date to avoid delay. 

Owners can also apply for an SBA loan to cover other business expenses. This includes rent, equipment, utilities, etc. In addition, the loan can be fully or partially forgiven if the owner only uses it for business purposes and at least ¾ is used for payroll. For businesses that have laid off workers, you may still be eligible as long as the employees are rehired by June 30th. More information regarding criteria can be found here.

Learn More

Protect your business by learning more about the CARES Act and SBA loans. At Ash CPA, we can guide you through the SBA application process and make sure your financial records are up to date and accurate. Our team has over 20 years of experience providing accounting and bookkeeping services. Call (617) 462-6651 or book a consultation online. New clients are always welcome.

 

virtual accounting

Virtual Accounting and Bookkeeping Services

We are all living in uncertain times. While many businesses have closed their doors, others are still operating to stay afloat. Fortunately, the CARES Act offers a chance for America to push through this economical hardship. Even if business is slow, be sure your financial records are up to date. At Ash CPA, we offer virtual accounting and bookkeeping services for individuals and businesses. Learn more below and contact our firm today.

What is Virtual Accounting?

Virtual accounting offers financial guidance for individuals and businesses. Communication is done via phone or with video conferencing. In general, your meetings are geared to your success. We’ll discuss your current financial health and create a plan to meet your short and long term goals. In addition, we offer tax planning to assure you take advantage of tax-saving opportunities. Likewise, we can even help resolve state and IRS tax issues virtually with our tax audit representation service.

What is Virtual Bookkeeping?

Maintaining up to date financial records is essential. Especially with applying for SBA loans, you want to be sure your reports are current and accurate. This helps prevent delays and application denials. Ash CPA can help organize your bookkeeping and generate the necessary documents needed to prove cash flow and payroll expenses. Our bookkeeping service is virtual. We’ll communicate with you via phone and video conferencing. Additionally, receipts can be uploaded through our QuickBooks software for added convenience.

virtual accounting

Virtual Tax Preparation and Filing

With the tax deadline extending until July 15th, many have postponed filing their taxes. There is no need to post-pone with our virtual tax preparation and filing service. Our team can accurately prepare and file your business and individual tax returns virtually. Simply contact us to learn what documents to submit. You can easily email or fax them to our office. Similarly to our accounting and bookkeeping services, we’ll communicate with you via phone, email, and video conference to discuss your tax returns. 

Virtual Financial Consultations

Everyone has unique financial goals. At Ash CPA, we offer guidance for individuals and business owners. Our team can set up a plan that meets your goals and identify solutions to overcome financial hurdles. Whether it be early retirement or expanding your business, our team is experienced and available to assist. Our consultations include tax-saving techniques, tax planning, wealth management, business incorporating, business purchasing and more. 

Learn More

Until the pandemic is over, virtual services is the best and safe way to manage many aspects of personal and work life. Learn more about our virtual accounting and bookkeeping services with a consultation. Ash CPA has well over 20 years of experience assisting individuals and businesses. Call Ash Wasilidas, CPA at (617) 462-6651 or book a consultation online. Our office is located at 945 Concord Street Suite 100 Framingham, MA 01701. New clients are always welcome. We look forward to assisting you.

 

finances image

How to Get Your Finances in Order

Getting your finances in order can be a complex subject, everyone is different with unique circumstances. What we’ll teach you here is how to look at the most troublesome snafus that most folks experience. Remember that there’s no judgment on your current or future financial health and kudos to you for seeking guidance.

Learn more below and schedule a complimentary consultation today. Ash CPA offers a variety of financial services to assist individuals and businesses in meeting their short and long term goals.

Know Yourself

Most of what makes people unsuccessful with personal finances is the lack of self-knowledge and their relationship to money.  You can read many lists on the internet about what to do, but most people won’t stick to things like a budget or savings for those reasons. Before you attempt to do anything about your finances, take a reticent look at your outlook. 

Know your Goals

If you have goals, then organizing your financial life gets easier. Make a list of goals. Is it going back to school? Opening a business or expanding the one you have? Money is needed for many goals. Consider the following questions to help you navigate.

 

  • What’s my ideal lifestyle?
  • What is your ideal business model?
  • Am I a more materialistic person or a minimalist?
  • Who else has a say in my finances and how? 
  • How can I compromise with them?
  • Are there goals I have separate from my business partner or family?
  • How can I design a financial plan for myself and collective goals?

