The Proactive Solutions Blog

Blogs by Mary E. Johnston

Blogs by Debbie J. Szajna

Blogs by Robert A. Falk

Blogs by Gary M. Sartain

Blogs by Bret J. Clark

Blogs by Steven M. Weber

Blogs by R. David O’Brien

Blogs by James F. Weber

May 16 Deadline

May 16 is the deadline for calendar year-end nonprofit organizations to file annual information reports (such as Form 990) for 2015.

Read full post | Posted by Gary M. Sartain on 01.08.16

Weber O’Brien in the News!

Partner Bret Clark joined a panel of other area experts to discuss the business of startups.

Read full post | Posted by Bret J. Clark on 01.08.16

IRS interest rates rise for the second quarter of 2016

The interest rates the IRS charges on underpaid taxes and pays on tax overpayments have gone up for the second quarter of 2016 (April 1 through June 30). Here are the new rates for individuals and corporations.

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

HSA Contribution Limits Barely Budge for 2017

The IRS recently announced the inflation-adjusted contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) for 2017. HSAs combine high-deductible health insurance plans with a medical savings account.

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

Be aware of major mid-April tax deadlines

April is a busy month for taxes. Here are filing requirements to keep in mind.

  • 2015 individual income tax returns or an automatic extension.
  • 2015 partnership returns for calendar year partnerships.
  • Read more...

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

Make Time For Midyear Tax Planning

One benefit of midyear tax planning is that you have a solid foundation for making decisions and enough time to implement them.

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

Form 5500 Due Date Is Approaching

August 1, 2016, is the deadline for filing Form 5500 for retirement or employee benefit plans on a calendar year. (The usual due date of July 31, 2016, is a Sunday.) 

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

Update Your Mileage Rate Reimbursements For 2017

If you intend to use your vehicle for business, charitable activities, medical appointments, or moving during 2017, be aware that the optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs have changed.

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

Many Tax Deadlines Fall On April 18

As you prepare for tax day, remember that the following are also due on April 18, 2017.As you prepare for tax day, remember that the following are also due on April 18, 2017.

Read full post | Posted by Steven M. Weber on 01.08.16

Are you creating an opportunity for fraud?

As business owners, business consultants and certified public accountants for over 35 years, we have witnessed fraud firsthand and have seen fraud in approximately 20%-30% of businesses. Many of these fraud cases were committed by a trusted employee.

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

College Students: Be Aware Of Phone Scams

As you settle into your fall semester routine, both the FBI and the IRS want you to be alert for calls from scammers.

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

Breakeven analysis helps with business choices

Breakeven analysis is an important and useful tool in business. Whether you're starting a new business, expanding current operations, contemplating an acquisition, downsizing, or approaching banks and other potential lenders, you'll want to know your breakeven. 

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

Higher Self-Employment Taxes Coming In 2017

Did you know the national average wage index went up? You might have missed the news, but it's likely you will notice one impact: higher self-employment taxes.

How are the two related? The index is used to calculate the social security wage base, which is the amount of income subject to the 12.4% social security portion of the self-employment tax. When the index goes up, the wage base does too, and more of your income is taxed.

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

Keep Up With Wage Laws

While the new federal overtime rules that were scheduled to take effect in 2016 have been put on hold, perhaps permanently, other wage laws are still around, including those that establish minimum pay levels.

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

Manage Business Insurance Costs

Liability, property, vehicles, directors, officers, employees – you can buy an insurance policy for many of the risks your business faces.

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

2017 Section 179 Deduction

In 2017, businesses can expense up to $510,000 of qualified new or used business equipment purchases, with a $2,030,000 annual purchase limit. In addition, new equipment purchased in 2017 may qualify for 50% bonus depreciation. This rate drops to 40% in 2018, so plan your purchasing accordingly.

Read full post | Posted by R. David O’Brien on 01.08.16

Prepaid debit cards offer benefits and drawbacks

Prepaid debit cards, also known as stored-value cards, can be useful when you lack a traditional checking account. In an increasingly plastic-dependent world, these cards can be substituted for cash, and you can use them to pay for airline tickets, hotel stays, electronics, and groceries. Money is transferred, or "loaded," to the card and is yours to spend until the card runs out of funds or is reloaded. Read more.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Computer Systems Review

Business owners have many computer systems in place in their company, managed by an employee as part of his job or managed by a third party who may not be really qualified to manage a business software system.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Having Problems Keeping Employees?

Is retention of good employees a priority for your business? Consider conducting "stay" interviews. 

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Subcontractor vs. Employee

It’s critical for an enterprise periodically to review the status of its workers and see if they are properly classified. An enterprise must withhold federal income tax, social security taxes, and federal unemployment taxes on wages it pays workers who are employees. It also may have to provide them with the same fringe benefits and retirement plan coverage available to its other employees. There may be state tax obligations as well. By contrast, these responsibilities don’t apply for workers who are independent contractors. The business simply cuts them a check for their services and sends them a form 1099-misc.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Renting Out Your Vacation Home

We are often asked “What are tax consequences of renting out our vacation home for part of the year?”

