Tax Preparation & Strategy for Individuals & Small Business
ERCs ~Bookkeeping ~ Full Service Payroll
The Approachable Accountant will be unavailable on Tuesday, May 16th while we change internet providers.
The scheduled installation window is 8am to noon and the process is expected to take approximately 3 hours. We will resume work upon completion of the work.
Thank you for your patience!
We are having some IT issues that are affecting every aspect of our business, including our phone service.
There are no security issues involved.
We expect to resolve them before the end of the day.
Thank you for your patience.
The local bar was so sure its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet.
The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money.
Many people had tried over time, including the professional wrestlers and bodybuilders, but nobody could do it.
One day a scrawny little man came in, wearing a tie and a pair of pants hiked up past his belly button.
He said in a squeaky annoying voice, "I'd like to try the bet."
Even the hillbilly chicks burst into laughter.
After the laughter had died down, the bartender said, "Ok," grabbed a lemon, and squeezed away. He then handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little man.
But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence as the man clenched his fist around the lemon and six drops fell into the glass.
As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man, "What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, weight lifter, or what?"
The man replied, "I work for the IRS."
Thank you to all you first round voters!
Here we go again! Voting started yesterday and you can vote daily between now and May 5.
I am nominated in TWO categories, Accounting and Bookkeeping. Due to somw changes in my business plan, I'd love to pull off a win in the Bookkeeping category. It's just a couple of categories down.
In this "race" it's legit to vote early and often, so please do!
Just a little operations update now that tax season is "over."
I am still working every normal day, but not 15 hour days, and my time is divided more evenly among tasks.
I have several clients on extension, including some who have prior year unfiled returns and amendments to prepare.
My goal is to get those done by May 1, provided I have the required info from those clients -- but we all know how bad I am at estimating time...😳
My 🧾 bookkeeping clients need some ❤️ too, and I have a client under audit who needs bookkeeping support for that.
I am also aggressively pursuing completion of both Enrolled Agent and CPA testing and licensing this year, along with the capstone for my Masters in Entrepreneurship. 👩🎓
Finally, I need to respond to a few people who reached out to me during tax season about working together in the future.
I do not shut down for the summer like many accountants, but I will take a "normal" vacation 🏖, celebrate the summer holidays 🇺🇸🎇 and be out of the office for about 4-5 days of testing. On a ☀️ Friday when all the work is caught up? Well...you might catch me in the 🏊♀️.
I am accepting clients with prior year unfiled returns, Employee Retention Credits (minimum number of eligible employees: ONE), and bookkeeping cleanup projects.
I am also accepting a limited number of new year-round accounting services clients for bookkeeping, tax and advisory services.
If you'd like to learn more about working with a firm that cares about doing things right and getting results, please contact me at [email protected].
Tax Day is not until TUESDAY.
Bookkeeping Red Flags:
1) Your clients pay you flat dollar amounts, but your gross revenues are in dollars and cents
You accept credit cards and ACH payments, but the merchant processing fees category = $0
2) You have "negative expenses."
3) Your "Sales Tax" expense category includes transactions for things you sold instead of things you bought.
In many cases, it takes longer to resolve bookkeeping issues than it does to prepare the tax return. Good bookkeeping is the key to a stress-free tax season -- for you and for me!
Let's talk after tax season about how we can make next tax season a breeze -- and give you valuable decision-ready information all year long!
I'm not great at estimating how long it takes to do things on my best days, but the nature of the tax prep beast makes it nearly impossible.
Things that seem like they will be simple often turn out to require extra forms and intensive research to complete the return. I get why it can be frustrating to wait, but if it were YOUR return, wouldn't you want me to give it the time and attention it needs to do it right?
A fee examples:
Clients disposed of a rental property, and it turned out that they had never taken any depreciation while they rented it. Corrective measures take time, but doing it right saved them about $2,000 in taxes.
Client's partnership requires filing the new K2, but their business is atypical and there is no IRS guidance available to address their particular situation.
And the one that kept me up all night, the new client whose former "tax professional" did so many things so terribly wrong, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I was truly shocked.
I'm going to do things right for them, but they're not used to keeping good records (because she made up the numbers) I'm worried about what might be triggered when I file a clean return for 2022.
