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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Finance 8 Home Office Deduction


If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. The home office deduction is available for homeowners and renters, and applies to all types of homes. There are a few requirements to claim a home office deduction.

Regular and Exclusive Use: You must regularly use part of your home exclusively for conducting business

Principal Place of Your Business: You must use your home as your principal place of your business. If you conduct business at a location outside your home, but also use your home substantially and regularly to conduct business, you can qualify for a home office deduction. If you use a separate free-standing structure, such as a garage, barn or studio exclusively and regularly for business, you can qualify for a home office deduction.

Additional Test for Employees: If you are an employee and you use part of your home for business, you can qualify for a home office deduction. You must meet the the requirements discussed above plus:

Your business use must be for the convenience of your employer, and

You must not rent any part of your home to your employer and use the rented portion to perform services as an employee of that employer.

If the use of your home office is merely appropriate and helpful, you cannot deduct expenses for the business use of your home.

You can figure your home office deduction using either the Simplified Method or the Regular Method.

Under the Simplified Method, you take a home office deduction by multiplying the number of square feet of your home office (300 maximum square feet allowed) times $5.00 per square foot. Thus, the maximum possible deduction is 300 X $5.00 = $1,500. Under this method, the actual expenses of running your home are not taken into account.

Under the Regular Method, you take a home office deduction by multiplying the percentage of your home devoted to business use times the various expenses of running your home, such as mortgage interest, real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and depreciation.

The home office deduction is available to self-employed individuals and to employees.

This article was written by  Donald M. Scherzi, CPA, CFP, LLC

 Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor

Monday, May 9, 2016

Florida is doing well...are YOU?



You may have seen the Sun Sentinel article: Florida economy bounces back. It touts a report from Wells Fargo economists. Among other things it says Florida has more than recovered the losses incurred during the recession. That is good news for all Florida businesses. How about yours?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cybersecurity Tips



Here are ten key cybersecurity tips from the FCC for businesses to protect themselves:

 

1. Train employees in security principles
2. Protect information, computers and networks from cyber attacks
3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
4. Create a mobile device action plan
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information
6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
8. Employ best practices on payment cards
9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software
10. Passwords and authentication


The FCC's CyberSecurity Hub at www.fcc.gov/cyberforsmallbiz has more information, including links to free and low-cost security tools.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Finance 7 Insuring your small business

 

As a small business owner, it is critical that you have the proper insurance policies in place to protect both you and your business from any number of potential legal issues.

The types of insurance you may need will generally depend on the nature of your business and the  potential business risks you may be subject to.

 

Below are some common business insurance policies you will need to consider:

 

  • General Liability
  • Property (Building, Equipment, Machinery, Inventory)
  • Business Auto
  • Home Based Business
  • Workers Compensation
  • Business Overhead
  • Commercial Umbrella
  • Errors & Omissions
  • Malpractice
  • Directors & Officers
  • Key Person
  • Customer/Client Data Breach
     
    When it comes to purchasing insurance, the following recommendations are suggested:
     

  • Purchase only from reputable companies with a strong financial rating
  • Shop around to compare prices
  • If possible, you may get a better rate if you bundle policies with the same   company
  • Don't skimp on liability limits
     
    A  few words on automobiles used in business and home-based businesses.
     
    First, if you have a personal automobile insurance policy and use your auto for business, notify your insurance company to be sure your business use is covered.
     
    Second, if you are a home based business, notify your insurance company as most standard homeowners insurance policies do not provide the necessary coverage for your business.
     
    If you fail to disclose this to your insurance company, you may find that you are not covered for the business use of your automobile and home-based business.
     
     
    This  article was written by  Donald M. Scherzi, CPA, CFP, LLC
     
    Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor