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MONEY ON THE TABLE

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MONEY ON THE TABLE

Today in issue IR 2017-50, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced they are holding over $1 billion for people who have not filed a 2013 Federal Income Tax Return.  The average refund is $763. There is a three year window for claiming the refund – the window will close on April 18 of this year. 

If you have not filed a 2014 or 2015 tax return the checks could be withheld pending filing the subsequent year tax returns.  Also if child support is owed, or state tax is due the refund could be withheld. 

In Arizona it is estimated 24,800 people that have not filed are owed $22,642,000 by the IRS.  Texas leads the nation in refunds pending with estimated 104,700 individuals owed $115,580,000, next is California with 97,200 people owed $93,406,000.

So if you haven’t filed a tax return since 2013 you may be owed some money by the IRS. But you need to file before April 18, when the window closes.   Chances are if you have not filed for 2014 or 2015 you might be owed more money by the IRS.

Tags:  Accounting  tax filing 

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Are You Overwhelmed by Email?

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If you are, then you are in good company.  Almost all of my clients are stressed out by their inbox.  The GOOD NEWS is that there are 9 quick and simple things you can do to get in control and get there quickly!  How would you feel if you opened your email every day and felt like it was manageable?  It would feel FABULOUS, wouldn’t it?  Well, here’s how.

  1. Archive all of your old emails and start fresh, today!
  2. You should have no more than 2 inboxes, one for business and on for personal use.
  3. Schedule specific times ON YOUR CALENDAR to deal with email.
  4. Turn off email (and other) notifications on your devices.
  5. Open your email and then do something with it.
  6. Set up foders and/or auto filters to automate your inbox.
  7. Learn how to write an effective email subject line
  8. "No Response Required"
  9. Unsubscribe

Read the complete article for full details.

Clutter is the result of delayed decisions, and your inbox is no exception!  Remember, if you are taking the time to open your inbox and look through your email, DO SOMETHING with it.  Don’t delay the decision making.  Email can be a highly productive and effective form of communication IF you use it properly as a tool and not a distraction.

The Streamlined Office has a wealth of knowledge and information to help you implement a strategy to manage your inbox and use email effectively.   We can help you learn how to use the functionality of your email system to maximize your results.  And, if your current habits are costing you in time and efficiency, we can teach you alternatives.  Are you tired of being a slave to your inbox?  Contact us at 480-221-0588 to schedule your FREE consultation!  We can help you create a system that is unique to your business and needs.  What could you do with the time you save?

Tags:  business services  office organization  productivity  technology 

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#MemberMonday

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 27, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

It's ASBA's #MemberMonday! This week we're telling you a little bit more about four of our newest ASBA members. Read on to learn more about these fabulous small business owners and how you can connect. 

Meg.Marketing

Leave the marketing to Meg! As a Facebook Marketing Expert (and former Facebook employee), Meg Brunson has mastered the art of social media. Her expertise provides the social presence that local businesses need to effectively reach and engage with their target audiences through social media, freeing up the local business owners to focus on what they know best (their business).

Click here to connect with Meg!

Don Rice Agency Farmers Insurance

As a local Farmers® agent, Don helps customers identify the insurance coverage that best fits their needs. His process is straightforward and personalized to help make you smarter about insurance. Don's knowledge and experience will help you better understand your coverage options--whether that's auto, home, renters, business insurance and more.

Click here to connect with Don! 


Boisset Wine Ambassadors

Curtis J. Kaufman is your own personal wine expert. His knowledge will help you choose the right wine and discover the best pairings for you. Keep his services in mind when hosting your next happy hour mixer or family function!  

Click here to connect with Curtis!

Rubicam Writing

With experience in copywriting, editing, SEO keyword implementation, content management, development/implementation of email marketing and social media campaigns, creative writing and freelance journalism, Wendy Rubicam is your go-to for all things writing! Through Rubicam, Wendy focuses on how to best communicate with customers to create lasting relationships, helping clients find their “voice” and develop their message, and using publicity and social media to maximize marketing efforts.

 Click here to connect with Wendy! 

Tags:  Events  New Members  News  Small Biz  Weekly Update 

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#MemberMonday

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 20, 2017

ASBA is excited to announce #MemberMondays where we'll be showcasing new and existing members of ASBA! This week we're featuring four brand new ASBA members. Read on to learn more about these fabulous small business owners and how you can connect. 

