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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to lose customers


Recently I had the need to check the air in the tires of my car. I attempted to use an air machine installed at a local gas station. The machine took my credit card and charged $1.50 for a few minutes. On the first tire it became obvious that the machine was not functioning.

The attendant in the convenience store at the gas station, to which the air machine is attached, said they had nothing to do with the air machine and refused to either take note of the failed machine or provide a credit. I left and went to another gas station/convenience store with yet another air machine that functioned properly, for a fee of $0.50. That’s right one third of the cost and it worked!

Guess where I buy my gas and other items now. Want to guess where I tell my friends to stay away from?

I also found a local ‘service’ station with free air.

How about your business?


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

You Get The Business


Here is a case of the early bird winning the race.

My wife noticed that the washing machine water mixing valve was leaking. I checked and we determined that the valve needed replacement. We felt it was best to have a plumber handle the task. We called the plumber normally used by our association and were told they could get to it in about three weeks! Our Property Manager suggested two other plumbers. We called. One said they were not taking on any new clients! Two had answering machines on which I described the job and requested a return call. One of the answering machines had a recorded message: “we respond to emergencies and normal repairs”. Eight hours later, neither returned my call. But we did not wait around. We found a plumbing franchise that said they could do the job. They also had their technician call to determine if he had the part on his truck. He did! We possibly paid a bit more, but the job was done with a one year warranty on parts and labor. We called back the firm that schedule us for three weeks out, and told them to cancel it. We also left a message for the firm that said they did emergency work and told them then needed to delete that.

How responsive is your business?

 
Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Accounting Periods



Taxable income is computed on the basis of a taxpayer's tax year.

Tax Year of 12 Months

A tax year is the annual accounting period regularly used by a taxpayer in keeping books and records to compute income.

There are two common accounting periods.

1-Calendar Year (a period of 12 months ending on December 31).

2-Fiscal Year (a period of 12 months ending on the last day of any month other than December).

Short Tax Year

A short tax year is a period of less than 12 months and is common when a new business comes into existence after January 1 of its initial year and or when a business closes sometime during its last year in existence other than on December 31.

Keeping Business Records

A taxpayer should keep business records based on the accounting period used for computing taxable income when filing income tax returns.

Certain business entities MUST use a specific accounting period prescribed by the IRS

An S Corporation or a Personal Service Corporation must use a calendar year unless the entity can establish a business purpose for having a different tax year. A Partnership must use the same tax year as that of its owners, unless the entity can establish a business purpose for having a different tax year.

 
This article was written by Donald M. Scherzi, CPA, CFP, LLC
Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor
Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net

 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Marketing Tip of the Month


#3  LESS IS CHEAPER, MORE IS BETTER

OK, this street runs North AND South. Here are 2 choices for you to ponder in your marketing. ONE:  Offer a simpler/cheaper/smaller version of your product or service. TWO: Just the opposite: Offer a fancier/bigger/more expensive version of your product or service. Think about it: Is what you’re offering now absolutely the only and best way? This one trick could change your whole business.
 
Martin Kahn, SCORE Counselor

 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Stop The Pressess


It's not every day when an American company gets elected to the "Inc. 5000"., but this year, right now, one of our very own clients has been selected for this honor, recognizing  his company as "one of the fastest growing private companies in America."

The honoree is Ankit Jain, and his journey began right here, in our Boca office, when he walked in a few years ago to say he had left his very good job because he wanted to start a company selling ear buds.

The Counselor he met that day, who has nurtured him, coached him, guided him, is our own HerbDouglas, who, aided  by various colleagues thru the years, has guided "The Ankit Company" to national and international recognition and growth, with a growing catalog of items..

This is an extraordinary honor, and we all salute Herb for being the Man behind the Scenes, helping make it all happen.

SCORE South Palm Beach Shines Today, Brighter Than Ever.


Martin Kahn, Score Counselor
Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Business DANGER signs


I came across a good article by Rhonda Abrams in USA Today that I thought would be of interest. The article focused on Danger signs that your business could fail. So, I list those signs here:

1. You cannot pay your bills

2. Sales are dropping

3. Employees quit

4. There is no competition

5. Large competitors are showing up

6. You cannot handle the growth

7. The business is in turmoil

 
Any one, or a combination of these, are signs that the end may be near.

Seek Help ASAP

 

Steve Koenig, Score Counselor

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mixing Business and Personal Accounts Don't Do It!

 

The tax law requires all businesses to maintain an accurate and complete set of business records that clearly reflects business income and business expenses only.

