Does the IRS treat jury duty pay as taxable income?

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1800Accountant.com explains how jury duty pay is treated as a form of taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

Many of us will receive a notice by mail that requests that we serve on a jury in our local area. Jury duty is considered an essential civic duty that is required, unless special permissions to opt out of it are allowed. While those who serve on juries often have to miss work, they are compensated in some form for their time, although this amount isn’t very much in most cases. So this begs the question: is the money that jurors earn considered taxable income by the IRS?

Because the money received by a taxpayer for serving on a jury is viewed as a form of income, it has to be claimed in full on a federal income tax return. Because accounting for this income is a necessity, it is considered taxable income, and it is just like money earned through traditional employment or other means. It does not matter if you work as an employee or are self-employed. The income must be claimed either way. For employees, you should report this amount on Line 21 of Form 1040 when filing your taxes. If you are self-employed, use Form 1099 under Section TT of “Wages and Income, Less Common Income.”

Under some circumstances, jury duty members are required to give the pay they receive for serving to their employers. This generally takes place when an employer pays someone a normal salary while this person serves on a jury, even when having to miss work for this purpose. However, there is a bright spot involved in this process. You can deduct the amount of money that you give to your employer as an adjustment to your income. To take advantage of this deduction, put the amount you give to your employer on Line 36 of Form 1040. On the dotted line next to Line 36, put “Jury Pay” and the specified amount beside it to indicate what it is. There are similar requirements for self-employed taxpayers using Form 1099.

Learn more about what kinds of income are taxable and have to be reported on a federal IRS income tax return, along with ways to reduce your taxes through deduction opportunities, by contacting the tax experts at 1800Accountant.com. Call 1-888-749-0117 or visit www.1800accountant.com. The full-service accounting and business development firm can assist you with any personal or business tax situation you may have.

Small Business Benefits of Using an Accounting Professional

If you’re a small business owner, your list of daily and ongoing priorities can get longer and longer, putting you in a position where you’ll feel like you are always behind. According to 1800Accountant.com, retaining an accounting professional to help out can be a tremendously beneficial decision for certain businesses.

Generally speaking, almost any small business owner conducting any given type of trade could benefit greatly from having an accountant to assist in the financial aspects of the company. However, there are some businesses that may need this help more than others. For example, a company that operates with more than just its owner can require lots of additional attention in terms of payroll, bookkeeping, and other requirements. Unless you are skilled at paying employees or handling the wide-ranging tasks of keeping your financial records in order, an accounting professional gives you the ability to take these duties off your shoulders and put them on the plate of a highly skilled financial expert who has dealt with all types of business owners and enjoys doing this type of work. The same goes for those who frequently travel, those who have outside jobs, and those who have families to tend to outside of their companies. In reality, these business owners simply don’t have enough time to properly dedicate to the vital tasks of maintaining their financial situations.

IRS business taxes are a whole different ballgame

Because filing business taxes comes with a number of unique obligations compared to typical personal tax filings, accountants who are skilled in this area have the ability to simplify these tax responsibilities to the point where you won’t have to worry about them much at all. Filing separate business tax returns and filing business taxes throughout the year on a quarterly basis are just two of the unique aspects of an entrepreneurial endeavor. Keep in mind that April 15th is not the only date to circle on your calendar when running a business. There are several deadlines to be met, and missing one could cost you significantly by getting penalized or having to file an extension. Plus, there are dozens of tax deductions you can take full advantage of as a business owner, unlike the more limited write-off opportunities for individuals who only file personal tax returns. To help you hold on to more of the profits you bring in with your business, using a knowledgeable tax accountant may be able to save you thousands of dollars on your taxes by claiming tax deductions or tax credits. This money can then be put back into the company.

Overall, a large percentage of small business owners have limited experience when it comes to accounting. This is certainly no fault of their own, unless they work in the financial industry. It’s also another reason that giving these tasks to a professional is the way to go to make your life easier – and to see even more money in your business bank account.

Contact 1800Accountant.com today for all of your small business development and accounting needs. Call 1-888-749-0117 or visit www.1800accountant.com.

Mastering the Learning Curve of Starting a Small Business

Curves aren't just part of a road. There is a big learning curve involved in starting a small business.

Much like curves in a road, the learning curve involved in starting a small business requires attention and often a change in your path. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

By setting up a new small business, you are opening the door to a whole new world of both exciting experiences and daunting challenges. With that said, there is obviously a tremendous learning curve involved in this process, especially for those who have never operated a company in the past. 1800Accountant.com offers the following insight on how to best master this difficult learning curve.

– Accept what you don’t know and find ways to learn it.

One of the most noteworthy challenges for highly intelligent and motivated entrepreneurs to overcome is to accept what they do not know when establishing a business. Lots of complex tasks are involved in doing this, so make sure you realize what you can do and what you are unfamiliar with before moving forward. By the time you are in full swing, you could be an expert on this, so keep that in your mind. Once you realize and accept these uncertainties, educate yourself by taking the bull by the horns to determine where you can get the assistance you need.

– Research is absolutely vital.

Even though your days in school may be long gone, doing homework through research is a major part of being one of the many successful small business owners out there. It’s an ongoing process as well that you may never actually finish. By searching the web, reading through books and magazines, watching the news, and paying attention to your industry in other ways, you will be ahead of the game. You’ll gain the knowledge you need to discover all the nooks and crannies of what’s involved in starting and maintaining a company. Because research is never-ending, it’s important to schedule some time once in a while to actually do it. Along with reading, research also involves communicating with others through networking, asking your customers, partners, or vendors questions, and simply finding out what is occurring around you so that you have a solid handle on everything. From choosing the right business structure to setting your prices, research is required on such a wide range of factors.

– Get involved in networking with small business owners.

There are a number of opportunities that exist for small business owners to network with each other. These range from a very broad scope to specific groups designed for those involved in certain fields. The necessity to get information directly from the horse’s mouth applies perfectly to the small business world. When you hear the personal experiences of others who have taken the dive and been through it all, you’ll take on a much better perspective to help navigate you through the twists and turns. Trade secrets are one thing, but sharing information and relevant experiences is something all small business owners should be willing to do. Small businesses drive the American economy, so it only makes sense for everyone to have similar goals. Look online, check out your local library, or pay a visit to a community college where you may discover these kinds of groups. Attend events on a regular basis to get your name and face out there. You’ll be amazed how many like-minded individuals you’ll come across who can offer helpful guidance to you.

– Have patience throughout the process.

All newly crowned small business owners get little antsy about getting their startups off the ground and taking in large profits right out of the gate. The problem is that it won’t happen overnight. You have to have some patience with this endeavor. This means realizing that it will take time to get your ducks in a row. Accept the fact that certain business registrations take time to go through, certain taxes and accounting paperwork take time to be properly prepared and filed with the IRS, and a business must be planned out well before it brings in its first dollar. If you are patient, you will have a much better shot at seeing prosperity sooner than later. In the end, mastering the learning curve will be a whole lot easier.

Use 1800Accountant.com for all of your small business development and accounting needs. Call 1-888-749-0117 or visit www.1800accountant.com to learn more.

The Benefits of Having a Small Business Website

Having a small business website is essential these days.

1800Accountant.com points out some of the major benefits of having a website for a small business. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

We have all been living in the “.com age” for some time now, and it’s only going to be that way for the foreseeable future. With the power of the “information superhighway,” having a website is basically a necessity nowadays that all small businesses should be utilizing. 1800Accountant.com explains some of the benefits of maintaining a business website.

The Internet offers a tremendous outlet for small business marketing. With more people using web-enabled smartphones and tablets to for online purposes, Internet access is more available than ever. This gives small business owners a tremendous resource that spans far and wide and contains a huge pool of potential customers. By looking up places of interest nearby on their phones, customers will be more likely to find your brick-and-mortar business if you have a website.