Anax Experience Online Solutions

Anax Experience Online Solutions focuses on helping businesses achieve maximum financial returns through provision of top-notch SEO and reputation management services. Their commitment to each client is to build a website with search engine optimized content that is affordable, effective, and maintains a quality reputation in the clients respective industry. 

Click here to learn more about Anax Experience! 

B.T. Bouncies

B.T. Bounces specializes in good old-fashion fun! From inflatable water slides and bounce houses to rock climbing walls and mechanical bulls, this company is sure to put the "F-U-N" in your next function! 

Click here to learn more about B.T. Bounces! 

Peanut Media

Peanut media can help you create a lasting first impression for your business through the development of a strong visual brand, clean and informative website, and full-proof content strategy for your social media and blog needs! They'll help you revamp your online presence, build trust, and put you in front of your ideal customers, no matter where they are. 

Click here to learn more about Peanut Media! 

Equisano

Equisano is an experiential program that promotes self-discovery, leadership development, and team building by working with rescue horses. 

Click here to learn more about Equisano! 

 

Tags:  #NewMembers #ASBA #SmallBusiness #AZ 

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Productivity Tip: Use Alexa to Be More Productive

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Millions of Alexa Devices were sold this past holiday season with Echo and Echo Dot being the best-sellers.  Were you one of the millions?  Have you been using Alexa as a novelty or a productivity tool?  If you haven’t already, you should consider Alexa to be one of your productivity and time management partners.  Why?

Voice technology can be really handy in helping you get items added to your To-Do Lists or Calendar quickly, efficiently and without typo’s!  Say goodbye to using sticky notes and scraps of paper to create reminders.  Say goodbye for looking for your reading glasses before you can type something into your smartphone or tablet.

Take advantage of telling Alexa what you need and when you need it.  You will have neat, organized lists that are easy to read, that can be shared with others and that can be accessed on your smart device anywhere you go.  Here’s how.

  • Download the Alexa app
  • Consider linking one fo the two, third party applications available by default.  These are currently Any.do and Todoist.
  • Or you can use an IFTTT command to add tasks to Evernote, Reminders or Wunderlist.  Here's how.
  • You can also add an event to your Google calendar through Alexa

For complete details, read the full article.

Have you found a great way to integrate this voice technology into your current daily processes?  Please share in the comments section of this blog.  Looking for some help with your most recent technology purchase?  The Streamlined Office loves working with new gadgets to find ways to help you improve your efficiency and time management.  Contact us for a FREE consultation.  480-221-0588.

Tags:  b2b services  office organization  productivity  technology 

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Choosing a Tax Preparer

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Monday, January 30, 2017

Choosing a Tax Preparer

Today, January 30, 2017, our friends at the IRS issued “Tax Tip #5”, meaning the fifth tax tip issued in 2017.  The gist of the tax tip is what to look for in a tax preparer’s qualifications.

The IRS publishes; IRS directory of Federal Tax return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.   This directory lists by city and zip code Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants (CPA), enrolled agents, and others that prepare tax returns.

Only an attorney, CPA or enrolled agent can represent any client before the IRS in any situation.  Non-credited prepares who do not participate in the Annual filing season program can only represent clients before the IRS on returns they prepared or signed.

Any Questions?  Call me at 480 502 1617.  Here is what to look for:

1.      Check the credentials, a CPA, an attorney, or an enrolled agent is best in my view since if something is wrong they can represent you, even if they did not prepare the return.

2.      Check the preparer’s history.  Have there been any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau?  Has there been any disciplinary action by the State Bar or State Board of Accountancy?

3.      Ask about fees for the service.  A preparer that bases fees on a refund, boasts bigger refunds, or takes payment from the refund are to be avoided.  I base my fees on the time and complexity of the returns to be provided, generally starting in the $200 range for an individual tax return.

4.      E-file your tax return.  Find a tax preparer that will E-file your tax return.  It’s a requirement for tax preparer’s that file more than 10 tax returns. 

5.      Make sure your tax preparer is available.  Don’t wait until after April 18 to find file your taxes, penalties and interest will be charged.  You can get an extension to file your taxes but any tax due should be paid by the tax deadline.

