It’s the middle of January, which means it is almost tax season (the IRS officially designated January 24 as the first day of tax season). At this point, tax documents have probably started showing up in your mailbox. While it may seem like there is plenty of time, the sooner and more organized you can make your documents, the smoother the process will be.
Management needs timely, accurate feedback to guide operating decisions, anticipate problems and take advantage of emerging opportunities. Unfortunately, comprehensive financial statements take a long time to generate. Reporting key performance indicators (KPIs) on a monthly or weekly basis is a simplified alternative to gauge performance in real time.
Last-minute changes to contracts can be frustrating. But, if managed properly, they can sometimes provide an opportunity to boost profits. Here are ways construction companies, engineering firms, software developers and other businesses that enter into long-term contracts with customers can better track change orders, account for them properly on their financial statements and use them to enhance the bottom line.
IRS regulations allow, but don’t require, retirement plan sponsors to permit participants to make hardship distributions from their elective deferral accounts under certain circumstances.
If you’ve recently divorced, your time likely has been consumed with attorney meetings and negotiations, even if everything was amicable. Probably the last thing you want to do is review your estate plan. But you owe it to yourself and your children to make the necessary updates to reflect your current situation.
Although your will or revocable trust governs the distribution of many or most of your assets, certain assets — such as retirement plans, insurance policies, and bank or brokerage accounts — require you to name a beneficiary (or beneficiaries). This can be an advantage, because when you die, the funds can pass directly to your beneficiaries without going through probate. But to avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s critical not only to choose your beneficiaries carefully, but to also name contingent beneficiaries in case a primary beneficiary dies before you.
Hopefully, you already have a sound estate plan in place to protect the interests of your heirs and minimize potential estate tax liability. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear. You can’t just fill out the paperwork, lock up the documents in a file cabinet or store them electronically, and forget about it. Consider your estate plan to be a “work in progress.”
Topics: Estate Planning
The end of the year is a good time to review the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of common tax-related scams published by the IRS. The agency urges taxpayers to be especially alert to these schemes, both during tax filing season and throughout the year.
Forecasting how your company is likely to perform over the next year can be challenging, especially when it’s unclear where the markets are heading. But accurate forecasts are critical when managing a business. For example, they may be used to order inventory, hire additional workers, apply for loans and credit lines, and evaluate investment alternatives.
An external audit is less stressful and less intrusive if you anticipate your auditor’s document requests. Auditors typically ask clients to provide similar documents year after year. They’ll accept copies or client-prepared schedules for certain items, such as bank reconciliations and fixed asset ledgers. To verify other items, such as leases, invoices and bank statements, they’ll want to see original source documents.