Tag: business

Should Rules of Thumb Be Used to Value a Business?

Should Rules of Thumb Be Used to Value a Business?I frequently receive requests to quickly value a business by applying a “rule of thumb”, that is, application of a simple formula to the gross or net income of a business to determine its value.  The value of a business is based on two factors: cash flow and risk.  Using a rule of thumb to value a business considers neither.

Rules of thumb are old wives’ tales of business valuation; no one knows where they come from or the basis upon which they were derived.

How rules of thumb get it wrong

As a simple example, consider two hypothetical businesses in the same industry (Company A and Company B).  Each has $2 million of sales and $400,000 net income.  Using a rule of thumb would result in both businesses having the same value.  But what if all of Company A’s sales came from a single customer, and Company B’s sales consisted of $100,000 each to twenty customers.  Which company is more valuable?  Company A clearly has more risk because the loss of a single customer would put it out of business.  However, this factor, and many similar factors, are never considered by rules of thumb.

In determining what they will pay for a business, investors consider projected cash flow and risk that projected cash flow will not be realized.  A fair market value buyer pays for cash flow; the greater the cash flow the more the buyer will pay.  Cash flow includes funds available for distribution during the period of ownership, as well as the amount received upon the sale of the business.  The cash flow is discounted at a rate based on risk; the greater the risk the higher the discount rate and the lower the business value.

Risks to consider

Risks common to many businesses include customer and/or supplier concentration, competition, lack of management depth, and product obsolescence.  This list is not all inclusive as most businesses are unique and may face other risks not mentioned.

We’ve got your back

Estimating the value of a business requires thorough analysis of the business, the industry, the marketplace, and the economy.   If you want to know the value of a business, don’t use a rule of thumb; engage a business valuation professional.  You will be glad you did.

Now Is the Time for Business Succession Planning

According to several national surveys of closely held business owners, approximately three in five do not have any business succession plan in place.

At KRS, we specialize in advising owners of family and closely held businesses and our observations are consistent with the survey results.Now is the time for business succession planning

I am working with Joe, the owner of a profitable $75 million company, and we have been talking about succession planning for several years.  Joe is in his mid-sixties, in good health, and has no plan to retire in the foreseeable future.   Are you surprised that Joe has no succession plan for his business? Like many business owners, Joe can’t get his arms around the fact that having a plan doesn’t make retirement mandatory; it only protects the business (which is Joe’s most valuable asset) if he does.   Although we frequently discuss the importance of succession planning, Joe doesn’t seem to want to face the tough decisions involved.

Employee and customer concerns

Joe’s employees have been concerned about succession plans for quite a while.  When I met with him recently, Joe shared the fact that several of his major customers have also asked about his plans for the company.  Joe said that the customers don’t want to see the plan and don’t care about the financial arrangements, but they just want to know that the company will continue if something happens to Joe.  They want to know who will run the company if Joe can’t.  This is understandable, especially since the company is a major supplier for several customers.  The customers don’t want to risk interruption in product supply and they may reduce this risk by diversifying purchases among several suppliers if they don’t get answers, resulting in decreased revenue and profitability for Joe’s company.

Plan succession before it’s too late

Joe is the sole owner of his company, but succession planning is equally important in multiple owner companies.  In all cases, it is best to execute a plan while everyone is healthy and getting along.  When a triggering event occurs, it is usually too late.  If you are a business owner, review your succession plan today, and if you don’t have a plan, contact your attorney and CPA to start working on one.

Time to Send Out Those 1099-Misc Forms

Time to Send Out Those 1099-Misc FormsWith tax season right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about closing your books out for the year and preparing all your tax documents.

One of the required tax documents you may need to send out is the 1099-Misc. While this can be a tedious task, especially if you haven’t kept good records on your independent contractors, it is necessary to avoid penalties by the IRS. To help simplify things, here are the basics:

As a general rule, you must issue a Form 1099-Misc to each person to whom you have paid at least $600 in rents, services (included parts and materials), prizes and awards, or other income payments. You don’t need to issue 1099-Misc for payments made for personal purposes.  You are required to issue 1099-Misc to report payments you made in the course of your trade or business. You’ll send this form to any individual, partnership, Limited Liability Company, Limited Partnership, or estate.

Some 1099 exceptions

There is a lengthy list of exceptions, but the most common one is payments to corporation. All payments made to a corporation do not typically require a 1099-Misc.  This means that if you make payments to a company that is incorporated or to an LLC that elects to be treated as a C-Corporation or S-Corporation, then this would not be reported on a 1099-Misc.  Unfortunately, this exception doesn’t apply to payments you made to an attorney.

Another exception is payments to vendors using a credit card or through a third-party payment network. You are not required to send a 1099-Misc for amounts paid electronically.  Instead, the credit card companies and payment companies will handle any required reporting.  Those electronic payment providers are required under certain circumstances to send out a different version of the 1099-Misc, called the 1099-K, instead.

Get those W-9s from vendors

To make the 1099 process easier, it is best practice for business owners to request a Form W-9 from any vendor you expect to pay more than $600 before you pay them.  Form W-9 will give you the vendor’s mailing information, Tax ID number, and also require the vendor to indicate if it is a corporation or not.  Having a completed W-9 will give you all the information to complete the 1099-Misc and save you a lot of headaches during tax season.

For the current year’s payments, businesses must send 1099-MISC to the recipients by January 31 of the following year.  Businesses also must send copies of each 1099-MISC sent to recipients to the IRS.  The deadline to the IRS is January 31.  This deadline applies to Form 1099-MISC when reporting non-employee compensation payment in Box 7.  Otherwise, paper filings must be filed with the IRS by February 28 and electronic filing by March 31. Also depending on the state law, businesses may also have to file the 1099s with the state.

We have your back

Rather than guessing at the IRS rules and requirements, why not let the KRS CPAs tax experts help? We will help you organize Form 1099 MISC recipient data and prepare all the necessary forms for you to submit. Contact Kelley DaCunha at [email protected] to get started.

Using Financial Reports to Manage Your Business

Your financial reports can be far more useful than just a report on the state of your business.

You can use these reports to manage your business, diagnosis what’s going right and wrong, and set goals for how to grow and add to your bottom line.

What are financial reports?

Financial reports are issued at set intervals and go to shareholders, partners, investors, and potential lenders.Using Financial Reports to Manage Your Business They describe your company’s financial strengths and weaknesses and typically contain the following:

  • Balance sheet: includes statement of liabilities, assets, and business capital
  • Income statement: reports on a company’s financial performance, how it gets revenue, and how and incurs expenses
  • Cash flow statement: shows how the changes in the balance sheet affect cash and cash equivalents that flow in and out of the company

Clearly, these financial statements are essential to run your company on financial fact, not hopes and prayers. Keeping these records thoroughly is the first step in running a successful business, being prepared at tax time to pay the IRS, and accurately valuing your company should you decide to sell. Any lender or investor will want to see your financial report before deciding whether they want to hitch their money to your star.

Why GAAP is a smart move

Although some companies generate their own financial statements, many turn to their accountant to formalize their statements according to GAAP, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. It’s a smart move; here’s why:

  • Accountants can present your numbers so they are easy to read and understand.
  • If you’re a public company, accountants can provide audited financials that are certified by an independent entity.
  • Accountants can professionally format your numbers, give the statement a fancy cover, and state that an independent accountant has accepted your numbers.

Hidden gold in financial statements

Financial statements are a great tool to help you answer questions about your company and to manage money and priorities. At a glance, these statements can help you determine critical expenses as well as evaluate whether your financial position is getting better or worse, whether your staff is contributing enough to the bottom line, and whether you’re meeting set benchmarks.

We’ve got your back

We can help you compile and analyze your financial statements. Rather than guessing at financial statements, why not let the experts at KRS CPAs help? Contact us at 201.655.7411 for a complimentary initial consultation.

How to Handle Bad Debt and Taxes

When can you use bad debt to reduce business income?

How to Handle Bad Debt and Taxes Even when you take the customer to court and you still don’t get your money, there’s a way to make lemonade from this lemon of a customer.

If your business has already shown this amount as income for tax purposes, you may be able to reduce your business income by the amount of the bad debt. Look at bad debt as an uncollectible account—a receivable owed by a customer, client or patient that you are not able to collect.

