Stephen Merritt, CPA, PC | Certified Public Accountants | (757) 420-5778
233 Business Park Drive, Suite 104, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
- Tips on Working from Home
- Inherited IRAs and the SECURE Act of 2019
- Happenings at SMCPA
- Tax Calendar
Tips on Working from Home
If you agree that “there’s no place like home,” then you may also have a wish to work from home more often. In many cases, you can, and here are some tools you need to get started.
If the products and services your business sells can be sold or delivered digitally, then you’re a candidate for working from home most of the time. If you have a storefront where customers visit to purchase your products and services, you can still perform some of your business duties remotely or rely on staff to greet and serve the customers.
You may also be able to be proactive about moving more and more of your business online. Some examples include:
- Hold more business meetings online instead of face to face.
- Encourage employees to work from home if their presence does not require face-to-face customer meetings.
- Provide online training for clients who cannot travel to an onsite course.
- Move your scheduling online by providing an app for clients to book their own appointments.
- Move your products online by using a shopping cart.
- Provide a delivery option in your business. (This may have you or your staff traveling more and not less unless your items can be delivered via a shipping service.)
Meeting with Customers
The next best thing to greeting customers in person is using video-conferencing. You can easily start with FaceTime (for iPhone users). Android users have it a little tougher, but many use Facebook’s Messenger, Google’s Duo (both parties need to download the app), or imo (ditto on both parties).
If you have more complex meeting needs, software like Zoom is perfect to get you started. Hardware-wise, you’ll need a webcam, and a microphone is preferred. If you have a cell phone, you can use the mic and speakers in the headset provided.
Simply create your account at Zoom, and set up a meeting. Invite people by emailing them a link to join you. Join the meeting at the set time, and conduct your business with your customer. You can hide your webcam if you’re shy, and you can share your screen in case you want to go over a report or something else with your client. Zoom has a free account option and can be found at https://zoom.us.
And remember, if you’re a little too shy for videoconferencing, you can always conduct business with clients using the good old-fashioned telephone or email.
Sharing Documents with Customers
If you have documents to share with all of your customers, you can post them online on your website. If you have private documents, you can use portal software to securely create a private section of the portal exclusively for that client. Apps that can do this and that are not accounting-specific include Citrix ShareFile and Box.com.
You can also share documents that don’t have sensitive financial or company information with clients using Google Drive. Simply create them, then share them using the email addresses of the appropriate clients.
Receiving Client Communications
Already customers are reaching out to businesses via all of the social media platforms as well as the messaging platforms, such as Messenger and WhatsApp. Your virtual team can easily track all of these incoming messages by watching for notifications from anywhere in the world.
You might also be using an industry-specific app for customer interactions. For example, if you’re in the wellness space, MindBody apps are ubiquitous. If you’re an attorney, you’re likely using Clio.
Keeping in Touch with Your Team
You can use the same tools mentioned above to connect with your team members, but you will probably want one or two more apps – a private messaging app for when urgent things come up that need an immediate answer, and in some cases, a task management system.
Software like Slack is perfect for you to stay in touch with your team and keep communications private. It provides messaging functionality and more.
For task management, there are literally hundreds of apps to choose from. The simplest is something like Todoist, and typical small business options include software such as Asana and Monday.com.
If you want a Swiss-army-knife suite of tools that perform many of the above functions and are deeply integrated, Microsoft Teams fits the bill by providing a full collaborative platform for businesses of all sizes.
Inherited IRAs and the SECURE Act of 2019
At the end of 2019, the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) was signed into law, modifying RMD (required minimum distribution) rules for inherited IRAs and retirement accounts.
Under the SECURE Act, inherited IRAs and retirement accounts must be distributed and taxed within 10 years of the original owner’s death. Prior to the SECURE Act, inherited IRAs were frequently referred to as “stretch” IRAs, as they allowed non-spouse beneficiaries to take relatively small distributions over the course of the beneficiary’s life. The benefit to this was the ability to keep the bulk of the investment in a tax deferred or tax free (Roth IRA) environment.
By capping the lifespan of the inherited IRA at 10 years, the IRA beneficiary’s ability to grow the account over decades in either a tax-free or tax-deferred environment has been significantly impacted. Additionally, the new rules put a burden on beneficiaries in the form of tax acceleration by greatly increasing a beneficiary’s taxable income–especially in situations where the beneficiary has income of their own—resulting in a higher tax rate.
Exceptions to the SECURE Act
· The 10-year period does not apply to surviving spouses—they can treat the inherited IRA as if it were their own
· Disabled beneficiaries are exempt from the 10-year period
· Non-spouse heirs (example: unmarried partner, sibling) who are less than 10 years younger than the original IRA owner can treat the inherited IRA as if it were their own
· Minor children, while still a minor, are exempt from the 10-year timespan. However, as soon as they become adults (age of adulthood is determined by the state in which they live) the 10-year period begins and they must fully distribute the IRA within that timeframe
· The SECURE Act increases the age at which a taxpayer must begin taking required minimum distributions from age 70 ½ to 72. This allows taxpayers to continue their retirement savings for a longer period of time.
Under old tax law, a taxpayer could make IRA contributions until they reached age 70 ½. This has been modified by SECURE Act; now, workers of any age can contribute to a retirement account. This change will make it easier for seniors to make contributions and back-door Roth IRA contributions
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Stephen Merritt, CPA, P.C. understands the challenge the impact COVID-19 has on our community.
Our office will continue with regular business hours; however due to COVID-19 there are no client meetings. We have a handy system of passing the box thru the door, as well as following sanitary procedures.
Monday- Friday 8:00 am till 5:00 pm.
Tax documents may be mailed, FAXed or emailed.
Final Returns will be mailed out.
As always, please call, we are happy to assist.
Stay safe and healthy.
Happenings at SMCPA:
Louis, don’t eat all of your snacks in quarantine!
Employees who work for tips.
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.
File a 2019 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868 and pay what you estimate you owe in tax to avoid penalties and interest. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR by October 15.
If you’re not paying your 2020 income tax through withholding (or won’t pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2020 estimated tax. Use Form 1040-ES. For more information, see Pub. 505.
If you paid cash wages of $2,100 or more in 2019 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040 or 1040–SR), Household Employment Taxes. If you’re required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR), file Schedule H (Form 1040 or 1040-SR) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040 or 1040-SR) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2018 or 2019 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees. For more information, see Pub. 926.
File a 2019 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 7004 and deposit what you estimate you owe in taxes. Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2020. A worksheet, Form 1120-W, is available to help you estimate your tax for the year.
Employees who work for tips.
If you received $20 or more in tips during April, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.