JETRO Goes Xero Gold

JETRO Xero Gold

When JETRO started way back in 2013 we were on the the forefront of virtual accounting. As part of that, we needed to find a cloud accounting solution that we could utilize not only internally but across our client base. We needed something that we could access via the cloud anywhere, anytime. After a lot of research and trial we landed on Xero, who at the time was fairly fresh in the US market.

Since then we have not looked back and continue to introduce Xero to thriving clients across the country. As part of that journey we are proud to announce that we are now a Xero Gold Partner!

Thank you Xero for continuing to innovate and provide such a “beautiful accounting software” to both JETRO and our incredible clients.

Want to learn more about Xero? Reach out to us!

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgiveness Cheat Sheet

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgiveness for Small Businesses

LAST UPDATED: 6/22/20

As you know, things are constantly changing with the Paycheck Protection Program. Our goal is to create an outline here of the things you need to know about when it comes to forgiveness.

Bookkeeping is the back bone to every business. With that being said, bookkeeping can quickly become an incredibly hard task unless you follow these four simple rules.

Facts

  • Time to Use Funds: 24 Weeks or December 31st (Whichever comes first) — You have an option to use 8 weeks if you received funding prior to June 5th
  • Required Amount Used on Payroll: 60%
  • Amount NOT Forgiven Loan Term: 5 Year Term at 1% (accruing immediately) with 6-month payment deferral from the date of loan disbursement

Costs Eligible for Forgiveness

  1. Payroll Costs (Must be at least 60%):  Paid or incurred during the covered period including: Salaries, wages,  employee health insurance contributions by employer, employee retirement plan contributions by employer, and state and local payroll taxes. NOTE: Capped at $100k Annualized per Employee and employer share of FICA is not included in the costs.
  2. Self Employed/Owner Payroll Max: $15,385 (8 Week Period) or $20,833 (24 Week Period) – They are also capped by the amount of their 2019 employee salary and retirement contributions. NOTE: Owner health insurance is no longer figured into the eligible costs for forgiveness. Non-owner health insurance still is.
  3. Max 40% of: Mortgage interest, Utilities, Rent

Employee Headcount or Pay Reduction

Your forgiveness amount may be reduced if:

  1. You reduce employee pay in excess of 25% (Salary or Hourly)
  2. You reduce employee headcount or Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). There are two methods to calculate FTE:
    • Long Method: Average hours each employee paid per week, divided by 40 and rounded to nearest 10th with a maximum of 1.
    • Simple Method: 40+ Hours = 1 FTE and <40 Hours = .5 FTE
    • Example 3 employees working 25, 35 and 42 hours per week. Using the long method your FTE would be 2.5 and using the simple method it would be 2.
  3. If you restore to original numbers by December 31st or end of the covered period (date you file your application) you are fine.
  4. Exceptions:
    • Inability to rehire individuals or similarily qualified individuals (or employee denies offer to come back at original level)
    • Able to document inability to return to the same level of business activity as business was operating at before 2/15 due to COVID restrictions.

Loan Forgiveness Process

  1. Complete and Submit Forgiveness Application to Bank (SBA Form 3508 or 3508EZ) within 10 months after the last day of the covered period. NOTE: A borrower may submit a loan forgiveness application before the end of the covered period if the borrower has used all of the loan proceeds for which they are requesting forgiveness.
  2. Lender has 60 days from receipt of application to issue a decision to SBA.
  3. SBA will deduct EIDL advance amounts from the forgiveness amount.

Check out our episode on the Small Business Tax Savings Podcast regarding this topic!

What Bookkeeping Rules Do I Need to Follow?

Top 4 Bookkeeping Rules to Follow

Bookkeeping is the back bone to every business. With that being said, bookkeeping can quickly become an incredibly hard task unless you follow these four simple rules.

1. Separate Business Bank Account

Have a separate bank account (and credit card, if applicable) specifically for your business. This is important even for you sole proprietors. Regardless of your business setup, this is vital.

If you are unable to get a credit card under your business name, make sure you dedicate one personal card strictly for business use only and use the payments to it as a reimbursement.

