And which ones should you shred?
If your filing cabinet is bursting at the seams, you’re not alone. As a small business owner, you have a lot of paperwork to keep track of – everything from business licenses, employee records, lunch receipts – the list goes on.
Some of the more challenging records to manage are your business’ tax documents and all of their supporting paperwork. Navigating tax document requirements is complicated and is often unchartered territory for a small business.
As a default, many business owners end up unnecessarily saving every last receipt for years and years. Or, they become overwhelmed and throw away important information. Continue reading
From one-person entities to Fortune 500 companies, no business can escape the dreaded task of bookkeeping. While it’s definitely not one of the more glamorous parts of the job, bookkeeping is at the heart of small business success, which means errors can be crippling.
To avoid the financial headaches that come with bookkeeping mismanagement, it’s important first to be aware of the pitfalls that can ensnare you. Continue reading
by Joe Heinrich, SCORE Seattle
Congratulations!! You’ve grown your small business so much that you need help, and so you’ve hired your first employee. Now you’re confronted with the task of paying that employee properly in accordance with IRS regulations and State of Washington statutes, along with making payments to taxing authorities and reporting to them periodically. And now you’re stomach’s churning!!
To correctly pay an employee in Washington, the employer needs to deduct the following taxes from the employee’s pay and report and remit timely these amounts to the relative taxing authorities:
- Social Security Tax and Medicare Tax (just the employee’s share)
- Federal Income Tax
- Washington Labor & Industry Premiums (just the employee’s share)
- Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave Tax (just the employee’s share)
There may be other withholdings from the employee’s pay, such as garnishments for child support, contributions to a retirement plan, donations, and the like. Continue reading
by Johnnie Hawkins, CPA
Parker Mooers & Cena, Silverdale
Starting in 2020, Washington will be the fifth state in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave benefits. This benefit offers partially paid leave to care for yourself or a loved one in times of serious illness or injury, to bond with a new child joining your home through birth, adoption or foster placement, and for certain military-connected events if you have a family member in active duty service. This isn’t like paid sick leave; you will file your claim with the Employment Security Department (ESD), and your payment will come from ESD. Typically, you’ll have access to up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
Premium collection starts on Jan 1, 2019. In 2019, the premium is 0.4% of wages, or $3.85 per week for someone making $50,000 a year. Employers can either pay the full premium or opt to withhold a portion of the premium from their employees. Employers who choose to withhold premiums from their employees may withhold up to 63 percent of the total premium, or $2.44 per week for an employee making $50,000 annually. The employer is responsible for paying the other 37 percent. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the employer portion of the premium but must still collect or opt to pay the employee portion of the premium.
You can learn more about the program at www.paidleave.wa.gov/employers or contact us with questions at 360-692-8808. Continue reading
Mention those two little words to almost any small business owner, and you’ll see them flinch.
Very few business terms get as cool a response. And sadly, those two little words (both of them four-letter words, interestingly enough), are the #1 reason small businesses fail. They take out more small businesses than any other factor.
In fact, 82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems. Continue reading
by Joe Heinrich, Volunteer Business Mentor, Seattle SCORE
Most small business owners are perfectly aware of the Federal, Washington and city taxes they are obliged to pay. However, the one that tends to fall through the cracks is the local Personal Property Tax on businesses by the county in which the business is located. This article explains what personal property is, how to self-report a business’s personal property, how the tax is assessed and how much a business may have to pay in Personal Property Tax.
What is “personal property” of a business?
Taxable Personal Property typically includes items used by a company to conduct business. Examples of personal property which may be assessed include furniture, fixtures, electronic equipment, telephones and machinery. Leasehold improvements and leased equipment are also included as personal property. However, personal property does not include property which is attached to a building or to the land which a business owns as that is considered “real property”.
Exempt personal property includes inventory (i.e., items owned to be resold or used as raw materials to products to be manufactured and sold) and vehicles used on the roadways. Continue reading
From the Washington Department of Revenue website…
There is a misconception that services are not subject to sales tax. This article clarifies that some services are indeed subject to retail sales tax. Following is a listing of services that are subject to sales tax when provided to consumers.
Construction services (WAC 458-20-170)
- Constructing and improving new or existing buildings and structures. Installing, repairing, cleaning, improving, constructing and decorating real or personal property for others
- Cleaning, fumigating, razing or moving structures, including painting and papering, cleaning and repairing furnaces and septic tanks, and snow removal
- Clearing land and moving earth Continue reading
Accurately tracking financial data is not only critical for running the day-to-day operations of your small business, but it is also essential when seeking funding from lenders or investors to take your business to the next level. In addition, keeping tabs of your finances can help ensure your products and services are priced right, identify what your margins are, determine your cash flow and make filing taxes easier.
Here are three basic financial statements that are important for your small business:
- Balance sheet. This statement provides an overall financial snapshot of your small business. As an equation, it looks like liabilities + owner’s equity = assets. The two sides of the equation must balance out. There are two types of assets: current and fixed. Current assets include cash or other holdings that can quickly be converted to cash within a year. These may include inventory, prepaid expenses and accounts receivable. Machinery, equipment, land, buildings, furniture and other essentials that you are not planning to sell are considered fixed assets. Liabilities can be broken down into current or short-term liabilities, such as accounts payable and taxes, and long-term debt such as bank loans or notes payable to stockholders. Owner’s equity includes any invested capital or retained earnings. If you captured all of your accounting information correctly, both sides of the balance sheet equation should be equal. Download SCORE’s template to start setting up your own balance sheet.
Read more on the SBA.gov website.
Hiring employees for your small business can help lighten your workload. But it also creates the need to manage something you didn’t need to worry about when you were handling all aspects of your business by yourself:
Even if you have just one employee, you need to do payroll accurately and in compliance with all legal and regulatory responsibilities. If you don’t, you could incur costly penalties from the Internal Revenue Service.
Before you hire your first employee and put processes in place to handle payroll, make sure you pay attention to two important details. Continue reading