December 5, 2016

Blog

Simplify Seasonal Staffing with these Smart Strategies

Marc Paquette

October 16th 2017

Whether your business needs temporary workers to get through the holiday season or you hire short-term help on a regular basis, the process of finding the right candidates can be challenging. Try applying these strategies to make seasonal staffing easier:

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5 Tips to Reset Your Stress Response

Marc Paquette

October 2nd 2017

Because stress related to work, family issues and other events is something that affects many of us, it’s important to reset your own stress response to protect your health and productivity. Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist, offers these tips:

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Proposed Tax Reform Plan: What Could It Mean for You?

Marc Paquette

September 29th 2017

Tax reform, one of President Trump’s key legislative agenda items, is moving closer to fruition. Based on the outline of his proposed tax reform package, which he unveiled on September 27, 2017, we’ve compiled this brief overview of the President’s major tax proposals:

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Impacted by the Equifax Hack? Take These Steps Now!

Marc Paquette

September 14th 2017

If you were a victim of the recently announced Equifax hack, you need to take action to mitigate any negative impact it may have on your finances and credit. If you’re not sure if you were affected, you can use Equifax’s Potential Impact tool to find out. You will need to input your last name and the last six digits of your social security number to use this tool.

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Tips for Maximizing the Value of Your Next Staff Retreat

Marc Paquette

August 30th 2017

Staff retreats can offer companies a lot of value. They can also be expensive and, unless managed effectively, not particularly productive. Before you plan your next (or first) staff retreat, review the following key factors to help you make the most of...

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Free Money-Saving Apps for Every College Student

Marc Paquette

August 15th 2017

There likely aren’t many college students who don’t have a smart phone loaded with helpful apps. However, it is unlikely that any of these apps are dedicated to helping them build their financial fortitude. This is why we created our list below—chock-full of apps designed to make it easier for college students of any age to save money.

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Expert Advice to Keep Your Internet-Enabled Devices Safe from Cyber Criminals

Marc Paquette

August 1st 2017

Did you know that your webcam and even your home or office internet router can be the gateway through which cyber criminals gain access to your most sensitive data? If not, don’t panic—we have helpful tips below from the experts at the National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure that you head off this type of malicious action.

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Be Alert and Aware: Tax Scammers Don’t Take a Summer Vacation

Marc Paquette

July 13th 2017

The IRS has identified several new variations of standard tax scams involving fake tax bills and demands for payments. Many of these scams involve purchasing and transferring information using a gift card or iTunes card. Other scams to be aware of include:

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Tips for Implementing a Successful Flex-time Schedule this Summer

Marc Paquette

June 29th 2017

Now that summer/vacation season is here, your business may be enjoying a more relaxed vibe with employees taking time off or leaving early. If you’ve ever thought about implementing a flexible work program, now may be the time to pilot one, especially if your business is a bit slower this time of year. To help, we offer the following tips...

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Four Money-Saving Mid-Year Financial Planning Tips

Marc Paquette

June 15th 2017

It’s almost exactly the mid-point of the year, which makes it prime time for a mid-year financial review. If you need some monetary motivation for evaluating your financial progress so far this year, you may want to think of mid-year planning as a series of potential money-saving opportunities, for example:

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How to Protect Your Business from the Next “Wanna Cry” Attack

Marc Paquette

June 1st 2017

The recent “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack that paralyzed several large organizations in the U.S. and Europe is a solemn reminder that the risk of cyber security breaches is real. Every business owner should take steps...

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Tips to Help You Stem the Flow of Potential Risks This Flood Season

Marc Paquette

May 16th 2017

Whether from heavy rains or hurricanes, this time of year can bring with it the risk of floods across many parts of the United States. While you may not be able to predict the likelihood of a flood in your area, with these tips you can help to mitigate physical and financial damage if a flood occurs where you live. Treat structural damage seriously. In any...

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How to Really “Clean Up” at Your Next Yard Sale

Marc Paquette

May 4th 2017

This time of year is when you often see yard sale signs popping up. For some, holding a yard sale is a means of clearing out unwanted items. For others, it’s an opportunity to get some great “finds.” Whichever side of the yard sale fence you’re on, these tips can help you “clean up”: Choose your timing carefully. Research continues...

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Take Your Spring Cleaning to the Office with These Tips

Marc Paquette

April 19th 2017

Window washing, carpet cleaning, garden grooming—these are all popular spring cleaning chores for homeowners. However, with year-end and tax season behind you, this time of year is also perfect for spring cleaning at the office. These tips will help you and your staff get—and keep—that “just cleaned my office” feeling: Start with a clean sweep of...

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These Tax Day Treats Shine Light at the End of the “Tax Season Tunnel”

Marc Paquette

April 3rd 2017

With just a few weeks to go until Tax Day on April 18, it’s time to make sure that you’re on track to get your individual return filed. If you haven’t already engaged our firm to help you with your taxes and you need assistance, don’t delay…it’s time to let us know! While tax season can be stressful, Tax Day itself can be quite rewarding if you...

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Do You Sit All Day? Take a Stand Against a Sedentary Lifestyle

Marc Paquette

March 20th 2017

The average American sits a lot. Many of us sit while we work, while we relax and while we learn. Over the long term, this sedentary way of life can have a negative impact on our health, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer—in addition to shortening life spans. To counteract these negative effects, it’s important to get up, get active and get...

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Set the Stage to Help Your Home Sell This Spring

Marc Paquette

March 1st 2017

Spring is in the air...which means peak home-selling season isn’t far away. In fact, according to recent market data, 60 percent of all home sales in the United States will occur in the spring and summer months. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to get prepared—which includes considering how you will “stage” your home to...

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Avoid March Madness—Why You Should File Your Taxes Now

Marc Paquette

February 17th 2017

For sports fans, this time of year is an exciting one. First the Super Bowl, and then the buildup toward the NCAA March Madness tournament. While tax season isn’t quite as exciting as these events, you’ll still want to make the effort to get ahead of the game—and the April 18 deadline—to score the benefits of early filing. Avoiding identity...

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Small Businesses Can Restart Health Reimbursement Accounts in 2017

Marc Paquette

February 1st 2017

Although the fate of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is not yet clear, thanks to the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act at the end of 2016, employers with fewer than 50 employees can now start funding stand-alone health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) again. Employees can use HRAs to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the Obamacare health insurance...

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Tips to Defend Your Business from Cyber Attacks

Marc Paquette

January 17th 2017

You need only tune into the news to see that cybercrimes are a very real threat. From viruses to malware, everyday computer use and online browsing can leave you vulnerable to hackers who want your valuable information. If you have a small business, your risk of a cyberattack is likely even higher, especially if you do not have the resources or know-how to enact effective security policies....

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Break Barriers in 2017 with These Mind-Changing Mini Resolutions

Marc Paquette

December 28th 2016

There’s a reason why the regular New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, exercising more and sticking to a budget are popular—so many of us need to do them! There’s also a common reason why so many of us fail to meet our goals in these areas: we haven’t developed the mindset to support the changes that we want to make. Instead of setting a big,...

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Keep the Holidays Merry with These Simple Stress Relievers

Marc Paquette

December 14th 2016

The holiday season can be wonderful, but they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. Fortunately, the experts at Psychology Today also offer these simple stress relievers to put the joy back in this special time of year: Take a time-out. Time-outs aren’t just for toddlers who have a tantrum. In fact, rather than being a...

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Obama’s New Overtime Pay Rule is On Pause—What Does it Mean for Your Business?

Marc Paquette

November 30th 2016

Just days before it was scheduled to be implemented on December 1, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the implementation of the new Department of Labor (DOL) federal overtime rule, which would have doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. According to an NPR report, this extension of overtime eligibility would have...

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Take Note of New Business Tax Deadlines in 2017

Marc Paquette

November 15th 2016

As a result of the highway funding extension bill signed into law by President Obama in 2015, there are important changes coming in 2017 to deadlines for business tax filings including: W-2 and 1099 filings are due January 31 in 2017 instead of March 31. These forms are still due employees and contractors by January 31, so it’s important to prepare and...

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Five Key Areas Every Business Owner Should Review Before Year End

Marc Paquette

November 1st 2016

We’re well in to the fourth quarter of the year, which means year end is fast approaching. Here are five important areas of your business to review before the calendar turns to 2017. Tax planning opportunities. November and December are prime time for tax planning, which can pay big dividends when filing time arrives. Touch base with our firm now to...

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Start Holiday Gift Giving for the Kids with an IRA Contribution

Marc Paquette

October 17th 2016

If you’re like many parents and grandparents, you may already be thinking about what kind of gift to get the children on your list this holiday season. For teens and young adults especially, it can be challenging to come up with truly unique and meaningful gifts. One idea with long-lasting impact is to make a contribution to either a traditional or Roth IRA on your children or...

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Don’t Let Year-End Cost-Cutting Derail Your Business Goals

Marc Paquette

October 3rd 2016

Many businesses need to adjust their spending to meet the reality of their cash flow during the last few months of the year. While it can be tempting to just cut expenses across the board, this strategy may actually backfire if you cut in the wrong places. Here are four budget areas you should try to preserve to avoiding derailing your long-term business goals: 1....

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Wondering About Tax Deductions for Political Contributions? Here’s the Lowdown

Marc Paquette

September 19th 2016

With election season in full swing, you may be wondering, “Are political contributions tax deductible?” Here’s the lowdown: Whether it’s your county mayor or the future President of the United States, the rules on taking advantage of tax deductions for political contributions are the same: Donations are deductible if the organization you give to is a 501(c)(3)...

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Take Note! The Filing Deadline for W-2s and 1099s is January 31 in 2017

Marc Paquette

September 1st 2016

Consider this blog post as early notice that the date by which employers must file their W-2s and 1099s with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and IRS will change to January 31 in 2017. Previously, W-2s and 1099s were not due to governmental agencies until March 31, so this new deadline will significantly reduce the window for making any necessary changes. These forms are still...

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The World is Chipping Away at Credit Card Fraud—But Individual Vigilance is Still Key

Marc Paquette

August 16th 2016

EMV chip technology, which is the first major upgrade for credit card fraud protection in many years, is slowly being rolled out by merchants around the world, including in the United States. While this technology has the potential to provide better security for your credit card data, it still has its limits and it is not completely hacker-proof or secure. As such it is still important to be...

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Before the First School Bell Rings, It’s Time to Reset the Alarm Clock

Marc Paquette

August 2nd 2016

It’s August and children and parents everywhere are facing a grim reality: back to school season is just around the corner. At this time of year, many parents struggle to get their kids back into a regular sleep routine. To help, we offer these tips to reset your family’s alarm clock before the first school bell rings: Start tonight. While child...

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Getting Married this Year? Here’s Your Tax Tip Sheet

Marc Paquette

July 18th 2016

While most couples go to great lengths to ensure that their wedding day is perfect, far fewer think about how their nuptials will impact their tax liability. The truth is, the moment you get married, no matter what time of the year it is, in the eyes of the government you are considered to have been married for the entire tax year. With this in mind, here are some tax tips to consider as you...

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Key Lessons from the Financial Fallout of the ‘Brexit’ Vote

Marc Paquette

July 5th 2016

It’s fair to say that the recent ‘Brexit’ vote by Britons to exit the European Union (EU) has shaken global financial markets to their core, at least in the short-term. Financial analysts say that it’s too early to tell what the long-term impact of this historic vote will be. But one thing is for certain, the Brexit offers several important lessons that individual...

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Smart Strategies to Handle the “Downfall” Problem 1 in 4 New Businesses Experience

Marc Paquette

June 21st 2016

One of the most (if not the most) important indicators of business health is its cash flow. Even if your business is profitable and growing, if you don't have a consistent stream of cash coming in, you'll run into financial trouble. Lack of cash flow is the primary reason that more than one quarter of new businesses fail—29 percent to be exact. Here are some smart strategies...

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IRS Fights Scammers – Instructs Staff to Initiate All Future Audits by Mail; Never by Telephone

Marc Paquette

June 10th 2016

With a rise in IRS phone scams, the Agency changed its policy on contacting taxpayers whose tax records are subject to an audit. The new policy instructs IRS agents to contact affected taxpayers only by mail—never by phone (which used to be the IRS’ go-to method of contact). As such, we urge all of our clients to adhere to the following guidelines should...

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No Time to Garden? Try These Time-Saving Tips

Marc Paquette

June 1st 2016

While many of us appreciate the glory of a beautiful garden, there’s no denying that having one is a time-consuming endeavor. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips to help you make the most of your yard in less time: 1. Start with a plan. A well-thought-out plan for your garden that utilizes low-maintenance plants and flowers will save you time...

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Overtime Pay Eligibility Expanded – What Businesses Need to Know

Marc Paquette

May 20th 2016

President Obama, declaring that “Americans have spent too long working more and getting less in return,” ordered the Labor Department to revise federal rules on overtime pay for salaried workers that log more than 40 hours a week. The long-awaited rule change will extend overtime pay to an estimated 4.2M workers. Under current federal regulations, only salaried employees...

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Sleep on This! Think Quality Not Quantity When It Comes to Shut-Eye

Marc Paquette

May 16th 2016

We’ve likely all heard the news—Americans are incredibly sleep-deprived. However, according to recent research, achieving better quality sleep may be more important than actually increasing the number of hours of sleep. In fact, experts report that 6 hours of deep refreshing sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours of light interrupted sleep. May is Better Sleep...

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Be $1,000 Richer by Next Year with These Simple Savings Strategies

Marc Paquette

May 2nd 2016

Wow! May is already here—and if you’re like many Americans your savings account balance is still stuck where it was at the beginning of the year. So what to do? You can’t make up for lost savings opportunities…or can you? We believe that you can with a little bit of discipline. For example, saving $125 a month can be as easy as: Renegotiating your...

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5 Actions to Reduce Cyber Liability Risks in Your Business Today

Marc Paquette

April 14th 2016

A quick glance at the news is all it takes to realize that the threat of cyber attacks is increasing for businesses. So how can your business beat the odds and avoid becoming another victim of cybercrime? Try putting the following five action items at the top of your priority list: Encrypt your data. Whether it's bank routing digits, credit card accounts or...

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Final Check – Did You Claim Every Eligible Tax Deduction?

Marc Paquette

March 31st 2016

Every year, American taxpayers leave millions of dollars on the table for Uncle Sam—in the form of unclaimed tax deductions. With Tax Day just around the corner, it’s time to do one final check to make sure that you are not missing out on three of the most common deductions: Retirement contribution deductions for single-income couples and the...

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Five Snacks to Spring Clean your Body and Mind

Marc Paquette

March 15th 2016

Spring is here and the season for new beginnings. This is a good time to re-think "spring cleaning" and choose snacks that can cleanse our bodies from the inside out. These five snacks are guaranteed to feed your mind, detoxify your body, and satisfy your palate! 1. Guacamole - High in fiber and “fat” but don’t worry, it’s good fat!...

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Make Your Spring Break Worry-Free with These Home Security Tips

Marc Paquette

March 1st 2016

If you’re packing your bags for a spring break getaway, take a little time before you leave to implement the tips below—they’ll help keep your home safer while you’re gone, and free your mind of worry so that you can truly enjoy your trip. Tell your neighbors that you will be away. Inform your neighbors and friends of the dates that you...

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Tax Season is Scam Season... Keep Your Information Safe!

Marc Paquette

February 16th 2016

The IRS has joined with industry and states on a public awareness campaign to provide taxpayers with easy tips to better protect themselves. For some quick tips, you can watch an informative video here. Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return...

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Identity Protection PIN Letters List Incorrect Tax Year

Marc Paquette

February 1st 2016

According to a recent IRS notice, due to an error, taxpayers are receiving Identity Protection (IP) PIN letters with an incorrect year listed. If you received the CP01A Notice dated January 4, 2016, be aware that the PIN contained in it is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in...

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Getting Over It… Quick Tips for Beating the Post-Holiday Slump

Marc Paquette

January 18th 2016

It’s a stark reality that millions of us face once the holiday season is over: the post-holiday slump. Even just a few days off can make coming back to the office seem excruciating—there’s all that work to do, the anticipation and cheer of the holidays are gone, and for many people the next vacation day is a long way off. Yes, being a working adult is tough, but getting over...

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Customer Service Goes Social—Is Your Business Prepared?

Marc Paquette

January 4th 2016

If your business engages in social media, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of customers who are posting questions on your Facebook page, tweeting comments or engaging with your company on other social platforms looking for customer service support. It’s a trend that is affecting just about every type of business—and using social media as a customer service channel will...

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IRS Simplifies Filing and Recordkeeping for Small Business – Hooray!

Marc Paquette

December 15th 2015

In an ongoing effort to keep you informed of IRS changes, we have a new and important one to report. And this time, the change eases your filing burden. Within the last month, the IRS significantly simplified the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for small business by raising the safe harbor threshold for deducting certain capital items from $500 to $2,500. This applies to...

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Tis the Season! Avoid Common Holiday Scams with These Tips

Marc Paquette

December 1st 2015

As cybercriminals begin to take advantage of the holiday season, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid having your money, credit card information, social security number, or identity stolen. E-commerce thieves, at this time of year especially, will try to create holiday-related websites, scams, and other phishing e-mails that can trick even the most alert consumers. The...

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The Key to Scoring on Black Friday? Create a Pre-Game Plan

Marc Paquette

November 16th 2015

The countdown is on to the what retailers hype as the best shopping day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving dubbed by Americans as ‘Black Friday’—represents the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. However, given the explosion of retail competition and the Internet in the past several years, Black Friday is really not what it used to be. And if you’re not...

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It’s Tax Planning Time—Here Are Some Money-Saving Tips for Individuals and Businesses

Marc Paquette

November 2nd 2015

With just a few short weeks to go before the end of the year, it’s important to take a look at your tax situation and consider ways to decrease your tax obligations. In other words, it’s time for tax planning. We put together the following tips for you to support smart tax decisions: Stay apprised of potential tax provision extensions. Congress...

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4 Steps to Finding the Sweet Spot for Success

Marc Paquette

October 14th 2015

Ah, the sweet smell of success! Achieving goals and bringing our vision to fruition is the end-game for most of us, especially in our business lives. Unfortunately, success can sometimes elude us to the point where we have to start looking at what, exactly, is going wrong. Perhaps, though, the question we ought to be asking is this: What is going right? By honing in on what is bringing you or...

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Ease Aches, Pains and Worker’s Comp Claims with These Ergonomics Tips

Marc Paquette

September 30th 2015

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has designated each October as National Ergonomics Month (NEM). Ergonomics is an applied science that incorporates principles of usability into the design process with the goal of making finished products more effective and safe for people to use. In the workplace, proper ergonomic practices can play an important role in reducing pain,...

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Spending Less Cash on Gas? Use Your Savings to Rev-Up Your Finances

Marc Paquette

September 15th 2015

If you did any road trips over the summer—or you commute to work—you’ve likely noticed that filling up your vehicle doesn’t necessarily empty your wallet anymore. Thanks to lower gas prices, the average American is on track to save approximately $750 on gas this year. While it’s not life-changing, $750 can make a difference to your personal finances if...

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New Tax Law More Than Doubles Fines for Failure to File Information Returns and Failure to Provide Payee Statements

Marc Paquette

September 1st 2015

The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 was recently signed into law. Part of this new law includes a provision that more than doubles the cap on penalties from $1.5 million to $3 million for 1) failure to file correct tax information returns and 2) failure to provide payee statements. In both cases, fines have been increased from $100 to $250. These changes are...

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Highway Funding Bill Ushers in New Tax Return Due Dates and Other Important Changes

Marc Paquette

August 13th 2015

As reported by The Journal of Accountancy on July 31, the short-term highway funding extension passed by the Senate—and signed by President Obama—at the end of July contains several important tax provisions (H.R. 3236). The bill was passed by the House of...

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Not Sure Which Metrics Are Right for Your Business? Help is Here!

Marc Paquette

July 29th 2015

As legendary business author Peter Drucker once said, "What's measured improves." If you've been in business any length of time, you know that creating meaningful measurements that tell you how your business is doing (a.k.a. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) can be challenging. The good news is, you only need a few KPIs to really get a handle on the financial pulse of your...

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Plan in Advance to Help Aging Parents Manage Their Money

Marc Paquette

July 14th 2015

For many adult children, it’s hard to contemplate the fact that their once seemingly invincible parents may now—or at some point down the road—become dependent on them to take care of their everyday needs. If you don’t feel prepared to take on these tasks, this scenario can be very stressful—especially when part of your duties involves taking care of your...

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Four Ways Mid-Year Financial Planning Can Pay Off

Marc Paquette

June 29th 2015

Tax season is over and one of the biggest American celebrations—the Fourth of July—is just around the corner.  Maybe you’re looking forward to a little downtime this summer, so perhaps working on your financial plan has slipped to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s understandable, but putting your finances on cruise control at mid-year is not an ideal strategy....

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Summer Break for Your Kids Could Mean a Tax Break for Your Business

Marc Paquette

June 15th 2015

School’s out for many kids, and if you run your own business, you may be able to turn your child’s summer break into a tax advantage—and some extra help—for you. Hiring your offspring as an employee to do legitimate work in your business provides several tax benefits: You can deduct the salary you pay your child from your business income as a...

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The IRS Confirms Hacking of Taxpayer Accounts—What You Need to Know

Marc Paquette

June 4th 2015

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that a "brute force" hacking attempt compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov. In the attack, hackers utilized information gleaned from black market sources to answer identity verification...

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Take Time to Really Live Offline

Marc Paquette

June 1st 2015

It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are spending a lot of time online. While some of the time we spend on the Internet is productive, there’s a lot of it that’s not—and it’s crowding out some of our higher value offline activities, according to research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). In a recent NBER study, each minute of...

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Want to Improve the Efficiency of Your Business? Toss the To-Do List

Marc Paquette

May 14th 2015

When it comes to running a business, building as much efficiency as possible into your operations is the key to keeping things running smoothly and freeing up your own time to focus on the big picture. While employing the right team and the right technology are integral to boosting efficiency, so is having the right mindset when it comes to how you approach day-to-day tasks. You may...

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Tax Day 2015 is Gone. Time to Ask These Three Questions.

Marc Paquette

April 30th 2015

Yes, Tax Day has come and gone for this year, but the memory of your tax return is likely still fresh. So before you move on, consider the following three questions that may point you toward areas you want to work on before next April 15 rolls around. Do I need to start my tax filing earlier? Ideally, you should engage in tax planning year-round. As your trusted...

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Control the Clutter! 5 Tips to Create a More Organized Life

Marc Paquette

April 16th 2015

If compiling all of your tax documentation this year triggered the thought that you really should try to be more organized, then the following tips are for you. Constantly searching for things you have misplaced, missing important dates, and not feeling like you have control over your days can waste your time and increase your stress level. The following tips will help you take...

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Keep Safe with These Spring Break Travel Tips

Marc Paquette

April 1st 2015

If you’re planning to travel this spring break, you have likely already spent time planning your trip—but have you spent time thinking ahead about how to reduce the chances of a mishap while you’re traveling? While no one wants to ruin their vacation worrying excessively, it is wise to take a few preventative steps to ensure that your time away is not marred by an easily...

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IRS Offers Small Businesses Limited Relief for Health Coverage Reimbursement Arrangements

Marc Paquette

March 16th 2015

Some health coverage reimbursement arrangements offered by small employers (those with less than 50 full-time employees) are considered by the IRS to be non-compliant with the health coverage plan requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Beginning January 1, 2014, employers who offer such plans were facing a significant penalty: an excise tax of $100 per employee per day, up...

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Don’t Be a Victim! Beware of Scams Targeting Taxpayers This Tax Season

Marc Paquette

March 2nd 2015

With the rise of identity theft and tax and financial fraud, it is critical that we all remain vigilant about protecting our sensitive personal and financial information—especially during tax season. Being alert to any attempts by criminals to intercept your information is one important way you can protect yourself. The IRS recently issued the following alerts about a new crop of tax...

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Paquette & Company Welcomes New Staff and Clients Following Merger with Prigge, Simon & Hedrick, LLC

February 27th 2015

Paquette & Company, LLC is pleased to welcome new staff members and clients following its merger with Prigge, Simon & Hedrick, LLC, a Mount Prospect, Illinois accounting firm. The Paquette & Company name will be retained and the former Prigge, Simon & Hedrick, office located at 406 West Central Road, Mount Prospect, IL will continue to serve clients. As part of the...

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Four Easy Ways to Energize Your Employees

Marc Paquette

February 16th 2015

February can be a tough month when it comes to motivation and energy levels for many people. So it’s not surprising that employees may seem a little less productive at this time of year. Fortunately, the following four tips can help you put the spring back in your team’s step—and boost the productivity of your business. Keep Sharing Your Vision

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Keep This, Not That—Which Documents Should You File and Which Should You Toss After Tax Season?

Marc Paquette

February 2nd 2015

If there’s one time of the year that may inspire you to finally come up with a filing system for all of your bank statements, receipts and other important documents, it’s tax season. Not only will keeping your documents organized make it easier and less stressful for you to find what you need on a daily basis (and when you are getting ready to have your taxes prepared), it will...

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Ten Tax Changes That May Impact Your 2014 Tax Return

Marc Paquette

January 14th 2015

Tax season is here, and there are many tax changes that were implemented in 2014 and more to be introduced in 2015. From Obamacare to tax hikes and changes to standard deductions, there's a lot to keep track of. To help you get organized for this tax season and beyond, review this summary of some of the most significant tax issues and changes. Obamacare Penalties Kick...

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Tips for Achieving Your Financial Goals This Year

Marc Paquette

December 29th 2014

With 2015 just around the corner, it’s smart to take a few minutes to plan ahead for the coming year in terms of the goals you want to achieve. If managing your money more effectively in the year ahead is one of the things you want to tackle, it helps to break your goal down into manageable steps. Figuring out your financial plan comes down to three essential steps: managing,...

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Give Yourself a Last Minute Gift: Year End Tax Planning

Marc Paquette

December 15th 2014

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and for many of us, it is also one of the busiest. While adding one more thing to your to-do list—like year-end tax planning—may induce a feeling of overload, it really is one task you shouldn’t skip, because it can give you the gift of a lower tax bill next April. Here are a few tips to help you end 2014 with the...

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Unique Ways to Share Your Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Marc Paquette

November 25th 2014

With Thanksgiving literally right around the corner, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the abundance that we have in our lives and how we might express our gratitude to the people who mean the most to us. If you are enjoying a gathering with family and friends this Thanksgiving, here are a few unique, fun activities from that can help you create an atmosphere of genuine...

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Five Things You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Spreading Cold and Flu in Your Office

Marc Paquette

November 17th 2014

Late fall typically marks the beginning of cold and flu season, which can pose a real threat to businesses. While public health officials continue to push flu shots, the message isn’t inciting many people to act. Add to this those employees who are hesitant to take sick days, meaning they come to work and inadvertently spread germs, and the potential for a cold and flu outbreak...

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Reaping the Rewards: Tips for Implementing an Effective Employee Incentive Program

Marc Paquette

October 30th 2014

For some employees, the satisfaction of doing a great job is a reward in and of itself. However, for many companies, implementing a rewards program for employees is necessary in order to maintain employee morale and productivity. While investing time and money to develop and implement an employee incentive program may seem like an inefficient use of resources that detracts from your bottom...

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Do Your Employees Know What Customer Service Means to You?

October 15th 2014

If you own a business, you know that your customers are its lifeblood, so customer service is key. While you may recognize this fact, it may not always resonate with your employees. So how do you ensure that all your hard work to win customers isn’t undermined by poor customer service when they come face-to-face with your employees—especially if you can’t always be there to...

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Is Your Business Prepared for the Next Phase of Obamacare?

October 1st 2014

In just a few short months, the calendar will read 2015—the year in which the next phase of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, will kick in for businesses with 100 or more employees. Under the law, businesses with 100 or more employees on their payroll will need to start providing health benefits to at least 70 percent of their full-time workers in 2015, and to 95 percent by...

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Is Your Business Facing Back Taxes or Penalties? Take a Proactive Approach Before Next Tax Season.

September 16th 2014

While you may still be enjoying the last few weeks of summer thinking that it’s too early to start preparing your business for tax season, you may want to reconsider putting your tax planning on hold—after all, the peak of the tax preparation period is just a few short months away. While it is wise to engage in tax planning strategically and consistently throughout the...

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Why “Set It and Forget It” is Not a Winning Website Strategy

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

July 15th 2014

So, you have a nice website for your business—you can check “web strategy” off the to-do list, right? Not so fast! While creating a website that is easy to navigate, visible to search engines, and true to your company’s brand is no small feat, it should be just the first step in your website strategy. To maximize your organization’s web presence, you can’t just “Set it and...

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Don’t Neglect Your Own Finances When Caring for Aging Relatives

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

July 1st 2014

As the number of seniors in the U.S. population continues to increase, so does the number of people taking care of an aging parent. In 2011, an estimated 10 million adult children over the age of 50 were caring for an aging parent. Having to take on this type of responsibility, especially during your prime earning years, can take a toll—not only emotionally and physically, but financially...

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Is Your Company Ready to Take on the Telecommuting Trend?

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

June 16th 2014

Allowing employees to telecommute, also known as working remotely, is a major trend destined to reshape the way that companies recruit and manage employees in just about every industry. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, more companies were planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than any other new benefit. And, research by Global Workplace...

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Are Summer Vacations a Thing of the Past? Don’t Let It Hurt the Productivity of Your Business

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

May 29th 2014

While we’ve just celebrated the first official summer holiday weekend, studies show that almost 75 percent of employees do not take all of their allotted vacation time. In fact, many employees hesitate to take a break from work, and those that do often check in at least daily while on vacation, returning emails or taking calls. This may seem like true dedication to a job, but experts say...

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Employer-Owned Life Insurance Policy Holders—Take Note of this Potential Tax Implication

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

May 15th 2014

Many business owners are unaware of the Pension Protection Act passed in 2006 and its potentially costly tax implications for beneficiaries of employer-owned life insurance (EOLI) policies. This legislation enforces a tax rate of up to 50 percent on the death benefits of EOLI policies purchased after August 17, 2006. Normally, these benefits would be tax exempt—and they still can be if the...

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An Ounce of Prevention – Protect Yourself Against Identify Theft

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

May 1st 2014

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Justice data, approximately 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older are victims of identity theft each year. While the overall percentage of Americans affected by identity theft has held steady since 2008, identity theft related to tax information is increasing rapidly. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released statistics...

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Don’t Spend Your Tax Refund Unless You’ve Considered These Tips!

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

April 14th 2014

Hopefully you have already filed your tax return and are anticipating at least a modest refund. But, before you get too excited about splurging with your IRS check, stop for a moment and remember that you earned that money! While many people view a tax refund as ‘bonus’ cash—it isn’t. It is simply a return of the funds that you earned and paid as tax beyond what your actual obligation...

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Does Your Business Need a Post-Tax Season Tune-Up?

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

March 31st 2014

With the business tax return deadline behind us, this is an ideal time to think about giving your business a little post-tax season tune-up with the intention of making next tax year easier and improving your financial situation. Here are a few key areas to consider analyzing now that your business taxes are filed: Day-to-day accounting. With the rush of preparing...

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The Child Tax Credit Can Give Parents Some Relief

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

March 17th 2014

There’s no disputing the fact that raising children today is a costly endeavor. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) has eased parents’ tax burden and put a few dollars back in their pockets with the Child Tax Credit, which ATRA made permanent. This tax credit can be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child depending upon a parent’s income. Because it...

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Is the New Simplified Home Office Deduction Right For You?

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

March 4th 2014

A nice home office is often one of the biggest perks of being a freelancer, and it can also provide you with a significant tax deduction if you qualify for it. Up until this tax year, the calculations needed to claim the home office deduction were complex and required meticulous record keeping and a separate form (Form 8829). However, starting with your 2013 tax return, the IRS has introduced...

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Take Advantage of the Invaluable Learning Opportunity Your Tax Return Provides

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

February 14th 2014

With tax season in full swing, you are likely busy compiling all of your tax documents and expense receipts to support the preparation of your return. When you think about it, there is a lot you can learn from preparing to file your tax return. It provides the perfect snapshot of where you stand financially, which can offer important insights into your money management habits. While there are...

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Business Owners, Be IRS Audit Savvy this Tax Season

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

February 1st 2014

With tax season here, you might be wondering just how likely you are to hear from the IRS after you file by means of an audit notice. While the chances you will be audited are relatively low if you file a straightforward personal tax return, the more complex your tax situation becomes (reporting business income or graduating to a high-income tax bracket, for example), the more likely it is...

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Does Your Business Need to File 1099s? The Initial Deadline of January 31 is Fast Approaching!

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

January 17th 2014

If your business spends $600 or more for services from another business or an individual contractor during the tax year, you may have to report the amount on a Form 1099. The requirement to file 1099s applies to all types of businesses, C-Corporations, S-Corporations, LLCs, all partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Forms 1099 are normally issued to unincorporated...

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This Tax Year Includes a Baker’s Dozen of Changes to Digest

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

January 3rd 2014

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get serious about reviewing where you stand from a tax perspective. As you may recall, in 2013 Congress and President Obama made a budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff which resulted in seven tax increases. In addition to these increases, the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) also included six...

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IRS Eases the “Use-it-or-Lose-it” Rule for Flexible Spending Plans

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

December 17th 2013

With the end of the year on the horizon, many individuals with flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are scurrying to spend residual funds to avoid “losing” them, in accordance with IRS regulations. However, the regulations have now changed with the IRS easing the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for health flexible spending plans. Individuals with FSAs can now carry over a maximum of $500 to...