2. No Commingling

No personal expenses on the business bank or credit card account. In the rare occasion that you accidentally put a personal expense on the business account, record it as an owners draw or reimburse the business for it.

3. Keep Your Receipts

Store them in a file in your office or take a picture of them and save them in the cloud. This is vitally important in the event of an audit.

On each receipt write on it: who, what, where, when, why, and how much. Not only does this help backup the business purpose but it also reminds you in case you forget down the road.

4. Ditch the Cash

Cash is hard to track and prove. In the rare event cash is your only payment option, be sure to get a receipt so you can properly document the business expense.

Check out our episode on the Small Business Tax Savings Podcast regarding this topic!

JETRO Giving Back to the Community

Giving Back to the Community

Here are JETRO we take seriously the act of helping others and the community. Every year we make a donation to various charities and initiatives based on the amount of tax returns we file. This year we also included an additional amount for each Small Business Tax Savings Podcast review we received.

As a client of ours and reviewer of our Podcast you play a role in this donation. The amount we contribute is directly related to you partnering with us.

I just want to say, THANK YOU! Thank you for working with us and listening to our Podcast so we can make a donation on your behalf.

This year we are proud to announce our support for the following charities and initiatives:

1. Mobilize MKE

COVID-19 has caused a 35-50% spike in the number of people needing the services of food banks in Metro Milwaukee. This pandemic has also forced the cancellation of many food drives, multiplying the food crisis our neighbors are facing right now. These food pantries tell us they anticipate seeing even greater need in May. Donations made will service local food pantries.

Learn More Here

2. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

A gift to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention helps fund their mission to save lives and give hope to those affected by suicide. Each dollar brings us closer to a world without suicide.

Learn More Here

 

3. Make-A-Wish

The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The children they serve are fighting for their lives, and their families are doing everything that they can to help them in their battles.

Learn More Here

 

4. National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The Society’s mission is: People affected by MS can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever.

Learn More Here

 

Again, we are able to make these donations on your behalf due to your partnership with us. We thank you for that and look to continue to help the communities around us and those that are less fortunate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Accounting and Tax Outlook

*Continuously Updated As More Information Becomes Available*

Welcome to our JETRO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tax and Accounting Resource Center. Much of this information is rapidly changing. We will be updating information as it becomes available to us. Below are the headlines on various topics listed below. Each topic has buttons on the bottom to link to available resources.

The link directly below is the most comprehensive overview of all relief options to check out, provided by Gusto!

  • General Information
  • Government Loan Information
  • Business Relief Information
  • Personal Relief Information

General Information

Tax Deadlines/Extensions and Student Loan Payments by Employer

  • New Tax Return and Payment Deadline: July 15th (Individuals, Trusts, C Corps) – If you want to extend your return to October 15th that formal extension is also now due by July 15th.
  • 2020 Q1 and Q2 Estimated Tax Payments Due: July 15th (Previously April and June 15th)
  • Employers are allowed to contribute up to $5,250 tax-free annually to assist their employees with student loan payments. This covers payments up until December 31, 2020.

NOTES FROM 3/18/20 PODCAST:

These next few weeks (or months?) for business owners and individuals alike will be tough. However, as business owners this poses an opportunity for leadership.

I touch on this specific topic in this weeks Small Business Tax Savings Podcast episode which I have provided before.  Here is a brief summary:

1. Be A Leader

To your employees, clients, and community.

 

2. Embrace the Situation

Think of ways you can modify your business to maintain during this tough time. Do not just stick your head in the sand and give up. INNOVATE! 

 

3. Do Planning

Plan for the various situations (good, bad, ugly) and determine what your business will do if you hit those certain benchmarks. 

As we are navigating these unexpected waters together, let us know how we can help. We are that partner on your team to get through this together!

NOTES FROM 3/25/20 PODCAST:

1. Do Planning

Put together a plan on how your business will react at certain thresholds. Do a Good (3 weeks), Bad (2 months), Ugly (3-4+ months) plan so you know ahead of time what actions your business needs to take depending on how long this lasts.

 

2. Expense Cutting

Go down your income statement and see what items you can cut or downgrade. If you have any software fees is there any you can move down a package (Premium to Standard) temporarily. Start implementing these cuts today to maintain cash.

