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Obamacare and taxes - opt out and tax - The Evolving Role of Accountants

by Tax Master DFW on 01/12/15

Title: 
The Evolving Role of Accountants

Word Count:
377

Summary:
With products like Turbo Tax improving, many wonder where this leaves accountants. Ironically, the evolving role of accountants is helping people save on their taxes.


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Article Body:
With products like Turbo Tax improving, many wonder where this leaves accountants. Ironically, the evolving role of accountants is helping people save on their taxes.

The Evolving Role of Accountants

Given the fact that paying taxes is not the most popular of tasks, most people don’t give much thought to the role of accountants. Going to your accountant is often viewed much like going to the dentist. It is not going to be fun, but it needs to be done. While a toothache is not fun, an audit is one of the biggest fears of most taxpayers. I guarantee you that no contestant would survive if the Fear Factor television show made them undergo a tax audit!

Given this situation, it is hardly surprising that most people view the role of an accountant as the preparation of confusing tax returns. With the advent of tax preparation software programs, many wonder why they need an accountant. More than a few accountants have probably wondered as much also. 

There is no disputing the tax preparation software revolution has led to a different role for most accountants. Ironically, this is good for both taxpayers and accountants. No longer does an accountant count on spending time filing out tax returns. Heck, even accountants use software to do this now!

The role of accountants is now to do tax planning for their clients. The best accountant is one that drags you into his or her office once a year to look at your finances and plan a strategy to limit what you will pay the IRS. This should occur at some point during the beginning of the tax year, not a week before your tax returns are due!

Unfortunately, a majority of accountants never took this step since they were to busy preparing the mountain of tax returns the federal and state governments now require. The evolving role of accountants, however, has let them return to the traditional position of coming up with proactive strategies to limit your tax bill. This is more interesting for them and obviously beneficial for you.

Many thought tax software would eliminate much of the need for accountants. Ironically, the changes in their duties has returned them to their traditional role of giving tax planning advice.


Taxes and your Baby sitting Work at Home Business

by Tax Master DFW on 12/15/14

Taxes and your Baby sitting Work at Home Business

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If you have experience working with kids, or are just an children lover, then starting a work at home baby sitting business may be right for you. baby sitters offer an important role to parents and help keep the one hundred and forty-five million babies in this country healthy and happy. As a baby sitter, you’ll offer a valuable service to busy parents who are on vacation or who need someone to take care of their babies during the day.

Getting started as a baby sitter is very simple. To begin with, you’ll need to decide if this really is a business that you want to pursue. First off, ask yourself if you really love kids? If you are considering baby sitting just because you think it will be an easy job, then it is not right for you. You must enjoy spending time with kids and have at least a little experience in being around them. While most baby sitting jobs involve young children, you may occasionally be asked to care for older kids or teenagers as well. Make sure you are comfortable with teens before accepting assignments involving them.

Start your business by becoming legal. Obtaining a business license doesn’t cost much and will give you a professional edge when getting new clients. You’ll also be able to take advantage of many tax write-offs, including your costs for mileage to and from your customer’s homes and any necessary business supplies.

Speaking of business supplies, all you’ll really need are business cards and an appointment book to keep track of your assignments. Unlike other work at home businesses, the start up necessities for baby sitting are relatively low. 

Next, you’ll need to decide on what services you offer and how much you are going to charge. Play detective and find out the going rate for baby sitting services in your area. Try to stay in the same range. Offering lower prices may seem like a way to beat the competition, but it also makes your services appear less valuable to potential clients. You can print your rates on the back of your business cards, or make up a small flyer with prices listed on it.

Getting clients for your baby sitting business may be the most difficult part of running the business. However, with a little effort you can build a client list rather quickly. The best way to get clients and assignments is by word of mouth. Offer to baby sit for neighbors and friends to help build your reputation. Once you’ve done a good job for them, they’ll tell their friends and so on.

You can also use a few free and low cost advertising methods to get the word out about your business. You can distribute your cards at local baby shops, or post a flyer on their bulletin boards. Ask your local pediatrician if they would put some of your business cards on their reception desk, or recommend you to other parents. A small ad in your local paper can really help get the ball rolling for your business.