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Should You Apply for Social Security When You Apply for Medicare?

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

November 27th 2013

If you’re nearing the customary retirement age of 65, you may be considering when to apply for Medicare and Social Security benefits. This is an important decision that can have significant impact on your financial situation down the road, so it is important to understand how these benefit programs work. In particular, if you are not planning to retire at the full retirement age (FRA) of 65...

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Don’t Let the Delayed Tax Season Stop You from Being Prepared

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

November 14th 2013

The IRS recently announced that, for the second year in a row, it will delay the start of tax season. However, the April 15 filing deadline, which is set by statute, remains in place. Last year it was the fiscal cliff negotiations that pushed back the start of the tax filing period. This year, of course, it is the 16-day government shutdown that put the IRS approximately one to two weeks...

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LLC Owners and Participants: Be Aware of IRS PAL Regulations

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

October 30th 2013

If you own a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that you are not actively managing, but you claim tax deductions, this blog post will be of interest to you. Close to 30 years ago, the IRS passive activity loss (PAL) rules (I.R.C. Section 469) were enacted to limit the degree to which money-losing LLCs could be used as tax shelters by their owners claiming losses—such as depreciation, interest,...

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You Get What You Give: Tips for Motivating Your Employees Through the Holidays

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

October 17th 2013

Halloween is just around the corner and in a few short weeks the calendar will flip to November 1—the unofficial beginning to the winter holiday season that can seriously reduce employee productivity. After all, who has time to put in a solid eight hours a day at the office when there is seasonal shopping, schmoozing, and socializing to be done? Many business owners have a...

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The Medicare D Notification Deadline is Oct. 15 for Employers Providing Prescription Drug Coverage

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

October 4th 2013

Employers providing healthcare insurance that includes prescription drug benefits are required to notify Medicare-eligible employees by October 15 of each year whether their drug benefit is "creditable coverage," meaning that it is expected to cover, on average, as much as the standard Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)...

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Get a Head Start on Tax Season in Four Simple Steps

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

September 30th 2013

While the end of the year may seem like it’s a long time from now, it’s only three short months away. When you factor in the hectic weeks of the coming holiday season, that really only leaves a few weeks to pull your tax information together to avoid the stress that being unprepared for tax season can bring. Now is the time to think about what information you will need for the...

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Employers Must Provide Notification of Health Insurance Options to Employees by October 1, 2013

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

September 13th 2013

The opening of the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) on October 1 is fast approaching and with it comes a new requirement to Section 18B of the Fair Labor Standards Act that all businesses should be aware of. By October 1, 2013 employers must provide written notices about health insurance options, including notification of the new health insurance marketplace, to their...

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College Tuition and Taxation 101

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

September 4th 2013

The beginning of September is synonymous with the back-to-school season. If you have a child attending college, or if you are a student yourself, September is also likely to be synonymous with the beginning of annual tuition payments. While attending and paying for college may be taxing in many ways, there is some good news when it comes to tax deductions and credits related to college...

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Employee Theft: 4 Tips for Protecting Your Business

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

August 16th 2013

Given the tough economy over the past few years, it has been particularly difficult for business owners and the individuals they employee to thrive financially. Couple the poor economic climate with the fact that many businesses, especially small ones, have few controls in place to prevent employee theft and you get statistics like these reported by the National Federation of Independent...

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Rest Easy: Know the Tax Implications of Renting Your Vacation Home

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

July 31st 2013

If you’re lucky enough to own a vacation home, or are thinking about investing in one, you should be aware of the tax implications associated with this type of property, particularly if you are planning to rent it at least some of the time. It is also important to note that the IRS definition of a vacation property encompasses not only houses, cottages, and condominiums, but also mobile...

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Mid-Year Tax Planning Can Save You Time—and Money

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

July 16th 2013

As hard as it is to believe, the year is already half over. Although it may seem like the April tax deadline was just a few weeks ago, the reality is it’s time to start thinking about your 2013 taxes. And, if you spend some time now on mid-year tax planning, it can really pay off next April—which is only nine short months away. In addition, taking stock of where your business is halfway...

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Obama Administration Announces Delay to Part of Affordable Care Act

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

July 4th 2013

On Tuesday, July 2, the Obama administration announced that it is delaying the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty. The delay extends to 2015. The announcement by the IRS comes after numerous complaints from businesses that the requirements were too complicated and difficult to implement in time. Still...

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What Does the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Mean to Businesses?

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

June 27th 2013

One of the key mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare” as the law is commonly known, is the creation of health insurance exchanges in each state. The intention of these exchanges is to give individuals and small businesses a means for buying affordable health insurance. With the October 1st launch date for the new health care exchanges fast approaching, business owners...

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What’s The Real Secret to Success? A "Giver" Instinct

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

June 18th 2013

For years, aggressive, "do-what it takes" attitudes have been attributed to achieving professional success. Having at least a little bit of the "killer" instinct is what differentiates the winners in business, right? Perhaps in some cases, but according to research conducted by Wharton Business School professor, Adam Grant, the opposite is true. Success—both personal and professional—is...

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Low- or NO-cost Marketing for Small Businesses

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

May 30th 2013

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… marketing is a key component of any successful business. So, we want to provide you with as much helpful information as we can in this area. We know marketing isn’t an easy task. It takes time and money. Of course, we understand that you have to keep a focus on the bottom line, which is why we are offering a few marketing tips for those of...

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Do a Little ‘Outdoor’ Marketing This Summer

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

May 17th 2013

Whether your business sells seasonal products or provides services throughout the year, summer is a HOT season for marketing. The warmer weather offers some flexibility with marketing events and campaigns, and that means you can be creative. Most people like to get out during the summer months, so the potential to attract prospects and clients to your marketing events is higher. The following...

