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Posts by Julia Utami


Financial statements are prepared according to agreed upon guidelines. In order to understand these guidelines, it helps to understand the objectives of financial reporting. The objectives of financial reporting, as discussed in the Financial Accounting standards Board (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1, are to provide information that

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Tax Preparation Service

Can I claim home renovations as tax deductions?

As a homeowner, there may be several questions plaguing your mind about the welfare of the home and that of your pocket. As you keep your home in a semblance of order with certain home improvements, a question must have crossed your mind: “can I claim home renovations as tax deductions?” While you are thinking about how to get a tax break for all the money spent on home improvements, there are many possible answers. However, a certain fact is that you must not misplace the expenses from all home improvement and beautification procedures.

Common examples of home improvement are:

  • Installation of air conditioning
  • Replacement of roof
  • Addition of sunroom

You cannot deduct the cost in the same year you spent the money – it is utterly impossible. In the event that you sell your house, a well-kept list of expenses may result in a reduction of taxes at that very moment.

Repairs versus improvements

There are two categories of money you spend on your home according to tax – the cost of repairs versus the cost of improvements. Cost of capital improvements is added to the tax basis in the house.

What is a tax basis? To determine the amount of your profit, you subtract some amount from the sales price. This amount is known as the tax basis. However, a capital improvement is a feature that prolongs the life of the home by adding value and increasing the adaptability to new uses.

Also, there are no strict rules concerning the list of qualified features. But you can add to the cost of certain additions to the home such as:

  • A swimming pool
  • A new central air-conditioning system
  • A new roof
  • An extra water heater
  • Storm windows
  • Home security system
  • Intercom

Nonetheless, some energy-saving home improvements yield tax credits at the same time of making them.

Although the list is not restricted to big-ticket items, big items seem to attract the most amounts.

On the other hand, the cost of repairs is not included in the basis. Rather than improvements, painting a room, fixing a gutter and replacement of window pane is a list of repairs.

Compared to the past, tracking is less critical

In the past years, homeowners made a habit of keeping receipts for processes that were similar to a home improvement. When the house was sold, every additional dime to the basis was a dime less than the taxes of the IRS. Recently, there is no guarantee that tracking the basis will be profitable as home-sale profits are free of tax for homeowners.

When you sell, save!

The current law shows that the profit on the sale of the principal residence is tax-free for the first $250,000 profit. For married couples, the amount is $500,000 if they file joint returns. But the condition I that the homeowner must be a resident of the home for up to two years out of the five years before the sale.

Passing this rule into law was the onset of a ruckus. Several advisors had interpretations that the homeowners would be unable to track their basis. The assumption was based on the fact that it was unearthly impossible to sweep about half a million in profits on a single home. More so, a homeowner that has resided in a home for several years knows that the large exclusion is insufficient when compared to the profit that is accruable to such longstanding home. Therefore, keeping good records is a necessity.

When you want to determine the size of the profit when you sell a house, there are certain things to consider:

  • Everything you paid for the house
  • Original price of purchase
  • Fees

Add all three items to the cost of improvements that you have made in the past few years and you will arrive at an amount known as the ‘adjusted basis’. Prior to the 5th of August, 1997, all sold homes whose homeowners took advantage of the old rule where home sellers can put off tax on their profit by simply rolling over the profit into the new home makes the adjusted basis a bit lesser due to reductions from the roller-over profit itself.

Now, compare the sales price of the house with the adjusted basis. Generally, profit that is greater than $250,000 for individuals or $500, 000 for married couples may be prone to taxation. On the other hand, there are no deductions in losses on sales of personal residences.

For these reasons, it is absolutely important and beneficial to keep a list of money expended in an expansion, fixing up, or repair of the house. Apart from proper documentation, it also avoids or reduces taxes after sales.

Be prepared!

  1. For any improvement, you make in the home, pile up the receipts in a neat stack. You may get a special folder to document these receipts and records.
  2. A portion of your profile on sale may be taxable if you have lived in your house for several years. Also, it is applicable to you when you have accumulated area housing prices after donkey years of living in a home. But there is a solution. To reduce the tax gain, you can include the improvements in the house’s cost basis.
  3. You may be able to write off part of the adjusted basis of your home through depreciation if you operate a business from the confines of your home or put up part of the home for rent. When you do so, the process of selling the house will not include an exclusion of the amount of depreciation. If you took a gain exclusion break of about $250,000 and $500, 000, you definitely cannot exclude the depreciation amount. Besides, the repair cost to that portion of the home may at that moment, be deductible.

For the purpose of the tax, home improvements are facelifts for the home. If your home is for residential purposes, home improvements may not be deductible.

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Financial statements may be used by different stakeholders for a multitude of purposes. Owners and managers require financial statements to make important business decisions affecting its continued operations. Financial analysis is then performed on these statements, providing management with a more detailed understanding of the figures.

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myDeductions in the ATO App

It is never fun to manage your tax. Organizing your financial information is not only time-consuming but gut-wrenching as well. But the benefit of managing tax helps in maximizing your tax in the long run. There is a new app in the room which helps you organize your tax and save time on the go – it is called the ATO app. With the new ATO (Australian Taxation Office) app, you can organize your tax better. Also, get your superannuation affairs in order with this ATO app. There are several other useful features that come with the ATO app, you can lodge your tax return and organize your deductions making your tax more convenient and simpler.

There are several ways to harness the power of this app; here are some nuggets about how to maximize this app.

Who can benefit from the ATO app?

Made in Australia by Australians and for Australians, the ATO app has a number of features and tools for the management of superannuation and tax of Australians with ease. The mode of design makes it suitable for:

  • Small business owners
  • Individual taxpayers
  • SMSF (self-managed super fund) trustees

The ATO app’s interface makes it compatible with several devices

The official ATO app is available for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.

  • Windows – There are several interfaces on Windows’ interface such as Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Android – Requires Android 4.1 and other upgrades after that.
  • iOS – Requires the latest upgrade in iOS such as iOS 7.0 and higher. It is also highly compatible with iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone.

How to download and use the ATO app

There are a few simple steps that you will follow when you want to use the ATO app. Be it on your smartphone or Windows phone, the steps are easy and straight-to-the-point.

  • Download the app from Microsoft Store, Google Play, and Apple App Store.
  • Launch the app on your smartphone.
  • Tap ‘Allow’ or ‘OK’ if the app sends a prompt with a request to use location services or send notifications.
  • If you want to use ATO online services, log in with your myGov account. On the other hand, use one of the calculators or the tools that have no need to log in to myGov.

What the ATO app features can do for you

If you want to stay on top of your superannuation and tax fees, the ATO app has a convenient, easy, and quick design for its users. So, you can manage your finances at any time and wherever you are with the wide range of tax management tools in a single pile. Therefore, the ATO app features can help achieve these and more:

  • Making plans ahead – The app is designed in such a way that the users can make a note of key deadlines and dates for superannuation and tax tasks. Simply put, the user is able to set up important reminders on their devices.
  • Lodging a return – Using the myTax system, you can log in to your myGov account to make lodging for tax return for the previous fiscal year. Also, you will be able to track the progress of a return that the user has logged into the account already.
  • Calculation of withholding tax – A small business owner can use the app to work out calculations that the user needs to withhold from wage payments and salary.
  • Enrolment of voiceprint – As soon as the voiceprint is entered using the ATO, you will enjoy secure and fast access into the online services of the ATO. Whenever you use the app or phone the ATO, your voice can also be used to verify your identity.
  • Taking photos – You can capture receipts to be a form of supporting documentation of expenses from work.
  • Comparing business performance – With the Business Performance Check tool in the app, the user can compare business with more, similar, or smaller businesses in the same industry. This way, the user can assess the financial position of the business.
  • Recording deductions – with the myDeduction tool in the ATO app, you can record deductible expenses, gifts, work-related expenses, car trips, and donations. With this information, the user can pre-fill upcoming tax returns in the app. There are several singular characteristics of myDeduction feature of the app as well.
  • Manage an SMSF – SMSF trustees can access a wide range of useful information on the ATO app via SMSF Assist, checklists, and videos.
  • Calculation of other tax and super matters – There are several other tools that ATO app features which includes calculators for fuel tax credits, tax rates, and so much more.

myDeductions tool

myDeduction tool is a special package on the ATO app. This feature is designed to make it super convenient for the user to collate expenses from tax-deductible on the move in the whole year. Also, the user can keep the information together in a single folder.

The myDeduction feature is not suitable for small business owners and sole traders because it is especially for individuals claiming work-related expenses as an employee. More so, the tool is suitable for:

  • Recording car trips
  • Recording and categorizing work-related expenses, donations, and gifts.
  • Taking and storing pictures of receipts
  • Recording the cost of managing tax return, earning dividends or earning interest.

Irrespective of whether you prepare your tax return through a tax agent or you do it yourself, the myDeduction tool is suitable for making management of tax much easier. As soon as the user records the deductions throughout the year, the user can upload the deductions to the ATO for the automatic pre-filling of income tax return. By inference, the user does not need to keep track of all receipts throughout the year. On the other hand, the user does not need to miss out on a deduction because they have lost a receipt or must have faded after a long time.

However, ensure to record information on a particular device throughout the year. This is because you are only able to upload deductions once every financial year. Most importantly, back up data on the go for broken, stolen, or lost devices.

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10 Easy and Actionable Tips to Keeping Your Books Tidy

The process of bookkeeping is absolutely gut-wrenching. As much as bookkeeping is annoying, there is every reason to keep our books tidy. Apart from working on the customer and sales funnel, you must know that time is also of the essence. So, how do you juggle a million business needs with bookkeeping?

Needless to say that bookkeeping is an absolute must. While it is intricate to the growth of your business, you must start taking it seriously if you don’t already. But there is great news! What if there was a way you could keep up-to-date with your accounts with minimal effort?

The following are important nuggets to paddle through the tides of bookkeeping:

A chart of account: A well-compiled list of transactions categories is the most accurate way to have a defined chart of account. The five basic categories of transactions are assets, equities, expenses, income, and liabilities. Each transaction category is a ledger with a unique identifier – called the Account Code. A good chart of account is great in bookkeeping to guide the categorization of transactions. For instance, ‘Revenue’ is a great transaction category for recording sales of different customers.

A fine line between credit and debit: The notion of balancing is a key concept in accounting. Debit and credit are two arms of every transaction. Debit account should always be equal to a credit account at the end of every financial period. An increase in an expense or asset is a debit while credit is the increase in a liability or income account. Recording transactions should be easy with accounting software – which sorts the credit and debit discrepancies. With Microsoft Excel, you must record both transactions. Failure to do so means a great deal of trouble trying to find the missing coin.

Both invoices and receipts deserve an electronic safekeeping: Rental rates fluctuate while digital spaces keep dwindling. While physical documents accumulate dust, they are displeasing to the eyes. Besides, there is a waste of space in the office where these physical documents lay. Documents that do not require signatures may necessarily not require hard copies. Meanwhile, most documents are prone to fading after a stretch of time. It is for such reasons that it is necessary to switch to digital format. When retrieving information, life is so much easier with digital documentation. Popular cloud storage solutions are Google and DropBox. These solutions also make room for lower storage requirements.

Brush up your basic accounting knowledge: If you do not understand the basics of accounting, being a businessman may be difficult. Luckily, you needn’t spend a fortune to learn the tool as there are several online courses at minimal costs. The certificate is of little importance where knowledge is gained.

Business and personal finances are distinct: Never mix up business finances with personal finances. When you think of your business as a separate human, know that it is inconsiderate to ask a friend to fund your trip. Some great tips to help you include:

  • Start paying yourself a salary
  • Record every payment that goes into the business
  • Own a business bank account immediately

Link transactions to your chart of account: Unfortunately, recording transactions may be insufficient. There is a need to prepare financial statements, and this involves linkage of transactions. As a form of categorization, the chart of account helps to categorize transactions into certain categories such as:

  • Salaries, allowances, and bonuses – salaries of employees
  • Telephone and internet expense – payment to Divitel for business telephone subscription
  • Revenue – sales receipts from customers
  • Medical expenses and insurance – surgical insurance

Although there are no strict rules and regulations regarding the classification of accounts, it must be sensible. An example is a silly mistake of categorizing expense as revenue.

Monthly reconciliation of bank statements: One of the most important documents to keep is bank statements. Not only are they the basis for everything else, but they are also the only business record you can trust. You will only notice a difference between your bank statements and accounting records if you perform a monthly recording of transactions. An example is when your bank statement reflects $2,000 whereas you should have cash of $7,500. You must fish out the discrepancies – a process called bank reconciliation. Nevertheless, there may be valid differences. Sometimes, the bank takes a longer time to affect a cheque receipt of monthly sales. Without valid reasons, there is a need to investigate. Regular causes of discrepancies are fraud and inaccuracy of accounting records. Simple bank reconciliation procedures are one of the arms of bookkeeping. Keep the soft copies of your bank statements. The bank charges between $30 and $40 monthly when you try to get dated bank statements.

Record relevant transaction details: Even though bookkeeping is of the essence, there must be suitable answers to the need for the process itself. For each transaction, you must know what you should record. Some important things you must note during each transaction are:

  • Transaction date
  • Payer or payee
  • A unique identifier
  • Transaction purpose

Should you decide to analyze your accounts, some details may be useful in the future. The reason is that the degree of the transactions becomes a piece of cake.

Slow, steady, and deliberate: Do not underestimate the power of electronic records! They can save you a great ton of time to be more productive in other business aspects. If you are the type that prefers to outsource, electronic records are a must for professional firms. For personal bookkeepers, some 20 minutes out of the day’s work is a necessary evil to get your bookkeeping game on. You will also have less work to do if you own an e-commerce website. By integrating the website with the accounting software, you will more time in your hands to care for our business.

Software and Apps are the new black: Technology definitely makes life easier; but we don’t give it much credit. It is time to acknowledge that bookkeeping is a gracious product of technology. Certain apps and software make the art of bookkeeping a walk in the park such as WaveApp and CamScanner.

Without a doubt, bookkeeping is a thorn in the flesh. But business growth depends on a well-organized bookkeeping technique. Besides, investments and loans become easier to secure with good bookkeeping practice.

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Small Business Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Smart business startups require a huge amount of sacrifice before reaping the fruits of labor. To minimize your struggles in business, you may start seeking advice. With the number of small business tips on the internet, a budding entrepreneur may be hit by confusion. But a seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that there is no secret formula for making it big as a startup. More so, the best business advice will provoke your creativity. Hence, this article will serve you hot tips on a platter of gold. Hearken!

Small business tips

You learn on the go when dealing with a small business. After all, we were once kids before we attained adulthood. But there will be greater chances for the success of your company if you make smart decisions at the early stage. If you are a budding entrepreneur and you have got the drive, the following tips are for you.

A great business owner never makes excuses: It is easy to nurture the ‘entrepreneurship’ dream and take no action. Several people talk about being super-entrepreneurs, yet they make no move to fulfill their dreams. When you ask, most will tell you about their fear of failure. Excuses such as responsibilities and money will take you further away from the goal post. However, no one said entrepreneurship is rosy. It is completely sound and normal to jitter about what will become of your business. But you won’t find out if you don’t try. You need to get rid of all the reasons that are dissuading you from your business dream. Rather than let the issue weigh you down, find a solution as soon as possible. You may start now!

Be a sponge – soak in everything: In as much as a few people in your circle will be unsupportive, you have to listen to everyone’s opinions. From experts to friends and family, you have to absorb everything. They will teach you things that can shape up your business idea. Keep a diary or a notepad and pen down notes so you don’t forget. Meanwhile, you can develop a bulky business plan from the points. Read people’s body language when you talk about your startup. Watch out for signs that show that they like the idea. And if anyone has a few recommendations, listen and adjust accordingly. Ensure that you keep an honest circle. Consider this circle as your batch test of the many consumers that will react to your product. Veteran business owners and experts should be your friends during this period. They clearly have huge experience in the industry. Learn from their mistakes and apply them to your business plan.

Be a solutionist: A good place to craft your business idea may be to think of something that solves a problem. There are several problems plaguing the world at the moment. Some people will pay a hundred bucks to have someone do menial chores for them. If your business idea is about fixing a problem, people will buy into it rather than an upgrade of some other existing business. Simply put, your business idea must be the key to the hole in the market. Ask yourself, “Why am I opening this business?” If you cannot supply answers, then you need to restrategize. The foundation of brands is in the basic understanding of the motives of the business. Determine the problems of your target customers and proffer solutions.

Simplicity is key: You have a great business idea and you cannot wait to tell the world about it. This is great. But do not let your business idea be like a snowball that picks up everything in its track. You don’t want to end up with a ratchet and complex product that bores people. What you should do is to narrow your focus to the simpler things in the business. Have a test run of your idea. In simple terms, create a simple product or service. Then, colorize it with great brand promise and over exceed expectations. If anything waters down your idea, cut down on them as they may cost you a lot. You do not need all the bells and whistles as a small business. Rather, wait for your business to grow and you may add the intricacies.

Count your costs: Add up the cost of the business idea as part of the development process. Before you can launch and operate, you have to factor in all business expenses. Costs to bear in mind include marketing, supplies, rent, location, and much more. As much as you can, come up with the most educated number. Take the smallest amount of the budget and multiply it four times. Yes, quadruple it. At every corner, you must experience unexpected running costs. At this point, you are over prepared for whatever comes your way in the ‘billing’ department. Do not forget about a personal budget when you want to cost your business. Determine how much you will need for health care, food, rent, living, gas, and everything in between. Then, prioritize the list accordingly. You may create a business budget when you have a good grip on all the expenses. Initially, you may depend on friends and family to sustain yourself. In worst cases, you may secure a small business loan. Nevertheless, ruminate on the options of capital before setting up the business.

Fuel with passion: Passion drives business growth. As the most important ingredient in sustaining your business idea, you have to be crazy about what you want. Without passion, you may lack the push to improve business processes and growth. On the other hand, do not allow passion to overshadow all your decisions. While knowledge points you in the right direction, passion will propel you forward. To find out the potential of your business, talk to a batch of sample customers. This feasibility study is a form of market research that answers all the questions about launching a startup. Lawyers and financial advisors are also important professionals that can help you beam the searchlight in good places.

Finally, think of your business like driving a car. Let your mind control the steering wheel as you allow your passion hit the gas pedal. This act helps you to gain confidence about the specific direction while sustaining the momentum to get ahead.

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There are two new directives, first for the fast reaction mechanism aimed towards preventing VAT fraud. Second one is for the optional and temporary application of the reverse charge mechanism in relation to supplies of certain goods and services. Quick Reaction mechanism provides the legal basis to the countries that are members of the EU to integrate an emergency measure in they are in position to serious case of sudden and massive VAT fraud.

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Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption levied in the United Kingdom by the National Government. It was introduced in 1973 and is the third largest source of government revenue after Income Tax and National Insurance. It is administered and collected by HM revenue and customs, primarily through the Value Added Tax Act 1994. VAT is levied on most goods and services provided by registered businesses in the UK and some goods and services imported from outside the European Union.

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Financial statements are prepared according to agreed upon guidelines. In order to understand these guidelines, it helps to understand the objectives of financial reporting. The objectives of financial reporting, as discussed in the Financial Accounting standards Board (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1, are to provide information that

Read more


Financial statements are prepared according to agreed upon guidelines. In order to understand these guidelines, it helps to understand the objectives of financial reporting. The objectives of financial reporting, as discussed in the Financial Accounting standards Board (FASB) Statement of Financial Accounting Concepts No. 1, are to provide information that

Read more