Posts Tagged ‘business advice’

NEW Tax Resolution Services Now Available

Opening that letter addressed to you from the IRS can induce a lot of stress-filled responses. Your heart races, your head swims. Your hands shake. Many people automatically waffle between flight and fight. Do you ignore it or do you get defensive? As it turns out, neither response is particularly healthy.

Every taxpayer has rights.  Ignoring or not being pro-active with the IRS are reasons to lose your rights.  The IRS is a bully and they are out there to collect taxes and enforce rules. If you or someone you know has an issue with the IRS: unpaid taxes, unfiled tax returns, liens, levies or other collection type matters, it is important for them to appoint a Tax Representative who can act as a liaison between you and the IRS.  In fact, a committed tax representative will work on your behalf so that you don’t have to EVER call the IRS yourself.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:  Remember to FILE, FILE, FILE!  Even if you are unable to pay the taxes due with the return, you should ALWAYS file a tax return.  The penalty for failure to file a return can go up as much as 25% of the original balance that was due.  Even worse, if you don’t file and you actually should have been due a refund, you forfeit the refund, making a nondeductible donation to the United States Treasury.

OPTIONS TO PAY YOUR TAXES:  Once you have filed your tax return, there are options to pay the unpaid balance on the return if you are unable to pay.  This is where an experienced tax representative can advise you on what you are qualified for and your most optimal resolution.  Some of the options that are available to taxpayers are:

  • Installment agreement – full pay or partial pay depending on what you can qualify for
  • Placing your account on CNC – Currently Non collectible.
  • Offer In Compromise – Settling your debt for less than what you owe
  • Innocent spouse relief
  • Bankruptcy
  • Interest and penalty abatement

It doesn’t really matter whether your problem is big or small because either way, it is not going to simply go away and both are guaranteed to grow far worse.   If you think your problems seem intimidating or overwhelming, you are NOT alone.  There are professionals experienced in this area that will take your problems over and work out the best optimal solution for you.  If you want to learn more about any of the options listed above or if there is a specific issue that you would like advice on, contact our team of professionals at RSJ to help you make the IRS behave.  Like any bully, you MUST stand up for yourself.  Know your rights, your options and have a game plan.  Knowledge is power and will get you to keep the IRS at bay!

If you’re having problems with the IRS, give us a call and we can walk through it.  We can schedule a  confidential consultation — at no cost to you — to review your situation and create a plan of action to resolve whatever IRS issue you may be having.

Micro Promises

Most of us keep our big promises, but all too often, we make tons of tiny little “micro-promises” that we either never keep, or that we fulfill, but only with tremendous tardiness.

We say: “I will call you back in five minutes.” Then we call back the next day. We say: “Let’s have no-promise-is-idle-or-casuallunch soon,” but we never do. We say, “I’m happy to answer any questions that you have,” when we really don’t want to take the time to answer too many questions.

All of these tiny little promises are hard to keep track of. We make so many of them that we cannot possibly honor all of them. And we don’t take them seriously, do we?

We also break promises to ourselves. We say things like:

“I’m going to start going to bed earlier.”

“I’m going to wake up and go to the gym.”

“I’m going to call my mother.”

How many leaders, bosses, and educators make micro-promises that never come true? The answer is: too many! In fact, we take most people’s micro-promises with a grain of salt. When our long-lost friend that we run into at the store promises to call us the following week, we don’t really expect it to happen.

But all of these micro-promises, made to ourselves and to others, chip away at our social and human capital. What do other people think of us when we fail to keep our commitments? Remember that when you interact with other people, you are either building or destroying social capital. When these micro-promises are kept, the mortar that binds your relationships solidifies.

And when you keep the micro-promises that you make to yourself, you validate your own worthiness.

My friend and personal coach Michelle DeAngelis had a conversation about micro-promises, and here are my takeaways:

  1. Be mindful about seemingly idle micro-promises. No promise is idle or casual. Someone might be holding you to it, so make the promise only if you can do it. Kathy Kolbe, my friend and creator of the Kolbe System, advises that people should commit, but to very few things. If you are overrun with promises, you cannot fulfill them all. So when you make a promise, big or little, be sure it is one that you can fulfill.
  2. Once you commit, set up a mechanism so that you can schedule time to meet that commitment. Put it in your calendar or write it down, right then and there.
  3. Finally, make sure that you do not create a culture whereby micro-promises are broken by other people (which may normalize it and/or erode your own emotional wellbeing). When someone makes a micro-promise to you, find out whether they are truly committing. Say something like: “I would love for that to really happen. What should we each do to make it so?”  

