Lessons From The Garage

I'm excited to tell you about a project I've been working on!

Introducing Lessons from the Garage, an internet-based on-demand video content service with popular, up-to-date content created by top business experts on topics ranging from accounting to mergers and acquisitions, crisis management to social media marketing. 

This is a great resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Visit lessonsfromthegarage.com and use the special code SEL1011

Staff Accountant Needed

I am looking for a permanent employee who is able to work 15 to 20 hours per week initially and full time eventually, with flexible schedule.  This position is part staff accountant and part administrative.

Job Duties

  • Assemble client tax returns
  • Administer our Social Media presence
  • Perform ad hoc projects and tasks for firm Principal
  • Prepare individual and business tax returns
  • Process payroll and payroll tax returns for business clients
  • Provide bookkeeping services for business clients
  • Scan documents into our document management system

Qualifications

  • Proficient with QuickBooks
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office products Excel and Word
  • Tax preparation experience

Compensation

$20 - $25 per hour, depending on qualifications, with strong potential for future increases based on performance.

Please send your resume along with a cover letter to mail@collinsallen.com

Introducing Bundled CPA Services!

We are excited to introduce something into which we've put a quite a bit of thought: Bundled CPA Services!

We offer three levels of service, each of which can be further tailored to your business' unique needs:

  • Bookkeeper is our entry-level bundle, best for the small startup business.
  • Accountant is our intermediate bundle, most suitable for the more established business.
  • CFO is our highest bundle, and is great for taking your business to the next level.

More details and pricing to come, but each bundle includes:

  • Preparation of all necessary tax returns.
  • QuickBooks Online subscription
  • Ongoing tax planning
  • Periodic, professionally prepared financial statements
  • Year-round access to our knowledge base and expertise

Please contact us if you are interested in pursuing one of our service bundles, and we will be grateful for the opportunity to earn your business.

Kris A. Collins, CPA
Owner & President
Collins Allen CPAs

Tis the Season for Giving

Since many businesses give gifts during the holiday season, we thought it would be appropriate to share the IRS rules around this practice.

A business can deduct the cost of business gifts. However, total business gifts made (directly or indirectly) during a tax year to any one individual are limited to $25 - anything above this amount is nondeductible.

$25 Limit - A gift to a business entity that is intended for the eventual personal use or benefit of an employee or owner of the entity is considered a gift to an individual (and thus nondeductible to the extent it exceeds $25).

Exceptions to Gift Treatment - A gift to a business for use in its business (e.g., a technical manual) is not considered a gift to an individual and thus is not subject to the $25 limitation. In addition, the following items are not considered gifts subject to the $25 limit:

  1. An item costing the business $4 or less on which the business name is clearly imprinted, and that is one of a number of identical such items given away.
  2. A sign, display rack, or other promotional item to be used on the recipient's business premises.
  3. An item of tangible personal property given as part of an award plan or program to an employee for length of service or safety achievement if it does not cost more than $400 (or $1,600 in the case of a qualified plan award). A qualified plan award is one based on length of service or safety achievement that is part of a nondiscriminatory written plan.

An item that could be considered either a gift or entertainment normally is considered entertainment. However, the business is allowed the option of treating some items as entertainment or gifts, whichever is more advantageous. An example is theater or sporting event tickets given to a customer who is not accompanied to the event by an employee of the gifting business.

Please contact us with any questions about this issue, and Happy Holidays!

Leaving Minnesota

No, I am not leaving Minnesota! However, I am often asked - particularly by my clients who are at or nearing retirement - what needs to be done in order to change one's residency from Minnesota to another state, most commonly Florida. As with most tax law the answer is complicated, but there are some guidelines.

  1. Change your domicile - Domicile is where your "home" is. The State of Minnesota uses 26 factors in determining where your home is. For a list of these factors, please refer to the 2015 Residency Report issued by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. A few highlights from the list:
    • Register to vote in the new state
    • If you maintain a residence in Minnesota after moving away, make sure to change the status to Non Homestead.
    • Change your driver's license to the new state.
    • If you still hunt and fish in Minnesota, be sure purchase nonresident licenses.
  2. Change your physical presence - make sure to spend less than half of the tax year in Minnesota. For rules on what constitutes a day spent in Minnesota, please refer to the aforementioned 2015 Residency Report.
  3. Maintain Records - from the 2015 Residency Report: "Any person domiciled outside Minnesota who maintains a place of abode within Minnesota and claims to be a nonresident of the state must have available for examination adequate records to substantiate that more than one-half of the tax year was spent outside Minnesota. Adequate records means any contemporaneously kept records that establish the places of physical presence of the person on particular dates. Adequate records include, but are not limited to, calendars, diaries, canceled checks, credit card receipts, and airline tickets.

If you or someone you know would like more information on this issue, please contact us.

 

Minnesota Section 529 Plan Credit and Subtraction

The Minnesota legislature has passed two tax cuts for contributions to Section 529 Plans, which has created a nice tax planning opportunity.  The first is a credit of up to $500, and the second is a subtraction of up to $3,000.  Since the credit and subtraction are available to the individual who makes the contribution, this is a tremendous opportunity for parents and grandparents to coordinate their contributions.

For example: if the grandparents plan to contribute $2,000 to their grandchild’s 529 plan for 2017, they could contribute $1,000 and receive the $500 credit, and they could give the remaining $1,000 to their children to contribute to the same 529 plan, who would then also receive the $500 credit.

Of course, the credit is subject to income limitations, but the Subtraction is not.  Please contact us if you wish to take advantage of this tax planning opportunity, and see below for some of the details of the legislation.

 

Section 529 Plan Credit

  • Minnesota residents that contribute to a Section 529 College Savings Plan may be eligible for a nonrefundable credit up to $500.

  • The Section 529 Plan Credit is available beginning tax year 2017.

  • This credit is available to Minnesota residents and part-year residents who contribute to a qualified Section 529 College Savings Plan and meet certain income guidelines.

  • The credit is a maximum of $500 or 50% of contributions made during the year.

  • This credit phases out for taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income over $75,000. 

 

Section 529 Plan Subtraction

  • Individuals who contribute to a Section 529 College Savings Plan may be eligible for a subtraction from income up to $1,500 ($3,000 for married couples filing joint returns).

  • The Section 529 Plan subtraction is available beginning tax year 2017.

  • If you contribute to a Section 529 Plan, you may claim this subtraction. However, if you claim the Section 529 Plan Credit, you cannot claim the subtraction.

  • Many states offer 529 College Savings Plans. Contributions to a qualifying account are eligible regardless of which state administers the plan.

  • Taxpayers filing single, head of household, or married filing separate may qualify for a subtraction up to $1,500. Married couples filing joint returns may qualify for up to $3,000.

Staff Accountant Needed

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I am looking for a permanent employee who is able to work 10 to 20 hours per week initially and eventually full time, with flexible schedule.  This position is part staff accountant (hourly wage), part administrative (hourly wage), and part business development (commission), and is open immediately.

Job Duties

  • Assemble client tax returns
  • Administer our Client Relationship Management software
  • Administer our Social Media presence
  • Perform ad hoc projects and tasks for firm Principal
  • Prepare individual and business tax returns
  • Process payroll and payroll tax returns for business clients
  • Provide bookkeeping services for business clients
  • Scan documents into our document management system

Qualifications

  • Proficient with QuickBooks
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office products Excel and Word
  • Tax preparation experience

Compensation

$15 - $20 per hour, depending on qualifications, with strong potential for future increases based on performance.

Please send your resume along with a cover letter to kcollins@collinsallen.com

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