So I told you all that to tell you this: I'm working hard, every day, to finish tax returns -- and I'm going it alone. If I stopped to answer every anxious phone call or email, it would take a lot away from my production time. I understand your anxiety, I really do -- but I have to choose just getting it done, and clearly my time estimates are garbage anyway!
The clock is ticking, there's a lot to get done, we've lost a key player and the bench isn't very deep.
We've put ourselves in Time Out today to focus on wrapping up tax returns already in production -- so we are responding to phone calls and emails only as necessary to get that done.
If you are a client with a return in progress, we will provide you with a draft return or a status by about 5pm.
Unfortunately, I've been too sick and too busy to engage in the kind of smack talk that makes 🏀🏀March Madness🏀🏀so much fun -- but here's a quick update.
Only Debbie Waite Rathjen has a shot at beating The Approachable Accountant. She has 56 max points, and her fate lies in the hands of Jim Larranega. Ironically, Larranega was the coach at GMU when I picked them to go to the Final Four in 2006.
(Yes, I PICKED THAT. That's what you're up against here.)
But I have multiple pathways to win -- a Creighton could put me over the top, and of course I picked UConn to win it all.
(🚨🚨SMACK TALK ALERT🚨🚨) At the moment it appears that the answer is NO, you cannot beat The Approachable Accountant!
Labanda Loyd and two other employees of Tax World have received prison sentences for a $1.8 million tax conspiracy.
I'm caring and conscientious.
I pull off some pretty great mini-miracles now and then.
But I am not invincible.
I am doing my very best to recover from an operational error that required me to re-do several returns (my fault for trying something new).
But I am also trying to recover from the virus from hell (not that one) that is NOT my fault.... and to respond to requests and inquiries in the order received, because that's fair and that's policy. That is made harder by the fact that I have lost my voice and I cough almost constantly.
We are 26 days from deadline, and everything will be okay.
When you donate food, clothing, etc. directly to individuals or through a GoFundMe or FB campaign, it's kind, but sorry -- it's not deductible.
Only charitable contributions made through an IRS recognized charity are deductible.
It occurred to me in my very last semester of college that I was signing up to give up a lot of one of my favorite things ever -- March Madness -- because of tax season. So I treat myself by watching the last 2 minutes of the games.
A huge thank you to everyone who joined my last minute Bracket Challenge. I'll try to keep things semi-professional, but I love to talk smack.
Not one of us has any reason to talk smack right now -- we're ALL O-FER.
And even though both my homers are out of the dance, I love every minute of it!
Join our Bracket Challenge!
Enter to win a $50 gift card from a local restaurant or shop -- gift card to be selected based on location of winner.
No purchase necessary. Gift card winner will be drawn from all entries that beat The Approachable Accountant.
Employees and their families not eligible for the prize, but feel free to enter for bragging rights.
It's been a slash and burn kind of week. Sometimes you have cut your losses and move on.
Is there something in your business that is no longer serving you?
What keeps you hanging on?
Chocolate Fudge Poptarts:
Genius or Abomination?
Please bear with me -- I am feeling very unwell, and while I'm still working, I'm slower than normal. (The headache alone is pretty bad!)
Gogo will respond to new inquiries and I will address pending matters, assigning top priority to payroll issues and business returns. I am keeping all appointments at this time (no in-person appointments scheduled until Thursday).
Thanks for your understanding!
The IRS finally issued guidance on stimulus payments and tax rebates from various states!
In Virginia, it is like any other tax refund -- highly unlikely that it is taxable.
In Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, it is not taxable.
If you received a payment from a different state, please refer to the IRS link for more information.
Taxpayers in many places will not need to report special state payments on their 2022 federal tax returns. See the latest update at: http://ow.ly/1TKS50MPUIG
"...the dopamine train is a common and powerful trap."
To most (including me), this is an argument against conspicuous consumption, and I almost always argue for sacrificing cash flow for tax savings and financial security.
But the way I see it, that drive for 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 has value as well. I believe that when these two ideas collide, it unlocks potential.
The trouble begins when people are bombarded by the images and ideas in the media (and social media) and find themselves stuck in the "belonging" and "esteem" layers of Maslow's hierarchy. Put simply, they "need" more because someone else has imputed value into items or services or entertainments that perpetuate the grind.
It's one thing to grind until your needs are met. Careful planning can help you quit the grind and achieve higher things in your life.
Nothing is as desired as much as the thing you want but can’t have.