 

3. Slow Down Cash Outflow

Do you have any bills or rent payments that you can negotiate for short period of time? Reach out to loan providers and see if you can move to interest only payments temporarily. If they say no today, try again in a couple days.

 

4. Funding

Look into an SBA loan if you need cash now. Look into zero interest credit cards to see if those may be an option for you.

Government Loan Information

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Updates

The House, Senate and President signed the PPP update bill into law. Here are the changes:

🔸Amount of loan needed to be spent on payroll moves from 75% to 60%

🔸Amount of time to spend the funds moved from 8 weeks to 24 weeks (or end of 2020)

🔸Pushes back June 30th deadline to rehire workers to December 31st

🔸Repayment term of unforgiven amount moves from 2 years to 5 years

A few more updates we talk about in this weeks Small Business Tax Savings Podcast:

🆓 Free Tool for Forgiveness Application: https://lnkd.in/shrtslug

💰Funding is still available if you have not already received PPP funds

PPP Loan Certification Clarification, Taxability and Forgiveness Application

  1. PPP Certification Clarification: Originally when applying you certified that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant”. The SBA and Department of Treasury have determined that there will be a safe harbor regarding that certification.

    The safe harbor is: Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.

  2. PPP Loan Taxability: Per IRS guidance, the PPP loan amount forgiven itself is not taxable however the corresponding expenses you used the forgiven funds for, you cannot claim as tax deductions.
  3. Forgiveness Application: This has finally been released while still some questions remain but here are some things we do know:

    -Time Period: You can choose between 8 weeks from the day the loan hit your account or 8 weeks that begins on your first payroll date following the disbursement.

    -Payroll Reduction Exemption: There has been new guidance that your forgiveness amount will not be reduced (as it relates to employee retention) if you have reductions related to: Individuals you have made a written offer to rehire but the employee declined, employees whose employment was terminated for cause, or employees who voluntarily resigned.

    -Owner’s Cap: The forgiveness amounts paid to owners eligible for forgiveness is capped at the lower of $15,385 (which is the $100k annualized) or the 8 week equivalent of the owners compensation in 2019, again whichever is lower.

PPP Forgiveness Information

PERIOD: 8 Weeks (Starting the date of first disbursement of PPP funds)

WHAT IS FORGIVABLE?

  • Payroll Costs (Capped at $100k of annualized basis per employee) including: gross wages, health care benefits, retirement benefits, state and local taxes but NOT employer portion of FICA or FUTA
  • Interest on Mortgages Signed Before 2/15/20
  • Interest on Debt Incurred Before 2/15/20
  • Rent for Lease Agreements Signed Before 2/15/20
  • Utility Payments

NOTES

  • Payroll costs must make up 75% of forgiven amount (Ex: $100k PPP Loan, at least $75k payroll)
  • Forgiveness amount proportionately reduced by decease in head count or employee wages unless employer reverses that prior to June 30, 2020
  • Keep documentation of expenses (payroll reports, tax filings, receipts, etc) to backup the items for proof of forgiveness

Also important to note that things are ever changing so this is what we know now but we expect more details to come from the government regarding the topic of forgiveness.

4/27/20 Update: The Government has approved more funding to the PPP and will begin taking applications again 4/27/20.

4/16/20 Update: The PPP loan has reached its funding capacity. News is that Congress is working on allocating more funding to this program.

NOTE: UPDATE TO PPP PROGRAM AFTER RECORDING

-Interest Rate: 1% – Updated as of 3/31/20
-Term: 2 Years – Updated as of 3/31/20

Business Relief Information

Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC)

We’ve talked heavily about EIDL and PPP but what about ERTC? Don’t you love all the acronyms?

In order to be eligible for the ERTC you need to prove that you either:

1) Suspended operations fully or partially due to a COVID-19 shutdown order OR
2) Show a 50% or grater decline in revenue as compared to the same quarter of the prior year.

If you are eligible you can get a ERTC which is a refundable payroll tax credit of 50% up to $10,000 of wages per employee which essentially is a max of $5,000 per employee.

The ERTC cannot be combined with the PPP.

Example: Eligible employer pays 6 employees $10,000 each in the eligible period for Q2. The ERTC available to the employer would be $5,000 per employee or $30,000.

Personal Relief Information

The 1099-Misc Filing Date Is Just Around The Corner—Are You Ready?

THE 1099-MISC FILING DATE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER – ARE YOU READY?

Article Highlights:

  • Independent Contractors
  • Non-employee Compensation
  • 1099 Filing Requirement
  • Due Dates
  • Penalties
  • Form W-9 and 1099 Worksheet

If your business engages the services of an individual (independent contractor), other than one who meets the definition of an employee, and you pay him or her $600 or more for the calendar year, then you are required to issue that person a Form 1099-MISC to avoid penalties and the prospect of losing the deduction for his or her labor and expenses in an audit. Payments to independent contractors are referred to as non-employee compensation (NEC).

Note: The IRS has cautioned taxpayers who are treating rental activities as a trade or business for purposes of claiming the 20% passthrough deduction that they are required to issue 1099-MISC forms to their services providers who meet the $600 test for those rental activities.

Because so many fraudulent tax returns are filed right after e-filing opens up in January, the IRS requires 1099-MISCs for NEC to be filed by January 31 and will not release refunds for individual income tax returns that include the earned income tax credit until the NEC amounts can be verified.

Thus, the due date for filing 2019 1099-MISC forms for NEC is January 31, 2020. This is also the same due date for mailing the recipient his or her copy of the 1099-MISC.

It is not uncommon for a business or rental property owner to have a repairperson go out early in the year, pay him or her less than $600, use his or her services again later in the year, and have the total paid for the year be $600 or more. As a result, the business or landlord may have overlooked getting the needed information from the individual to file the 1099s for the year. Therefore, if you own a business or are a landlord, it is good practice to always have individuals who are not incorporated complete and sign an IRS Form W-9 the first time you engage them and before you pay them. Having a properly completed and signed Form W-9 for all independent contractors and service providers will eliminate any oversights and protect you against IRS penalties and conflicts. If you have been negligent in the past about having the W-9s completed, then it would be a good idea going forward to establish a procedure for getting each non-corporate independent contractor and service provider to fill out a W-9 and return it to you.

The government provides IRS Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, as a means for you to obtain the vendor’s data you’ll need to accurately file the 1099s. It also provides you with verification that you complied with the law, in case the vendor gave you incorrect information. We highly recommend that you have potential vendors complete a Form W-9 prior to engaging in business with them. The W-9 is for your use only and is not submitted to the IRS.

The penalty for failure to file a required information return due in 2020, such as the 1099-MISC, is $270 per information return. The penalty is reduced to $50 if a correct but late information return is filed no later than the 30th day after the required filing date of January 31, 2020, and it is reduced to $110 for returns filed after the 30th day but no later than August 1, 2020. If you are required to file 250 or more information returns, you must file them electronically.

In order to avoid a penalty, copies of the 1099-MISCs you’ve issued for 2019 need to be sent to the IRS by January 31, 2020. The forms must be submitted on magnetic media or on optically scannable forms (OCR forms).

Note: Form 1099-MISC is also used to report other types of payments, including rent and royalties. Payments to independent contractors are reported in box 7 of the 1099-MISC, and the dates mentioned in this article apply when box 7 has been used. When the 1099-MISC is used to report income other than that in box 7, the due date to the form’s recipient is January 31, 2020, while the copy to the government is due by February 28, 2020.

If you have any questions, please call. This firm prepares 1099s for submission to the IRS along with recipient copies and file copies for your records. Use the 1099 worksheet to provide this office with the information needed to prepare your 1099s.

Why You Should Outsource Your Payroll Needs—Important Tip

Why You Should Outsource Your Payroll Needs

With tax rules changing more quickly than the ink can dry on the tax laws books, payroll has become a full-time job. Are you a business owner that’s tired of trying to keep up with all the proposed and passed alterations? There are things that you should do on your own, and then there are things that can end up costing you more in the long run. To ensure that you are in compliance with the law, it is an excellent idea to outsource for your payroll needs and let it be someone else’s problem.

