It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone’s eaten and drunk more than they should, and some have been able to enjoy time with family and/or friends. Then the aftermath of shopping insanity (I saw the lines outside a major chain starting after dinner on Thursday) — “Black Friday” has its name because many retail businesses are “in the red” in terms of profit until the last six weeks of the year. This shopping frenzy begins on Black Friday, but in recent years, “Small Business Saturday” promotions have begun to win the hearts of many a shopper who doesn’t want to push and shove, or who values the sense of community and dedication that these small business owners bring to a neighborhood.
Keep an eye out for additional promotions from local Chambers of Commerce for those who Shop Small and Buy Local during Small Business Saturday, like these from my own neighborhood in Logan Square, Chicago. Email your receipt from any of the participating shops to email@example.com for your chance to win gift cards, free classes and more. A full list of participating stores can be found on the Small Business Saturday in Logan Square Facebook event page.
The Small Business Administration released a PSA recently and lots of advice for small business owners on how to prepare for the holiday season.
Find Participating Businesses near you: Small Business Saturday | Shop Small.
The IRS made two announcements yesterday about filing dates. One is that for Tax Year 2016, E-File closes this Saturday, November 18; after that, disaster victims and others need to file on paper.
While most individuals have already filed their 2016 federal tax returns, certain taxpayers may qualify for an extension until Jan. 31, 2018. This includes taxpayers who live in a federally declared disaster area, have a U.S. tax filing obligation, and had previously obtained a valid 6-month extension of time to file their federal tax return.
The second announcement is that the IRS has not yet set the date on which they will be accepting Tax Year 2017 returns.
Speculation on the Internet that the IRS will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 22 or after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in January is inaccurate and misleading; no such date has been set.
The IRS must keep an eye on pending legislation and extender tax provisions that may be renewed, and then finish updating programming and processing systems before they can announce a filing season start-date.
However, they also explain that:
Due to law changes first affecting last year’s returns, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns claiming the EITC or ACTC before mid-February. This law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC or ACTC. However, there is no need to wait to file such returns since the IRS will process them to the point of refund and then begin refund release when permitted by law.
The AICPA‘s Journal of Accountancy ran a short but excellent article today noting the six most common financial mistakes that clients make:
- Miscalculating startup costs or personal funds.
- Failing to plan and project.
- Buying unnecessarily.
- Failing to analyze all revenue streams.
- Ignoring the human element in mergers and acquisitions.
- Delaying a succession plan.
They stress the importance of having a proactive approach, involving proper management training — rather than procrastinating, overreacting, or calling their CPA in a panic when facing over-extension, employee problems, customer losses, or even bankruptcy.
With small businesses, we see these issues regularly, but especially the first two, which are intrinsically related — miscalculating or underestimating startup costs is the number one mistake we see clients make when starting a business, and going into operations under-capitalized is a harbinger of difficulties to come. However, with more planning and projection (second on the above list), one can come much closer to an accurate estimate of startup costs — we always recommend working with a professional to create fluid forecasts, “what-if” projections, and “worse-case”/”best case”/”expected” scenarios.
Source: 6 common client financial mistakes – Journal of Accountancy