Michele Sweeten

Move to the Cloud? QBO vs. QB Desktop

So, you’re thinking about QuickBooks. A lot can be said about having a computerized bookkeeping system. It provides so much capability for reliability, business management, and financial organization. Many of our clients are small businesses, with no particular passion for accounting, who need the financial drudgery out of the way of their creative or entrepreneurial process, and they use a QuickBooks product.

But which QuickBooks product is the best?

While Sweeten CPA has many, many combined years of QuickBooks Desktop expertise, we are embracing the shift to QuickBooks Online. Continue reading…

Sales Tax Tips for QBO Users

We’ve talked previously about using the Texas Comptroller’s website to file your sales tax, which you can find here, but where do those numbers come from? How do you keep track of taxable sales? Where do you find your total sales for the quarter or the month?

For QuickBooks Online users, don’t miss this video, which will answer these questions by walking you through where to find the important numbers that enable you to file your sales tax.

Still have questions about your sales tax? Call in and schedule an appointment with a professional.

Paying Sales Tax Online

There are a lot of taxes out there. If you don’t pay the right taxes, by the right deadline, you’ll pay fees in addition to the taxes. No one wants to pay more.  Sales tax is one tax that seems to consistently sneak up on people. Everyone knows income tax is due April 15th–that one’s easy! But how about sales tax? Do you pay quarterly, weekly, annually, or other? Is there an easier way?


Let’s make paying sales tax a little easier by paying online! Here is a video from the TX Comptroller to walk you through the steps of filing your sales tax.

Another Wonderful WonderFest

Every December, Sweeten CPA sets up a booth for the annual WonderFest, held by the Westlake Chamber of Commerce. IMG_3723.JPG

This year, we setup in the shade as the weather was unseasonably warm! Many sweet kids and their parents came by to write notes of gratitude and holiday cheer to the soldiers overseas.

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Faithful team members, David R. & Ryan R., are seen here manning the tables.

Want to be a part of next year’s effort? Visit the Westlake Chamber of Commerce WonderFest page.

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The Time After The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

It’s that time again, folks: time to prepare for tax season! Before too many days of 2016 pass you by, follow the steps below to have the best, most stress-free, and punctual tax season yet!

Set Aside:

As you get documents in the mail over the next few weeks, you should create a place for them to collect before you send them in to your CPA. Make it a place that is easy to access but out of the way, so the documents won’t be bothered. Remember to scan these or hand them in to us before February 15th for corporate returns and March 15th for personal returns. Here are some things you should keep an eye out for.

  • W-2s
  • 1099s
  • End of year loan statements
  • 1098s
  • W-3s
  • End of year statements from bank, especially with amount of money earned on savings accounts for the year
  • Health insurance statements: don’t forget that legislation is changing all the time on this. Tax returns and bookkeeping are taking up more time to compensate for the new policies. You’re trying to figure this out and we’re here to help. We need to know how you received insurance, how much, by whom, which family members, and what dates, at least. Send us your insurance premiums, whether paid out of pocket, reported on your W-2, or paid from your company– the more information we have, the better.
  • And more! If it looks important, it’s better to send it to us than not!

 

Write Down:

Before you forget, write down or gather together this important information that Sweeten CPA will need to complete your return:

  • Total mileage for 2015!maxresdefault.jpg
  • Business mileage
  • Business expenditures from personal accounts
  • And more! If you have any questions, shoot us an email

 

Happy Tax Season and we’ll see you soon!

 

Sweeten CPA Runs a 5K For The Water

Michele and Daniel Sweeten had the opportunity to meet Gilbert Tuhabonye, and two and a half months later a team from Sweeten CPA were queuing up to complete a 5k.

The Runners Cueing Up

Gilbert has affected many here in Austin and in the world wide running community. He is native to Burundi, Africa and moved to the United State after being almost burned to death in the horrifying war between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes.


Best Group Photo

Run for the Water is a fully charity-produced race and benefits Gilbert’s Gazelle Foundation. The mission of the Gazelle Foundation is to better the lives of citizens of Burundi through the building of water systems.

