Accounting 101: Cash- vs. accrual-basis reporting
Business Ownership


Qualifying small businesses and service firms often use the cash-basis method of accounting. But as a business grows, it usually needs to convert to accrual-basis reporting for federal tax purposes and to conform with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). For federal tax purposes, the simpler cash method is generally available to small businesses with annual gross receipts of less than $5 million and to professional services firms of all sizes.

In recent years, Congress has threatened to require more businesses to make the cash-to-accrual conversion, so the IRS can collect taxes sooner. Here’s how these accounting methods differ and why it’s important to pick the reporting option that’s right for your business.

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Business owners: Put your successor to work before you set sail
Business Ownership


A hastily chosen or ill-prepared successor can lead a company astray or, in worst cases, mismanage it into bankruptcy. Before you set sail into retirement or perhaps on to your next great professional adventure, make absolutely sure that your chosen replacement is ready to, well, succeed.

Build stakeholder confidence

Perhaps the simplest, most important thing you can do is to put your successor to work. Co-owners, board members and employees are more apt to follow a replacement’s lead if they feel confident in his or her knowledge and skills. And the only way to truly build that confidence is to allow these stakeholders to experience your successor’s leadership style and capabilities first-hand.

For instance, let your successor gain experience examining and discussing financial information for tax and financial reporting compliance and profitability analysis. In addition, allow him or her to spend time among your HR staff to learn about your hiring methods and benefits issues.

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How many employees does your business have for ACA purposes?
Business Ownership


It seems like a simple question: How many full-time workers does your business employ? But, when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the answer can be complicated.

The number of workers you employ determines whether your organization is an applicable large employer (ALE). Just because your business isn’t an ALE one year doesn’t mean it won’t be the next year.

50 is the magic number

Your business is an ALE if you had an average of 50 or more full time employees — including full-time equivalent employees — during the prior calendar year. Therefore, you’ll count the number of full time employees you have during 2016 to determine if you’re an ALE for 2017.
Under the law, an ALE:

Is subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions with their potential penalties, and
Must comply with certain information reporting requirements, including calculating full-timers, part time and seasonal employee status.
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Make Your 2017 Tax Return Audit-Proof
Business Ownership

27098556433_85b0561903Audits are one of the great mysteries for many taxpayers: How do they happen? Why do they happen? How often do they happen? And who, exactly, gets audited?

I joined Hancock & Dana in 2014 after a 26-year career with the IRS as a Revenue Agent and manager. Today, I specialize in representing individual and business clients with IRS issues including audits, notices, collection, employment tax, appeals, and offer-in-compromise. My background gives me a unique understanding of how to resolve and avoid IRS issues. The IRS uses a variety of techniques to select returns to audit.  These techniques range from simple comparisons of the W-2s and 1099s you received to what is reported on your return.  If there is a discrepancy, you receive a notice.  Other techniques are more sophisticated where returns are reviewed for unusual items.  The IRS also focuses on specific types of returns where it thinks there might be compliance problems.  In recent year, the IRS has focused on partnerships, S corporations, and high-income people.  The most recent push is on businesses with a lot of Cash sales.  The assumption is all of the Cash might not be reported.

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The “kiddie tax”: A trap for the unwary
Personal Finance


It’s common for parents, grandparents and others to make gifts to minors and college students. Perhaps you want to help fund education expenses or simply remove assets from your taxable estate. Or maybe you’re hoping to shift income into a lower tax bracket. Whatever the reason, beware of the “kiddie tax.”

What is the kiddie tax?

For children subject to the kiddie tax, any unearned income beyond $2,100 (for 2016) is taxed at their parents’ marginal rate (assuming it’s higher), rather than their own likely low rate.

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Hancock & Dana Announces Janet Osborn, CPA, as New Managing Partner

Ervin_11121382-Edit_2Hancock & Dana is very excited to announce that Janet Osborn, CPA has been named Managing Partner effective July 1, 2016.

“Janet has done an excellent job taking over my client responsibilities as I transition to retirement”, said John Hancock, co-founder of Hancock & Dana.  “She has a unique ability to connect with people. I am confident that her intelligence, compassion and common sense approach will make her an outstanding Managing Partner.”

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6 FAQs for Understanding Household Help and Taxes

babysitter working with a toddlerDo you spend $50 per week ($2,600 annually) on a babysitter to watch your kids in the afternoons? What about that cleaning lady you pay $25/hour for three hours of work three times a month ($2,025 over nine months?) Although you might not consider yourself as having “household employees,” routine service people like babysitters, cleaners, gardeners, nannies, nurses, and drivers might be classified as employees, and taxes should be paid accordingly, if you spend over $1,900 per year on them.

Here are six tips for first, determining whether or not you have employees, and second, navigating what can be a complicated tax landscape if you do.

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Tax How-To: Summer Camp Expenses
Personal Finance

9201387557_27e92b257aMaybe your child is spending their summer learning about computing or veterinary science at one of the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Aim for the Stars summer camps. Maybe they’re heading to day camp and engaging their creative side at the Joslyn Art Museum, or maybe they’re enjoying one of Omaha’s numerous sleepaway or day camps in or around the city. Summer camp can be an enriching experience, without a doubt, but it can also be pricey. The American Camp Association notes that summer camp is actually an $18 billion dollar industry, thanks to the over 14,000 day and resident camps in the United States. And as it turns out, since 2002, the number of ACA day camps has increased by 69% and resident camps have increased by 21%. People are spending more dollars on camp than ever before.

What many parents don’t know, however, is that the IRS is willing to lend a hand when it comes to paying for certain (not all) summer camps. Here’s the scoop on how to understand and deduct as much as you can to defer the cost of your child’s living-learning experience.

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The 411 On SUTA and FUTA: When, Why, and How They Come Into Play
Business Ownership

female pole vaulter

There are lots of taxes out there. Do you know what you’re paying for, or exactly where those tax dollars are going? Particularly when it comes to payroll, it can be a challenge for employers to get to the heart of their tax structure, and truly understand where those funds are going when they are spent by the government.

Thus, this article is the first in a series designed to break down the taxes you’re paying, where they’ve come from, and where they stand today. Stay tuned during the next several months for more posts in the series, and be sure to let us know if you have ever paid a tax that you’ve been curious about. We’d be happy to share more information!

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There Are No Scholarships for Retirement: Saving for Retirement vs. Saving for College
Retirement Planning

college graduation usfThere’s the proverbial question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Here’s another one for you: Which comes first in your saving priorities, saving for retirement or saving for your child’s college education?

In an ideal world, you could save healthy amounts for both. Helping your child achieve higher education is a savings priority for many parents, and college almost always comes sooner in life than retirement. However, the world is rarely perfect, and thus many parents must choose between whether or not they plan to squirrel away their hard-earned salaries for their golden years, or prepare to give their children the gift of education.

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Hancock & Dana, PC
Certified Public Accountants and Business Consultants
12829 West Dodge Road, Suite 100
Omaha, NE 68154

Phone: 402.391.1065
Fax: 402.334.9498

Email: info@hancockdana.com