August, 2009


Corporate Returns Due 9/15, Estimates Due

September 15th is just a few weeks away, and I’ve got a slew of seminars I’m teaching this week (see below!) If your 2008 corporate return is not finished, you need to take an active role to avoid late filing penalties. (These are in addition to late PAYING penalties). Send me an e-mail NOW if you want to be on my schedule.

Both personal and corporate estimated payments for third quarter ’09 are also due 9/15. The IRS wants you to pay in at least as much as you owed last year, which can be difficult to figure out if your return is not complete for ’08.

The Corporate Information Scams - Minutes, Statements, and Posters

If you have a business, you’ve probably seen scary official-looking letters soliciting you to send in some information, along with a check. I’ve just got another one in the mail for a corporation we just formed from the “Compliance Recorder.” It does actually have the words “This is not a government document” on the outside of the envelope, so I’ll give them credit for that at least. They also say in small print that you’re not under obligation to make a payment unless you “accept this offer.”

I am most impressed by the “Control Number” 101825 printed to look just like the stamp from the real Secretary of State’s office. I’m hoping to get another one soon, so I can see if it’s the same number!

This offer is for generating minutes. They ask for “verification” of the address and officers and shareholders, which isn’t quite enough to create minutes, in my mind.

There’s also an outfit that offers to file your Statement of Information for around $125.

There really is a requirement to prepare at least annual minutes for corporate meetings, and you really are required to file a Statement of Information with the Secretary of State’s office once a year (not just in California).

The minutes are a document you can probably make yourself—follow the form of your first minutes for both a Shareholder Meeting and a Board of Directors Meeting. If you’re the only person, you meet with yourself and write it down. Stick a copy of the minutes into your Corporate Notebook. Minutes should include any actions on the corporate level, like lending an officer or member money (which also needs a note, interest rate and payments!). If new officers are appointed, or if new directors are elected, it also needs to go into the minutes.

The annual Statement by Domestic Stock Corporation form informs the Secretary of State where to find you-all, and who the officers and directors are. There’s a filing fee of $25 for corporations, $20 for non-profit or LLC’s. You can do it on-line at https://businessfilings.sos.ca.gov/.

You’re required to do both these things once a year—the exact date is determined by when your corporation started.

If you need some help with these, don’t hesitate to call. We’ll help you prepare and file this year, but you’re welcome to do this yourself going forward.

Here’s what the Secretary of State of CA says about these scams:

Please note that submitting the fees and filings required by the Corporations Code to a third party for filing with the Secretary of State, does not meet the business entity's statutory obligation to file a Statement of Information with the Secretary of State. Also, please note that each business entity is required to keep records, books and minutes of its proceedings, however, these items are not filed with the Secretary of State.

Neither the SOS nor I am saying these services don’t do the filing for you, even if it is quite pricey, but if you pay some “third party” and they don’t actually do the work, your corporation/LLC is still on the hook for the “real” filing.

We’re considering adding a service for 2010 where we would file the required report with the Secretary of State and assist with annual minutes. Would you be interested in this service? Let me know!

There are posting requirements for employers as well, with the same kind of associated scam. Try either Costco or the Cal Chamber of Commerce to get a reasonably priced set if this applies to you:
http://www.calchamber.com/Headlines/Pages/MandatoryChangesfor2009WorkplacePosters.aspx

The Eightfold Path to Pay Less Tax and Avoid an Audit

Eight basic things all business owners need to be masters of is printed in booklet form. Think of this as ten years of working with the IRS Tax Code distilled down so it doesn’t take YOU ten years.

Just another way we’re trying to simplify your life and save you money. And the purchase is tax deductible!

You can order from Amazon.com. Here’s the link to Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Eightfold-Path-Less-Avoid-Audit/dp/0615233422/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226611038&sr=1-22

The booklet also contains a sections on how returns are selected for audit, when to seek professional help, and how long to keep your tax records.

Classes – Intermediate S Corporation, Basic Payroll, Train the Trainer and Schedule C. Household Employees? Remote Bookkeeping

Intermediate S Corporation Class will be presented in Alameda to up to five participants. This is an intermediate class, so we won’t be discussing how to fill out the form. Rather, we’ll be looking at how to quickly solve the most common problems encountered with preparing an 1120S, and what to do now to reduce the likelihood of future problems. Because it’s a limited size, you can bring your questions or difficult issues.

We’re limiting the class to 5 participants, so you’ll be able to ask all your questions; we have two remaining dates:
Saturday September 5, 9 am – 1 pm, class full, no more spots left.
Monday October 5, 9 am – 1 pm, one or two spots left.
I may offer this again in December or January—please let me know if you’re interested, you may get to choose the date!

This class will be held in the Law Office Conference Room, 1516 Oak Street, Suite 109 in Alameda CA. Fee to attend is $195, but reduced to $160 for NAEA/CSEA members. CPE credit of 4 hours available for Enrolled Agents who attend, no credit currently available for CTEC, but it’s a good class.

In conjunction with the IRS and EDD, Andy's going to be doing some Basic Payroll seminars coming up in the near future.

