January 2006

All of your business needs. One easy solution.

01/17/2006       Vol 3 Issue 1


Happy New Year!
As we wave goodbye to 2005, most of us are reflecting on the past year, looking at our triumphs and our failures. The most important thing we can do is to celebrate our triumphs and learn from our failures. Any business owner will tell you that a triumph is beautiful thing, but a failure is the source of invaluable education. Make sure you take that time to reflect back on the past year, toast to yourself for all that you have succeeded at and all that you have learned.

My biggest triumph for 2005 was fulfilling my 2 biggest business resolutions. I attended the IVAA Summit in October and I got all 3 of the certifications I was aiming for. I received the CVA and EthicsCheck certifications earlier this year and in December I obtained my CRESS (Certified Real Estate Support Specialist) designation. Yay!

In this issue:

  • "Tech Talk With Tom" talks about virus scan software
  • Learn about proper printing of 1099s and W2s in the Quickbooks tips section
  • Our spotlight this month is on Concrete Evolution, a company that provides beautiful flooring at an affordable price
  • My usual collection of quirky office and accounting humor.
  • ... and those ever important upcoming tax deadlines

I hope you enjoy this month's issue! I am always looking for articles. If you have an article you would like to write, please feel free to email me at candy@offassist.com

Self-Employment Tax
by Mark Bacak

Who must may self-employment tax? If you are self-employed, you will be responsible for self-employment tax. For the purpose of determining self-employment tax, you are self-employed if you are a sole proprietor, an independent contractor, a member of a partnership, or are otherwise in business for yourself. As a self-employed individual you will have a Schedule C to attach to your Form 1040, and self-employment tax is computed on Form 1040, Schedule SE. Individuals must pay self-employment tax is they have net earnings of $400 or more. They are several sources of net earnings that are used when figuring your self-employment tax liability. In most cases, net earnings include net profit from a farm or nonfarm business.

If you operate more than one business, your net earnings from self-employment are the combined net earnings from all your businesses. If you have a loss in one business, it reduces the income from another. Self-employment tax is the self-employed individual's contribution to social security and Medicare taxes. The only difference between the employee and the self-employed is the employee's social security and Medicare taxes are paid half by the employee and half by the employer. When an individual is self-employed, he/she is responsible for the entire amount.

There are alternative methods that can be used for figuring liability of self-employment tax. The Farm Optional Method and the NonFarm Optional Method may qualify an individual to claim a larger Earned Income Credit or Child Tax Credit. They may also, however, increase your self-employment tax liability.

The maximum amount of earnings subject to self-employment tax is currently $87,000.00 and when figuring your adjusted gross income on Form 1040, you may deduct up to one-half of your self-employment tax liability. If you are member of the ministry or clergy you may request an exemption from self-employment tax from the IRS.

In summary, if you are self-employed, have net earnings of $400 or more, and file a tax return, you will be subject to self-employment tax. To learn more about individual liabilities, exemptions, and alternative tax methods, please visit the online site for IRS Forms and Publications at www.IRS.gov. Topic 554, Publication 517 and 533 will provide more detailed and situation specific information.

Matt Bacak became "#1 Best Selling Author" in just a few short hours. Recent Entrepreneur Magazine’s e-Biz radio show host is turning Authors, Speakers, and Experts into Overnight Success Stories. Discover The Secrets To Unleash The Powerful Promoter In You! Sign up for Matt Bacak's Promoting Tips Ezine ($100 value) just visit his website at http://www.powerfulpromoter.com or http://promotingtips.com



To All Employees:

Due to increased competition and a keen desire to remain in business, we find it necessary to institute a new policy.

Effective immediately, we find we must ask that somewhere between starting time and quitting time and without infringing too much on the time usually devoted to lunch period, coffee breaks, rest period, story telling, internet browsing, ticket selling, golfing, auto racing, sporting events, vacation and the re-hashing of yesterday's T.V. programs, that each employee endeavor to find some time that can be set aside and known as a WORK BREAK.

To some this may seem a radical innovation, but we honestly believe the idea has great possibilities. It can be an aid to steady employment and it might also be a means of assuring regular paychecks.

While the WORK BREAK adoption plan is not compulsory, it is hoped that each employee will find enough time to give the plan a fair trial. It is also hoped that those employees not in favor of adopting the WORK BREAK idea will have fully completed their vacation plans.

-The Management

Quickie QuickBooks Q & A 

DO from CA asks: Can I print 1099s on regular paper?

No. 1099s must be printed on the red IRS forms. You can get the forms from your local office supply store or by calling or visiting an IRS office. Don't forget to grab a 1098 or two (the transmittal sheet)

W2s (and the W3 transmittal), however, CAN be printed on plain paper.


Have an article you’d like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?
Email candy@offassist.com.


A special thank you to our copyeditor and all-around-language-geek, Dyanna Larson of Ink Think - visit her website for more information about her services.


Important Tax Deadlines

January 15 - 4th Qtr estimated tax payments due

January 16 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for December

January 31 - Last day to mail 1099s and W2s to recipients

January 31 - Last day to file 941s and 940s.


February 15 - Get new W4s for employees filing exempt status for 2005.


February 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for January


February 28 - 1099s and W2s must be postmarked by this date.



The IRS has announced that the new standard mileage rate for 2006, effective January 1, 2006, will be 44.5 cents a mile.


This is 4 cents per mile higher than the 2005 rate, and 4 cents per mile ~lower~ than the emergency increase for the last four months of 2005.  For more detailed information, check out the announcement on their website at http://www.irs.gov .




Spotlight On... Visual Humor 
This month we take a peek at the folks behind the funnies. I get a lot of compliments on my quirky office cartoons and now I'm going to share my secret. Visual Humour Cartoon Agency is a company based in the UK. Their website is home to a ton of amusing cartoons and includes a featured free carton of the week. They have a ton of great cartoons that can be used on websites, blogs, as part of presentations, and in corporate or organizational communications and all at reasonable rates. In 1983 cartoonists Peter Dodsworth and John Morris met and decided over coffee and a donut to establish a cartoon agency to make it easier to market their work to the provincial (regional) press in the UK. This was a new market for cartoonists - the fees were small compared to the national newspapers, but the artists would retain the copyright on the cartoon. John and Peter formed Visual Humour with three other cartoonists. They drew various 'feature' cartoons including 'Funny Business' drawn by John himself.

Their business expanded to supplying 50% of the provincial newspapers in the UK with their output and within two years the cartoonists were being published abroad as well. Many companies, seeing the business cartoons in the press, asked to use a cartoon for a company presentation, in a newsletter, on a calendar, etc. This prompted the decision to use the internet to make MORRIS business cartoons available to more companies. In 2002 the website www.businesscartoons.co.uk was born. They have nearly 1,500 cartoons on the site and are gradually adding more from the over 5,000 business cartoons in their files. 

For a good laugh, or to fill in that blank spot in your Power Point slideshow that says "Insert Joke Here", visit Visual Humour's business cartoon portal at: http://www.businesscartoons.co.uk.



How is your daughter doing in accounting class?

Great. Now instead of asking us for her allowance. She bills us for it.


Tech Talk with Tom... Viral Overload 

Happy New Year!  That's right, 2006 is here with everything a typical new year brings:  tons of left over turkey, a thousand thank you cards to write, and a bunch of new gadgets to figure out.  Oh yeah, and don't forget the massive wave of new computer viruses to turn that nifty new computer you just got into a really expensive door stop. 

It’s a good thing that virus developers are just like other software writers, always behind schedule.  So take advantage of their laziness--take a few minutes this week and either a.) update your existing virus scanner or b.) install one of the scanners listed below.

Grisoft AVG Antivirus FREE Edition: http://free.avgsoft.com/

This is the software I use personally.  Offering regular updates, ease of use, and scheduled scans, this is the one I recommend to everyone.  They also offer a commercial version for business users.

Norton Antivirus: http://www.symantec.com/

This is probably the most popular anti-virus solution on the market today.  You can get a 15-day free trial from their website.

Mcafee antivirus: http://download.mcafee.com/

Second only to Norton, Mcafee has been around almost as long as there have been computers and offers a 30-day free trial.

Microsoft AntiSpyware Tool: http://downloads.microsoft.com/

While not exactly an antivirus tool MS AntiSpyware is still one of the most useful tools I've found to keep unwanted programs off of your computer.

There you go, no excuses! Install one of these tools today and save a lot of heartache in the New Year.  If only it was that easy to get rid of the headache. 

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and virus-free 2006!

Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.  

Songs Accountants Like

"Don't Be Accrual"
"Account Your Many Blessings"
"Adjust Called to Say I Love You"




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This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. (c) 2006
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional..