Online Advisor
Timothy W. Tuttle & Associates

Volume 15 Edition 06                Please email comments to                  June 2019

Major Events This Month:

For June 2019      

This month:

June 16: Father's Day

June 17: 2nd quarter estimated taxes due

June 17: 2018 tax deadline for U.S. citizens living abroad

Summertime offers unique tax saving situations. Outlined here are five ideas everyone can use. Plus, this issue includes ideas to help you unplug from your electronics and discusses possible payroll fraud schemes. Finally, spend a minute reviewing the wisdom of asking for help should you be contacted by the IRS.

Call if you would like to discuss how any of this information relates to you. If you know someone that can benefit from this newsletter, feel free to send it to them.

5 Summer Tax Savings Opportunities

Ah, summer. The weather is warm, kids are out of school, and itís time to think about tax saving opportunities! Here are five ways you can enjoy your normal summertime activities and save on taxes:

  1. Rent out your property tax-free. If you have a cabin, condo, or similar property, consider renting it out for two weeks. The rental income you receive on property rented for less than 15 days per year is not considered taxable income. In addition, you can still deduct your mortgage interest expense and property taxes in full as itemized deductions!. Track the rental days closely ó going over 14 days means all rent is taxable and rental income rules apply.
  2. Take a tax credit for summer childcare. For many working parents, the summer comes with the added challenge of finding care for their children. Thankfully, the Child and Dependent Care Credit can cover 20-35 percent of qualified childcare expenses for your children under the age of 13. Eligible types of care include day care, nanny fees and day camps (overnight camps and summer school do not qualify).
  3. Hire your kids. If you own a business, hire your kids. If you are a sole proprietor and your child is under age 18, you can pay them to work without withholding or paying Social Security and Medicare tax.
  4. Have a garage sale. In general, the money you make from a yard or garage sale is tax-free because you sell your goods for less than you originally paid for them. Once the sale is over, donate the remaining items to a qualified charity to get a potential charitable donation deduction. Just remember to keep a log of the items you donate and ask for a receipt.
  5. Start a Roth IRA for your children. Roth IRA contributions are limited to the amount of income your child earns, so earned income is key. This can include income from mowing lawns or selling lemonade. Start making contributions as soon as your child makes some money to take advantage of the tax-free earnings available in a Roth IRA.

Taking the time this summer to execute these tips can put extra money in your pocket right away and provide you tax-saving happiness in the future.

Get Your Life Back! Ideas to Unplug

With endless movies, TV shows and video games available to us 24/7, itís become too easy to spend all our free time on electronic devices. If you and your family are looking for ways to unplug this summer, consider these ideas:

By getting your electronic habits to a manageable level, youíll free up more time and energy to live this summer to the fullest.

Payroll Fraud Schemes Every Business Should Know

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, nearly 30 percent of businesses are victims of payroll malfeasance, with small businesses twice as likely to be affected than large businesses. Here are four scary payroll fraud schemes you need to know:

Tips to combat payroll fraud

Being aware of the threats is a start, but you also need to know how to stop them. Here are some tips to reduce your companies payroll fraud risk:

Managing your business payroll is a daunting task by itself, and actively protecting against fraud adds additional complexity. Please call for help with your business payroll needs.

Never Take on the IRS Alone

Sleuthing your way through a tax audit by yourself is not the same as fixing a leaky faucet or changing your oil. Here are reasons you should seek professional help as soon as you receive a letter from the IRS:

How to Save When Attending a Wedding

Planning on attending a wedding or two (or three or four...) this summer? If youíre not careful the costs will add up fast, especially if travel is involved. Here are five tips to survive the financial cost of wedding season:

  1. Give a price-savvy wedding gift. Most people want to give a wedding gift that, on some level, reflects the relationship they have with the couple. That doesnít mean it has to be expensive. Check wedding registries early to give you more reasonably priced options before they're gone, consider splitting the cost of a bigger gift with family or friends, or if you're handy, make a thoughtful homemade gift. Sometimes your presence is a gift by itself, especially if you travel a long distance.
  2. Be smart about lodging. If traveling to a wedding, start looking at lodging options as soon as you know the date. First, check to see if you have family or friends in the area where you would be comfortable staying. If so, you might have a free place to stay! Next, consider reconnecting with friends that are attending and share a room. Perhaps the wedding couple saved a block of rooms in a local hotel at a special rate. If so, compare the cost of that hotel with nearby hotels and home rental options like Airbnb and VRBO. Remember to figure out your accommodations early so you donít get stuck with just one expensive option.
  3. Rent your attire. Going to a bunch of weddings in a short amount time can cause a wardrobe problem, and buying a new outfit for each one will cost you some serious cash. If you take the one-and-done approach with your formal wear, renting a dress or suit will only set you back a fraction of the cost of buying new clothes for every wedding.
  4. Share your travel expenses. As mentioned earlier, odds are you will have some friends or family attending the same wedding as you. If the wedding involves some travel, split some of the costs with them. This can include carpooling (if you are taking a road trip), sharing a rental car, teaming up on taxi or ride-share expenses, as well as sharing hotel accommodations.
  5. Respectfully decline. Whether itís the cost of travel, bad timing or a different reason, itís OK to decline the invitation. The wedding couple expects some people wonít be able to make it to their big event. But it's important to let them know you wonít be there. When sending back the RSVP, include a kind greeting and reason for your absence, but you donít need to go into detail. When the wedding date comes, remember to send a card or a gift.

Wedding season is a time of fun and celebration. Knowing you made the best financial decisions possible makes it even better.

Make Online Reviews Work for Your Business

Many factors play into a potential customerís decision to buy your product or service, but one thing is clear ó online reviews are at the top of the list. A recent study by BrightLocal reveals that 91 percent of people read online reviews before making a purchasing decision, and over 80 percent of people trust the reviews as much as a personal referral! Here are suggestions to improve yours:

  1. Create an impactful online presence. Unless you just opened your business, thereís a good chance it already exists in at least one of the main online directories: Google My Business, Yelp and Bing. If it does, you can claim the listing and start managing your customer reviews. If it doesnít, go through the process to create a new business profile. Then, set up a Facebook business page (with reviews enabled) and add a review section to your website to encourage your customers to engage with your business online. As you grow your online footprint, your search engine optimization (SEO) will make it easier for prospective customers to find you.
  2. Solicit great customer reviews. While customers actively search out reviews when searching online, they donít always think to leave a review after a positive experience with your business. A personal request from you might be all that's needed to spring a happy customer into action. Maybe itís a sincere thank you note after a productive meeting or a customer appreciation email campaign that provides a link to your directory listings. The goal is to have your satisfied customers leave a review to boost your online profile and increase your SEO. Remember to make this process as easy as possible for your customers.
  3. Use negative reviews to your benefit. If left unresolved, bad reviews can crush your business reputation. By keeping a close eye on your listings, you have the opportunity to show potential customers how you effectively handle negative situations in a timely manner. Take the time to understand their complaint, empathize with their situation, apologize for the problem, and offer a reasonable solution. Remember to use these reviews primarily to communicate to readers of the reviews, not just the complainer.
  4. Keep listings fresh. A long history of reviews is good to show that you are an established business, but current reviews are imperative to building a prospective customerís confidence. Seek out online reviews and keep your directory listings up to date to continue to show relevance and ongoing business activity.

Managing your online review profiles may seem scary, but by understanding the mechanics of how they work you can successfully display your quality business reputation to the online community.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your situation please feel free to call.

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The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance. For more information on anything in ONLINE ADVISOR, or for assistance with any of your tax, business, or financial strategy concerns, contact our office.

Timothy W. Tuttle & Associates