Bad debt may be written off at the end of the year if it is determined that the debt is in fact uncollectible.

According to the IRS, bad debt includes:

  • Loans to clients and suppliers
  • Credit sales to customers
  • Business loan guarantees

How do you write off bad debt?

Your business uses the accrual accounting method, showing income when you have billed it, not when you collect it.

If your business operates on a cash accounting basis, you can’t deduct bad debt because you don’t record income until you’ve received the payment. If you don’t get the money, there’s no tax benefit to recording bad debt. You only record the sale when you receive the money from the customer.

Under accrual accounting, manually take the bad debt out of your sales records before you prepare your business tax return.

You must wait until the end of the year, just in case someone pays.

  • Prepare an accounts receivable aging report, which shows all the money owed to you by all your customers, how much is owed and how long the amount has been outstanding.
  • Total all bad debt for the year, listing all customers who have not paid during the year. Only make this determination at the end of the year and only if you’ve made every effort to collect the money owed to your business.
  • Include the bad debt total on your business tax return. If you file business taxes on Schedule C, you can deduct the amount of all bad debt. Each type of business tax return has a place to enter bad debt expenses.

It makes sense in any kind of business—no income recorded, no bad debt.

Collection efforts are important

A business bad debt often originates as a result of credit sales to customers for goods sold or services provided. The best documentation is likely to be a detailed record of collection efforts, indicating you made every effort a reasonable person would in order to collect a debt.

Take some solace by claiming a bad business debt deduction on your tax return. Not exactly a guarantee because you need to show that the debt is worthless, but it’s good to know there may be some relief.

We’ve got your back

The tax experts at KRS can help you with important accounting issues such as bad debt. Contact us today at 201.655.7411. And did you know that KRSCPAS.com is accessible from your mobile device and is loaded with tax guides, blogs, and other resources? Check it out today!

R&D Tax Credits for Food & Beverage Companies

Certain research expenses can help your food or beverage company save on taxes.

Companies operating in the food and beverage industry are constantly facing increased costs in raw materials, fuel, and regulatory changes while trying to keep pricing competitive and gain market share. Rising costs can be related to research and development (R&D), which include developing new products related to food safety, reducing costs, natural ingredients, dietary guidelines, and sustainable resources.
R&D Tax Credits for Food & Beverage Companies
Luckily, federal and state governments offer R&D tax credits to reduce some of these expenses. The credit allows companies to receive tax breaks on costs associated with technological research performed in the United States. These costs do not have to be the direct cause of a new product or process, but rather activities they already perform.

Activities eligible for R&D credits

Activities that may qualify could fall into numerous categories including food, processes, packaging, and sustainability. A few examples are:

  • Improving taste, texture, or nutritional content of food product formulations
  • Developing techniques that will reduce costs and/or improve product consistency
  • Improving machinery and equipment to ensure safe handling of food
  • Create new packaging to improve shelf life, durability, and/or product integrity
  • Switching to a more environmental friendly packaging
  • Costs associated with being more energy efficient
  • Creating new methods for minimizing contamination, scrap, waste, and spoilage

The credits can be as much as 20 percent of qualified research expenses, which include, but are not limited to, wages, supplies, and contract expenses. Remember, the R&D credit is not a deduction against income, but rather a dollar-for-dollar credit against taxes owed or taxes paid.

There are changes to the tax credits under the new tax law. Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the corporate AMT tax rate was 20 percent, regardless of credits or certain deductions. Post-TCJA, AMT tax is eliminated and C Corporations will now be taxed at 21 percent, allowing corporations to take greater advantage of these tax credits. However, one limitation still applies. If a corporation has over $25,000 in regular tax liability, they cannot use R&D tax credits to offset more than 75 percent of their regular tax liability.

Under the TCJA, companies will no longer be able to expense costs that are related to research after 2021. These costs will be capitalized and amortized over a five-year period. Expenses for research activities performed outside the United States would be amortized over a fifteen-year period.

