Name: Lesley Mast, CPA
Posts by Lesley Mast, CPA:
- The new 39.6 tax rate. This rate will affect those who are single with income that exceeds $413,200, which is up from $406,750. Those who are married filing jointly will be affected if their income exceeds $464,850 – up from $457, 600. You can check out a great break down of the other tax rate increases here.
- A slight standard deduction increase. Those who are single, or married filing separately, can expect their standard deduction to be $6,300 – up from $6,200. Married couples filing jointly will see standard deductions increase to $12,600 – up from $12,400.
- Increasing elective contribution limits. In 2015, taxpayers will be allowed to defer $18,000 to your 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. The deferral limit in 2014 was $17,500. The catch-up contribution limit for employees who are 50 and older will increase to $6,000 – up from the 2014 rate of $5,500.
- Does your current software do what you want it to? If so, does your staff know how to use it effectively?
- Does your current software do what you need it to? Have you had to put many workarounds into your systems to make the software work?
- Are your users complaining?
- Is your IT department complaining?
- Are you paying a lot for the service you are receiving?
- Are you getting the IT support you need from the software company?
The calendar may still say 2014, but the IRS is already looking ahead to 2016 – when you will file your 2015 tax returns. In doing so, it recently announced slight adjustments to more than 40 tax provisions to account for inflation.
So, what can you expect? The adjustments are outlined fully in Revenue Procedure 2014-61, but a few points that may be of special interest include:
You can read the full IRS article here.
Navigating tax rate and IRS procedure changes can be difficult – not to mention time consuming. To get more information on how you may be impacted by these adjustments, email Rea & Associates.
By Lesley Mast, CPA (Wooster office)
Your business probably uses a variety of software systems, whether it’s for an accounting function, a manufacturing process or a scheduling process. It has been said that technology doubles in advancement nearly every 12-18 months. New updates, new releases, and new products are brought to market constantly. Yet, when was the last time you or your team evaluated your current software or compared it to other existing options?
Most people dread the idea of switching software or converting to a newer version, but if you and your team do the homework, the transition doesn’t have to be so painful or costly.
Considerations For Your Current Software
Consider the following points when evaluating your existing software:
Five Tips For Easing Your Software Evaluation Process
When you decide to evaluate your software, here are some tips to ease the process:
- Assign a project manager. This person will be responsible for making sure team members are completing assignments and for keeping the group moving forward.
- Put together a team of users. Consider who uses the software and include members who vary in experience, IT savviness and tenure. Include a member of your IT team.
- Do your research. Call on companies who are in your industry to see what they use and ask them about their experiences. Are they satisfied with their software? How do they effectively use it? Also call on companies who use your existing software also to see what their experiences have been.
- Calculate a cost/benefit analysis. With any conversion, there are hard costs and soft costs involved. Calculate the amount of time and resources a change could involve, as well as its impact on your team’s morale. If there is a large conversion cost to incur, how quickly will you earn that back with the efficiencies to be gained from making the change?
- Keep the end goal in mind. What are you trying to accomplish by going through this process? For example, are you trying to find something that will help you gain efficiencies? Be sure the testing and research is focused around those kinds of end goals.
Best Practices For Selecting Business Software
Change for the sake of change is never a good thing. You want to be able to show that you adequately vetted out possible solutions and that the conclusion has been reached by the team. Perhaps you will find out that your current system is adequate, but that your team needs additional training on how to use it to its fullest potential. It would be more cost effective to schedule additional training rather than to go through an unnecessary and costly software conversion. Your team, and your budget, will thank you in the end.
If you would like to learn about more best practices, contact Rea & Associates. Our accounting professionals and business advisors can help you determine what steps you should take during your business software selection process.
Author: Lesley Mast, CPA, Macc-Taxation (Wooster office)
Looking for more business advice? Check out these blog posts:
So you just inherited some real estate. You’re probably now wondering – is this a blessing or a curse? From the tax perspective, of course. And that’s a good question to ask. Just because you inherit something doesn’t mean that you’re free and clear of any potential tax liabilities. Depending on how you use the property and if you sell it will determine if you have a taxable situation. So here’s what you should know about taxes and inherited real estate. Read the rest of this entry “
It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means. I’m not talking about shopping or decorating or eating until your heart’s content. I’m talking about cleaning out those filing cabinets and getting ready for tax time! The more prepared and organized you can be as you approach tax season, the smoother a process you can create for yourself or your business. Read the rest of this entry “
Like so many Hollywood couples these days, maybe you are finding yourself a newly divorced person. With all the legal shenanigans that can happen during a divorce proceeding, have you taken the time to consider some of the more practical matters related to your finances? There are several tax-related items and helpful advice tidbits to be discovered after a change in your marital status. Read the rest of this entry “