Get A Jumpstart on Year-End Activities

There’s lots that needs to be done at the end of the year to get your books ready for taxes. Here’s a list of what you can do this month to make January easier on you; those who have been diligent about bookkeeping will find this list will be shorter.

  • Order Forms: It’s not too early to get your orders in for the forms you need at year-end like your W-2s, W-3s, 1099s, and 1096s.  That way, your forms will be onsite when you’re ready.
  • RECONCILE !! I can’t tell you how big this step is.  This is a good step to verify that you have tracked all money into and out of the company and will help you find missed entries, duplicates, checks not cashed, and more.  You will save money with your accountant if they don’t have to reconcile.   And DON’T just go into the register and check all transactions. I promise that using the reconcile feature inside of QuickBooks will not only be faster but more accurate. Accounts to reconcile would include
    • Bank and credit card(s)
    • Loan accounts
    • Other balance sheet accounts, such as employee advances, prepaid insurance, customer deposits, etc.
  • List of loans and terms – Make a list any new loans, lines of credits, etc. that you took out this year. Your accountant may want to see a copy of the terms and interest rate.
  • List of equipment purchased – Your accountant will want to know of any equipment, vehicles, furniture etc. that you purchased during the year.  If the purchase is large enough, rather than expense the purchase in full, your accountant will depreciate the purchase over a few years.  Ask your accountant what size purchase – frequently it’s been purchases of 500 or 1000, but with recent tax law changes (some temporary), their answer may be different.  Usually your accountant will want a copy of the receipt or purchase document with the price.  In the case of a vehicle where you had a trade-in value and/or down payment, then they would want that information as well.
  • Employees
    • Unemployment – unemployment rates frequently change each year in part based on how many employees in any claim with your company. And given the high rate of unemployment these last few years, unemployment coffers have run low so the rates may have gone up even if you have not laid off an employee unfortunately. The state of Maryland usually sends you a letter in November with the number to call to see what your new rate will be. If you process payroll yourself in QuickBooks, look to see if your version will let you enter the new rates for the upcoming year – new versions do. If you need help entering the new rates, call us for help.
    • Employee withholding – it’s good to check whether employees’ withholding will be the same or if they want to revise it, so have them do a new Federal W-4 and state withholding forms (sometimes they decide after their taxes are done!)
  • 1099 Vendors – This is a good time of year to work on the list of vendors that are 1099 eligible and update their information. To get your list,
    • Click on Vendors, Print 1099’s
    • Review list of who is eligible for 1099. Check with your accountant if you’re unsure who needs one.
    • Confirm that contact information is correct,  ask for tax ID or have them send a W-9. If you need to update several, the Add/Edit Multiple Lists is a great tool for updating this information. Simply click on Customize Columns and select the Tax ID field (and any others you might want); remove those you don’t need at this time.  This does NOT remove any data from your QuickBooks; this is simply a feature to simplify editing.

Vendor 1099

 

  • QuickBooks 2010 and older: Due to IRS changes to formatting, those using unsupported versions of QuickBooks (2010 and older), will be unable to print 1099’s. Your options:
      • Complete the 1099-MISC forms by hand and submit them to the IRS. The IRS will accept handwritten forms. Customers can go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1099gi.pdf, section G for IRS guidelines and details on filing by hand.
      • Upgrade to QuickBooks 2015. We are able to offer at least a 20% discount on most of the QuickBooks products. Sometimes we have additional discounts we can offer but can’t advertise, so please check with us if you are interested in upgrading.
  • QuickBooks Version – Intuit supports 3 years, so in May they will “sunset” QuickBooks 2012. Doesn’t mean 2012 won’t work, but if you download bank transactions, use payroll or email reports, invoices, or statements, those features will no longer work.  The October newsletters had highlights of the new 2015 QuickBooks products;  we can provide demos if you want.  And if you want to compare desktop QuickBooks with online options, let us know as there are different considerations.  If you would like to upgrade, let us know – we can help you get a good price and assist with the upgrade if you need.
  • Other Services – Calendar or fiscal year-end can be a good time to review other services – whether you need them and or change them.
    • Credit Cards – If you accept credit cards, merchant services is worth reviewing – even if it’s Intuit. Rates can be negotiated – usually based on your volume of business (or how badly they want you as a customer!). If you have not looked at the Intuit’s Payment Services, I encourage you to do so. E-check and check scanning are now included!   I can promise that Intuit is NOT going to give away their integration with QuickBooks to another provider.  With no double-entry, the ease of reconciliation and the time saved, it’s often a smart decision.  Check with us first as we are usually able to help get fees waived or reduced so you get a good deal.
    • Payroll – This is a great time of year to review your payroll options. We’ll be happy to explain the Intuit options and should you choose to use them and/or make a change, we can get you discounted rates, and/or fees waived usually. So check with us first. We have also written a couple articles to help you through the thought process.  Don’t just look at tangible costs. Also consider job/project costing (if that’s an issue), amount of time to handle payroll takes,  risk (of under payments or missed payments) or fraud (I’ve known of bookkeepers and even a payroll company)
      • Adjustments to Make to Your Books while some adjustments are best left for your accountant, there are a few that you can do or at least get the information pulled together for your account.
    • Bonuses – It’s great to give bonuses to employees at year-end, but it’s not so great to forget about the tax part of it. Bonus checks should always be run through payroll, but often are not, which requires an adjustment after the fact.
    • Retirement Plan Contributions – If cash is available at year-end, it’s a great idea to maximize the allowable deductions for the retirement plan you qualify for. Check with your accountant and financial planner for more specifics.
    • Withholding- If you are both the owner and an employee of your company and have not made enough tax payments throughout the year to account for all that money you’ve earned in 2012, you can adjust your last few paychecks to withhold the amount you need. Sometimes, this also reduces or eliminates the penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes.
    • Work in Process – for those of you who have projects that span over a few months and need to track work in process there are usually two methods – one simply for year-end for tax purposes and the other method is done monthly; typically only my larger commercial clients track monthly. Contact our office if you want help with that.


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