The tax treatment depends on how many days it's rented and your level of personal use. Personal use includes vacation use by your relatives (even if you charge them market rate rent) and use by nonrelatives if a market rate rent is not charged.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Year-End Is Fast Approaching

Consider these planning ideas:

Sell stocks currently held at a loss. You can write off the first $3,000 of those losses as an ordinary loss and the excess capital loss can be used to offset capital gain.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Domestic Production Deduction

Builders have available to them a little known deduction called the Domestic Manufacturing Deduction or called by its code section “The 199 Deduction”. The deduction is available to builders who have profits and payroll.

The 199 deduction is allowed to all taxpayers—individuals (shown on Form 1040 line 35), and C corporations (shown on Form 1120 line 25). The 199 deduction for partnerships and S corporations (reported on Form K-1 in box 13) flows through to the owner’s individual tax return.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Are you working overtime preparing for the new labor rules?

The U.S. Department of Labor updated the rules for paying overtime, and the changes take effect December 1, 2016. Under the new rules, salaried employees who earn less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year) will be eligible for overtime pay. 

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

What Is “Enough” For Retirement

When it comes to money and retirement, it differs for each of us when considering what “enough” will look like. For some, a universal definition might be having roughly the same amount of money available per month as they currently do after adding in their social security benefits. Due to many unknowns, experts predict that one cannot completely rely on the availability of social security benefits once reaching retirement age.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Qualified Conservation Contributions

If you are conservation -minded and own real property, you may be able to claim a charitable deduction by placing conservation   restrictions on the property, while you continue to use the property and enjoy it. This can be done through a "qualified conservation   contribution." Here's how it works:

To qualify, you must grant an easement   on the property in perpetuity to a charitable organization or governmental unit that is committed to protecting the gift's conservation   purpose and has the resources to enforce the restrictions. Conservation groups generally qualify.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

New tax benefits available when claiming the research and development credit

If you conduct qualified research activities, you may be eligible to claim a federal income tax credit known as the "research and development" credit.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Hiring an Employee vs. an Independent Contractor

If you are a small business owner, whether you hire people as independent contractors or as employees will impact how much taxes you pay and the amount of taxes you withhold from their paychecks. Additionally, it will affect how much additional cost your business must bear, what documents and information they must provide to you, and what tax documents you must give to them.

Here are the top ten things every business owner should know about hiring people as independent contractors versus hiring them as employees.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

How Employee Expenses Are Deducted

Questions on how to claim deductions for expenses you incur in connection with your employment? The expense include those for local transportation (other than commuting), business meals and entertainment (at 50% of cost), travel away from home, supplies, educations, etc.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Hiring workers can bring tax breaks

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit, known as WOTC, can reduce your federal income tax liability dollar-for-dollar when you hire certain workers.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Who pays for Social Security and Medicare?

According to the 2016 Summary of Annual Reports by the trustees, the major source of funding for the Social Security and Medicare programs is the payroll tax you and your employer pay, or that you pay as a self-employed worker. 

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Educate your kids about tax filing

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of a consumer finance information service, nearly 80% of 18-34 year-olds have concerns about filing income tax returns.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Margin versus Markup

Understanding the difference between markup and margin, as used in estimating, is essential to the success of your construction company.  Understanding margin allows you to easily make financial decisions and gauge their impact on your bottom line.  Bankers and accountants commonly speak of margin, not markup.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Get Serious About Catching Up

If you're age 50 or older, tax law has a permanent provision that lets you make extra contributions to your retirement plans. These "catch-up" contributions vary depending on the type of retirement plan. For example, if you participate in a SIMPLE, you can make a catch-up contribution of up to $3,000 in 2016, over and above the maximum $12,500 salary reduction contribution. For IRAs, both Roth and traditional, the 2016 catch-up contribution is $1,000.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Get credit for retirement contributions

Did you make contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA, a myRA, or a SEP or SIMPLE plan in 2015?

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Financial tips to follow when a spouse dies

The death of a spouse is emotionally and financially devastating. Making decisions of any kind is difficult when you're vulnerable and grieving, but having a plan to follow may help. Here are suggestions for dealing with financial tasks. Read more.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Review of Bank Loan Agreements

When reviewing and evaluating your bank loans make sure that you, your controller, CPA or attorney review all loan documentation in detail and consider the following matters:

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Complete These Retirement Plan Steps Before Year-End

December 31 is the last day you can benefit from certain retirement tax breaks. For example, if you haven't put the maximum amount allowed in your 401(k) – $18,000 in 2016 – increasing your contributions can save you money. 

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

Fees Fees Fees

With the new rules regarding the fiduciary responsibilities of retirement plan trustees, it makes sense to request at least annually a complete detail of your plans administrative, custodial and management fees.

Read full post | Posted by James F. Weber on 12.18.15

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