Save Money

Instead of hiring someone in-house to manage your payroll, if you outsource, you will save money. Since you don’t have to pay someone full-time, you also don’t have to worry about other employee perks like the cost of medical insurance. The time that it takes a professional payroll expert is very little. And for most companies, it’s not worth it to hire someone to allocate their time and resources solely to it.

They’re Up to Date

Since things are changing so quickly, an outsource payroll company is best for handling all aspects of tax regulations and laws. If you make a payroll mistake, then you have to deal with the IRS. That is definitely not something that you want to do. If you hire a company and all they do is payroll, then they will have the information necessary to ensure that things are done correctly. This way, you aren’t leaving yourself vulnerable to an audit and potentially expensive fines if something is amiss.

Reduce the Risk of Security Breaches

When you hire a third-party payroll company, there is less risk of security breaches. Since a payroll specialist deals with data like social security numbers and other private information, an outsourcing payroll company will have enhanced security to keep things safe. If you have subpar software, then you can leave your employees’ information vulnerable. Also, there is always a chance when you do payroll in-house that you could be opening yourself up to embezzlement or other misappropriation of funds. With a third party handling your payroll issues, you don’t have to worry about that.

Better Tracking of Asset Allocations

A third-party payroll asset company will also provide you with a running analysis of what is going out versus what is coming in financially. You’ll always know where your finances are. That is an excellent way to keep track and ensure that your finances are healthy from month-to-month.

Instead of hiring a full-time employee to handle your payroll, it is a wiser choice to hire an outsourcing payroll company. They have increased security, they know the laws, and they won’t leave you vulnerable to audits. If you’re looking for a team of trained professionals to handle your payroll needs, visit Jetro Tax today.

What to Do if You Are Still Late on Your Taxes and You Didn’t File an Extension?

What to Do if You Are Still Late on Your Taxes and You Didn’t File an Extension?

If you are one of the many people who failed not only to file your taxes but also to file an extension, you might be living in a panic about what the consequences will be. The good news is that even if you missed the deadline, there are still ways to make it up and get back on track. If you owe money, ignoring it will not make it go away. It will only make it worse. So follow these steps to smooth things over.

What Happens if You Don’t File Your Taxes or an Extension?

If you missed the deadline to file and didn’t take the steps to file an extension, you might have to pay interest and penalties. If you failed to pay or file an extension, the consequences can be pretty stiff. There are two types of penalties that you are automatically subject to by the IRS. If you fail to file, you are automatically assessed at 5% per month penalty up to a 25% maximum. If you fail to pay the penalties, there is an additional 0.5% per month up to a 25% maximum. If they are both accessed, then the failure to file penalty will be reduced by the failure to pay penalty.

What if You Can’t Afford to Pay What You Owe?

Even if you can’t afford to pay your taxes, you still have to file. When you file an extension, it lets the IRS know that you are not evading them and that you know that you owe taxes. After you file for an extension, it is possible to negotiate with the IRS to make payments that you can afford. You can either ask for another extension or try to work with them to devise a payment plan.

If You File, Do the Penalties Stop Accessing?

The bad news is that although you can try to work with the IRS, the fees do not stop accruing until you pay off what you owe. So, it is a good idea to try to pay off the total as soon as you can. It might be a good idea to start to withdraw from your savings to pay your taxes, especially if the interest you are making is less than what you are accruing from your debt with the IRS. Taking out a payday loan or other high-risk loan with a high interest is probably not a good idea. That will end in digging a bigger debt hole.

What If I Ignore It?

Ignoring it won’t make the situation go away. If you fail to pay your taxes, it could lead to a host of consequences including, in egregious cases, jail time. It is better to tackle it head-on. The longer you go without filing your taxes, or an extension, the more money you will owe in fees and penalties. For help with your overdue taxes or IRS troubles, call Jetro Taxes to get the help you need to get back on track today.