After trying -- and failing -- to get my business off the ground and working for someone else for awhile, I woke up 5 years ago today knowing the kind of firm I wanted to run.
I was going to throw a party, but it's much too busy and I don't quite feel like I'm ready to celebrate, because I haven't accomplished what I set out to do. It's been rough. I'm getting there, but I still have a lot of work to do.
But as I observe this milestone, there are some people I need to thank -- people who have helped me, believed in me, counseled me, championed me. People I thought of when I frankly just wanted to quit and go back to being an executive assistant supporting somebody else's dream because I made more money doing that. People I never wanted to let down, who stuck by me even when I did and made me want to work harder.
Cortney Heykoop, Financial Advisor, Clover Leaf Wealth Strategies and Geoff Crawley, who told me on the day I met him that I was too much fun to be an accountant. I could not begin to describe all that these two have done for me in the past 6 years. (Yes 6 years -- they were around for the flop, and I met them both at the same BNI meeting -- at a chapter I never joined.)
Obviously, my family -- my mother, siblings, husband, children, nieces and nephews, and in-laws. It's an enormous bunch, and I love every one of 'em, even the ones that make me nuts.
The incomparable Dawn Crawley, who inspires me. Jackie Fearnow at Effectv, the "instant friend" who keeps me in the loop for all things Berkeley County and gives me fantastic, practical advice. Erin Michelle Lombardi whose trust and advice are amazing influences (and who may be mad at me because once again, I'm off-program 😘). German who I can't tag! So now I have to hassle him to like my page.
I have to give full credit to Eric Byrd at SBDC who is responsible for the name The Approachable Accountant. He told me that my firm name and logo didn't matter because, "Karen, you're not Coca-Cola. You are your brand." And yet he inspired the brand that has served me incredibly well.
I can't mention everyone, but I thank each and every one of you for your part in growing my business. Clients, referral partners, people who have liked my page this week to ward off the 😈 LOL! People who mention me on Facebook, people who have voted for me for Best of Loudoun and Loudoun's Favorite. People who have been kind to me when I needed a little kindness.
We're all in this together, and I couldn't ask to be "in it" with a better bunch of people.
My sincerest thanks to every one of you. The screen is all blurry now so I need to reboot or something. Then it's back to taxes!
𝗧𝗟;𝗗𝗥 If a business pays for water bottles given away at a nonprofit event, that is a sponsorship reported as a 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗯𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. If the water bottles advertise that the business is "the best," that's an advertisement. If the organization recognizes the contribution and says that the business is "the best," that's now an endorsement/advertisement and potentially 𝘁𝗮𝘅𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝗻𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁!
YES, I SAID TAXABLE TO THE NONPROFIT. 🤯
If you're a 𝗯𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗼𝘄𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝗻𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 or 𝗻𝗼𝗻𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝘁 𝗯𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿, you should take the time to 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗗 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗦 𝗣𝗢𝗦𝗧 and keep this info handy to help you evaluate whether and how your sponsorship might be taxable.
For business owners, if your sponsorship can be defined as advertising, then you can deduct it as an advertising expense. If it's NOT advertising, and you are not filing as a "C-corp," then the sponsorship is a charitable contribution that flows through to your personal return.
If it IS advertising, then it is Unrelated Business Income (UBI) and may be taxable (!) to the nonprofit. Board members, this information will help you develop guidelines for sponsorships.
Important quote: "A message that contains comparative or qualitative descriptions does not meet the definition of a qualified sponsorship and is advertising. A single message that contains both advertising and acknowledgement is advertising."
Advertising or Qualified Sponsorship Payments? Determining whether corporate sponsorship payments received or solicited by an exempt organization are qualified sponsorship payments as described in section 513(i).
We are beyond excited to announce the addition of Davina Anderson Greene (a.k.a. Gogo) to the team as Director of Business Development.
In addition to being a real pro, Gogo is genuinely passionate about helping people. I know I can trust her to be good to my clients and prospects because she's been a good friend to me for...well, let's just it's been a minute! 😉
Gogo will be working to identify new clients, assist them with onboarding, and follow-up with all of our clients to ensure that we provide a superior customer experience.
Please join me in welcoming Gogo!
If you used Square as your merchant processor, your 1099K should be available in your account.
If you have multiple locations in Square, there may be a separate 1099K for each location.
While you're in there, pull your reports for TAX TIME. Many small business owners make 2 key mistakes:
1) Reporting the amount transferred to your bank account as Sales in your bookkeeping; and
2) Not reporting revenue that is in your Square account on 12/31 that was not transferred to your bank account until the New Year.
You have to report your GROSS sales and subtract your processing fees as an expense.
Great idea for those with PTSD and sensory issues.
It can take an hour to get a pizza delivered these days! Imagine choosing a new mattress and having it delivered to your home in an hour!
One-on-one consultation, great prices, easy financing and fast delivery all add up to a good night's sleep, night after night.
Sam and his wife came in and got a great new queen mattress and platform. The whole process only took about an hour that included delivery. If you need something new to sleep on right away and don't want to wait weeks for a big box store to order and deliver it then Mattress By Appointment is what you have been looking for. You will not regret picking out one of our premium mattresses and saving 50-80% compared to retail stores. Give me a call at 681-283-5060 and I'll get you sleeping great again.
A little much-needed perspective...
My client received this courtesy notification from her client.
This just in:
The IRS will begin processing Individual returns on Monday, January 23rd
Filing early is one of the best protections against tax-related identity theft.
IRS will begin issuing "refunds" for returns claiming Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) on Tuesday, February 28th. Otherwise, most taxpayers can expect refunds within about 21 days of filing. The process can be longer for returns that are pulled for verification and/or have matching or accuracy issues.
January 17 marks the official start of tax season at The Approachable Accountant.
We will be CLOSED on Monday, January 16 to finish moving into our new offices and prepare to meet with clients at two locations.
Leesburg: The Jewell Building
222 Catoctin Circle SE
Martinsburg: SBX Works
837 Wi******er Avenue
SBX Works is a workspace and small business support center offering a variety of services performed by educated, experienced, US-based virtual assistants.
Located in a HUB Zone convenient to downtown Martinsburg, SBX Works is owned and operated by Karen Mason, The Approachable Accountant and is the evolution of its predecessor, Virtually Done VA.
This IRS Tax Tip from 2021 is still valid and important.
Before you hand over your personal and financial information to tax preparers, make sure you know they're legit!
* Does not efile your original return (unless regulations prohibit efile)
* Does not sign your return
* Bases your fee on the amount of your refund
* Cannot verify PTIN
Preparers is willing to be dishonest FOR you are likely bring dishonest WITH you.
In this video:
The importance of being careful...and truthful...in your bookkeeping.
Vehicle expenses -- mileage records and why the biggest deduction this year may not be the smartest deduction.
Meals -- which meals qualify as a business expense, and what records should you keep?
Final reminder: check your mileage and jot down your 2022 ending/2023 beginning mileage tonight!
Your tax preparer will need your total mileage along with a breakdown of business vs. commuting/personal miles to determine the best deduction for you.
Did you know? If you file as an S-Corp, you need an accountable plan.
IR-2022-234, December 29, 2022 — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2023 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
You may be wondering what The Approachable Accountant does for a hot night on New Year's Eve...
1) Moved furniture out of storage to furnish both new offices.
2) Midday pancakes at IHOP (carb loading for energy to move more furniture.
3) Required continuing education and EXAMS for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program for tax preparers.
4) After some Tylenol, I think I'll go work on some Employee Retention Credits for awhile.
Happy New Year, everybody!
Our email is down and it is affecting our other systems. Please bear with us while we resolve the issue.
Going rogue again! It's time to talk real talk about bookkeeping and tax professionals.
Remembering some of my fave toys from childhood. I had a hip-happenin' avocado green metal stove and refrigerator set, a dinette that nearly matched it, a toy iron that actually heated up, Talking Baby Tender Love, a doll cradle, the pink vinyl Barbie house that folded out and of course, the Barbie Country Camper.
222 Catoctin Circle SE, Suite 203 Leesburg, VA 20175
Be the first to know and let us send you an email when The Approachable Accountant posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Contact The Business
Send a message to The Approachable Accountant:
If you had unemployment compensation in 2020 and filed your tax return before the partial exclusion kicked in, you've probably been anxiously awaiting your refund.
Originally promised in May, it looks like those refunds are finally being distributed.
I help individuals and small businesses use and understand tax strategies to pay the least tax legally possible. I dig for deductions and research possibilities like every return was my own, and offer suggestions for minimizing your tax liability in the year ahead.
