Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rising Healthcare Costs-What can you do?

Healthcare premiums, co-pays, deductibles and Maximum out-of-pocket expenses are trending higher.
Examine your options

If your spouse has group healthcare benefits, look at both plans to maximize benefits and minimize costs. Look at out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, co-pays and other factors that can reduce your premiums. Ask about your options before the open enrollment period comes around and determine your selections after careful consideration.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Many employers are offering a combination of high-deductible plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). Through a health savings account, insured workers can learn to better control their own healthcare costs while also taking advantage of tax breaks and, in many cases, matching employer contributions. Contributions to an HSA are tax-free and the funds can then be used to pay for medical expenses with no taxes on the withdrawals. Combining a high-deductible health insurance plan with an HSA can lower premium costs and reduce income taxes.

Plan to bridge the medicare gap now by stashing money in an HSA (up to $7,150 for a couple), you can save on income taxes and premiums and set money aside for future medical expenditures.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thinking About Taking Your Business Global?

Thinking about taking your business global? It must be easy-everyone is global these days. Well, that's not necessarily the case. Although, it probably is much easier today than any time ever before, that doesn't mean it is easy. Also, you might be surprised at how relatively few small businesses are actually doing business globally. Our article at Tip: Taking Your Business Global gives you more information on those statistics.

That article also includes 10 questions you should answer before making the decision to go global. For example, have you considered if you will need to adapt your product or marketing approach to serve the global market? That's just one of sever key items to consider.

Retail businesses might want to take a look at Export Now, http://www.exportnow.com/site/1/Home a new e-commerce venture designed specifically to help U.S. businesses access consumer markets in China.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Social Security Benefits to Increase in 2012, But So Do Medicare Costs

Beginning in January 2012, Social Security recipients will get their first Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increase since 2009. While we all get excited about pay increases, those recipients on Medicare also have to deal with an overall increase in Medicare costs. Here's a summary of what to expect in 2012:


  • The average Social Security benefit will increase by $43 per month or $516 per year.
  • The average Medicare Part B premium is projected to increase by $3.50 per month (8.1% of the COLA increase).
  • Medicare Part B deductibles will decrease by $22 per year while Medicare Part A deductibles will increase by $24 per year to $1,156.
So much like taxes, there seems to be nothing that is quite straight forward with Social Security or Medicare. For more information, follow this link Social Security Benefits Increase Along With Medicare Costs or visit news and articles at www.porterfieldcpa.com.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beware of Unexpected Tax Refunds

Have you ever thought of what to do if the IRS or state tax authority sends you an unexpected refund? Most people would say "what a great gift" and start thinking about what to spend the money on. However, you probably need to think through the situation before making plans to spend it.
  • If the refunds were sent in error, you can be assessed penalties and interest from the original due date of the tax.
  • Determine why you received the refund. Enlist the assistance of a CPA if necessary.
  • If you believe the refund was in error, return the check with an explanation.
  • Only deposit the check if you truly believe it is due to you.

Porterfield Killingsworth CPA, PLLC is a regional CPA firm serving clients throughout the world from it's offices in northwest Arkansas.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Back Taxes - What Do You Do?

In one of our current news articles (http://porterfieldcpa.com/dynamicontent.php?id=main&article=973) we addresses the issue of back taxes. More specifically, what you should do when you get a notice from the IRS or a State tax department.

Don't Panic! While no one wants to get a letter from the IRS, it does happen. And just because you receive a notice does not mean that you actually do owe more taxes.

Address the Issue-Review the notice and determine what caused the issue. If you need help, find a qualified CPA. If you need additional help, call the IRS and request additional time to respond. This will not stop the clock on any penalties or interest that may be due, but it will give you the time needed to develop your response. You just need to ask.

Respond-File amended or delinquent tax returns to address the notice. If the notice does result in a balance due, the IRS and State have programs that allow you pay on installment. However, make sure that you can abide by the terms, which will include that you remain in compliance on current returns and taxes.

Again, no one wants to have a situation where they receive a tax notice, but remember to handle it using the steps above and more specifically detailed at www.porterfieldcpa.com.

You can find more tax and accounting insights at www.porterfieldcpa.com.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Technology is Really Changing Our Profession

Everywhere you look today, technology is infiltrating our lives. Does it make things better? I certainly believe and hope that it does.

The accounting profession has been all over the board on technology. I know of a local CPA that still prepares state returns by hand. I assume it is because he is too cheap pay for the additional software license to prepare the returns, but there may be some other reason. I've never asked, just found it interesting that he would prepare federal returns in the software and spend extra time to prepare the state returns by hand.

Getting on with things, there's a lot more technology out there than just tax preparation software. In today's environment of technology, there are all kinds of applications and opportunities for our profession. Here's a link to an article that I wrote for Arkansas Business back in August that talks about just a few of the opportunities. http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article.aspx?aID=128461.54928.140585&k=CPA

This is a topic that will not be going away. I'm very interested in technology and especially how our profession can make the most of it, so expect to hear a whole lot more on the subject in this blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shoeboxed

I just sat in on a web demo of a service named Shoeboxed (www.shoeboxed.com). Their focus is taking your receipts, scanning them, extracting the data and then putting them in order. It's a solution to the common reference of tax clients bringing their tax "stuff" into the accountant in a shoebox. It's a nice service that ultimately allows the taxpayer to have online access to their records that otherwise would have faded and deteriorated overtime. The extracted data can easily be viewed, searched, filtered and extracted. The service interphases with QuickBooks and Bill.com, just to name a few.

If you are one of those that bring your tax "stuff" into the office in a shoebox, this might be a good service for you.