Give Your Business and Personal Finances a Wellness Check

For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse. If you own a small business, these familiar wedding vows might signify more than promises to a spouse. They might describe your relationship with your business as well. And with good reason if your personal financial well-being is closely tied to how well your business is doing.
A strong cash flow is good for business and good for you. If your company’s cash flow isn’t as healthy as you’d like it to be, here are some things to consider.



Rely on Reports

What you don’t know can hurt you, especially when it comes to cash flow. If you’re not already checking them, start generating cash flow and cash balance reports on a monthly basis. If your figures are off for even a few months, find out why. A problem could be lurking.



Market, Market, Market

When things are slow, developing new business opportunities is critical to your cash flow — and perhaps, your company’s survival. But it’s also critical when things are good. You can’t afford to be complacent about the future. If you stop devoting time to growing your business, your success may be short-lived.

Look at Limits

In a cash crunch, many small business owners instinctively dip into their personal accounts to help their businesses over the hump. While this may be simpler and faster than some other solutions, it could turn disastrous for an owner’s personal finances if the business is seriously failing. If you haven’t already decided how much of your personal assets you’re willing to invest in your business, now may be a good time to come up with a limit.



Create a Credit Line

Even if you’re doing everything right, you could still hit a rough patch. Or, an opportunity might come up that requires some quick financial maneuvering. Instead of using your own money, consider using a line of credit. For maximum flexibility, establish a line of credit for your business before you need it. If you wait to apply until you’re in a bind or a hurry, you might be turned down.



Wedded Bliss

If your personal and business finances are intertwined, your planning should integrate the two.



Tax Reform Raises the Use of The Cash Accounting Method.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act accounting method provisions are allowing businesses greater use of the cash method of accounting and exemption from complex tax rules. An accounting method is the set of rules that apply to determine when an item or deduction is taken into account for tax purpose. The two most common methods are cash and accrual. Once an accounting method is established, it generally must be used consistently from year to year.



The cash methods available to only small business are generally simpler than the accounting methods required to be used by larger businesses. Under the cash method of accounting, income is generally recognized in the year cash is received and deductions are generally taken into account the year an expense is paid. Under the accrual method of accounting, income and expenses is generally recognized when earned or incurred, even if payment is received in a later year. Prior to December 31, 2017, limitations applied to corporations and partnerships with corporate partners. These taxpayers were prohibited from using the cash method of accounting for tax purposes unless their gross receipts were $5 million or less.  Beginning December 31, 2017, the threshold has increased to $25 million.



The IRS guidance ,released August 3, 2018, is allowing small businesses with annual grow earning of $25 million or less in the prior three-year period to use the cash method of accounting.  Business taxpayers are permitted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may obtain an automatic consent to change accounting methods starting after December 31, 2017.

Under the new law, allows more taxpayers to use the cash method of accounting.  Taxpayers switching from the accrual method to the cash method is required to complete Form 3115 to make this change. Businesses must apply the gross receipts test each year to determine whether it continues to be eligible to use the cash method.

Tax reform has dramatically changed US federal income tax rules. Consult your accountant or tax advisor to develop a tax strategy to determine whether a change in accounting method is consistent with that strategy.


Disabled or Ill Missourians Can Choose Their Own Care Providers

Most ill or disabled Missourians can remain in their own homes and avoid or delay institutionalization with the help of Consumer Directed Services. Consumer Directed Services (CDS), administered by the Missouri Division of Senior and Disability Services (DSDS), are available to eligible persons at least 18 years old who have Medicaid or potentially Medicaid eligible and in need of support.

The whole point of the Consumer Directed Services program is so the person receiving services can  hire the person of their choice to provide care and assist with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, cleaning, meal preparation,  and shopping, and be in charge of when and how most of their personal needs will be met. That’s the beauty of the Consumer Directed Services program — the person who gets the care controls the care.

The attendant may be a friend or family member, at least 18 years of age, but cannot be a spouse or legal guardian.