Our team was small, just four people, but every little bit helps provide water for those in need. See how you can support the cause and give back to the global community.

David & Michele at Finish Line Run for the Water

Sweeten CPA Teams Up with CAFB

Sweeten CPA strives to establish order, promote clarity, and enrich the lives of those connected to and around our work. As part of this mission, a team from the Westlake Chamber of Commerce joined the battle against hunger with the Capital Area Food Bank.

In the fiscal year of 2013-2014, Capital Area Food Bank distributed 31 million pounds of food to families in need.

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It doesn’t take much to help. We spent a Saturday morning lending our hands (and hearts) to the work at the CAFB.

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Volunteer to serve your community at the Capital Area Food Bank.

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Hot off the Press: Texas Franchise Taxes Reduced!!

In a push to create new jobs and business incentives, Governor Greg Abbott just signed House Bill 32, a proposal lifting tax burdens on businesses. Born in March, the bill was approved by the House April 29th, approved in the Senate a month later on May 24th, and finally signed by the governor this week on June 15th. The bill was signed at Advanced Micro Designs, one of the top ten franchise tax payers in Austin, TX, as a sign that Texas rewards businesses for simply being Texan.

The bill includes a 25-percent, across-the-board cut in business-franchise tax rates. It also increases the revenue threshold for businesses who choose to be E-Z filers to $20 million, from $10 million. The E-Z filers’ tax rate declines to 0.331 percent of receipts, from 0.575 percent. The bill is expected to cost the state $2.56 billion over the next two years.

Another tax break introduced in the bill is the elimination of licensing fees for approximately 600,000 professionals. Even the average taxpayer will be impacted by this bill, as homeowners are expected to save about $125 per year just in property taxes. Big businesses are encouraged to put down roots in Texas with this bill– Abbott’s people are talking to GE’s people– but Abbott clearly had small businesses in mind too: “Overregulation is costly at any level, especially to small businesses.”

Here at Sweeten CPA, Michele was firmly in favor of the franchise tax cut.  “That rate reduction will affect about 20% of my clients, who are currently subject to the franchise tax.  Many of my small business clients are already beneath the threshold for the tax, and file a No Tax Due Return annually.  But for those successful and growing firms who are over the $1,000,000 threshold for paying the Texas Franchise Tax, the 25% savings will be truly felt!”

[Find more about his speech summed up by the Texas Tribune here.]

How do I get a mileage deduction?

Mileage deductions can be difficult to understand when you’re recording your business expenses, but we can make it simple for you.

Actual Vs. Standard Mileage

In order to take any kind of deduction, the taxpayer is required to keep a written log of all miles driven and record how many were driven for business use and how many were driven for personal use. There are two options: actual auto expenses or the standard mileage deduction.

Since the standard mileage deduction is based on an average, in a large percentage of cases, using the mileage deduction produces a larger auto expense deduction than actual expenses. In order to use standard mileage, it must be used the first year the vehicle is placed in service.  After the first year, taxpayers can decide to use whichever method (actual or standard mileage) that has the highest amount of expense.

(Note: If the vehicle is leased, you must choose either standard or actual for the entire life of the lease.)

To get the actual auto expense deduction, the taxpayer must keep track of all maintenance, repairs, fuel, tires, insurance, registration fees, licenses, etc. and determine how much of that is attributable to the portion of the total miles driven that are business miles.

IRS 2014 Mileage Rates:

  • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

IRS 2015 Mileage Rates:

  • 57.6 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

To take advantage of this deduction; a taxpayer must keep track of:

  • All business miles driven for the year (in written form)
  • Total miles driven for the year (in written form)

When can you NOT use the standard mileage rate?

  • For commuting miles, which are the miles going from home to work and vice versa
  • If your car is for hire, for instance a taxi cab
  • If you use five or more cars at the same time for business, for instance a fleet operation
  • If you have already counted the depreciation of the vehicle as a deduction or allowance

Note: Parking fees and tolls for the business are separately deductible, regardless of which deduction method is used.