Create a Budget

Make sure you include daily living such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and entertainment. For business goals, consider minimizing your expenses and expanding sales goals.

  • Take that budget and place it on one column on a sheet of paper. Then write out your goals on the other side. 
  • Find out where you need to sacrifice to meet your goals without it affecting your personal and/or business obligations.

Have an Emergency Fund

Though the ideal amount would be 6 months worth of expenses including rent or mortgage. We recommend saving as much as possible. Be sure to include this in your financial goal planning. 

Set-Up Auto Transfers

Look into automation. Lots of banks have apps or programs that allow you to transfer money into a savings account. Some will round up the amount you spend on a debit card and transfer it in your savings. For instance, if you spent $1.55,  the bank will transfer $0.45 into your savings. 

Pay Off Debt

Make sure you have a plan on your goals list of paying off any outstanding debt. Start with the highest interest card. Make a plan for student loans or any large and long-standing debt. It may take a while, just make sure you schedule it. This is how we falter. Don’t start with a large amount. Consider the smallest amount you can that works in tandem with your monthly expenses. 

Learn More

Achieving your financial goals requires a customized approach. Learn more with a consultation today. Ash CPA offers a variety of accounting and bookkeeping services to help individuals and businesses. Call (617) 462-6651 or book a consultation online. New clients are always welcome.

tax issues being resolved with owner

Resolving IRS and State Tax Issues

It’s not uncommon for a business to do their own bookkeeping, and tax issues are why it’s never recommended. Even a small business can get caught up in many tax issues. Fortunately, resolving IRS and state tax issues is possible with an accountant. Learn more below and contact us today.

Tax Notice

The tax notice is not like a credit card bill that you can ignore. If you don’t acknowledge the tax notice, you’ll be audited. Once it’s gotten that far, you can expect that almost certainly. The next action is worse, and that’s the tax levy. This can leave you with a closing business and frozen bank accounts. 

The IRS and state governments can continue their attempt to resolve a tax notice. This includes seizing property and other assets. Avoid this with an accountant that can assure your taxes are filed and prepared correctly.

Your Tax Bill Is Probably Inaccurate

Double-check your tax bill with an accountant before paying it. If you find proof that you owe less or nothing at all, your accountant can assist with resolving the matter.

Payment

If you know how much you should owe and pay it, you’ll have a better chance of resolving the tax issue. Keep in mind that resolution can only happen when it’s based on probable cause. If there were any illegal movements, then the resolution may not happen.

Payment Plans

Many business owners are unaware that they can pay in installments. This causes a sigh of relief when they are told this is an option. We want to tip you off to something important. Since you know they may offer this, it’s prudent that you secure a tax professional. They can help lower the monthly payments to something that you can afford. They do this by working with the laws that can protect you and your family from financial hardship. 

Use the Offer In Compromise

This is the last negotiation tool, but there are strict stipulations.  If the IRS offers you a settlement, and it exceeds your ability to pay, then they will use calculation tool 433-B to resolve the issue. The ability to pay is not by your word but must verify within a set formula. 

Learn More

As a business owner, it’s not only a prudent move to secure a tax accountant but it is cost-efficient. How? Because most people don’t understand what the IRS and state can do.

There’s a two-fold effect that is in your favor when you retain an accountant. First, you can avoid the tax issues in the first place and second: You can negotiate better terms with the agency when something unforeseen comes along. Be honest with your accountant and form a relationship so you won’t have to worry about the unforeseen because they will see it and address it for you. Business owners can call Ash Wasilidas, CPA. He has well over 20 years of experience assisting companies of various sizes. Call  (617) 462-6651 or book a consultation online.

accounting team

Most Common Accounting Terms Explained

When dealing with your finances at some point, you may come in contact with an accountant. You don’t have to be wealthy to use one. Accountants and CPAs work at a variety of levels in the financial arena. To the layperson, accounting terms can be confusing. We believe we should acquaint everyone with at least the topmost common. This way, you can better understand how to plan financially.

Trial Balance 

This is the balance for a particular account. It records all the debits and credits for that account and must balance between the two columns. 

Trade Discount

For example, you have a business and order bulk goods. A trade discount is a percentage of the total amount of said order. You would receive a larger discount on big orders and a lesser discount on smaller orders. The percentage is at the discretion of the agreement between the vendor and the business.  

Revenue

It’s important not to get revenue confused with receipts because we can collect revenue in any form such as cash, credit, a check or electronic transfer. Revenue is any payment collected at a specific time such as a point of sale. We also reference it as income. These two words are interchangeable. 

