Skip to content

Sometimes You Need an Expert

Skip added hassle by doing things the right way—the first time. Here is a listing of frequently asked questions, and solutions to common difficulties other clients have had. Periodically check this page, as we are continually adding content.

You can pick a topic from the menu on the right, or select one of the following topics:

How Can I See My Refund Status?

The IRS provides an online tool to help you find the status quickly:

Get Refund Status

How Do I Export My QuickBooks or Quicken File?

We have guides available to walk you through the process:

Mac OS X QuickBooks Export
Windows QuickBooks Export

Quicken is another beast entirely, and quite frankly small businesses should skip it and move directly to QuickBooks. That said, for those of you who haven't migrated yet, its better not to send us a backup file – instead contact us and we'll walk you through it.

If you have a Mac version of Quicken, see this guide:

Mac OS X Quicken Export

If you need any more help just let us know.

How Long Do We Need To Keep Our Files?

We have typed up a recommended list for your reference: Records Retention

Is my BP Claim Settlement Taxable?

It depends, but as you can see in the below payments due to lost wages or income will be taxable.

Taxable:
  • Lost wages or income
Non-Taxable:
  • Property Damage (if payment does not exceed basis in property)
  • Physical Injury

Is There a New 3.8% Sales Tax on Real Estate?

We were asked:

I am trying to find out if it is true that homeowners selling after Jan 1 2013 will have to pay a 3.8% sales tax on their sale. I have asked a couple of realtors but on one can give me an answer. I get emails all the time claiming that this is a part of Obamacare in order to pay for it.

We get this question all the time. There was an extremely popular email that claimed such, and the idea gained new life as 2013 rolled around.

As with most tax questions the answer is: it depends. However calling the tax a 3.8% sales tax is disingenuous at best, and it wrongly implies that selling your house for $100,000.00 would yield an additional $3,800.00 tax. The reality is that the majority of tax payers will not hit the necessary thresholds to trigger such an event. However, some will and they need to plan accordingly.

 

Who Will be Affected by the 3.8% Medicare Contribution Tax?

What is true is that taking effect immediately on January 1, 2013, there will be a 3.8% Medicare surtax imposed on a taxpayer’s “net investment income” (NII) and it will generally apply to passive income. The Medicare surtax also will apply to capital gains from the disposition of property, and as such it could apply to taxpayers who both: a) sell their homes and make a taxable profit (remember, for many married couples the first $500,000.00 gain of their principle residence may be excluded, $250,000.00 for most single persons) and b) meet the below MAGI thresholds.

Additionally for individuals, the Medicare surtax is based on the lesser of the taxpayer’s NII or the amount of “modified” adjusted gross income MAGI above a specified threshold. 

 

The MAGI thresholds are:

• $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly or a surviving spouse;
• $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately; and
• $200,000 for single and head of household taxpayers.

 
NII includes:

• Gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents, provided this income is not derived in the ordinary course of an active trade or business;
• Gross income from a trade or business that is a passive activity;
• Gross income from a trade or business of trading in financial instruments or commodities; and
• Net gain from the disposition of property, other than property held in an active trade or business.

 
Questions to Discuss With Us:
  • Is my household over the MAGI threshold, will it be in the future?
  • Are my investment gains passive or active?
  • How will other new tax changes affect me?
  • Should I schedule or structure sales of assets differently?
  • Do I need to reconsider the design of my business entities?

For more information or if you are concerned that the tax will affect you, please contact our office.

Additionally, the national association of realtors has a few examples focusing on real estate sales here.

Is this Form STD 261 Email Legitimate, Spam, or a Virus?

We've received questions about the following email:

All employees need to have on file this form STD 261 (attached). The original is retained by supervisor and copy goes to Accounting. Accounting need this form to approve mileage reimbursement.

The form can be used for multiple years, however it needs to re-signed annually by employee and supervisor.

Please confirm all employees that may travel using their private car on state business (including training) has a current STD 261 on file. Not having a current copy of this form on file in Accounting may delay a travel reimbursement claim. 

+ ZIP attachment

With the sea of government forms seemingly growing by the minute, this one makes your heart skip a beat thinking that possibly you have missed a deadline. While the form may be legitimate, here are the red flags that you need to recognize:

  • You do not know the sender
  • There is a zip attachment
  • You likely received multiple copies
  • It is out of the blue

What's verdict? 

It is a virus

Should I use Quicken for my Small Business Accounting?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nope.

Why:

a) From an accounting and legal perspective you should not be commingling funds. Quicken can encourage a user to do just that.

b) Quicken is not designed or supported in the same way that QuickBooks is. Unfortunately, we are often faced with problems opening and working with both Quicken and QuickBooks files, the difference lies the solutions available to us. 

What is a Form 8752 & Why Do I Need To File It?

"Form 8752 - Required Payment or Refund Under Section 7519" is certainly not the clearest form title.

Simply:

The IRS asks Fiscal Year, S Corporations, and Partnerships to file a Form 8752. The IRS then holds in an escrow-like account an estimate of you would have paid if you operated on a calendar year end. Essentially its like a security deposit that a landlord may require from a tenant.

However, since it is "in escrow" you receive a portion of the funds back if your profit decreases from year to year, and your receive the funds back in total if there is a tax loss or the business is dissolved. 

For instance, If your profit does not change from year to year, you will not need to make a payment after your first year. Watch what happens with the following example of a September-Year-End company, that closes after its 9th year:

 

Deferral Period      
25% Taxable Profit 8752 Payment or Refund 8752 'Escrow' Account
First Year $100,000.00 $9,000.00 $0.00
Second Year $100,000.00 $0.00 $9,000.00
Third Year $100,000.00 $0.00 $9,000.00
Fourth Year $200,000.00 $9,000.00 $9,000.00
Fifth Year $0.00 -$18,000.00 $18,000.00
Sixth Year $200,000.00 $18,000.00 $0.00
Seventh Year $300,000.00 $9,000.00 $18,000.00
Eighth Year $500,000.00 $18,000.00 $27,000.00
Ninth Year $500,000.00 $0.00 $45,000.00
Escrow Refunded $0.00 -$45,000.00 $45,000.00

 

Note, the negative values of the "8752 Payment or Refund" column are refunds, the positive are payments.

What Scanner Settings Should I Use for Scanning Documents?

Scanning for document management is not the same as scanning for photo editing.

Documents should be scanned as a PDF, in 300 DPI black and white (not grayscale.) This will produce documents that are very readable, a reasonable size, and that will work well with OCR software

However, check your documents. Some scanners and software are not able to handle the background of colored checks, or turn yellow highlighter marks black. If you need assistance, please let us know. 

Where Do I File My Companies Annual Report?

You file your companies Annual Report in the state that it was incorporated in, this is not necessarily the state that you do the most business in.

See the Page:http://www.famiglio.com/state-corporate-filing-websites

Its a good reference, providing links to the various websites used by each state.

Where Do You Recommend I Shop For Software?

Typically we purchase our non-enterprise software from http://www.amazon.com and suggest others do the same.

We have found Amazon.com to have excellent customer service, and the most honorable of the Internet stores we have used. Prices tend to be quite a bit less than 'brick and mortar' stores like BestBuy, OfficeMax, and Staples. Shop around and see, but we use them so much we signed up as affiliates, and purchased Amazon Prime membership so we get most of our items with two day shipping.

For those interested specifically in QuickBooks products, here is a link: Amazon's Quickbooks Offerings

If for whatever reason you do not want to use the affiliate link, click here.