When “Doing the Right Thing” Becomes Inconvenient

What do you do when your core values go against the grain of ethics?

angel-devil

Here’s an example: Imagine that your mother calls. You chat for a while, and then your mother asks to speak to your spouse. You know that these conversations never go well. They end with your spouse venting in frustration about your mother’s antics.

“Tell her I’m not here,” your spouse whispers.

You value your spouse. You certainly value peace and harmony.

But the ethics of it require you to lie. You are challenged to either violate your own values or violate the code of ethics.

Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Phillipos found themselves in a values-versus-ethics situation when they removed and disposed of a backpack from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was the suspected Boston Marathon bombing suspect who was killed during the search for the perpetrators. His roommates were later sent to jail for destroying evidence in Tsarnaev’s backpack.

They certainly mistook the value of friendship as more important than the ethics of honesty and reality. At the time, though, they probably thought they were doing the right thing.

Their situation is obviously more severe than the hypothetical mother-versus-spouse situation I asked you to consider …

But does the severity of an ethical violation matter? Is it okay to abandon ethics when we are talking about little things, so long as you stay ethical when it truly counts?

I argue that the little things define you. If you are willing to abandon your ethics when the consequences are minor, imagine what you will do when the consequences are major!

This is a common theme in my work as a CPA. Accountants value their clients. They want to serve them well. And every day, accountants are given an opportunity to cheat a little here and a little there.

But cheating a little bit is a slippery slope. It makes cheating easier and easier, until one day, cheating becomes the norm. What do these folks do when they are presented with a major ethical decision, one that could either result in a major boom or a major consequence?

Why they cheat, of course!

Your ethics are a code by which you decide to live. They define what type of person you are. If you decide that you are going to be honest, except when it is inconvenient to do so, you have decided that you are comfortable being a dishonest person.

A true test of your commitment to living an ethical life is when you behave ethically when it is inconvenient to do so.

What do you think? Is it this black-and-white, or is there some gray area here?

At Level

At Level Evaluation Graphic

Does Praising “At Level” Employees Lead to Mediocrity?

evaluationMost of us are doing employee reviews all wrong. You’ve got an employee who does his job well, so you tell him that he is exceeding your expectations.

But aren’t employees supposed to do their jobs well? Should they really be receiving accolades for doing what they are paid to do?

I think not.

June is employee review month at Rose, Snyder & Jacobs. It is a month of reflection, recounting, and projection. One of the tasks of all managers is to evaluate the performance of each of their team members. We have a descriptive grading scale. The top end of the scale is “Outstanding” and then “Very Good.”

The middle descriptor is “At Level.”

At level is for people who are meeting the expectations for that position in all respects.

Here is where some of our managers have a hard time: They want to reward their good employees with some sort of reward. “At Level” doesn’t seem like enough.

Those of us who were in the helicopter-parenting era are used to rewarding any positive behavior and results with vocal reward. Even “mediocre” got some sort of ribbon or trophy.

As employers, though, we never hire people in hopes that they are mediocre. We pay them to do their jobs well. This is what it is expected. “At level” means that you are far, far better than mediocre.

Do you give your employees who are merely doing a good job—what is expected of them—a better review than you should? If so, here is a tip: Sleep on your evaluations and reflect. Does this person exceed the expectations you had when you hired him or her? If so, that upper scale is appropriate.

But if they are merely doing the job you paid them to do, then they are At Level.

And by the way, being At Level is a good thing! It means you are satisfied. It means that you have no problems with their performance, and that they will probably keep their jobs for their foreseeable future.

But let’s be clear with your employees. You can’t earn an “At Level” standing unless you are doing a good job. Your mediocre employees are not performing “At Level.” They are doing worse than your expectations when you hired them.

When you develop a common and mutual understanding with your team, you can begin having useful discussions about how your employees can be more productive. But if you reward what should be expected, mediocrity can become the status quo.

California Franchise Tax Board – Website Changes

CAFTBOn January 1, 2016, the State of California Franchise Tax Board upgraded its website. From now on, when a taxpayer’s personal and/or business account is accessed, they will a receive notification(s) that a tax professional has accessed their account(s).

Several of our clients have contacted us regarding concerns about their account(s) being accessed without their knowledge due to the rise of identity theft and related activities.
At Rose, Snyder & Jacobs LLP, our team members have been thoroughly trained regarding the proper registration process in order to access the FTB website on your behalf. Accounts are only accessed to verify tax payments, view assessments and other items necessary to ensure your tax returns are filed accurately.

If you have received a notification from the FTB regarding this matter and would like to confirm that an authorized employee of Rose, Snyder & Jacobs LLP has accessed your account(s), please contact us.

For more questions related to this topic, please feel free to contact our office and we will be happy to answer any questions.