We’ve Got Your Back

As a tax advisor in the food and beverage industry, we ensure that our clients take full advantage of these tax credits. If you would like to learn if your company is eligible for these credits, please contact Sean Faust, CPA of KRS CPAs’ Food and Beverage Practice at 201-655-7411 or [email protected].

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and Section 199A

Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and Section 199AFor taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026, non-corporate taxpayers (individuals, trusts, and estates) may take a deduction equal to 20 percent of Qualified Business Income (QBI) from partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships.

QBI includes the net domestic business taxable income, gain, deduction, and loss with respect to any qualified trade or business.

The deduction is available without limitation to individuals as well as trusts and estates where taxable income is below $157,500 if single and $315,000 if married filing jointly. There is a phase-out when taxable income from all sources exceeds $157,500 to $207,500 for single filers and $315,000 to $415,000 if married filing jointly. The deduction is 20 percent of the qualified business income, further limited of 20 percent of taxable income.

For example: Amy is a small business owner and files a schedule C.

  • Amy made $100,000 net income from her business in 2018.
  • Amy files a single return and her taxable income is $70,000.
  • Amy’s Sec. 199A deduction is 20% of $70,000, or $14,000.

QBI is determined for each trade or business of the taxpayer. The determination of accepted trades takes into account these items only to the extent included or allowed in the taxable income for the year. This figure cannot be deducted on the business return. There are two different categories in which trades and business can classified, Specified Service and Qualified.

Specified service means any trade or business involving the performance of services in the fields of health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services, including investing and investment management, trading, or dealing in securities, partnership interests, or commodities, and any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees. Engineering and architecture, originally included as specified service trades or businesses, were omitted in the final version of the TCJA.

Qualified means any trade or business other than a specified service trade or business and other than the trade or business of being an employee. Industry types include manufacturing, distribution, real estate, construction, retail, food and restaurants, etc.

The Section 199A deduction for individuals above the taxable income threshold is limited to the greater of either:

  • 50 percent of the taxpayer’s allocable share of W-2 wages paid by the business, or
  • 25 percent of the taxpayer’s allocable share of W-2 wages paid by the business plus 2.5% of the taxpayer’s allocable share of the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of all qualified property

Taxpayers should run the numbers through both provisions to ensure they received the best possible deduction.

We’ve got your back

The new tax code is complex and every taxpayer’s situation is different – so don’t go it alone! Contact Simon Filip at [email protected] or 201.655.7411 to discuss your situation.

New Rules for Deducting Business Meals and Entertainment Under Tax Reform

New Rules for Deducting Business Meals and Entertainment Under Tax Reform

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Job Acts, a business owner generally could deduct 50% of business related meals and entertainment expenses. Meals provided to an employee on the business premises for the convenience of the employer were generally 100% deductible.

These expenses are treated differently under the new tax law.

How will meals and entertainment expenses be affected?

Entertainment expenses are now completely nondeductible, regardless of whether they are directly related to, or associated with, the taxpayer’s business, unless an exception applies. One of those exceptions is for “expenses for recreation, social, or similar activities primarily for the benefit of the taxpayer’s employees, other than highly compensated employees.”

Under the new tax law:

  • Office holiday parties remains fully deductible.
  • Expenses for entertaining clients (including tickets for sporting, concert, and other events) were 50% deductible. The 50% deduction included the event tickets up to face value. Beginning January 1, 2018, these expenses are nondeductible.
  • Business meals and employee travel meal expenses remain 50% deductible.
  • Expenses for meals provided for the convenience of the employer generally were 100% deductible. Beginning 1/1/2018, they are 50% deductible. After 2025, they are nondeductible.

What should a business owner do to prepare for this change?

Update your general ledger to segregate expenses into accounts earmarked as 100%, 50%, or nondeductible. Having the expenses categorized at the time they are incurred will save a lot of effort come tax time. This practice will also allow your tax preparer to clearly identify which expenses are deductible and avoid errors in your tax filing.

We’ve got your back

At KRS, we’ve been tracking tax reform legislation closely and are ready to assist you in your tax planning and preparation so that you’re in compliance under the reformed tax law. Don’t lose sleep wondering what impact the new tax rules will have on you, your family, or your business. Contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected].

Repeal of Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions – What Does This Mean for Employee Business Expenses?