Too often though, business owners commingle their business and personal accounts.  And this can lead to all sorts of problems, including tax, non-tax, and legal problems down the road.

Business owners must keep separate business income and expenses from their personal income and expenses, and here's why:

1-To file accurate and complete tax returns that clearly reflects business income and expenses only.

2-To minimize a potential tax audit and unfavorable outcome.

3-To avoid potential legal issues with customers, vendors, creditors and other related parties.

4-To avoid having the business involuntarily dissolved and or challenged in a court of law.

5-The tax law requires it.

6-To prepare proper financial statements (and obtain clean audits and reviews is applicable).

7-To present to prospective buyers accurate and complete financial statements and tax returns.

8-To present to possible creditors to obtain financing.

9-To avoid potential legal issues between the business owners themselves.

Thus, all businesses must give careful consideration to proper record-keeping day from day one to ensure they meet their obligations to society as a whole.

 
This article was written by Donald M. Scherzi, CPA, CFP, LLC
Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor
Visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Special Mentor of the Month


We are delighted to shine the spotlight on a distinguished member of our staff who by his or her efforts brings great credit to our organization. This month we are honored to salute:
 

JOHN ANKERMAN

 

 

 
John has been an exemplary Mentor with our Chapter ever since joining in December 2008. In that time he has shared his extensive business expertise with hundreds of SCORE clients, always assisting them with care and understanding. And it is those hallmarks that we salute in John, as we honor him as our Special Counselor of the Quarter, for July, August, and September.
At the same time we would be remiss were we not to extend a very big Thank You for the yeoman service John has provided to our Chapter every year he has been a Mentor with us, by being the “guy to go to” to make our Annual Business Conferences the major successes they have been. It is John, more than any other person, who has handled a myriad of tasks at each of those events over the past 8 years that we have been doing them. It is John who has gone to the site in the very early hours of the morning, before sunrise, to see that important signs are placed in strategic locations to direct attendees arriving on campus. It is John who has run the vital errands to get and transport the cases of water, the many trays of food, the cases of soda, safely bringing them onsite, then carrying them to point of use, many times all by himself.
At the office you will often find John at the computer, entering his notes and observations about his clients, after first gathering all the needed information sought in our Global Profile, and doing it in a way that has earned him the admiration of his fellow Counselors. Even when his outside business commitments demanded much of him, John has always found time to be of service to others.
In the long history of our Chapter, which was founded in 1977 in a little storefront in Delray Beach, we have been blessed with the outstanding services of many fine men and women. It is to that Pantheon of leaders that we now proudly add the name of our friend, dedicated Mentor, and superb human being, John Ankerman.
 
Take a bow, John, you have richly earned the designation of our Counselor of the Quarter for July, August, and September 2017!
 

 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Marketing Tip of the Month


 

#2. Q & A WITH YOUR CLIENTS

Do you REALLY know why your customers chose you? Was it price, service, quality, all 3? ASK them: Why did you choose me and how can I serve you even better? Wow, so simple. Talk to your customers!

Martin Kahn, Score Counselor
visit us at: www.scoresouthflorida.net
 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Tax Identity Theft


  

Tax identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.

 

You may be unaware that this happened until you e-file your return and discover that a return already has been filed using your Social Security Number. Or, the IRS may send you a letter saying they have identified a suspicious return using your Social Security number.

 

Know The Warning Signs

  • The IRS sends you a letter indicating possible identity theft.
  • More than one tax return was filed using your Social Security number.
  • You owe additional tax, refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
  • IRS records indicate you received wages or other income from an employer for whom you did not work.
  • Your e-filed tax return is rejected by the IRS indicating a return has been filed using your Social Security number.
     
    Steps to take if you become a victim
     
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov
  • Contact one of the three major credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:
    Equifax 800-766-0008
    Experian 888-397-3742
    TransUnion 800-680-7289
  • Contact the IRS Taxpayer Identity Theft Division 800-908-4490
  • Contact your financial institutions, credit card companies, and any other entities you do business with.
  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice.
  • Complete IRS Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Continue to file your tax returns and pay your taxes even if you must do so by paper.
  • File a police report with your local police department.
  • Report suspicious online or emailed phishing scams to: phishing@irs.gov
  • Report phone, fax or mail phishing scams by calling 800-366-4484.
  • Request a copy of fraudulent returns using IRS Form 4506-F.
     
