Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2014 Tax Season Delayed

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a one to two week delay to the start of the 2014 tax filing season to allow for additional time to program tax processing systems due to the 16 day federal government shutdown.  The original start date of the 2014 filing season was January 21, so with the delay, the IRS will begin accepting and processing returns between January 28 and February 4, 2014.  Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said that the IRS is exploring options to shorten the delay and will announce a final decision on the filing date in December.
The IRS said that the government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its schedule.  Regardless of the delays in the opening of filing season, the April 15 deadline is set by statute and will remain in place.

Team Work

TEAM 

I am a member of A Team

I rely on the Team

I Defer to it and I Sacrifice for it,

because in the end The Team,

not the individual is the Ultimate Champion!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Exercise Your Mind and Body...

food exercise11

Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug

and exercise is the most potent yet underutilized anti-depressant.

Choose wisely.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Don't Give Up

"When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in the first place"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Penalty-free IRA Withdrawals Are Possible, If...

Traditional individual retirement accounts, IRAs, are a good way to save for retirement. When times get tough, however, and you need some extra cash, it can be tempting to withdraw some of this money before the minimum age of 59 1/2. This is almost always a bad idea, unless you are up against a wall and have exhausted every other option.

If you withdraw money from your IRA before age 59 1/2, you will generally have to pay a 10 % early withdrawal penalty in addition to income tax on the amount withdrawn. And if it's a company sponsored Simple IRA within the first 2 years the plan has been opened that penalty goes up to 25%!

Once you turn age 59 1/2, you can withdraw any amount from your IRA without having to pay the 10 percent penalty. But regular income tax will still be due on each withdrawal. IRA distributions are not required until after age 70 1/2.

Exceptions to the Early-Withdrawal Rules

The Internal Revenue Service authorizes certain exceptions to these early-withdrawal rules. You still have to pay income taxes on the money withdrawn, but you can avoid paying the penalty. 


College costs - Higher education expenses for you, your spouse, and the children or grandchildren of you or your spouse. Qualifying expenses include tuition, fees, books, supplies and equipment required for attendance. If a student is enrolled at least half-time, room and board costs qualify. (Such distributions count as income, however, and could affect financial aid eligibility.) 
  
Un-reimbursed Medical Expenses - Medical expenses that are not covered by insurance and that are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. This includes bills for you, your spouse and your dependents. For example, if your adjusted gross income is $100,000 and your un-reimbursed medical expenses are $10,000, the maximum amount that you can distribute penalty free is $2,500, which is the difference between $10,000 and 7.5% of your AGI ($7,500). Your tax professional will be able to help you determine your AGI.

Health insurance - IRA distributions can be taken without penalty to pay for health insurance for you, your spouse and your dependents following a period of unemployment. To qualify, you need to receive unemployment compensation for 12 consecutive weeks due to job loss. The distribution must be taken in the year you received the unemployment compensation or the following year, and no later than 60 days after you have been reemployed.

First time home purchase- Costs to buy, build or rebuild a first home. A “first time” homebuyer is defined as someone who hasn’t owned a home in the past two years, but this exception can be used only one time. For an individual, the amount is $10,000. If both spouses are first-time buyers, the limit is $20,000. Once withdrawn, the money must be spent or returned to the IRA within 120 days. 


Disability - If you become disabled to the point that you cannot participate in gainful activity due to your physical or mental condition, you can quality for an exemption to the early withdrawal penalty. But be prepared to prove it. "To qualify for this exception, you need a note from a physician confirming that your disability prevents you from doing any “substantially gainful activity” and that your condition is permanent. 

Military service - Members of the military service can take distributions without paying a penalty if they were ordered or called to active duty after Sept. 11, 2001, for a period of more than 179 days or for an indefinite period. The distribution must be taken during the active duty period. 

Inheritance - If you die before age 59 1/2, your traditional IRA can be distributed to a beneficiary or your estate without incurring the 10 percent penalty. Your beneficiary cannot roll over the IRA into their own name without paying a penalty.  However, if a spouse inherits the IRA and elects to treat it as his or her own, it may become subject to the 10 percent penalty. If the spouse is under age 59 1/2 and they think they will need the money before age 59 1/2, I would leave it as the inherited IRA, if that spouse rolls it over to their IRA; they are subject to the 10 percent penalty.

The issues surrounding early withdrawals from traditional IRAs can be complicated and each situation is unique. This piece provides a brief overview of the subject and is not intended as tax advice.

If you’re in the market for a new tax professional, please email us at info@laebusiness.com

Friday, October 11, 2013

Juggling Business and Life

No one wants to drop the ball, but it's easy to do. Most business owners juggle more things than a circus performer - phone calls, emails, meetings, reporting, payroll - the list is endless. Add in children, aging parents, or illness and the balancing act begins to teeter like a game of Jenga. Be prepared for life's interruptions and document your company's procedures. Allow your staff to make certain decisions, and backup files and information on a cloud server for anywhere access. Get this down to a science and you can relax knowing your business's performance won't falter.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Getting Along With Your Co-Workers- Not Always As Easy As It Sounds...