Once you have clients calling you for baby sitting appointments, make sure to keep them by treating them with great customer service. Always arrive on time and prepared to watch their babies. Respect their home and their property. If they enjoy your service, they’ll be more likely to call you in the future.

Drawbacks to working at home - Business Help

by Tax Master DFW on 12/15/14

Drawbacks to working at home

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Working at home is one of the fastest growing trends in careers today. However, many people jump on the Wahm (Work at Home) bandwagon without considering all of the drawbacks to working at home. While some people are naturally inclined to work at home, others find the transition more difficult to make. There are many benefits to working at home, but the drawbacks need to be considered before you make the choice.

The first drawback to looking for a work at home career is that your current career may not easily transfer to a work at home situation. If you work in the medical field or are a police officer, being a Wahm might not be an easy transition unless you are willing to change careers entirely. Sales and administrative positions transfer well, as do creative jobs like design and writing. For those in jobs that can’t make the work at home switch, you’ll have to think carefully about what you want to do when start working at home and start investigating that field.

Cost is another important factor in deciding if working at home is right for you. Although many mothers start working at home to save on childcare, there are added costs to being a Wahm. If you need health insurance, it will have to come out of your pocket instead of being paid by your employers. There are also many taxes that you will have to pay. Your record keeping must be excellent in order to keep track of your income and expenses, and to fill out your income tax return at the end of the year.

Working at home with children is not always as easy as it seems. If you have young children that aren’t in school yet, it may be difficult to work when they are awake. This can mean lots of busy nap-times and late nights to get your projects done when they are sleeping. Family members can help take care of your children from time to time, but the responsibility of both your children and your job will be firmly in your hands. With older children, it is sometimes easier to work from home. But you will still have to start and maintain a fairly balanced schedule in order to get everything done.

Wahms have to be very self-motivated and disciplined in order to get their work done on time and correctly. If you are the type of person that is motivated by outside factors (such as a supervisor), then working at home may not be your cup of tea. When you work at home, there is no one there to look over your shoulder and make sure that you are still working. Distractions like the television, Internet and housework can be hindrances to your work at home success. 

Isolation is another problem for Wahms. Working at home alone can get frustrating and lonely. Make sure you are comfortable with spending time alone, and that you take steps to combat isolation. If you are especially prone to being depressed, then the isolation that comes with working at home may make you feel withdrawn and sad. Taking steps to combat loneliness is an important part of any Wahm’s success. 

After considering these factors, you may decide that working at home is not right for you. However, thousands of people deal with these drawbacks and still have successful work at home careers. These reasons should not stop you from becoming a Wahm if that is really what you want to do. Just make sure you understand the realities of the work at home lifestyle before you commit to it.

Taxes and Opening an Online Store

by Tax Master DFW on 12/15/14

Taxes and Opening an Online Store

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Opening your own store as a Wahm is easy when you take your business online. Online shopping is becoming a mainstay of American commerce and more people are comfortable with making purchases from Internet stores. If you have something that you are passionate about selling, consider opening an online store.

Before you start an online store, do some research online and check out your potential competition. If you have a business idea in mind, it is worth the time and effort to see what else is being sold in your category of products. If you have no idea what you want to sell, you’ll also want to head online to search out what would be most profitable to sell.

When you make the selection of what you are going to sell, remember to think ‘niche.’ A niche is a small category of products that meet the needs of a specific group of people. Your online store shouldn’t have a ‘Wal-mart’ approach where there is a little bit of everything for everyone. Online commerce is all about small categories of interest. There are so many things to choose from, you have more success when you cater to a small and specific group of people.

The best place to start with finding a niche is thinking about your own interests. When you sell to a niche that you know well, you are more likely to know what products will be of interest to those people. You can sell to your clientele based on your own experience. 

