IRS Delays Tax Season Plus Important Deadline Reminders

With all of the last minute tax law changes the IRS needs more time to program their systems. Here are important filing dates:

February 12th: IRS begins 2021 tax season. Individual tax returns begin being accepted and processing begins.

February 22nd: Projected date for the IRS.gov Where’s My Refund tool being updated for those claiming EITC and ACTC, also referred to as PATH Act returns.

First week of March: Tax refunds begin reaching those claiming EITC and ACTC (PATH Act returns) for those who file electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns.

March 15th: Deadline for filing S-corp and partnership returns

April 15th. Deadline for filing individual and corporate tax returns.

May 15th. Deadline for filing exempt organization returns.

September 15th. Deadline for filing extended S-corp and partnership returns

October 15th. Deadline for filing extended individual and corporate returns

 

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PPP2 Overview

Questions about PPP2? Here is an overview:

How much is the loan amount?

The amount is 2.5 times your average monthly payroll during 2019 or trailing 12 months. For hotels and restaurants the amount is 3.5 times average monthly payroll.

How to qualify?

  1. You must have 300 or fewer employees
  2. Have already used or plan to use your original PPP funds
  3. Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in revenue during a least one quarter of 2020 when compared to 2019.

When can you start applying?

You can start applying for a second draw PPP now, however, the SBA will initially only accept loan applications from participating community financial institutions.

What is the deadline?

The deadline is March 31, 2021

What can the proceeds be used for?

The loan proceeds can be used for payroll costs, benefits, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations. The bottom line is that it can be used for many business expenses.

How can it be forgiven?

You must use the entire loan proceeds on covered expenses, stated above, and at least 60% on covered payroll.

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Run Your Business Smoothly During the Holidays

Is that a contradiction, especially if you are a retailer? Aside from retailers and the hecticness from all the holiday shopping, the holidays can go somewhat smoothly for your business. Here are a few ideas for non-retailers and those businesses that are not absolutely crazy during the Holidays:

Schedule time off: Some businesses close during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Others take that time off and encourage employees to do the same. It is usually quiet during those times anyway. It can be a good way to recharge and connect with family.

Out of office messages/holiday hours: Make sure you have automated messages on your voicemail or email to let customers and vendors know that you are not in the office and/or if you will be checking messages periodically. If there is someone else that can return calls and/or emails, then include that person in your out of office message. Lastly, don’t forget to update your hours on Google and on your website.

Use the time to catch-up: If your business is a little slower, then take this as an opportunity to catch-up on some important, non-urgent items.

Schedule days and times to do your shopping: Schedule your shopping times so you do not feel as though you are constantly in shopping mode. This will help you to be more planned with the time you spend away from your business.

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Are You Tired of Overspending on Christmas?

Even with the best of intentions, almost everyone overspends on Christmas. Here are a few ideas to keep overspending to a minimum:

Go easy on electronics: Electronic devices, aside from TV’s, are usually the smallest, most expensive items to purchase. Top of the line smart phones cost more money than computers and laptops. Also go easy on the electronic devices and gaming consoles.

List of gift recipients: Make a list of everyone that you are going to give gifts to, even if it is only a mental list. This will also make shopping easier when you purchase gifts for less people.

Have a rough estimate of spending: Think of how much you want to spend for each person, which will help to prevent buying massive, spur of the moment, super expensive gifts on a whim

You care more about gifts for your kids then they do: Don’t overthink gift giving for your children. If you spend more money on one child, then you do not have to make up for it by spending more for the one you spent less on. Trust me, kids are not calculating how much you spent.

Most importantly, put it all in perspective: To celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Yes, it has become very secular/commercial nowadays, but this is why we celebrate Christmas.

 

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5 Black Friday Mistakes I Made in the Past

Today is Black Friday and there are sales on virtually everything. It can be both a fun and stressful experience, and there are some mistakes I made in the past:

  1. Allowing myself to be convinced to wake up at 5:30 AM or was it 4:30 AM?. Waking up early does not bring out my “best” self.
  2. Not having a plan of which items to purchase or at least having a budget. This relates to shopping the old-fashioned way and online.
  3. Almost getting into a physical confrontation with someone 3 times my size because he thought that I cut in line. I like challenges.
  4. Not enjoying the experience, especially if it wasn’t your idea. Don’t fight over parking spots, run or walk quickly, complain, cut in line, be rude, or put on a frown.
  5. Remember these mistakes for next year!

 

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Are You Ready to Complete Your PPP Loan Forgiveness Application?

Did 24 weeks pass after you received your PPP funds? If so, then now is the time to complete your PPP loan forgiveness application. Here are a few tips from the SBA:

  1. There are several different forms to use, including SBA Form 3508, SBA Form 3508EZ, SBA Form 3508S, or a lender equivalent. To quickly determine which form you should use, take a look if you meet the main criteria for each.
    1. SBA Form 3508EZ is generally for sole proprietors without any employees
    2. SBA Form 3508S is generally used if your loan was $50,000 or less
    3. SBA Form 3508 is used if you do not meet the criteria to use the other forms
  2. Information you may/will need:
    1. Bank statements
    2. Payroll service provider reports
    3. Payroll tax filings filed during the covered period
    4. Payment receipts or cancelled checks to document health insurance, retirement plan expenses, mortgage payments, rent payments, and utility payments
    5. Copies of lender account statements, lease agreements, and invoices
  3. Submit the forgiveness application, along with supporting documentation
  4. Follow-up with your lender. I’m not really sure how long it will take, but I assume that it depends upon your lender, application volume, form used, how you prepared the application, and the amount of the loan.

If you need help completing your application, then let me know.

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15 Minutes to Success

I was going to call this article the 15 minute rule, but then I realized there was a book by the same title, which I have not read. Can 15 minutes make a difference to your success? Here’s my view of how it can:

It Gets You Started

Almost everything takes longer than 15 minutes to accomplish, which is the plain truth. However, if you say that you will spend just 15 minutes on a task, it helps you to get started rather than always putting off the important. Can you imagine all of the tasks that would help out your finances if you eventually started working on them? This is why there are such similarities between money and health. Commit small amounts of time and you will see drastic results over a long period of time. Ignore both and you will see dismal results over a long period of time.

You Can Get Something Done

Although 15 minutes is a short amount of time, you are usually pleasantly surprised by how much you can accomplish in such a short period of time. This is especially true if you commit 15 minutes over and over again. Before you know it, you are working your way towards accomplishment.

It Beats the Procrastination Drag

No one feels good when they procrastinate. Once a task gets started it will give you an emotional boost to continue and the procrastination bug will disappear.

Give a shot and see what you can accomplish in 15 minutes. You may end up writing a blog article!

 

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Productive People Focus on This One Time Management Technique

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of books on time management. Technically, you cannot really “manage” time, but you can control how you spend your time. Here is a technique that seems to trump most of the time management tips, but you must first be able to identify how and when to use it.

Focus on Important, but not Urgent Items

If you focus on this one technique, then your productivity will increase substantially. The problem is that it is easy to let important, but not urgent items slip away. Usually these important items have this in common:

  1. They take more time to complete than many of your other tasks
  2. They require more time, energy, and focus
  3. If you do not do them today, tomorrow, or even next week, then your current situation will probably not be impacted

Examples include:

  1. Projects that are not due in the near future
  2. Actions that have a cumulative effect, for example, marketing tasks for your business or personal actions such as exercising and eating better
  3. Developing and maintaining relationships with people

Take a look at all of the tasks that you are constantly putting off and this is where you should begin to implement changes. A common enemy that fights against the important are low value, urgent activities. Think of important, not urgent items as drinking a protein shake vs. drinking a can of soda.

 

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4 Business Ideas During These Times

What are some business ideas that you can implement and that should thrive during these times and in the future? Here are 4 to choose from:

Marketing Services

This includes web design, social media marketing, and developing content for your customers. The online marketing trend should continue and there will be a demand for this service to be outsourced.

Pest Control

With people spending more time at home they will notice more of the creepy crawlies around the house. If you’re spending more time inside your home then you are probably making more of a mess with food and inviting opportunities for pests.

Virtual Services

Although this is a huge market, there is a growing trend for services to be delivered online. Examples include: training videos, consulting services, and learning about various topics from personal to business knowledge.

Online Product Sales

Unfortunately, most online sellers do not do this one correctly and would be better off getting a minimum wage job. However, if you focus on a niche product or line of products that you can easily manage and that have a large enough profit margin, then you can do very well. Options include selling directly though your website or through online marketplaces like Amazon.

 

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Business Time or Family Time?

A common struggle is balancing spending time on your business to make more money and a focus on your family. Should you sacrifice your family time to make more money?

There will be times in your life when you need to spend more time on your business due to reasons such as seasonality of the business, growing the business, starting up a new business, and fixing problems. This is normal and probably will not create long-term problems unless taken to the extreme. Extreme examples include: working 7 days a week/12 hours a day, working away from home for long stretches of time, and always coming home with no energy left over for your family. The threshold will be different for every family depending upon dynamics and the length of time away, but a general rule is the more time away from your family, the easier it will be to invite problems into your home.

A good approach is a balanced approach. By taking this approach you set limits and boundaries on time spent on your business. While you can still grow your business, you may end up with slower growth due to less time being spent on it. However, if you work smarter, then you may actually do better by spending your time even more productively and only pursuing opportunities that provide the highest return per time spent. Maybe you can have your cake and eat it to!

Figure out what you are trying to accomplish with your business growth and make sure this is in line with what matters most to you.

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