Repeal of Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions – What Does This Mean for Employee Business Expenses?Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, individuals who itemized their deductions could deduct certain miscellaneous itemized deductions to the extent that those deductions exceed 2% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). These deductions included unreimbursed employee business expenses, such as  unreimbursed transportation, travel, business meals and entertainment, subscriptions to professional journals, union and professional dues, and professional uniforms.

Under the new law, miscellaneous itemized deductions are disallowed after December 31, 2017.

So what does this mean for those employees who incur these costs in performing services for their employer?

They may be out of luck.  Let’s say an employee earns $60,000 in wages and incurs $2,500 in business related expenses such as travel, insurance, and subscriptions. The employee is taxed on the full $60,000 and the $2,500 out of pocket expense is not deductible.

Reimbursement under an accountable plan

Employers who don’t reimburse employees for legitimate business expenses under an accountable plan should consider the effects of this practice. Employers can generally provide employees with the same real compensation and a lower taxable income if they provide some of the compensation in the form of reimbursement of business expenses under an accountable plan. So, if the employee in the example above was paid $2,500 less (making his earnings $57,500), but was separately reimbursed for his $2,500 of business expenses under an accountable plan, he would have a lower taxable income with the same actual compensation because his $2,500 of reimbursement wouldn’t be included in income.

If you incur significant employee business expenses, talk to your employer about establishing an accountable plan. Doing so can save the employee taxes with little impact to the employer.

We’ve got your back

At KRS, we’ve been tracking tax reform legislation closely and are ready to assist you in your tax planning and preparation now that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act is finally signed into law. Don’t lose sleep wondering what impact the new laws will have on you, your family, or your business. Check out the New Tax Law Explained! For Individuals page and then contact me at 201.655.7411 or [email protected].

 

Food for Thought from NJBIZ FoodBizNJ Conference

Having recently attended the FoodBizNJ conference, “Setting the Table for Growth”, I would like to share some “food for thought” I took away from the conference.

Food for Thought from NJBIZ FoodBizNJ ConferenceNew Jersey is home to many food manufacturers, distributors, retailers, restaurants, farms, and the service providers to those companies. However, the industry does face challenges that are not specific to New Jersey.

Some key concerns are:

Managing the workforce

As many food manufacturing jobs do not require a college degree, it is possible to have a career in the food industry without a college education. If necessary, advanced education can come later, however, “soft-skills” training is necessary and most likely will need to be provided by the employer.

As stated by Donna Schaffner, Associate Director: Food Safety, Quality Assurance & Training, Rutgers Food Innovation, it is expected that individuals entering the workforce today will have 22 different jobs in their lifetime. Having a strategy for training and retaining these individuals is critical. Training time and dollars must be well spent in an effort to retain those trained employees.

Understand your margins

It is critical to have a handle on your production costs and gross margin. The first step to setting prices is to understand your cost structure. This is not an exercise that is performed only once; costs change and require constant monitoring. Costs can change materially over time. Costs that are too high and prices set too low can result in disaster. If changes are not monitored and quickly acted upon, the business may experience significant losses.

Specific challenges for family food businesses

A very low percentage of family food businesses make it to the 4th generation. Many of those that do have a “family first” mantra that extends the definition of “family” to long-time employees. Many successful multi-generational family businesses get each succeeding generation involved as early as possible and strive to teach them the business from the ground up. It is perfectly acceptable if some family members choose a different career path but retain ownership interests in the business.  The most successful multi-generational businesses employ family members in active roles, and each generation enthusiastically attempts to contribute to the business’s successful continuation.

What is one challenge that KRS has seen in multi-generational food businesses?

In our practice, we frequently encounter family businesses struggling with under-performing family members involved  in the business. It is often a difficult subject to approach when “family first” is your mantra.  A good executive training program as well as holding family members to the same standards as other employees is a good first step in avoiding the problem early on. Utilizing a performance-based evaluation and compensation program may also help alleviate any discontent within the generations.

This is one of the many challenges we have seen in multi-generational family businesses. If you are in a family food business and you have a unique challenge contact KRS CPAs as we can offer a fresh, independent evaluation of your business.