I help my business clients understand that the end game of good accounting is more than just a tax return. Well designed, current accounting practices provide decision-ready financial information so you know whether it’s time to accept a new project, hire a new employee, or open a new location.
Too many accountants are too busy building empires to worry about your business. They disregard your potential and decline your business if your monthly contract won’t be in the thousands. At the same time, they want to automate everything so they can scale their businesses and grow rich -- and guess what happens to personal service?
While other accountants are busy building empires, I’m busy building relationships.
I am well-rounded, down to earth, straightforward, pragmatic, and ethical. I believe that accounting services should be accessible, affordable, and valuable. The current trend in the accounting profession is to offer standardized monthly package deals that use (and overuse) technology to maximize their profits, not yours. But I know that one size does not fit all. I believe that the best accounting services are a combination of people and processes enabled by the right technology, and the people always come first.
This is why you don't listen to random people on the internet!
Looking forward to my first Women's Network event!
BERKELEY COUNTY SCHOOL SUPPLIES CHALLENGE!
We have some great things coming up in August, & we'd like to increase our following to help spread the word.
Head on over to The Approachable Accountant and Like our page, and we'll donate $1 in school supplies for every new Like by midnight tomorrow.
If you live, work or do business in Berkeley County, join The Berkeley County Social Collective to see what we can accomplish TOGETHER.
Our Maximum Impact Accounting service is a matrix of accounting and business advisory services, customized to your business, that help you tax control of your current financial situation, then make smart moves to maximize your profits and minimize your tax liability.
Standard services include a Master Tax Strategy, business and individual tax prep, accounting analysis with performance measurements, budgets, forecasting and trend analysis, as well as basic services like custom bookkeeping to support your strategies, payroll, and business and individual tax preparation.
Want to know more? Schedule a discovery call to see how Maximum Impact Accounting can improve your bottom line.
Be honest with yourself about business finances and be willing to make sacrifices to improve!
Unless you rely on your business income to pay your living expenses, your business doesn’t have to be profitable right out of the gate. Accept that.
As long as you know how much of your own money you’ve put into your business, where the money is going, and you have a plan for turning your cash investment and hard work into revenue, you're on the right track.
If you’re one of the lucky few who hit the ground running, your cash flow is good and you’re making good money, chances are you could be doing even better if you had a better handle on your finances.
It's National Get to Know Your Customers Day - so we want to hear from you!!
- How did you hear about us?
- What service among our offerings is most important to you?
- What do you really struggle with when it comes to tax season?
- How else can we help you?
Check out this post on our Blog!
“Business tangible personal property” includes things like computers, furniture, tools, machinery and heavy equipment used in your business– even if it is owned by you personally rather than your company, even if you lease rather than purchase it, and even if it was a gift!
What this means is that, if you have a business license in Loudoun County, VA and you are reading about business taxes on your phone, laptop or tablet, you should be filing an annual return online by March 1 each year.
Don’t give up your power over your money. Giving up that power weakens your power over your business and your life!
It’s smart to delegate the accounting function to a professional, but don’t just dust off your hands and walk away. That's how you lose your power over your money. It’s also how you allow people – especially those you trust — get away with stealing from you.
Learn to use those financial reports to identify weak spots in your business and look for opportunities to overcome them.
We expect to work very well with people who value honest and direct communication and are:
- Motivated to understand your entire financial position
- Committed to tax strategies to reduce your tax liability and put your money to work for you
- Dedicated to growth – personal, business, wealth, and financial security
- Willing to learn and participate in the process
- Ready to acknowledge and accept responsibility for your accounting and taxes strategy
- Ready, willing, and able to address unfiled taxes and unresolved issues
If this is you – or if you WANT this to be you – let’s talk! We can coach you. Baby steps are okay as long as they are steps forward.
Talking about your finances is hard enough without being intimidated by your accountant.
Technically, The Approachable Accountant is just one person, Karen Mason. But the primary consideration in the growth of the firm is making sure that every member of the team is Approachable – committed to listening, explaining important concepts, and coaching our clients so they feel comfortable with our processes and talking about money.
“Being Approachable means that you can tell me your story – your challenges, successes, fears and goals – all in your own words. Forget accountant-speak and business school buzz words – let’s talk real talk. You’ve got nothing to prove to me, and I will try to help you.”