6.       Provide records and receipts to your tax preparer.  It’s against the rules to just use the last pay-stub and not the W-2 to file a tax return.  The preparer should ask a lot of questions to maximize you’re your refund, get all the credits and deductions to which you are entitled in order to avoid paying extra tax.  I use a comprehensive checklist of yes and no questions.

7.      Never sign a blank return.  Always get an explanation of the reason for the form being signed.

8.      Always review your return before signing your tax return.  You are responsible for your tax return, and tax preparer’s may are not infallible.   They are human and make mistakes.

9.      Ensure the preparer signs and includes their PTIN.  All paid tax preparer’s must have a Preparer Tax Identification Number.    

10.  Most tax preparers are honest and provide a great service to their clients.  However, there are some that are not so honest.  If you find one that is not honest they should be reported the IRS.

Tags:  finance  Taxes; small business 

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Be SMART When Making Your Goals for 2017

Posted By Amy Geils, The Streamlined Office LLC, Monday, January 9, 2017
https://youtu.be/kMATlg2IrVg

The New Year is upon us!  Are you one of the 45% of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions?  Are you one of the 8% of Americans who are successful in achieving those resolutions?  If you are, then this article might not be too helpful.  But, if you are in the remaining 24%-49% percent of people who don’t usually succeed or consistently fail to meet their goals, then read on!  Setting SMART goals might be the missing link between making goals and actually achieving them.

Where should you begin to create goals that are achievable?  Write them down using the SMART acronym!  The concept of SMART goals appears to have its origins in an article dating back to November of 1981 written by George T. Doran.  Although different people over the years have used different synonyms for each of the letters, the concept is generally the same.  SMART stands for:

Specific
Measurable (motivating)
Attainable (agreed, action-oriented, ambitious, aligned)
Relevant (realistic, resourced, reasonable, results-based)
Time-related (trackable, time-based, time-sensitive, time limited)

Did you know that you are more likely to achieve your goals if your goals are written, if there is a public commitment (you tell someone else about them) and there is accountability (you update someone about your progress)?

Write down a goal for 2017 and see if you can apply each of the 5 SMART criteria to it.  For a more detailed explanation of how to write smart goals, read the full article.

The Streamlined Office helps individuals and businesses improve their efficiency and productivity.  Regardless of what we are working on with our clients, we always start with goal setting.  If you need help setting your goals or developing a process to achieve them, contact The Streamlined Office at 480-221-0588.

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Tags:  business development  consulting  office organization  productivity  professional development  small business  time management 

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It's Not Too Late! Last Minute Gift Ideas

Posted By Administration, Friday, December 23, 2016

It’s Not Too Late! Last Minute Gift Ideas
From Stocking Stuffers to Novelty Gifts, ASBA Members Have it All!

 

 The end of the year has become known as a time for giving…gifts that is. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, or even Festivus, odds are you partake in the yearly tradition of gift giving. If it’s finding the perfect present for your office Secret Santa, or snagging a deal on an item for the annual family gift exchange, ASBA is here to help! In the spirit of shopping small, our holiday gift guide features the goods and services of ASBA’s very own members. Enjoy!

 

A Sweet Treat!

Spoil those closest to you with a treat from local bakery Sweets By AmyLew. Whether it be a batch of homemade cookies or some fresh, festive cupcakes, you surely can’t go wrong with one of Amy’s handcrafted confections.


Bottle Opener

            Contrived from 50 caliber bullets, Bottle Breacher brings you a fun way to crack open a cold one at your next party, BBQ or family gathering. Made from dummy ammunition, these products are completely safe and are sure to be the perfect gift for the cocktail connoisseur in your life.


Gift the Love of Reading!

            From page turning nail-biters to foodie favorites, Barnes and Noble has a story for everyone. Aside from books, they’ve also got a great selection of games, music, movies and more!


 

 For the “Health Nut” in Your Life

            With all the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to forget about the importance of a healthy mind and body. In the midst of trying to balance ones professional, personal and social lives, it’s sometime difficult to dedicate an hour of the day to hitting the gym. This is why REWIND is the perfect gift for anyone looking to get in tune with their body without having to make the commitment of being at a gym or class at a certain time. REWIND yoga is a comprehensive program designed to work all body parts through deep breathing and relaxation techniques. The best part is that you can do them from your desk! The exercises are fun for all ages.