Tax Strategies for Home-Based Businesses

Why start a home-based business

Although the primary reason for starting a home-based business is to make money, there are a number of other reasons for starting your own business including:

Freedom

You have the ability to make your own schedule and not live by a time clock or be subjected to working hours that are not conducive to your family life.

No bosses

You never have to answer to anyone but yourself so no bosses will be hounding you or threatening you with your job if you don’t perform to their expectations.

Mobility

You’re never chained to a desk or stuck in some cramped cubicle.

Earnings potential

You get out of your business what you put into it, so your earnings potential is only limited by you – not the whim of the company or employer that you are working for.

Just be aware of the fact that owning your own business involves a great deal of discipline, maturity, and responsibility. The freedom involved with creating your own work schedule could also be a double-edged sword if you aren’t careful.

IRS and tax considerations

Despite the above advantages of having your own home-based business, there are other important aspects that need to be taken into consideration, namely tax planning. Taxation is a completely different animal when you own your own business because unlike having an employer that makes the deductions for you, you are accountable and responsible for handling this issue on your own. If you want to minimize your annual tax bill, tax planning is critical and needs to be an ongoing event.

Understanding the tax write-offs involved with home-based businesses The biggest mistake that many new home-based business owners make is that they focus on whether to start up that business inside or outside of the home. What they should be focusing on is the tax advantages involved. Surprisingly there are tax advantages when owning a home-based business that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy in a different endeavor. Learning more about your allowable deductions and the numerous write-offs you can take advantage of is the key. Here are a few aspects to consider:

To take or not to take the home office deduction – of all the allowable deductions and other numerous write-offs, this is probably the biggest decision that you will need to make. Even tax accountants debate over whether or not this is a smart idea. This deduction covers both the depreciation and the operating costs associated with maintaining your home office. The percentage of your home’s square footage that is dedicated to your office is normally deductible.

Maximizing the deductibility of your expenses – there are numerous legitimate expenses that may be considered for deduction over and above the ones mentioned in the prior paragraph. Home-based business overhead typically includes a variety of expenses such as advertising expenses, travel expenses, office supplies, equipment depreciation, etc. Chances are, you’re going to be surprised when you realized how many of your daily expenses are actually tax deductible.

Plan your errands with your taxes in mind – the first mile that you travel away from home is deductible so you want to incorporate a component of your home-based business into every trip you make away from home, even if you are running personal errands. For instance, if you have a PO Box set up for your business mailings, make sure that you fit in as many business cold calls as possible when travelling from your home to the post office and back.

Remember, the key to allowable home-based business deductions as well as any brick & mortar business deductions is thorough record keeping. I recommend consulting with your accountant.

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Resilient Businesses Move Their People To The Cloud

Every year, as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches many businesses have a nagging realization that they are at risk due to a catastrophic “Black Swan ” event. Black Swan events are a constant source of risk in states like Florida where many communities are subject to disruption due to coastal storms. This risk is particularly acute for businesses that depend on the storage of on-line data if there is a chance their critical data could become lost or corrupted. But the threat from Black Swan events isn’t limited to Florida, nor is it limited to large scale disruptive events like hurricanes.The black swan theory or theory of black swan events describes a disruptive event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. Consider the following scenario…

“We tend to think of disasters in terms of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, or other mega events. Sometimes, however, less notable events occur that can have a catastrophic effect on a business. In February 1981, an electrical fire in the basement of the State Office Building in Binghamton, New York, spread throughout the basement of the building setting fire to a transformer containing over a thousand gallons of toxin-laden oil. Originally thought to be PCBs, the toxins were soon determined to contain dioxin and dibenzofuran, two of the most dangerous chemicals ever created. The fire was smoky and quickly filled the 18-story building with smoke. As the transformer burned, the soot entered the buildings ventilation shafts and quickly spread toxic soot throughout the building. The building was so badly contaminated that it took 13 years and over $47 million to clean before the building could be reentered or used. Because of the nature of the fire, the building and its contents, including all paper records, computers, and personal effects of the people who worked there, were not recoverable. This type of event would be irrecoverable for many businesses.” – Operations Due Diligence, Published by McGraw Hill