Receipts

Receipts are for cash payments collected at the time that goods deliver. This does not include any other forms of income taken in for one business day.

Gross Margin

The Gross Margin is your profit margin. Profit means your total sales less the costs of selling that product or service such as material or supplies. 

Loss

Profit and loss are integral parts of a business. We’ve explained profit as the money you make for a product or service less what it takes to create it. Loss is when you have to sell a product or service for less than what it costs to create it. Or, if we have a product, that has cost us more than what we can make from it.

accounting paperwork

Account or On Credit

This means that the financial instrument used to sell a product is credit. It tells us we are not receiving immediately available funds for this product and there is interest associated with it. 

Assets

This is everything that the business or you own. The requirements are that the asset can’t have a lien on it, nor can you owe money on it. Your car is an asset if it is paid off. It’s not an asset if you have a car payment.

Accounts Receivable 

Accounts Receivable is the money owed by your debtors. This is the ledger that people have the most issue keeping track of yet it’s one of the most important. You’ll lose money fast if you don’t know who owes you and they’re unlikely to remind you.

Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable are payments you owe to your creditors. These are the most important ledgers and need to be in pristine condition. Most times they’re not and that’s what you need to avail yourself of an accountant for. 

Learn More

Being acquainted with the aforementioned accounting terms is an important step in having a seamless experience with your accountant. A good accountancy firm will take the time to enlighten you on the strengths and weaknesses of your financial life and how to affect solutions. 

Learn more with Ash CPA. We offer an array of accounting solutions to meet everyone’s needs. Call (617) 462-6651 to book a consultation online

Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Tax Day

Tax Day

Tax day is an inevitable task that everyone must acknowledge, and it will bring a bit of angst along with it. This is normal. And as experts, we’ll tell you it can be seamless and bring with it a sense of accomplishment. The hidden fear behind tax day is that it’s difficult to master because some people make mistakes on their tax forms.

At Ash CPA, we are happy to share everything you need to know for a successful tax day. Print or save this guide for reference. As always, contact the professionals at Ash CPA with any questions and concerns. 

woman on Tax Day

Step One

Tax Filing Status

Revise your tax filing status. It’s simple. Have you undergone any life changes that would alter your tax status? Some of the most common examples are found below.

 

  • Marriage
  • Widowhood and qualified widower with a dependent child or children
  • Childbirth
  • Adoption
  • Taking care of an elderly parent
  • Any other people that are dependent?
  • Inheritance
  • Charitable Contributions

The filing statuses are:

For the more in-depth explanation of each status go to Understanding Taxes on the IRS website.

  • Single
  • Married filing single or jointly
  • Head of household
  • Widow with a dependent child or children

 

Step Two

Revise Your Tax Withholdings

This is a delicate balance that you should review only with the human resources department at the workplace. Be aware of the associated penalties if there’s an imbalance. 

The concept is simple. If you want access to more of your check, then withhold less. Just make sure the change does not create a tax bill in April. Also, consult a tax professional like Ash CPA. Tax experts can best advise you on how to manage your tax withholdings and other tax-saving strategies. 

Step Three

Organize

Have an organizational system in place and hold on to receipts for deductible items. You can find a list of acceptable deductible items on the IRS website

An organizational system for all your tax forms, spreadsheets, receipts, and other pertinent paperwork is a must. Don’t paper hunt on tax day. If you have deductible items, save them according to date in case there is any question. You don’t want to trigger an audit.

Step Four

What Are Your Charitable Deductions?

You can’t claim a round number of charitable contributions. Instead,  itemize them using receipts separate from the other deductible items. 

Step Five

Estimated Tax

Are you on an estimated tax plan? Are you self-employed and paying quarterly? Consult a tax professional for a tax health checkup. Tax laws catch many people off guard when they owe an estimated tax because they paid too low or not at all. For instance, many self-employed professionals experience this issue each year.

The aforementioned steps are beyond your basic gathering of forms and income information. They are the elements that most will overlook or be unaware of. However, familiarizing those four areas can save time and avoid issues.

Learn More

The next and last most important step is to seek professional guidance from a tax expert. Remember, tax laws are always changing. It’s best to stay ahead of your tax obligations with a professional like Ash Wasilidas, CPA from Ash CPA. New and existing clients should call (617) 462-6651 to book a consultation online. Our firm offers a variety of accounting solutions to assist individuals and business owners.