     
    How to reduce your risk
     
  • Do not open, click on, or download attachments from suspicious emails.
  • Protect you personal data.
  • Make sure your tax records are secure.
  • Do not give out any personal information over the telephone (do not get into conservations, simply hang up immediately).
  • Request a FREE IRS Publication 4524 Security Awareness for Taxpayers by calling the IRS at 800-829-3676
  • If you are unsure about an IRS letter's authenticity and whether it came from the IRS, go to IDVerify.IRS.gov and follow the prompts to verify your identity.
  • Check with your state to see if there are additional steps to take at the state level.
     
    REMEMBER: THE IRS DOES NOT INITIATE CONTACT WITH PAXPAYERS BY EMAIL, ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, TEXT MESSAGES, OR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS.
     
    This article was written by Donald M. Scherzi, CPA, CFP, LLC
    Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor
     
     
     
     

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Financial Statements and Business Success




 

An analysis of small business financial statements, management decisions and the relationship to business success had the following results:

 

50% of the business owners did not regularly review financial statements, and almost 90% of those businesses were experiencing financial troubles.

 

How about YOU?

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Marketing tip of the month - new series




 

#1 SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

You need to know EVERYTHING about what your competitors are doing. Collect their ads, brochures, print out their website info and STUDY them for their strategy, product or service features, and benefits. We call that sleeping with the enemy.

 

Martin Kahn, SCORE Counselor


 

IRS Change of Address


 

 

It is the business owner's responsibility to report a change of address to the IRS and other tax agencies.

 

Form 1040 filers report a change of address on Form 8822.

 

Form 1120, 1120S, and 1065 check the address change box on page 1 of their tax return to report a change of address.

 

Also, you will want to report a change of address with the U.S. Post Office and any other entities you do business with.

 

Failing to report an address change could result in not receiving timely notices and other correspondence from the IRS and various tax agencies. This in turn could result in missed deadlines, various penalties, and additional interest charges.

 

Remember, it is your responsibility alone to keep your address current to avoid potential tax issues down the road.

 

 

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

Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Filing Past Due Tax Returns


  

It is in your best interest to file all tax returns that are due, regardless of whether or not you can pay any tax due in full.

 

Here's Why You Should File Your Past Due Tax Returns...NOW

 

1-Limit interest interest charges and late payment penalties.

 

2-Avoid the risk of losing a tax refund you were due.

 

3-Protect Social Security & Disability Benefits

 

4-Avoid issues obtaining loans.

 

What Happens If You Don't File Voluntarily?

 

If you fail to file your tax return, the IRS may file a substitute tax return for you...one that will be the worst of all worlds since they will report only income and no, exemptions, deductions and tax credits you may be entitled to.

 

If You Need Information To File A Prior Year Tax Return

 

If you need wage and income information, complete Form 4506-T Request for Transcript of Tax Return, and check the box on line 8. This way you be be sure you are reporting all income when you do file your tax return and avoid having the IRS sending you a notice for unreported income.

 

 

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

Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

When it all works right



We recently had the need to replace a washer/dryer. The old one just got tired and was preparing to go out with a lot of noise. We searched all the big suppliers and found that an exact replacement was not generally available. We knew our system was old. After a few days of on line searching, I found one and only one potential supplier that had a few similar units. Much to my surprise their web site had an exact model replacement. A phone call determined that they did, in fact, show a few in of them in inventory. The site reflected an unusually low price as well, and the phone conversation confirmed the price.

We were in the store within hours and purchased the exact replacement for the price shown. But this is only part of the story. That evening the washer completely failed. The store confirmed a delivery date within three days and time, within four hours. When the time passed, we called and were told the truck broke down, but they expected to make the delivery later that day. They did, after renting a replacement truck and shifting the items to be delivered on the route. I knew this was true because of the rental truck company name on the vehicle. They overcame the issues with three very tired delivery men. These men removed the old unit, installed and checked out the new one and made sure we were satisfied before they left.

 

We recommended this store to three friends who were also pleased. Now we are considering replacing a stove, oven and dishwasher. Guess where we will be going!!!

 

How does your business stack up?

