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Tax Preparation Support Program: The Next Small Firm Practice Area?

When it comes to understanding their income tax options, nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of employees do not fully comprehend how their W-4 forms impact their taxes and paychecks, according to a national survey by Hudson. That figure rises to 29 percent when looking at workers aged 18-29 years old. Additionally, two in every five U.S. workers (40 percent) would be interested in a tax preparation support program from their firms if it were offered.Further, just one-third (34 percent) of workers report that they prepare their taxes themselves, compared to 55 percent who hire a professional.
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Push is on to Require Finance Education in High Schools

Hoping to stem the future tide of overwhelming credit card debt, personal bankruptcies and foreclosures, seven states are now requiring high school students take a personal finance class, the Associated Press reported.A survey by the National Council on Economic Education found that the seven states require the basic finance course as a prerequisite for graduation, which is up from four states in 2002.
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Small Accounting Firms Shop for 'Safe' Companies

Smaller accounting firms are scrutinizing potential clients like never before.Accounting firms of all sizes and their clients are approaching each other far differently than they did in the pre-Enron business environment. Firms are looking for “safer” companies, and higher-risk companies are searching long and hard to find the right firms, the American City Business Journal Wire Service reported."The client-acceptance standards clearly have been raised, certainly by Grant Thornton, and, I believe, by all the firms," said Richard D.
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You Can't Learn the Most Important Business Skill in School

In a recent study that asked more than 2,500 businesspeople what impacted their bottom line the most -- nearly 75% said it was networking. So why has almost nobody been taught to network in school?Dr. Ivan Misner, CEO of the world's largest networking firm and a business professor at Cal Poly University in Pomona, CA, has recently released data he compiled in a comprehensive study of businesspeople around the world.
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Corporate Taxes Shrinking, Panel Investigating

Corporate tax collections are down, a sign that companies are making use of sophisticated tax planning, stock options and other tools to reduce their tax burden, the Wall Street Journal reported.Another factor cited by a leading tax expert at a forum on Tuesday is that the global economy is outpacing an income tax that was set up for the industrial age."The corporate tax base is under attack from many directions," Douglas Shackelford, professor at University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, said in prepared remarks before the Federal Advisory Panel on Tax Reform.The
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Be Wary of Unlicensed Tax Preparers

Taxpayers beware-unlicensed tax preparers can mean big trouble, leading to hefty fines and jail time for those who file fraudulent returns, the San Antonio Express-News reported.With half of the 8.9 million signed returns filed in Texas last year coming from unlicensed tax preparers, the potential for fraud is huge. It is critical to check the background of the person preparing individual returns, the IRS cautions. Certified public accountants and other IRS-licensed tax preparers must pass a test and meet certification requirements.
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AICPA Issues Report on Social Security Reform

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) released this week a comprehensive analysis of the factors that should be considered for Social Security reform. The intent of this publication is to provide a tool that will aid in this important debate. The goal of the report is to provide unbiased facts on the degree of the Social Security program’s financial problem and the impacts on the economy and society.
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Reducing Marginal Tax Rates Increases Entrepreneurship, Study Shows

Reducing marginal income tax rates on entrepreneurs increases entrepreneurial entry, decreases exit from entrepreneurship, and lengthens the duration of entrepreneurial ventures, according to a study released last week by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration."This study shows how tax rates directly impact entrepreneurship," said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy. "Reducing marginal tax rates on entrepreneurial income provides a clear incentive for entrepreneurial activity.
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Seven Ways to Get Your Clients to Pay You on Time

By Christopher KnightTeach them to pay you on time. You do this by being consistent in your enforcement of your payment policies and calls to them within days, not weeks, if they miss a payment. Accept all major credit cards. You are about service, right? You do want to make it easier for your client to do business with you, right? Lastly, you do want their money in your bank account overnight, right? Then accept MC/Visa/Discover and American Express. Give them a direct debit option, if you are billing them a recurring charge.
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GOP Proposes Big Tax Relief for U.S. Businesses

Senate debate continues today on a proposal to offer $4.2 billion in tax relief for U.S. businesses to lighten the burden of a higher minimum wage.The proposal, offered by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., calls for tax breaks and regulatory relief combined with raising the minimum wage by $1.10 to $6.25 per hour over 18 months, according to Dow Jones Newswires, quoting Senate aides.Santorum's plan counters a proposal by Sen.
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Treasury, IRS Issue Proposed rules for Roth Contributions to 401(k) Plans

The Department of Treasury and IRS this week announced proposed regulations regarding designated Roth contributions to 401(k) plans. Roth contributions, which were created in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), will allow for employees to designate all or a portion of their 401(k) employee deferrals on an after-tax basis. Most distributions of the amount contributed as well as any earnings on those contributions will be tax-free.
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IBM Demands Bonuses Back from Former Consultants

IBM is demanding bonus money back from some consultants who left the company last year.IBM has been sending the letters to consultants who joined IBM from PricewaterhouseCoopers after IBM bought PwC Consulting in 2002, Forbes reported. When the former PwC employees started working for IBM, they received lower salaries, but IBM later made up for it by paying bonuses that amounted to 2 percent of salary, the former consultants say. The 2 percent payouts, ranging from several hundred dollars to several thousand, were made in February 2003, July 2003 and February 2004.
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CEOs of Top Brokerage Firms Get Dramatic Pay Raises

Chief executive officers at four major brokerage firms received dramatic pay increases in a year when stocks rose an average of only 4.7 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported.The four executives, from Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., made a total of $110.1 million, an average raise of 33 percent.Morgan Stanley's shares fell 8.2 percent in the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, while CEO Phil Purcell received a 47 percent raise over the previous year's pay.
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NASD Warns Investors Too Much Company Stock Can Jeopardize Financial Future

NASD today issued an Investor Alert warning workers against concentrating too much company stock in their 401(k) plans and stressing the importance of diversifying retirement investment accounts. The Alert, Putting Too Much Stock In Your Company -- A 401(k) Problem, identifies the problems with owning too much company stock and explains how investors can balance their 401(k) portfolios. "For some people, a 401(k) plan is their only form of retirement savings," said John Gannon, NASD Vice President for Investor Education.
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Majority of Executives Claim They Don't Deserve Customer Loyalty

Companies continue the downward trend of taking their customers for granted and the overall relationship between company and customer is getting worse, according to the 2004 annual survey and Customer Experience Management (CEM) report from Strativity Group, Inc. in cooperation with CustomerSat, Inc.
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Verizon to Acquire MCI for $5.3 Billion in Equity and Cash

Verizon Communications Inc. and MCI, Inc. this week announced that Verizon has agreed to acquire MCI for $4.8 billion in equity and $488 million in cash. The transaction adds new strength to the telecommunications services both companies provide.
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Strategies For Communicating With Your Clients

By Sandra L. Wiley, Boomer Consulting, Inc. - Congratulations! You accomplished the first step towards success in your company, you have clients! So… now what?Everyone knows that retaining current clients is MUCH easier than finding new ones, or is it? Have you put some serious thought into how you are going to keep those clients you worked so hard to get? Retention requires attention! You will only keep clients if you continually provide them with ongoing value that not only satisfies them, but bonds them to your company!
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Accounting Firm Opens Accounting, Payroll Processing Center in Charlotte, NC

Richard A. Beauchemin, CPA/Carolina Accounting & Tax Service, PLLC announced the opening of its new payroll and accounting facility. The center will provide the requisite room, equipment and infrastructure necessary to continue to produce and deliver the high level of quality services its customers have come to expect, while allowing room for expansion and growth. Richard A.
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Is Your Business Eligible to Use Schedule C-EZ?

Your business may have become eligible to use the abbreviated Schedule C-EZ instead of the longer Schedule C when reporting business profit and loss on your tax year 2004 federal income tax return, according to the IRS.
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NACM Applauds Movement on Commercial Bankruptcy Reform

The National Association of Credit Management (NACM) commends U.S.

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