Completing the New 2020 W-4 Form

We are receiving many questions about the new W-4 forms. I’m not surprised, they are super confusing! And it’s a lot less obvious how to get the result you want — whether that’s getting a big refund, having a modest balance due on your tax return, or coming in as close to zero tax due / refund as possible.

I’ve created a brief video to help explain the new W-4 and how to fill it out to get the right tax withholding for you.

W-4

Please note, this is general information. Every tax return is different, and it is impossible to cover every variable in this brief video. If you need more specific information for your situation, please contact us to schedule a tax planning consultation (consulting fees apply).

Thrive Portal FAQs

How can I access the portal?

The portal can be found by going to the Thrive Business Group website and selecting the “Portal” tab. The website link is: https://www.thrivebusinessgroup.com/portal-login.htm

Portal tab pic3

How do I use the portal?

This short video explains how to use the portal.

Portal video

 

I forgot my password or never received the temporary password by email.

Go to the portal login page and click the “Forgot Password?” option to have a reset password link sent to you. If you are set up in our portal you will get the message: “Instructions have been sent to the email address provided.” If you get the message: “A user with that email address does not exist” then contact us for assistance.  admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com or 360-746-8738

What email address is associated with my  personal account?

Our new portal only allows one email address per account. If you are a married couple, you will both need to sign in with the same email address and password. Please contact us to find out whose email address we have as the main contact.

Will my personal and business documents be in the same portal account?

For business owners, if we only have one email address on file for both your personal and business accounts, then your personal and business documents will be in one portal account. If we have separate email addresses for your personal and business accounts, then you will have two portal accounts. Let us know if you would like to change how your personal and business accounts are setup on the portal.

Who do I contact if I want to change the email address associated with my portal account?

Call us at 360-746-8738 or email admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com

I can login to my account but I would like to change my password?

Once you are logged in to the portal – go to your name in the bar at the top. There will be a drop down menu – Select “Change Password” and it will take you through the process of changing your password

Change password pic2

 

How do I download a document?

Once in the system, hover over the file name and then click the download button to the right of the “Uploaded” column to retrieve your documents and download for your records.

Download pic 2

How do I upload a document?

Use the “Upload File” button and then you will be prompted to choose a file or multiple files to upload.

 

Upload pic2

 

What folder should I choose when uploading?

You don’t need to choose a folder. If you have a personal and business account, choosing the appropriate folder with your personal name or business name could be helpful.

Do I need to let you know that I uploaded something?

We will automatically get notified whenever you upload a document to your portal account. You do not need to contact us.

How long will I be able to access the documents that are uploaded?

Files will be available in your portal for one year. Please download documents for your records. If you need something that is not in your portal, please contact us.

I received an e-mail for Office Tools E-signing. What do I need to do?

The first time you use the Office Tools e-sign, you will be prompted to select a PIN. Please note this PIN for future use. You will then be asked a few security questions for IRS Compliance.

I am not able to answer the security questions. What should I do?

Please contact us so that we can verify that the information in our database is correct. You can also print, sign, and return the signature form in your portal (a scan or photo is fine).  You can also stop by our office to sign.

I did not receive an email with the e-signature link.

When more than one person is signing a document, the email goes to the first person listed.  They have to sign and then the second person will receive an email. Most likely, the first signer has not signed the document yet but please contact us if you are expecting a document to sign and don’t receive it.

I need additional assistance

Call us at 360-746-8738 or email admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com

Worksheets

Do you need a worksheet to turn in with your tax info?

You are always welcome to contact our office and request that we email you a worksheet.   admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com  or (360) 746-8738.

Or, you can download the needed worksheet below:

Home Office Worksheet 2019

Rental Property Worksheet 2019

Schedule C Worksheet 2019

 

Do you do your business books in QuickBooks?

This checklist will help you complete your books for year end.

Business Bookkeeping Year End Checklist

 

 

Preparing Your Business Books for Tax Preparation

Are your books ready for tax preparation?

Your tax return is only as accurate as your bookkeeping records.  There are several things you can do to ensure your books are complete, accurate, reconciled, and ready for tax preparation.

Below is a basic Year End checklist to help you wrap up your bookkeeping for the year. Each company’s bookkeeping is unique to the business so this list may include items that do not apply or may not cover specific aspects of your company’s accounting records.

Balance Sheet Review:  Use a Comparative Balance Sheet that shows the current year and the prior year for comparison. It helps draw attention to significant variances from year to year, which can be an indication of bookkeeping errors.

__   Confirm that your Prior Year Balance Sheet hasn’t changed since your tax return was prepared last year.  It should match your tax return from the prior year.

__   Reconcile all bank, credit card, and loan accounts.  Make sure to resolve any uncleared/unreconciled transactions that are more than 3 months old.

__   Reconcile payroll liabilities and excise tax liabilities to actual year end balances.

__   Review Accounts Receivable Aging report – write off any uncollectible balances.

__   Review Accounts Payable Aging report – resolve any inaccuracies.

__   Verify the ending inventory balance reflects the actual cost value based on physical count.

__   Review any new asset entries to make sure they should be reported as assets.  Purchases for $500 or less can be recorded as expenses.  (Some businesses report anything $2,500 or less as and expense.)

__   Look for any accounts that have significant changes from the prior year or no change from the prior year – investigate to see if anything is missing or inaccurate

 

Profit & Loss Review:  Use a Comparative Profit & Loss that shows the current year and the prior year for comparison. It helps draw attention to significant variances from year to year, which can be an indication of bookkeeping errors.

__    Look at a Profit & Loss Detail report that shows all transactions in each account.  Look for unusual   entries in each account. This is not an intensive detailed review or audit, just a quick look through transactions looking for oddities or anomalies that may need correcting.  Also, look for & correct expense transactions that should be recorded as assets (generally greater than $500, though some businesses use the benchmark of $2,500 or more).

__    Verify revenue is reconciled to POS, Billing, or other revenue tracking system.

__    Verify payroll expenses (wages & taxes) agree with the year-end payroll reports and payroll tax returns.

__    For corporations, verify that officer wages are reported in their own expense account.

__    For partnerships, verify that compensation to partners for services is reported as guaranteed payments.

__    Verify charitable contributions are reported correctly.  Only those donations that have a business purpose are deductible.  Other charitable contributions are not tax deductible in a business.

__     Look for any expenses reported in the prior year that don’t show up in the current year.  This can be an indication that something is missing in your current year bookkeeping.

__    Add any owner reimbursements for items paid personally (mileage, cell phone, home office, etc.)

 

Download a pdf of the Business Bookkeeping Year End Checklist

 

Job Posting: Experienced Tax Accountant – Quality of Work, Quality of Life

Thrive Business Group is a rapidly growing small CPA firm dedicated to helping small business owners and self-employed individuals Thrive. We believe in providing a truly excellent experience for our clients – from technical proficiency, to genuine caring. We take care of their accounting & tax service needs with quality work, and sprinkle the process with encouragement, mentoring, and humor.

We believe a thriving team helps develop thriving clients. We provide a quality workplace for our team – from true life-work balance (even during tax season), to internal mentoring and comradery. We have a rock-solid team who works beautifully together and enjoys the satisfaction of being highly productive and collaborating for a job well done.

We are seeking an experienced Tax Accountant:

  • CPA or EA preferred, but not required (technical experience is more important than your designation)
  • Income Tax Preparation experience required (minimum 3 years, 5+ is better – 1040, 1120S, 1065 required; 1041, 990 preferred; Tax return review experience preferred
  • Small Business Accounting required, including flexibility in tailoring services to unique small business needs
  • QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online proficiency
  • WA state payroll proficiency
  • Detail oriented, organized, highly productive
  • Works well independently and with a team
  • Cares about making a difference with our clients, cares about our team

To apply, submit cover letter, including compensation requirements, and resume by email to thrivehiring@gmail.com

5% Discount on Services when you sign up for Auto Payment

Thrive Business Group now offers a 5% discount on all services paid through our Auto Pay program. Here’s how it works.

You complete and sign an Auto Pay agreement that gives us permission to charge your payment method of choice automatically for our service fees.  You choose whether you want your automatic payment to come out of your checking account, or charge to a credit card or debit card.

Starting the month following receipt of your completed agreement, you will see a 5% discount applied to each invoice under the Auto Payment agreement.

At the beginning of each month, we will still email you an invoice for services with a note that you are set up for Auto Pay. After the 17th of the month, we will automatically charge your account on file.

For federal tax return preparation, we will automatically charge your account 10 days after we send you your completed tax return and invoice.

If you have both a personal and a business account with us, you can choose to put either or both accounts on autopay.  Use one form (and check both personal and business) if you want to use one payment method for both.  To use a different payment method for each, simply fill out two forms.

It’s easy to sign up, just fill out this secure online form.  Or, email invoicing@thrivebusinessgroup.com to request an autopay form to print out and return by mail.

 

FAQ

What if I have a question about my invoice?

You will still receive your invoice by email at the beginning of each month. If you have a question, reply to the email with your questions. We have plenty of time to make sure you have all of your questions answered before the Auto Payment is processed after the 17th of the month.

What services do I get a discount on?

The 5% discount applies to all services included under your Auto Payment agreement, beginning the month after signing up.

For monthly services, when does Auto Payment start?

Auto Payment and discount starts the month after signing up.

If you would like to use your new Auto Pay method to pay an invoice you have already received,  simply send an email to invoicing@thrivebusinessgroup.com.   The discount however, will start with the following invoice.

Can I set this up for both my personal and business accounts?

Yes!  You can mark on the autopay form which accounts you want the autopay/discount to apply to.

Can I use different payment methods for my personal and business accounts?

Yes!   Simply fill out the autopay form twice — one for each account.

If I choose discount/autopay for my tax return preparation fee, when will that be debited?

The payment will be debited no less than 10 days after your invoice has been sent to you.

Can I use either a bank account or credit card for my autopayment?

Yes!

What if I want to stop the Direct-Debit payment?

Email us at invoicing@thrivebusinessgroup.com to request cancellation at any time.

How do I sign up?

Email  invoicing@thrivebusinessgroup.com to request an auto pay enrollment agreement, or just fill out this secure online form

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?

Call us at 360-746-8738 or email invoicing@thrivebusinessgroup.com

Info Sessions for Transitioning from Powell Business Solutions

Hello!

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Siobhan Murphy. I am the CPA and founder of Thrive Business Group.

Cami recently contacted me about her decision to focus her business into CFO services exclusively. She asked if we could handle the additional clients if she referred her non-CFO clients to us. I was honored that she shared her confidence in us and appreciated her desire to make sure you continue getting the services you need.

I founded Thrive Business Group nine years ago and have been a practicing accountant for 18 years (13 of those as a CPA). I was raised by two entrepreneurial parents, which infused me with a passion for small business. I founded our organization on the belief that small business owners and self-employed individuals deserve excellent service at a fair price.

We have a team of six: me, two accountants, one bookkeeper, and two administrative team members (plus a few more seasonal additions during tax season). We provide a full range of bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation, and tax strategy consulting services for individuals, small businesses, and the self-employed.

I love to make tax time easy for our clients and to help you pay the minimum legal and ethical amount in tax. Our team provides bookkeeping and accounting support tailored to your needs – a little or a lot – we can help.

I have great respect for Cami’s skills as an accountant and appreciate the care with which she serves her clients. I look forward to continuing this level of excellence in working with you.

I would like to extend two invitations to you:

An educational meet & greet: hosted by me and Cami for clients transitioning out of her services.

Friday, December 7th 1:00 – 2:30pm [Presentation 1:15-2:00]
Location: The Big Love Boardroom
1140 10th Street, Suite 102, Bellingham (in Fairhaven)

We’ll provide a variety of munchies, give a brief presentation regarding 2018 tax law changes, and introduce you to our firm. I will be available for general Q&A and I’ll bring some of our team for you to meet too.

Please RSVP by emailing Admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com or calling 360-746-8738 so we make sure we have food and a seat for you.

One-on-One Meetings: If you would like to meet with me one-on-one to talk about your needs in more detail, I have added priority scheduling appointments in December and January for clients coming from Cami’s practice. This will provide you with a 30-minute free consultation with me (without having to wait our normal 4-6 weeks during the busy season).

Please call our office at 360-746-8738 to reach our front desk to schedule an appointment. Be sure to tell us that you were referred by Cami.

