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Making the right choice about your office space
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Making the right choice about your office space

Many companies must eventually decide whether to renew a lease, move on to a different one or buy new (or pre-existing) space. Buying commercial property is a big step. It offers prestige, control and tax advantages, but also comes with high costs, maintenance obligations and the daunting prospect of selling if things don’t work out. Leasing is usually less expensive, leaves property management to someone...

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03 May 2018
Say, just how competitive is your business anyway?
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Say, just how competitive is your business anyway?

To be successful, a business must be competitive. Is yours? Here are some ways to assess this: First, examine your operating environment. Anything from severe weather to a sudden change in buying trends could affect competitiveness. Next, identify important tangible and intangible resources. Technological obsolescence, for example, could change everything. Then look at the strength of your leadership team. Flagging employee morale could leave you...

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26 Apr 2018
Manage health benefits costs with a multipronged approach
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Manage health benefits costs with a multipronged approach

For business owners, it may seem impossible to control health care benefits costs. The trick is taking a multipronged approach. For example, don’t rely on vendor-provided communications: Actively interact with employees. Use metrics to analyze benefits utilization and identify utilization gaps where you may be losing money. Engage an outside expert to conduct an ROI study of your plan. Also, audit claims payments and pharmacy...

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19 Apr 2018
IRS Audit Techniques Guides provide clues to what may come up if your business is audited
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IRS Audit Techniques Guides provide clues to what may come up if your business is audited

IRS examiners use Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) to prepare for audits, and small business owners can use them, too. Many ATGs target specific industries, such as construction. Others address issues that frequently arise in audits, such as executive compensation and fringe benefits. Although ATGs were created to enhance IRS examiner proficiency, they also can help small businesses ensure they aren’t engaging in practices that could...

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12 Apr 2018
Tax document retention guidelines for small businesses
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Tax document retention guidelines for small businesses

You may have breathed a sigh of relief after filing your 2017 income tax return (or requesting an extension). But if you have years’ worth of receipts, canceled checks and other tax-related records for your small business, you probably want to get rid of what you can. A good rule of thumb is to hold on to tax-related documents for at least six years. But...

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05 Apr 2018
A net operating loss on your 2017 tax return isn’t all bad news
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A net operating loss on your 2017 tax return isn’t all bad news

If a company’s deductible expenses exceed its income, generally a net operating loss (NOL) occurs. The upside is tax benefits: If the tax year generating the NOL ended on or before 12/31/17, the NOL can be carried back up to 2 years to generate an immediate tax refund and boost cash flow. Any remaining NOL can be carried forward up to 20 years. Or the...

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29 Mar 2018
Earned income tax credit and the additional Child tax credit
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Earned income tax credit and the additional Child tax credit

The IRS has started releasing refunds for taxpayers who claimed the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. Many of the refunds should arrive in bank accounts or on debit cards this week. The IRS also explained some facts about tax refunds, such as: Nine out of 10 are usually issued in less than 21 days, IRS customer service representatives can’t provide...

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01 Mar 2018
Follow IRS rules to ensure you receive your charitable tax deductions
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Follow IRS rules to ensure you receive your charitable tax deductions

Donating to charity can reduce your taxable estate and benefit your favorite organizations. By making donations during your lifetime, you can claim income tax deductions. For your donations to be deductible, they must meet certain IRS criteria. For example, contributions generally are deductible only in the tax year they’re made: If you pledged $5,000 in October 2017 but paid only $1,500 of your pledge by...

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22 Feb 2018
Use benchmarking to swim with the big fish
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Use benchmarking to swim with the big fish

Benchmarking can help your company swim with the big fish without getting gobbled up. It’s the practice of comparing your performance to that of similar businesses to identify strengths and weaknesses. Quantitative benchmarking uses key performance indicators (formulas or ratios) to calculate comparisons. Meanwhile, qualitative benchmarking compares operating practices (such as production techniques, quality indicators and training methods). You can even benchmark internally to see...

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14 Feb 2018
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