Clarification On Taxes: What To Do If You Receive An IRS Notice

Clarification On Taxes: What To Do If You Receive An IRS Notice

There is nothing that can rattle a business owner’s cage more than seeing an envelope come from the IRS. But, the good news is that it doesn’t always have to spell trouble. If you get a letter from the IRS about your taxes or your payroll taxes, the steps you take to rectify it can make things go a lot smoother, whatever the issue may be. If you get a notice, it is essential to take these six steps to minimize any trouble.

DON’T PANIC
Even though it can be super difficult not to get worried, it is never a good idea to panic when you are notified. In most cases, a letter from the IRS is nothing to worry about. If you panic, it is only going to make the situation more stressful for you.

READ IT OVER THOROUGHLY
Typically, when you get a notice, it can be cleared up by just contacting them with a little information that they might be requesting. Make sure to read the notification carefully to fully understand what it is that they are asking from you. This way, you can get all the details and take care of the issue quickly.

GET OUT ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION
To make sure that you are answering correctly, you have to track down all of your tax returns from the previous five to seven years. You want to make sure that if you supply the IRS with the requested information, it is correct and truthful. If it doesn’t match up to what they have on file, that could send up a red flag.

CALL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS
If you aren’t sure what the notice is about or what specifically the IRS is asking for, don’t be afraid to call. If you need clarification, there is a number on the notice where they will be more than happy to go over the letter in detail and explain to you precisely what it means and what you need to do. It is always better to ask for clarification than to guess.

KEEP RECORDS
Be sure to make copies of anything that you send to the IRS, even if it is their form that you filled out. Also, if you do call and talk to anyone, make sure to take notes about who you spoke with, when, and what they said. That way, you’ll have a record of the entire situation should there be a problem.

GET THE HELP OF A MILWAUKEE TAX SPECIALIST
If you are concerned about the issue, don’t have the information you require, or just feel like you are being asked for something mistakenly, then call a Milwaukee tax specialist to help sort through the details. When it comes to dealing with the IRS, it is always best to ensure you are doing things correctly to protect yourself.

If you get a notice from the IRS about your taxes or your payroll taxes, don’t panic. But, do make sure to address it immediately and properly to save yourself potential headaches and penalties. If you need the help of a Milwaukee tax specialist, contact Jetro Tax today!

Things To Consider When Hiring A Milwaukee Accountant

Things To Consider When Hiring A Milwaukee Accountant

If you’ve been taking care of your own books, you know just how time-consuming that process can be. As a small business owner in Wisconsin, you can save yourself a lot of time by hiring a Milwaukee accountant. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that you hire the right one. Hiring an accountant requires a lot of trust, so before you commit to an accountant, keep the following considerations in mind.

State and County Laws

When you hire a Milwaukee accountant, make sure that he or she has a firm understanding of state and county tax laws. Most accountants will understand the ins and outs of federal tax law, especially if they’ve been in business for more than a few years. However, tax laws differ between states, and even some counties within the United States have their own tax law. As a small business owner, you have to make sure that you stay on top of tax laws. The right Milwaukee accountant will help you stay within the law so that you can focus on your business instead.

Customization Options

When hiring an accountant, you’ll need a fair amount of flexibility. Every small business is different, and each one needs different options. If you hire the right accountant or bookkeeping service, your accountant won’t pressure you with any upsell tactics. You can customize your service to get exactly what you need and nothing more. Whether you need tax preparation, accounting, payroll services, or any combination of accounting services, you’ll have those options. The best accounting services can even provide you with customizable plans within each of those services so that they serve your business in the best way possible.

Simplicity and Availability

Hiring a Milwaukee accountant should provide you with peace of mind. You get to focus on your creative vision and the day to day aspects of running your business. In other words, you get to handle all of the things that you already love about running a business. Your accountant will do what accountants do best, taking care of all of the difficult numbers and legalities. While your accountant simplifies your bookkeeping and taxes, he or she should also be available for when you have questions or want to discuss options.

Your Milwaukee Accountant

If you’re looking for a Milwaukee accountant, Jetro and Associates is here to help with all of your payroll, tax, and bookkeeping needs. We offer all of the above qualities and so much more. With a flat monthly rate, we’ll never add unwelcome surprises to your business life. Are you ready to simplify your business? Contact Jetro today.