Newsletter Vol. 7                                                 April 2014 
Assurance Maintenance Plan
 

Our 3-Step IT Relief Process not only Diagnoses and Fixes your problem, but also Prevents the problem from taking you by surprise ever again.

 

 

AMP keeps your IT costs low and predictable, and you don't even need to hire your own IT staff. 


 

Click here to learn more.

Tech Tips

 

According to a statistic published in The Atlantic, 90% of computer users don't know what Ctrl+F can do. As a result, we've put together a list of common, handy shortcuts and tricks that every computer user should know.

 

Control+F
(or Command+F on the Mac)

Control+F is the keyboard shortcut for the Find command. If you're in a web browser and want to search text on a web page, pressing Control+F will bring up a search box. Just type in that search box and it'll locate the text you're typing on the page. Control+F may work in other applications, too, when you need to find something. For example, Microsoft Word and other word processing applications use this keyboard shortcut.

 

Control+N
(or Command+N on a Mac)

Pressing Control+N is the command for creating something new. In a web browser, this will make a new window. In a word processing, image editing, or other document-based application this keyboard shortcut will create a new document.

 

Control+S
(or Command+S on a Mac)

Now that you know how to create a new document with your keyboard, you should also know how to save one. Control+S is the keyboard shortcut for saving a document. If this is the first time you've saved the document you'll be presented with a new window that'll ask you what to name it and where you want to save it. If you've already saved it once before, this keyboard shortcut will simply save your changes.

 

Alt+F4
(or Command+Q on a Mac)

Alt-F4 is the keyboard shortcut for quitting the current application. In Windows it will quit the currently open that's in focus on the screen. On a Mac this is also generally the case, but sometimes it's not as clear. To know which application is going to quit when you perform this keyboard command, just look in the upper left corner to see it's name.

 

Enter
(or Return on a Mac)

The enter key, or return key on a Mac, is useful for a lot of things. When a dialog window pops up and asks you to press okay or cancel, you can usually just press Enter instead of clicking okay. In Windows you can tell which button will respond to enter because it'll have a dotted box inside of it. On a Mac the button will be blue instead of gray. Enter can also be used for other things, like submitting forms on web pages from any text field in that form.

 

Hope this helps speed up your work!
Customer Spotlight
April is National Organ Donor Awareness Month. Because of this, 3 Sol wanted to spotlight one of our non-profit clients, Team Georgia.  


Team Georgia is a group of transplant patients, living donors, donor families and supporters who participate in the Transplant Games of America. 
 
The TGA is a multi-sport festival event for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. Competition events are open to living donors, organ transplant recipients, bone marrow recipients, and a limited number of corneal and tissue transplant recipients. 
 
More than an athletic event, the Transplant Games of America highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients.

For more information about Team Georgia and how you can help, please visit their website.
 


Detailed Network Analysis

 
 
Make sure your computers, servers and other office technology are working at their best. Businesses can lose money due to non-production from broken or slow computers or servers. Make sure you're not losing any money or productivity today! 
 

A Detailed Network Analysis will give management a clear understanding as to whether the current design, architecture and network performance is meeting business requirements and needs. DNA will also provide sound recommendations on how to overcome network issues and present a clear plan for moving forward. Above all, your company will benefit from having a recorded, in-depth analysis of the existing network infrastructure for future reference. 

 

Click here to learn more.
 
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for your Website?
 

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and editing for YouTube and/or website use. Contact us for more details!


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We made it through the first quarter of 2014! How are you doing so far this year? Were you able to use 3 Sol's various tools to help you succeed? Remember, we're always here for you! Just let us know what we can do to help you.

Last-Minute Small Business Tax Tips for Procrastinators 

 

Procrastination is my middle name. I've perfected it over the years and I stress out every time. I should know better now! Well, here's an article for all the procrastinators like me:

Tax returns are due in less than three weeks. Are you procrastinating? Small business owners and self-employed individuals who wait until the last minute are prone to dumb mistakes: forgetting to sign a return, goofing up on the math, or filling in the wrong Social Security number. All those errors will get your 1040 form kicked back and delay any refund you may be owed, says Gloria Birnkrant, a Beverly Hills (Calif.) certified public accountant whose clients include many small and midsize business owners and self-employed individuals.