What affect would a catastrophic hurricane that affected an entire region or a localized disruptive event like a fire have on the operation of your business? Could you survive that kind of interruption or loss? As the dependence on on-line data has grown in virtually every type of business, so has the risk that loss of their data could disrupt the operation of the business and even result in its complete failure. In response to these threats, there has been an evolution in the approaches used to mitigate these risks as the volume of on-line data has continued to grow. Originally, the concept of Disaster Recovery (DR) emerged as a mitigation strategy that focused on the recovery of critical data after a disruptive event by giving the business the ability to restore disrupted IT operations.

Disaster Recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures that enable the restoration of critical business data and allows the IT infrastructure to be restored to a prior state. DR was originally seen as the domain of the IT department who were given responsibility for mitigating the risk. To minimize the risk, system backups were scheduled frequently and aggressive DR plans that included server cold start procedures and data backups were implemented.

The goal was to restore the infrastructure to the last point where the data had been backed up (at the time, typically on tape). The acceptable DR practices at the time allowed the IT system to be rebooted when the facility power was finally restored… Unless it was in a flood zone or the off-site backup storage facility had also been impacted. In either case, the operation of the facility could potentially be disrupted for some period of time and the data restoration was also potentially at risk depending on where backups were stored.

Now let’s roll the calendar ahead… As technology evolved so did the Disaster Recovery strategies, which lead to new concepts that evolved to the requirements for a Business Continuity solution as a means of mitigating risk. Still seen as the domain of IT, as technology moved towards solutions like shadow servers, distributed data locations and high speed bulk data transmission with hyper connectivity. Data no longer had to be “recovered”, it just had to be connected in distributed locations where it could be remotely accessed. Business Continuity mitigated the risk of data loss and allowed a business to recover much more quickly and efficiently from a Black Swan event because its servers never went completely down.

Business Continuity originally encompassed planning and preparation to ensure that an organization’s IT infrastructure remained intact enabling the business to efficiently recover to an operational state within a reasonably short period following a Black Swan event. Technology today has evolved towards cloud solutions that put both the data and the applications into remote “cloud” locations so it would seem the IT responsibility for mitigating the risk of on-line data loss or corruption has been solved. With highly connected, fully distributed solutions, some people feel the need for business continuity may be fading in criticality. Nothing could be further from the truth…

The fact is the risk was never solely in the loss of the data but the loss of the businesses ability to operate. There are businesses that cannot tolerate any disruption to their operations. These include healthcare, insurance, and communications companies, critical logistic suppliers, transportation providers and local governments. It is during Black Swan events that the services and products these businesses provide may be most needed. The requirements of other, less critical businesses, whose operations could be interrupted for days or even weeks, but who might face a significant financial risk, may also make their continued operation a matter of corporate survival.

Today’s technology has completely abstracted business processing and data from the user by moving critical IT infrastructures into the cloud. Cloud technology enables users to work from remote locations, but use of the cloud doesn’t fully mitigate operational risk. It means people have now replaced computers as the critical path to continued operations. The operation of the business is more likely to be interrupted because key personnel aren’t prepared to sustain operations during a Black Swan event. They don’t have a facility that has been proactively planned to support operations during disruptive events that could last for hours, days or weeks. Particularly in areas like Florida, where large natural disasters such as hurricanes can disrupt services to entire communities, resilient businesses need to prepare in advance for sustained operations during a disruptive event. The ability of a business to continue its operations during times of distress are a measure of the businesses resiliency.

Business Resiliency: takes business continuity to another level because it makes it the domain of operations management rather than leaving it solely as the domain of the IT Department. When planning for disaster recovery or business continuity the critical link is now the people who are needed to operate critical systems remotely. Yes, there are occasions where staff can work from home or from remote facilities the business may operate, however, this is not always a satisfactory answer and even when it is, businesses often find themselves scrambling to play catch up, trying to figure out who does what and “how can we get it done under these circumstances” situations. During Black Swan events including regional disruptions like hurricanes or local disruptions such as fires, many of the people the business relies on may not have power, internet or even a phone needed to enable them to work from home. Because you can’t put people in the cloud, Business Resiliency requires planning, training and practice so that your staff knows how and when to mobilize.