We've all had one of those days when everything your co-worker does gets on your every last nerve. And if they open their mouth one more time you just want to scream!



Most offices have at least one toxic character in their midst; the vicious gossiper, the whiner, the idea thief, a micromanaging boss, the know-it-all, the slacker.If the behavior is extreme and chronically upsetting, it can actually interfere with your ability to do your job well. Sometimes the behavior can even cause people to quit their jobs to escape the stress and aggravation.  

What can you do?? Don't allow yourself be a victim of co-workers damaging behavior. You can tolerate the behavior or do something about it. Understand and confront the situation with professionalism and integrity.


1. Define the Situation: Go over in detail the problematic behavior to yourself. Is it directed only at you, or at a group of people? Is the behavior affecting you and your work? Is it important enough to do something about? 
2. Are You Contributing?: Honestly and objectively ask yourself if you're contributing to the trying situation with your behaviors and reactions. Are you truly an "innocent bystander," or could you be part of the problem? You may want to seek the opinion of a trusted and objective co-worker.

3. Don't Personalize: It's only natural to respond in an emotional and personal manner to a bothersome person. Do not make matters worse by personalizing the behavior as an insult or attack on you.

4. Reflect and Try to Understand: It may behoove you to learn more about the bothersome co-worker's personal and work situation. His/Her behavior could be a little less troubling if you understood more about their situation and perspective.

5. Be Dignified and Professional: Regardless of how you intend to respond to the bothersome person, be courteous, sincere, candid, respectful, and professional. Make sure you have your emotions under control, and focus on improving work relationships and your performance.

6. Direct Confrontation: Schedule time with the bothersome co-worker. Politely and tactfully share with him or her what you are experiencing and feeling. Give the colleague a chance to take in your comments. Make it clear you want only to improve your working relationship. Be prepared for some defensiveness, and be prepared to own up to your contribution to any difficulties. The keys here are sincerity and honesty.


If your company has a human resource department, make sure to keep them informed of what you're doing. Your good intentions could back-fire and you don't want to end up in hot water.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Life is Like a Camera…Take Another Shot…


We’ve all had those days, when we get frustrated and fed up with the way things are going.
Remember, to Focus on what’s important
Capture the good times
Develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out
Camera
Take another shot. It’s up to you!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Work Ethic, When Did It Change?


Since entering the work force at age fourteen; even then I thought hard work and effort was the way to go. I had a part-time job after school. I wanted to be able to save money for a car and spending money to go out with my friends. I was of the mindset that if I was productive and efficient at my job I would get more hours and be able to make more money. It's those "old school" values that I carry with me today. I've been in the business world for over twenty years now and I cringe when I think of what has happened to the work ethic of our society. For years now, it has been out of control on a downward spiral. From my perspective, some employees are doing as little as possible just to keep their job. The days of working an actual 8 hour day or staying until the task at hand is completed are long gone. Being in the office for 8 hours doesn't signify working for 8 hours. There are so many distractions in today's workplace, cell phones, free reign of the internet and plain of lack of respect and caring. What are we teaching our young people entering the workforce; to put their needs before that of the company? When you're on "company time" focus on why you're there, not what you'll be doing after hours. As mature business people, we need to step it up, show pride in our work and stop taking responsibilities lightly; for the sake of your future and the future of young people.

 Definition: Work Ethic (n) a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.

It doesn't matter what generation you belong to, there's this thing called work ethic-making a commitment, doing what you say you'll do. Being responsible and accountable is not about whether it's convenient or not. It's not that the younger generations have no "work ethic" rather they have "a self-centered" work ethic. The younger generations haven't been raised in a way that necessitates them to look around and see what should be done next.

There's a substantial difference between completing your task well and completing it on time. The challenge is completing a job well within the time necessary, budget requirements and other obstacles of a team. Remember, it's not about you; it's about your client, your co-workers and your boss. The world of business doesn't operate on what's convenient for you and what fits into your agenda and your particular expectation. That ideology is why there is no such thing as customer service anymore and why mediocrity is becoming the "norm".

If you have any regard for doing an assignment well and being successful in your work, quit making excuses for coming up short. Rather, learn what dedication, commitment and accountability mean. Employers say they worry that a generation with a self-centered work ethic that's "all about what's good for me" and "what's convenient", is simply not good for business.


"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."- Vince Lombardi

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Eye On A/R

Keep a close eye on your accounts receivable:
Late and unpaid invoices hurt your cash flow.



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

IRS Issue Number: **Special Edition**

IRS Issue Number:  **Special Edition**


IRS Operations During The Lapse In Appropriations
Due to the current lapse in appropriations, IRS operations are limited. However, the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal.