IRS issues guidance to ease transition to FASB’s new revenue recognition rule

In 2014, a new accounting standard on how to recognize revenue from contracts was issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Now the IRS is allowing a new automatic change in accounting method for businesses to use to conform with the new financial accounting standard. This will allow for more book-tax conformity and facilitate accounting method change requests associated with adopting the new standard. New accounting rules Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, goes into effect in 2018 for public companies and 2019 for...

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Provide for your spouse, then your kids, with a QTIP trust

If you want to preserve as much wealth as possible for your children, but you leave property to your spouse outright, there’s no guarantee your objective will be met. This may be a concern if your spouse has poor money management skills or if you two don’t see eye to eye on how assets should be distributed to your children. In both of these situations, a properly designed qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust may be the answer. How does it work? A QTIP trust provides your spouse with income...

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Your original will: Does your family know where to locate it?

In a world that’s increasingly paperless, you’re likely becoming accustomed to conducting a variety of transactions digitally. But when it comes to your last will and testament, only an original, signed document will do. A photocopy isn’t good enough Many people mistakenly believe that a photocopy of a signed will is sufficient. In fact, most states require that a deceased’s original will be filed with the county clerk and, if probate is necessary, presented to the probate court. If your family or executor can’t find your original will, there’s a...

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If charitable giving is part of your estate plan, consider a donor-advised fund

Do you make sizable gifts to charitable causes? If you’re fortunate enough to afford it, you can realize personal gratification from your generosity and may be able to claim a deduction on your tax return. But once you turn over the money or assets, you generally have no further say on how they’re used. You can exercise greater control over your charitable endeavors using a donor-advised fund (DAF). Setting up a DAF As the name implies, your recommendations are integral to a DAF. First, you contribute to a fund typically...

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4 ways to encourage innovation in customer service

When business people speak of innovation, the focus is usually on a pioneering product or state-of-the-art service that will “revolutionize the industry.” But innovation can apply to any aspect of your company — including customer service. Many business owners perceive customer service as a fairly cut-and-dried affair. Customers call, you answer their questions or solve their problems ― and life goes on. Yet there are ways to transform this function and, when companies do, word gets around. People want to do business with organizations that are easy to interact with....

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Ask the right questions about your IT strategy

Most businesses approach technology as an evolving challenge. You don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles you’ll never fully use, but you also don’t want to get left behind as competitors use the latest tech tools to operate more nimbly. To refine your IT strategy over time, you’ve got to regularly reassess your operations and ask the right questions. Here are a few to consider: Are we bogged down by outdated tech? More advanced analytical software can eliminate many time-consuming, repeatable tasks. Systems based on paper files and handwritten...

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2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Seminar

Recently TWRU CPAs & Financial Advisors sponsored a seminar on the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Cherie Odom, a Tax Partner with TWRU, discussed both the individual and the business provisions and Don Brown, a retired managing partner with TWRU, discussed Social Security, Medicare, and RMDs (Required Minimum Distribution) and QCDs (Qualified Charitable Distribution). The seminar lasted about an hour.  You can view and download the presentation here or you could visit our Facebook page and click on the "Videos" tab on the left to view the recorded live streaming video.

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Can you deduct business travel when it’s combined with a vacation?

At this time of year, a summer vacation is on many people’s minds. If you travel for business, combining a business trip with a vacation to offset some of the cost with a tax deduction can sound appealing. But tread carefully, or you might not be eligible for the deduction you’re expecting. General rules Business travel expenses are potentially deductible if the travel is within the United States and the expenses are “ordinary and necessary” and directly related to the business. (Foreign travel expenses may also be deductible, but stricter...

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The TCJA changes some rules for deducting pass-through business losses

It’s not uncommon for businesses to sometimes generate tax losses. But the losses that can be deducted are limited by tax law in some situations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) further restricts the amount of losses that sole proprietors, partners, S corporation shareholders and, typically, limited liability company (LLC) members can currently deduct — beginning in 2018. This could negatively impact owners of start-ups and businesses facing adverse conditions. Before the TCJA Under pre-TCJA law, an individual taxpayer’s business losses could usually be fully deducted in the tax...

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Do you need to adjust your withholding?

If you received a large refund after filing your 2017 income tax return, you’re probably enjoying the influx of cash. But a large refund isn’t all positive. It also means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan. That’s why a large refund for the previous tax year would usually indicate that you should consider reducing the amounts you’re having withheld (and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making) for the current year. But 2018 is a little different. TCJA and withholding To reflect changes under the Tax Cuts and...

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