If you would like to make this transition as quick and easy as possible, you can help us expedite your setup as a new client. Please call 360-746-8738 or email Admin@thrivebusinessgoup.com and let us know you would like to consider transitioning to our firm.  We will send you a secure link with a new client intake form to fill out and a request for your 2017 tax return(s) (both personal and business, if applicable). This will help us prepare a tax packet to send you in the first week of January and avoid any potential tax season delays.

I am honored by the trust Cami shows by referring you to us and I will be delighted to be of service. I look forward to meeting you.

All my best,

B. Siobhan Q. Murphy, CPA

How to Contact Us Regarding Your Tax Return

We are working to streamline our communication systems to provide the best possible service for you.

With double the number of team members working at Thrive this year, it can sometimes be hard to know who to send your email to.

When in doubt, it’s best to email our administration address at admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com  or call our office at 360-746-8738. Our admin team will forward your communication to the right team member.

To help make your tax preparation process as smooth & timely as possible, please note the following additional communication strategies with our team:

  • Who to email if you have a question (or for that one surprise tax document that just came in the mail):
    • If you receive a question about your tax return from one of our accountants, please email them back directly.
    • If you are not responding directly to one of our accountants, and it’s a tax processing question, please direct it to tami@thrivebusinessgroup.com
    • For non tax processing questions, or if you are unsure, please email admin@thrivebusinessgroup.com

Thrive is Expanding! Hiring a Top Notch Bookkeeper

Thrive Business Group is Expanding!

We are a small (but mighty) accounting office serving self-employed individuals and small business clients in a full range of bookkeeping, accounting, tax, and consulting services.  We are growing rapidly and need a Top Notch Bookkeeper to add to our team.

Our Ideal candidate:Bookkeeping

  • Loves working hard and enjoys the satisfaction of a job well done
  • Is energetic, cheerful, professional, and works well with a wide range of people
  • Is highly organized, detail-oriented, efficient, goal oriented, able to meet a variety of deadlines
  • Can thrive working independently and enjoy a team-oriented environment

Job duties include: A/P, A/R, Payroll and related tax returns, state & city B&O tax returns, bank recs, and related admin duties.  Software familiarity preferred: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, MS Word, MS Excel, gmail, wave accounting

This position ranges 20-40 hours/week (depending on accounting cycle timing through the month) with an average of 30 hours/week.  (Full time potential in the next 9-18 months.)  Compensation is hourly, depending on experience and productivity.

To apply, submit cover letter explaining why you want this job, resume, and pay rate history by email to cpa @ thrivebusinessgroup . com — please include your text in the body of your email or in pdf attachment (word docs or other attachments will not be opened).

Interviews are starting immediately.  This position will remain open until filled.

The Lowdown on Auto Expenses—Can I Deduct My Car? (Part 2 of 2)

In Part 1 we looked at the difference between business use and personal use for a vehicle, and discussed how to track and deduct actual auto expenses versus tracking business-related miles. (Read Part 1 here.) In Part 2 we will explore the advantages of using the standard mileage rate over actual expenses for business, and describe standard mileage rates for allowable, non-business use.The beauty of the standard mileage rate is fourfold.

  1. You don’t need to track every receipt for every expense.
  2. You likely are already tracking your business versus personal miles (to find your business-use percent).
  3. You can always switch to actual expenses for a year in which you anticipate higher actual expenses. For example, use actual expenses in years you incur a lot of repair costs (you have this freedom only if you used the standard mileage rate for the first year the particular vehicle was placed in service).
  4. You can avoid the pesky depreciation recapture in the event you later sell the vehicle.Other Car Deductions

In case you’re curious, the standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas, and oil. So, you get to factor in all your actual expenses without the hassle of tracking each one. As a reminder, the standard mileage rate for 2015 is $0.575 (up from 56 cents in 2014).

There are other types of mileage (non-business) that are deductible on your tax return. Without getting bogged down in the details, the rates are:

  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the above-calculated variable costs, such as gas and oil. The charitable rate is set by law.

Of course, all of the above is a general characterization of vehicle-related deductions, which should give you a good idea of which method is better suited to your circumstances. But we all know how nuanced the IRS can be! So, connect with us so we can give you nuanced insight on your particular circumstances in order to help you make the best, most informed business decisions. Remember that at Thrive Business Group it’s

Your Life. Your Business. In That Order.