 

Here are some strategies from Birnkrant and other experts to cope with the last-minute tax rush:


E-File your return. It's quicker and more secure than mailing paper tax forms. If your business brought in little income in 2013, or you're disabled or elderly, take advantage of free tax prep services through the VITA program.

 

Sweat the small details. That includes checking and double-checking Social Security numbers and your math or using a software program that crunches the numbers for you. Make sure you've attached all required documents, such as brokerage statements and your Schedule C.

 

Sign and date your return. Remember that you and your spouse must both sign a joint return, even if only one of you has income. Anyone you pay to prepare your return must also sign it.


Include your payment. Make your check for federal taxes out to United States Treasury-not to the IRS-and be sure your state payment is written to the proper agency as well. Enclose your check with your return or your payment voucher if you're filing your return electronically-don't staple it, though. On the check, write your and your spouse's Social Security numbers, your daytime phone numbers, the tax year, and the type of form that you're filing, such as 1040 or 1040EZ.

 

Write off your home office. Determine whether you can use the simplified home office deduction, which allows you to write off $5 per square foot of home office space, up to $1,500 for 300 square feet. So far, Birnkrant says most of her clients itemize deductions and claim more than $1,500 for the cost of home offices when they include other costs such as Internet service.

 

Pay estimated taxes. If you're self-employed, don't forget your first 2014 estimated tax payment is due April 15. "You'll have to make some projections, since 55 tax rules expired at the end of 2013, and it's unknown how many of them will be reinstated," says Barbara Weltman, contributing editor to J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2014 (Wiley 2013). One way to avoid penalties is to take your 2013 tax liability and pay 100 percent of it (110 percent for high-income earners), split into four installments, she says.


Look for savings in past and future tax years. If your 2013 business income is low, opt to depreciate equipment purchases over time rather than all at once, for example. "Look at carryovers, like deductions and tax credits that you weren't able to use in prior tax years but might be applied this year if your business is profitable enough," Weltman suggests. "If you can amend prior-year returns, you might get better refunds for those years."

 

Tally your Bitcoin taxes. The IRS this week issued guidelines on the treatment of virtual currency. "Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are treated as property, not currency," says Ebong Eka, a Washington (D.C.) CPA and the author of START ME UP! The No-Business-Plan Business Plan (Career Press 2014). If you sold something and received virtual currency for it, you will have to pay tax on the fair market value of that currency. And you may also have to pay self-employment taxes on any Bitcoins you've mined, if that activity constitutes your business, Eka says.

 

Fund your retirement. Yes, it's 2014, but you can still contribute to an IRA for the 2013 tax year through April 15. For tax year 2013, you may deduct a maximum contribution of $5,500 to a traditional IRA if you are less than 50 years old; those 50 or older may deduct up to $6,500, says Terry Durkin, director of the National Association of Enrolled Agents, a society of federally licensed tax practitioners. If you qualify, that IRA contribution could lower your tax liability or boost your refund. "I had a client this year who owed $900. He put $6,500 in his IRA and wound up getting a refund of $400," Durkin says. Self-employed people who file for extensions have until Oct. 15, 2014, to fund a 2013 SEP-IRA.


Avoid penaltiesFailing to file your tax returns on time or failing to pay taxes you owe will cost you. The corporate tax filing date was March 17, so if your company is organized as an S corporation, every shareholder will be charged $195 a month, for a maximum of 12 months, until your return is filed, says Louis Balbirer, director of tax services at Kaufman Rossin in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

 

-from Business Week

Just Because

 

 

Here are 10 surprising facts about what it means to be a taxpayer in the United States.

 

1. While form 1040 is supposed to be one of the 'simpler' tax forms, and the form that the majority of Americans use to file their taxes, the instructions for this form alone are nearly 200 pages long.

 

2. The U.S. tax code, which includes all of the rules, regulations and various legal jargon that make up tax laws, is almost 4 million words long. If that doesn't sound like much, compare it to the entirety of Shakespeare's canon - the Bard goes on and on forever, but all of his works only total about 900,000 words. Ouch.

 

3. If you're worried about making a mistake on your taxes, don't be. Talk about fun facts about taxes - according to Money Magazine, when nearly 50 tax professionals and accountants were asked to complete the same tax return for a single family, they came up with nearly 50 different answers.