Many Wahms start an online store because they have homemade products to offer. One example is handmade baby clothes and cloth diapers. Many Wahms have found success with putting their sewing skills to work and selling their wares online. Other popular handmade online stores include bath and body products, candles and gift baskets.

This does not mean that you can’t have online store success if you don’t make your own products. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of Wahms who have success by opening stores stocked with store-bought inventory. 

Whatever your choice, whether handmade or store bought, there are many options for hosting your online store. These options depend on how comfortable you are with web design. Many companies, like Yahoo, offer store websites that are very user friendly and simple to set up. They can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 per month for the storefront services. Many Wahms also find success with eBay stores, which allow them to sell in auctions or in a fixed price format. 

Look at all of your options before you choose your online store hosting. Remember that the quality of your hosting will reflect the quality of your business. The last thing you need is your entire website going down due to cheap hosting. The best choice is to find a reputable host that will provide you with a storefront and hosting for a reasonable price. Don’t try to pinch pennies on this aspect of your business. You could end up out of business in no time.

Once you’ve found a place to host your store, you’ll need to drive internet traffic to the store. One of the easiest ways is to trade banners with other Wahm online stores. Many Wahms support each other in their online efforts. This form of networking is a great way to introduce your products to customers who already look to support Wahms. You can also advertise using pay per click advertising and work on your website so that it increases in page ranking for certain search terms.

Keep your customers coming back with an easy to navigate website, simple ordering techniques and good customer service. Even though most of your business will be done online, it’s a good idea to get a business phone line and put that number on your website. This way customers can feel confident in purchasing from you because they know they can speak to a real person if there is a problem with their order.

Regardless of what type of online Wahm store you choose to open, following these tips will make your business a success.

Tax Organization for your 'Work at Home Business'

by Tax Master DFW on 12/15/14

Tax Organization for your 'Work at Home Business'

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Getting organized is the key to making your life as a work at home mom efficient and, relatively, stress free. If you can get and stay organized, your business and your home life will flourish. Without taking some simple organizational steps you’ll be swamped with work and overwhelmed with laundry in no time.

One of the most important parts of getting organized as a Wahm is to establish business hours. Setting up specific working times during each day has many benefits. First, you’ll be more consistent with your work. Once you’ve gotten used to starting and stopping at a specific time each day you’ll work more efficiently. You’ll manage your work time better and reduce distractions like checking your e-mail or watching television. You’ll also be less likely to pick up things to do here and there, like laundry or taking time to errands. If you have set working hours, you’ll schedule those tasks around your work time so you’ll be more focused during your work time. It will help your family and friends understand that you are working while you are at home, and you won’t be available during those hours. 

Next, you need to start delegating tasks to other family members. It may seem easier to do everything yourself, but once you have work duties on top of household duties you’ll realize how few hours in the day there actually are. There is nothing wrong with asking your children to fold the laundry, or having your husband cook dinner a few nights a week. By sharing the household duties as a family, you’ll have more time to get your work done and feel more rested. The important thing to remember when you delegate is that things won’t be done the way that you would do them. However, they are getting done.

Planning your work and family activities will make the whole house run smoother. If you don’t have a daily planner, then you need to get one. It doesn’t matter if it is a paper planner or a computer application. When you use a planner to write down everything that needs to be done, and then plan each activity for a specific time then you’ll have the opportunity to manage your time more wisely in and out of your home office.

Organizing your home at large will help make your business more organized. While it may take a while to establish some organizational habits in your house, your efforts will be well worth it. Don’t try to get organized in a weekend or even several days. Work up to a level of organization. Start small with your desk space. Organize the things in your desk and top of your desk. Make sure that everything that you need has a place, and toss or donate things that you don’t need. Then move on to another portion of the house. When something is out of place, it’s easy to put it back in its home once you’ve taken the time to organize your storage spaces around the house. If need be, take a trip to an office supply store or home improvement store and buy items like bins, cabinets and shelves that will help you stay more organized.

Getting organized as a Wahm does take some time and effort. Realize that with time your organizational system will get better. Work with your family to make your home run efficiently, and then you’ll be able to concentrate on your work when you need to.

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