Basic Payroll
Seminar runs 9 am – 3 pm with an hour for lunch

The next seminar will be
Basic Payroll in San Francisco at the SBA office 455 Market Street, 6th floor (I take BART to Montgomery Street) 9 am – 3 pm.
September 30th and October 28th

Basic Payroll in Oakland at Elihu M. Harris State Building,1515 Clay Street, Room 2, Second Floor, 9 am – 3 pm.
September 3rd and October 7th.

Register by going to http://www.edd.ca.gov/Payroll_Tax_Seminars/ and find your favorite location.

These seminars have proven to be very popular, plus they’re free.

Andy will be participating in the “Train the Trainer” two-day seminars to train professionals to give the Basic Payroll seminar’s themselves (with an EDD co-presenter!). If you’re interested in exposing yourself to potential clients, and you don’t mind public speaking, sign up for the class. Andy will be at the IRS building 1301 Clay Street, 7th Floor in Oakland September 1-2. The class in San Jose has been cancelled.

How to Prepare your Own Schedule C
Prepare your business taxes for ’08 and get ready for ‘09. Review what the IRS wants to know from you and how to report it on the Schedule C for your business. This is a class for business owners who need a basic understanding of their 1040 Schedule C tax forms. We’ll also talk about what to do with the numbers once you have them. We can’t guarantee you won’t get audited, but this class will make it less likely.

Andy will be at the US Small Business Administration offices in San Francisco at 455 Market Street, 6th Floor Thursday November 19th, 6-8:30 pm. This class will be free. To register, check out the SBA website www.SBA.gov, or just show up.

Andy will also be at the US Small Business Administration San Jose Entrepreneur Center at 84 W. Santa Clara St, Suite 100 in San Jose on September 24, 10 am – 12:30, and the class will still be free. http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaID=185824to register.

For CPE credits (3 Federal) we’ll be doing the Schedule C seminar in Lafayette through the East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents at 100 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette CA for $50. Sign up at www.123signup.com/calendar?Org=ebaea. The fee covers the administrative cost and room rental. Saturday September 12, 10 am – 1 pm. Please note the listing in the California Enrolled Agent magazine for September has the wrong date. This version of the class will be presented for the tax professional and is a basic level. This is the only Schedule C class with CPE.

Household Employees class is being considered for December 14th, location to be determined, for a half day. If you or your clients want to be confirmed for senate, you may want to attend. The IRS rules for Household Employees are very different from commercial employers. We’ll review what needs to happen to properly close out ’09 and changes for 2010.

I went to a class on QuickBooks given by Kim Woodrum. If you’re in the market for QuickBooks training in a classroom setting, I recommend her. She teaches a two day QuickBooks seminar and travels a great deal. Her website is http://www.manibusinessservices.com/

Remote Bookkeeping presentation reprise for the Berkeley Bookkeepers Network, of which I’m a member, showing how I work remotely with various clients on various platforms (i.e. PC and Mac) will be Monday night, August 31, Time: 6-9 pm, Food: Jeanne is going to have a pot of soup, so bring something to accompany it, Place: Jeanne Dunn's Common Room, Directions: The address is 930 Clay Street, between Ninth and Tenth. The combination to the gate will be 1123 so everyone will be able to get in. There is no charge for this event, but you may want to join the organization. I think dues are $35/year?

A good and free place for parking is the Pacific Coast Brewery on Washington Street. The sign says "Exit Only" and that is it...just drive down under the=2 0Washington Hotel. (This makes some sense when you are there.) Then walk across Washington into the inner courtyard of the Swans Block and find 930 Clay which is there in the inner courtyard. The gate to Swan’s Cohousing is inside a little plaza, the entrance of which is on Clay St.

For Relaxation and Clear Thinking: On The Spot

To carry you through the stressful tax season, we recommend meditation and that you check out On The Spot Massage at http://www.onthespotmassage.com/corporate.html to help you relax. A relaxed mind is a clear thinking mind. We have some discount cards for $5 off at the Alameda Natural Grocery location on Park Street, open daily 11 am – 7 pm. Ask us for one!

Classes Iíve been Taking

In addition to developing and presenting my own classes, I’ve been to other people’s classes. In July, I took a Trust tax return class to prepare for more trust tax returns. I also went to a presentation by several IRS personnel on Appeals that’s only given once every few years. I went to a dinner meeting and heard about new IRS procedures in the audit/exam selection process from an exam supervisor, Michelle Jurasik. I also participated in the “PEPCO” teleconference of California Society of Enrolled Agents regarding education state-wide.

In August, I had a telephone conference review of the new COBRA rules, presented by the IRS, and had three update classes for my software for 2009. I also went to another dinner meeting where we reviewed the new rules for home sales, and a breakfast meeting (not the next day!) where I and a few other Enrolled Agents discussed some of our more tricky problems.

Phone and Fax Numbers

Our northern California physical office is shared commercial space in Alameda. Phone numbers are:
Phone (510) 522-2300
Fax (510) 522-2307
Our mailing address:
3527 Mt. Diablo Blvd #366, Lafayette CA 94549

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” — Albert Einstein, physicist