A Low-Cost Small Business Marketing Tool

It’s also a wise financial decision to maintain a business website. Web design companies offer all kinds of inexpensive options that are much cheaper than using more traditional small business marketing methods. Plus, with simple, do-it-yourself web design tools at your disposal, you don’t need a degree in computer programming to create and maintain an attractive website by yourself. In many cases, you probably don’t need to hire an employee for this purpose, either.

Having an online presence through a business website can also provide a relatively inexpensive sales platform. By offering your products/services online, you’ll be able to reach an international customer base that is significantly larger than any local or regional customer base. Plus, if you want to save on the cost of renting out retail space, consider operating your business entirely online. If it’s not feasible to do this, a website could simply serve as a source of information about what you offer so customers will have a better understanding of your products/services prior to contacting you. You can also build an e-mail list of customers who visit your site and update them with info on new offerings. If your business is more service-oriented like consulting, a site will provide visitors with a worldwide authoritative voice about what you can do for others. These are things that consultants who lack an online presence won’t benefit from as much.

For web design assistance and additional small business development services, contact 1800Accountant.com today at 1-888-749-0117 or at www.1800accountant.com.

Legal issues involved in running a small business

Contracts are just one of the many things to consider using in your small business to avoid legal issues.

Using contracts in a small business is essential to guard against potential legal issues. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

When starting up and running a small business, there are multiple legal issues to take into consideration. Failure to follow certain laws and regulations could make or break the ultimate fate of a startup company. According to 1800Accountant.com, here are a few legal issues to keep in mind along with strategies you can use to avoid getting entangled in undesirable legal troubles:

 

1. Choose a small business structure that offers legal protection.

Corporations and LLCs offer a nice layer of legal protection for small business owners. This is because they separate business assets from the personal assets of an owner. To guard against lawsuits or other legal claims, a great option is to incorporate your business instead of simply operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership. Even though legal battles aren’t extremely common, they can arise at the least expected times, so it’s best to be protected.

2. Select and claim a business name.

Be sure that the name you choose for your small business hasn’t already been taken by another business owner. It’s easy to find this out by doing a name search with the filing office in the state where your business is registered. There are some exceptions that allow businesses with identical names to coexist, but there are rules that often require the differentiation of these names. This is normally determined on a state-by-state basis. The last thing you want is to end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit for name infringement.

3. Get and maintain appropriate business licenses or permits.

Business licenses are commonly overlooked by entrepreneurs. You may need a specific license, certification, degree, or permit to conduct various business activities. For instance, small business owners who perform environmental-related tasks almost always need a license to be able to do their jobs. Obtaining such a license or permit can take lots of time, so it’s important to be patient when acquiring this paperwork. You can rest at ease when you know you are legally allowed to run a business.

4. Take precautions when hiring or firing employees.

The processes of bringing on employees or letting them go can be quite complex. This is particularly true when it comes to the legal aspects involved. When you hire someone to work for you, there are standard procedures to follow related to who you hire, how much money they’ll make, what their hours will be, and what kinds of duties they’ll handle. On the other hand, firing an employee may be even more of a touchy subject in terms of the law. There are rules on what reasons you can give for cutting ties with someone. Conduct plenty of research to determine how these processes will work the most efficiently for you so that you won’t have to worry about any possible legal issues.

5. Use confidentiality agreements to prevent potential legal issues.

Confidentiality is a big part of any business, no matter what kind of industry it’s in. You should protect private business information so that it doesn’t get into the hands of those who shouldn’t know about it. If your business has employees, contractors, investors, or suppliers, you’ll need to be certain you have an appropriate confidentiality agreement for them to sign to protect yourself, your business, and the individuals involved in your company for whom you are responsible.

For small business development services that can help you set up and protect your business from legal issues, contact the experts at 1800Accountant.com today. Call the national accounting and business consulting firm at 1-888-749-0117, or click over to www.1800accountant.com.