 

4. Around the turn of the 20th century, it only took the average American three weeks to make enough money to pay their state and federal taxes. Today it takes until April and beyond!

 

5. Cigarette tax is the third highest amount of tax paid by Americans, followed closely by court fees and taxes paid to obtain dog licenses (in other words, we're just a bunch of smokin', law-breakin' dog lovers!)

 

6. Traffic accidents increase significantly on or around April 15th, so watch out for frantic drivers making a beeline for the post office! You, of course, have a Shoeboxed account, and will be counted among the curiously calm drivers out on that day.

 

7. U.S. citizens first began paying taxes at the end of the 18th century, but only on land and property. It wasn't until the government needed to raise money during the Civil War that personal incomes began to be taxed.

 

8. The U.S. corporate tax rate is a whopping 35%, which has forced many companies to outsource or set up shop overseas. In addition to actually building business in other countries, many American corporations get around the exorbitant tax rate by setting up dummy 'storefronts' and headquartering their businesses in countries with lower corporate tax rates.

 

9. eFiling continues to reign supreme - while over 20% of hard copy tax returns contain errors, less than 1% of electronic returns do.

 

10. The IRS has more people working for it than the Federal Bureau of Investigation!

The 2014 Update on Section 179
for Small Businesses
Learn the latest limits and rules for deducting tech purchases on your taxes. 

For the past four years, small businesses have enjoyed an annual $500,000 tax break for purchases of technology and other equipment. But this year, the deduction plummets to $25,000 unless Congress acts to increase it.

 

Section 179 of the tax code allows companies to deduct technology and other equipment in the year it is purchased. It provides an immediate deduction versus the normal depreciation schedule, which for hardware spreads out the deduction over a five-year period.

 

A Brief History of Section 179 Deductions

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly increased the Section 179 deduction since 2003 to give businesses a tax break and entice them to spend more to boost the economy.

First, Congress quadrupled the annual deduction from $25,000 to $100,000 and let companies deduct off-the-shelf software. Congress renewed the higher deduction and the software provision in the ensuing years, doubling it to $250,000 in 2008 and 2009 and then doubling it again to $500,000 from 2010 to 2013.

 

But the higher deduction, along with the off-the-shelf software deduction and a 50 percent bonus depreciation, expired at the end of last year. The tax break returns to the original $25,000 limit with an adjustment for inflation for the 2014 tax year.

 

Accountants say it is possible that Congress will increase the deduction again for 2014 since it has approved a larger deduction for the past decade.

 

"If Section 179 stays at $25,000, and if a company spends more than that on equipment, then it effectively amounts to a tax increase, and members of Congress, particularly those who are running for re-election, don't want to be associated with a tax increase," says Julian Block, a tax attorney in Larchmont, N.Y, and author of several tax tip books.

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has proposed extending the higher Section 179 deduction, along with extending 54 other deductions that expired at the end of last year. But recently, Sen. Orrin Hatch told Bloomberg News that each tax break must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

"It's January, and Congress is wrangling again [over spending], so it could be a while before there's any legislation," Block explains.

 
Spend Based on Business Need,
Not Tax Deduction Amount

If the deduction stays at $25,000, businesses still benefit. If they spend more than $25,000, they have to deduct the remainder using the normal depreciation schedule. Technology that qualifies for the deduction includes computers, servers and networking equipment. Office equipment and furniture purchases also qualify.

Section 179 limits how much companies can spend on equipment to qualify for the entire deduction. In 2013, the spending limit was $2 million. For 2014, spending cannot exceed $200,000. Every dollar spent above the limit must be subtracted from the deduction.

 

So how should small businesses plan equipment purchases in light of the uncertainty of the Section 179 deduction? Block says companies should make purchases based on their needs, not based on the amount of the tax deduction.

"If you don't get an immediate deduction, it's not like you will never get a tax break, you just get it over a four- to five-year period, depending on the type of item," he says. "When you are talking about computers or printers, the question is, does your business need them? Will the benefit to your business be more than what you are spending? It ought not be looked at as purely a tax deduction."

 
-from BizTech

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Thank you, and we look forward to giving everyone the best IT services that you are used to receiving!

 
 
3 Sōl Technology Consulting, Inc.                                                                                                  � 2014