TWA Consumer Directed Services will pay your personal attendant salary is available to assist consumers with enrollment support, training and managing their caregiver, perform and process payroll, emergency back-up plans, criminal background checks, and helping find non-family workers.

TWA supports the consumer in directing their CDS program, and services as a liaison between the individual and the CDS program, assisting individuals with whatever is needed to sustain them as they direct their own services and supports.

TWA Consumer Directed Services number one goal is providing exceptional services to improve the lives of every person we work with.  We offer our clients the personal attention that will assist them in achieving their goals.   To begin services with TWA Consumer Directed Services, contact our CDS specialist today at 816-251-4529 or download our TWA CDS Brochure  to learn more about TWA Consumer Directed Services and CDS. 

How To Get Services Started?
Please contact TWA and talk with our CDS coordinator by calling 816-251-4529 to get more information about the CDS program.  Our CDS coordinator will discuss your current needs and gather the necessary information to get you enrolled with the CDS program.

Church and Non-Profits Record Keeping Requirement

All tax-exempt organization, including churches and religious organization (regardless of whether tax-exempt status has been officially recognized by the IRS) are required to maintain books of accounting and other records necessary to justify their claim for exemption in the event of an audit and accurately file tax and information returns that may be required.

Every church should adopt and implement a records management and retention policy that reflect its unique circumstances.

Books of Accounting and Other Types of Records
There is no specific format for keeping records. However, the types of required records frequently include organizing document such as bylaws, minute books, property records, general ledgers, payroll records, and banking records. The extent of the records necessary generally varies according the type and size of the organization.

Length of Time to Retain Records

7 Years

  • Bank Statements, checks and reconciliations
  • Acquisitions and disposition of property
  • Contributions records
  • Accounts Payable and Account Receivable records
  • Payroll tax records and registers

Permanently

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Tax-Exempt Documents
  • By-laws
  • Annual Corporate reports
  • Corporate Seals
  • Minute Books
  • Signed Minutes of Board and all committees
  • Insurance Records and Payments (property and worker’s compensation)
  • W-2s, W-3s, 1099s, and 1096s
  • Financial Statements
  • General ledger detail

Most documents are kept 7 years mostly because IRS audits can go back a maximum of 7 years. There is no accepted standard for record-keeping, it’s totally up to the organization. Right now, the best way is with an electronic backup in PDF format.

Consumer Directed Services for Individuals with Disabilties

The Consumer Directed Services (CDS) program,  allows an individual with a disability the opportunity direct their own in-home services.  The CDS program is regulated by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).  The Consumer Directed Services program is designed for individuals with disabilities to take increasing control over their lives and their environment.  In the CDS program, the consumer can hire a relative, neighbor or friend to provide personal care assistance with activities of daily living rather than requiring services through a home care agency or nursing facility placement.

TWA Consumer Directed Services (TWA) has offered personal care services since 2009 in Missouri.  Our number one goal is helping individuals with disabilities maintain their independence.

TWA serves as the Fiscal Agent for the consumer.   A Fiscal Agent plays a crucial role in providing consumers with the information needed to succeed in the CDS Program.   TWA supports the consumers in directing their CDS services, and serves as a liaison between the individual and the CDS program, assisting individuals with whatever is needed to identify potential personnel requirements, resources to meet those requirements, and the services and supports to sustain them as they direct their own services and supports.

TWA provides training about the many aspects of hiring, firing and managing their personal care assistant, as well as fiscal and payroll responsibilities.   In addition, initial training is provided to understand the basic component of the CDS program.  Our staff will also assist with other CDS support activities:

  • Emergency back-up plans
  • Workers Registry
  • Criminal background checks
  • Helping find non-family workers
  • The completion of all the paperwork and handle all tax withholding and payments to the IRS, Missouri Department of Revenue, Employment Security, and Social Security
  • Perform payroll, processing of timesheets, issuance of checks, and withholding necessary taxes
  • Respond to inquiries and resolve problems (e.g. account balances and when checks were sent out)

Application Process:    Individuals interested in receiving Consumer Directed Services must have an assessment completed by Division of Senior and Disability Services (DSDS) to determine if eligible for services and the type of services needed. The assessment is free and can be scheduled by calling  (866) 835-3505,  and request to be assessed for CDS by DSDS staff.   Have your Medicaid number ready.   Individuals not receiving Medicaid benefits contact Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division at (855) 373-4636.

To qualify for the CDS program all the following must apply to you:

  • You have a condition that results in a need for assistance with activities of daily living.
  • You are a current Medicaid recipient
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You can direct your own care.
  • You meet the level of care through a needs assessment with DSDS.

Give us a call if you or someone you know and love can benefit from Consumer Directed Services.  TWA will assist the individual or participant through the determination of eligibility or referral process to receive benefits from Consumer Directed Services.

Phone: 816-251-4529

Click Here to Schedule a Phone Meeting
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Are You Protecting Yourself From Tax Identity Theft?

The IRS has thwarted some identity theft attempts, but thieves are still stealing billions of dollars every year from taxpayers.

Another annual income tax deadline has come and gone. Maybe you had to pay in, but perhaps you were owed a refund. If the latter is true, did you receive it?

A lot of taxpayers didn’t because hackers swooped in and stole their sensitive tax-related information. Tax identity theft is a serious problem, despite the IRS’s efforts to stop it.

But there are steps you can take to keep from being a victim, some of which are simply a matter of common sense. For example, consider the security of any wireless network you use when you’re working on your taxes. Don’t ever do so on a public network, and make sure your home or office wireless is password protected.



Offline Risks

You don’t have to be online to be at risk for tax identity theft. Hackers can grab your personal information in other ways. For example, do you ever carry your tax-related papers back and forth to work or some other location? Know where they are at all times; don’t ever leave them laying around where someone can copy your Social Security number and other details.

Always be aware of your surroundings. If there are other people around when you’re working on your taxes—if you’re in a coffee shop or library, for example—make sure no one is reading over your shoulder.

Phone calls can be risky. A good rule of thumb is never provide someone who calls you with any sensitive personal data – unless you can verify it was a call you were expecting, like one from your bank or a medical office. When you place a call to a legitimate number, it’s generally okay.

Other Traps

You’d think that a call from the IRS would be safe. In reality, the IRS doesn’t ask for personal information over the phone. They send letters through the U.S. Mail. If you ever get a phone call from someone who claims to be from the agency and is demanding some sort of payment immediately, hang up. This is a popular phone scam. You can always contact the IRS directly to see if there is some sort of issue.

Don’t make a practice of carrying your Social Security card with you. Keep it in a safe place unless you absolutely need it away from home for some reason. Also:

  • File your return early to keep a hacker from getting in line for your refund in front of you.
  • Reduce your refund by adjusting your withholdings at work. It’s nice to get that big payment after you file, but couldn’t you use that money throughout the year?
  • Request direct deposit of your refund. That way, no one can steal your check out of your mailbox or somehow re-route a paper payment.



Online Thieves

Be especially careful if you’re preparing your taxes on a website. Before you even begin, investigate the publisher’s security protocols to ensure that your very sensitive tax-related data will be treated with great care. Also, update any applications that will be involved, including your browser and antivirus/anti-malware tools.

The IRS will never send you an email out of the blue asking you to click a link or download an attachment or fill in fields to update personal information. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid taking those actions anytime unless you’re expecting an email and can verify the sender’s address.

Finally, use a very strong, unique password, one you don’t use anywhere else. You’re probably tired of hearing that piece of advice, but it’s absolutely critical when you’re working with a tax preparation application.

Take Action Quickly

It’s possible to get stung by a tax identity thief even if you’re being careful. If it happens to you, you’ll need to complete and submit IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, and watch for responses from the agency. Contact your credit bureaus and financial institutions to apprise them of the situation. Tax identity thieves sometimes try to open new credit cards, for example. You should also file a report with the FTC.

Recovering from tax identity theft isn’t a quick process nor an easy one. If you have questions about it or simply want to talk to us about your year-round tax planning and preparation process, be sure to contact us.