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Harness the Power of the Mobile Office— Enjoy the Freedom of Being Wire-free

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

April 30th 2013

Technology is a wonderful thing. We know it in our firm because we use advanced technology to our advantage—that is, working anytime and from any device, having 24/7 access to files, and the ability to work from home, a client’s site, or the airport! And now that just about any gadget you can imagine is portable and affordable, your small business doesn’t have to be confined to your...

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A Not-So-Ordinary Tax Season is History

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

April 17th 2013

This was more than your typical tax season. With a plethora of changes to the tax code and a late start brought about by 11th hour congressional decisions, it was an even more harried and intense process than usual. We appreciate the good working relationships with our clients that helped us keep moving to meet the April 15 deadline—thank you! With tax season just now moving into...

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E-Filing – A Reminder WHY It’s the Way to Go!

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

March 29th 2013

Hopefully, you are part of the more than 80% of taxpayers that take advantage of e-filing. If you’re not, we want to remind you WHY you should. Take a moment to read our short (but very convincing) list. The April 15th tax deadline is just around the corner, so we wanted to dedicate one last post to remind you of the value of e-filing your return. Safe &...

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4 Quick Tips to Ready Yourself for April 15

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

March 18th 2013

The tax deadline always seems to sneak up on taxpayers. Don’t fall into this trap and cause yourself added stress. If you’ve yet to pull things together…start preparing now. The following are four easy tips to be sure that you are ready for the April 15 tax deadline: Locate Last Year’s Tax Return—Previous years’ returns serve as an excellent...

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Spring is Just Around the Corner… and so is April 15th

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

February 28th 2013

As we look forward to the end of winter and the launch of spring, that also means the April 15th tax deadline is that much closer. Being prepared is the best way to ensure a smooth tax season and minimize any surprises. So, if you’ve yet to dig in and give some dedicated focus to your taxes, here are a few suggestions to get you going: Begin Gathering Source...

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E-Filing is the Way to Go – 4 Top Reasons

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

February 19th 2013

More than 80% of taxpayers file electronically…and for good reason. Or rather, good reasons (plural)—four to be exact. E-filing offers an efficient and highly secure method for filing your tax return. And if that’s not reason enough, take a moment to read through our Top 4: Accurate & Complete—E-filing is the best way to ensure that you file an...

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Electronic Filing Starts January 30th

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

January 31st 2013

As of January 30, 2013, the IRS will begin processing individual income tax returns for the majority of United States taxpayers. Be sure to get your tax documents organized now. You can use our Client Center on our website to securely upload your documents to our office. A few items to note as we move into February: E-file and direct deposit are the fastest ways to...

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New Tax Bill… What it Means to You

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

January 4th 2013

With the passing of the new ‘Fiscal Cliff” Act, taxpayers need to be aware of how it may affect them in the coming years. As such, we’ve compiled detailed information for you within this blog post. At a high level, the...

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Tips on S Corporation Compensation

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

December 27th 2012

The IRS continues to challenge S Corporation shareholders regarding proper methods for paying themselves. That said, it’s critical that your S Corporation structure is set up appropriately and that compensation is paid and reported correctly. For example, in a recent court appeal case, an attorney was slapped with penalties and interest after failing to remit payroll taxes for his...

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Tis the “Season of Giving”… Holiday Tax Tips for You

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

December 18th 2012

It’s year end already, and with it comes the race to get ready for tax season. Traditionally, December marks a time for giving generously to charities, family, and friends. It’s also a time that can have a major impact on your upcoming tax return. But fear not, we’ve compiled a few helpful “Season of Giving” tips for you (courtesy of the IRS), covering everything from charity...

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After-election Tax Implications... What to Expect in 2013

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

November 22nd 2012

With the election behind us, we now have a much clearer picture of how taxes will be affected in 2013 and beyond. With this insight, we can better help our clients create strategic, fiscally responsible tax programs for the coming year. Under the Obama administration, the objective is to maintain the old tax rates for taxpayers with adjusted gross income below $250,000. (The old tax...

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Changes to Your Client Portal…What You Need to Know

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

October 26th 2012

You may have already noticed some changes to your personal portal. To ensure that you are able to continue to easily navigate within your portal, we’ve compiled the following list that explains recent core enhancements. What you will see when you log in: A more streamlined look and feel offers more direct access to your documents and other frequently used home...

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Key Tips for Using Social Media Effectively in Your Small Business

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

October 16th 2012

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that social media is not one size fits all. Every small business is different and will have different social media needs. For example, some may be looking to acquire new clients while others may want to use social media channels to strengthen customer relationships or educate their audience. No matter the reason, social media is a...

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Jumpstarting Innovation in Your Business

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

October 1st 2012

To ensure success, it’s important to consistently evaluate your business and identify possible areas for enhancement. Of course, because you are an integral part of daily operations, it’s sometimes hard to visualize what enhancements may be needed or to come up with that next BIG idea. With this in mind, we want to provide you with a few tips to help jumpstart innovation in...

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Real Time Collaboration… Paperless… What’s Not to Love?

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

September 17th 2012

With year end fast approaching, it’s a good time to slip in another push for portals. We understand the immense value online access offers, and we just want to be sure that you do too. First and foremost, portals support immediate, real-time exchange of data and documents, which translates into ultimate convenience for our clients. Your information is always at your fingertips, 24/7…when...

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The End of Summer Means Year End is that Much Closer...

clark@rootworks.com (Marc Paquette)

September 5th 2012

Summer is coming to a close, and the end of summer is a good time to start thinking about getting your tax information together. Before you know it, year end will be here, which can leave you scrambling to get organized. Starting a little early will help ensure that you are prepared—avoiding the all-too-familiar last minute cram session that can cause disruption and stress in your personal...

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