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Read Business News Daily To Keep Up With the Markets

The net worth rich companies are called blue chip stocks in the market, they are always in the news on Business News. Gillette, Microsoft, Wall Mart and Citigroup are some of them, which usually outperform the market expectations.

These companies are reported for their sales, marketing strategies, product launches, global investments and profits & losses. Each of these can trigger a rally, push the market indices and generally add to economic prosperity. Business News also provides the government’s perspective of the economy, which in turn helps the investor to weigh the risk as per the market sentiment.

Not many can read between the lines of Finance News flashed or published in the media. It’s an art in itself. The knowledge of going beyond the text to know what is really happening in the market or in the economy or with a stock requires an analytical mind. Suppose you read a banner headline of Facebook to launch a mobile device in the midst of Facebook IPO crisis, a discerning reader need to ask, is it a diversionary tactic employed by the smart PR or is it truly a new development that will enhance the market value of the scrip. Questions like these are hidden in most of the news items that we see in Finance News.

What role do the latest stock market updates play in the life of an average investor? Does it matter to him when stock market declines? Does it matter when stock market shoots through the roof?

The question becomes especially important in light of news items appearing in press – investor lost millions as markets decline by 200 points- which show the mass effect of the rise and fall of the stock markets.

A speculative investor gets directly affected by these fluctuations; however a committed investor books a notional loss. The latest stock market updates in a sense gives an approximate valuation of the holdings we have thus helping to assess our future investment strategies.

The latest stocks news carry news item such as quarterly results, stock analysts ratings, trader’s recommendations and stock quotes . It also has features such as opening and closing stock rates, a yearlong individual stock data and the news of major global indices such as Dow Jones, Nasdaq, London stock exchange etc. Latest stocks news narrates the status of global economy and indicates future growth prospects for an individual investor.

Stock market news is a communication about the latest happenings in and around stock markets.

An investor gets to know the market trends through this medium upon which he places orders for buy and sell. In a way, stock market news feeds the market sentiments.

Most active stock is followed by the investors for their capacity to propel the bullish or bearish sentiments in the market. Most active stocks are the most preferred for they pay back the value in both the phases.

Analyst ratings are a re-commendatory feature which suggest the credit worthiness of a given stock in the market. Every investor keeps an eye on Analyst Ratings for they are based on the market positions taken by the big funds and wealthy investors.

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How Business News Facilitates the Right Investment

Are you secured about your financial status? You can boost your current situation by investing wisely in the market whether it is in mutual funds, stocks, currencies, and various other investment options. You can earn money if you can spend money. But your spending should be centered on lucrative options; take wise decisions before you invest. You cannot just invest blindly if you want to invest seriously. Try to find out a reliable source where you can get complete information about investment options. A market news platform is the best answer. Here you can take a glance at the market news that covers finance news, currency exchange rates, and other business news. It carries the necessary data and information about the complete business news in India, which an investor should know before investing. Learning about the market movement besides knowing about the currency exchange rates is all easy at a market news portal.

You should be equipped with adequate knowledge about the market before investing your money. Financial news in India aired in television may not be sufficient for you as you will need a detailed overview. And if you miss a particular section, you will have to wait till the next news reading starts. And if you do not listen and watch with attention, you may still miss on important points. That is the reason why a market news platform is a reliable source to gain information. Here you can read news at ease from the comfort of your space besides watching videos related to finance news. You can read a particular news item repeatedly. All you need to have is a computer or laptop with an Internet connection.

International business transactions are not feasible with one currency only. Even if you are on an overseas trip, you will have to carry the currencies of the nation where you will land. The value of one currency differs from currency to currency and currency exchange rates let you know the value. Use a currency exchange converter to know the exact currency exchange rates. Forex traders are familiar with currency exchange rates, as they trade in international currencies.

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