 

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Business Conference a BIG SUCCESS

South Palm Beach SCORE Business Conference was a BIG SUCCESS


Jennifer Suzuki not only helped us at the Conference, she shares her thoughts (as a client) with the "world"
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Facebook <notification+z2zf06_c@facebookmail.com>
Date: Sat, May 6, 2017 at 1:14 PM



Jennifer Suzuki said she was with you at Saint John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton, FL . Jennifer wrote: "Speaking to business owners at an unbelievable SCORE event here in BOCA Raton, FL. Hoping to inspire local businesses here in South Florida to identify and follow their purpose, passions and plan. #SCORE #FloridaBusiness For those of you unfamiliar with this non-profit, we live in a great country that provides invaluable resources to be your own boss and thrive as an Entreprenuer!! #SmallBusiness #eDealerSolutions" Learn more about tagging on Facebook .
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https://www.facebook.com/n/?edealersolution&aref=1494090883184636&medium=email&mid=54edddac4b52aG4c8a8418G54ede245ab7fcGdb&bcode=1.1494090881.AbmLw2yDo8-x2vG8&n_m=mkahn1031@gmail.com
Jennifer Suzuki said she was with you at Saint John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton, FL.
Jennifer wrote: "Speaking to business owners at an unbelievable SCORE event here in BOCA Raton, FL. Hoping to inspire local businesses here in South Florida to identify and follow their purpose, passions and plan. #SCORE #FloridaBusiness For those of you unfamiliar with this non-profit, we live in a great country that provides invaluable resources to be your own boss and thrive as an Entreprenuer!! #SmallBusiness #eDealerSolutions"
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Monday, May 1, 2017

Amortization Expense




The tax laws offer new and existing businesses the opportunity to deduct amortization expense on various intangible assets acquired and used for business purposes.

Common intangible assets include: Business Start-Up Costs, Business Organization Costs, Copyrights, Customer Lists, Franchise Agreements, Goodwill, Licensing Agreements, Non-compete Agreements, Patents, Trademarks/names, and Trade Secrets (Formulas and Recipes).

In order to compute the correct amount of amortization each year, the following records need to be maintained:

1-Description of the asset

2-Date Acquired

3-Date Purchased

4-Total Purchase Amount

5-Date Placed In Service for Business Use (If different form date acquired)

6-Business Use Percentage (if less than 100%)

IRS Publication 535 provides detailed information on intangible assets and amortization and is available for Free form the IRS by calling 800-829-3676.

The laws have specific rules for the various types of intangible assets which must be followed each year.

Amortization expense is thus a deductible business expense that helps a business owner reduce income taxes each year.

 

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

Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor


 

 

 

 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hiring your children can lower your payroll tax bill


  

No FICA tax (Social Security tax and Medicare tax) is due if sole proprietors or husband-wife partnerships hire their children who are under age 18.

 

Ditto if the children work for a parent's one-person LLC that's disregarded  for tax purposes.

 

Also, Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) is not owed on their salaries until they reach age 21.

 

It is important that all of the formalities and record-keeping rules are followed when hiring children that would be followed when hiring any other employees.

 

Also, the children must actually perform services for the business and the pay should be reasonable based on the facts and circumstances.

 

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

Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor


 

Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 Florida Small Business Issues




 

The South Florida Business Journal recently reported on a survey of the top 3 small business concerns as we move through 2017. The issues are:

 

1.      Hiring is a challenge as they anticipate growth while managing overhead costs. This concern seems to remain a dilemma for small-business owners wanting to see an appreciative improvement in revenue.

2.      Grow their revenue. Improving customer experience and retention was key to furthering success in 2016, followed by launching new products and expanding into new markets. Now what do they do?

3.      Dropping Health insurance due to the overburdening cost and opting to pay the penalty, which has become more cost-effective.

 

Check the full article for more details.

 

Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor


 

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

IRS Penalty Relief


 
 

You may qualify for relief from IRS penalties if you made an effort to comply with the requirements of the tax law, but were unable to meet your tax obligations, due to circumstances beyond your control.

 

If you received an IRS notice, be sure to check that the information in your notice is correct. If you can resolve an issue in your notice, a penalty might not be applicable.

 

Penalties eligible for relief include:

 

  • Failing to file a tax return
  • Failing to pay on time
  • Failing to deposit certain taxes as required
  • Other penalties as applicable
     
    Types of Penalty Relief offered by the IRS include:
     
  • Reasonable Cause
  • Administrative Waiver
  • First Time Penalty Abatement
  • Statutory Exception
     
    Interest Relief:
     
    The IRS does not abate interest  for reasonable cause or as first-time relief. Interest is charged by law and will continue to accrue until your account is paid in full.
     
    When it comes to IRS penalties, always request an abatement before paying the penalty. If you pay the penalty first, you most likely will not be able to recover your payment from the IRS.
     
     
     
    This article was written by Donald M. Scherzi, CPA, CFP, LLC
    Mike Lupo, SCORE Counselor