Archive for Laura Anne

NY Filing Requirements for Highway Use Tax

ny-hut-highway-use-taxNew York State imposes a highway use tax (HUT) on motor carriers operating certain motor vehicles on New York State public highways (excluding toll-paid portions of the New York State Thruway). The tax rate is based on the weight of the motor vehicle and the method that you choose to report the tax.

If you have been issued a certificate of registration ( except a highway use tax trip certificate of registration), you must file a highway use tax return even if no tax is due, or even if another person will pay any tax due on the use of the vehicle operated under the certificate of registration.
There are two ways to file:
Web File: You may Web File your highway use tax return.
File by mail: You may file a paper tax return using Form MT-903, Highway Use Tax Return.

When to file and pay:

Quarterly – You must file a highway use tax return and make payment of tax due each quarter, starting with the calendar quarter when you began operations in New York State.

The periods and due dates for quarterly filing are:

Reporting quarter                       Due date
January through March                 April 30
April through June                         July 31
July through September                October 31
October through December           January 31 (following year)
Monthly – After filing quarterly in the first year, you will be reclassified by the Tax Department to a monthly filer if your preceding calendar year’s total highway use tax is more than $4,000. You must begin filing monthly highway use tax returns for the January reporting period. Returns are due by the last day of the month following each reporting period.

Requesting change of filing period

If your preceding calendar year’s total highway use tax liability is $4,000 or less, and you were subject to the highway use tax during the entire year, you may request permission to file quarterly.

If your preceding calendar year’s total highway use tax liability is $250 or less, and you were subject to the highway use tax during the entire year, you may request permission to file once a year.

Submit your request and taxpayer identification number to:
NYS Tax Department
Miscellaneous Tax – Highway Use Tax
W A Harriman Campus
Albany NY 12227

Always consult your tax professional before filing any returns..

Contact us to schedule an appointment and take the guess work out of filing.

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Employers & Health Coverage Providers:

You Have More Time in 2017 to Provide Information Forms to Covered Individuals
IRS Health Care Tax Tip 2016-78, November 30, 2016
The IRS extended the 2017 due date for employers and coverage providers to furnish information statements to individuals. The due dates to file those returns with the IRS are not extended. This chart can help you understand the upcoming deadlines.


If you file 250 or more Forms 1095-B or Forms 1095-C, you must electronically file them with the IRS. Electronically filing ACA information returns requires an application process separate from other electronic filing systems. Additional information about electronic filing of ACA Information Returns is on the Affordable Care Act Information Reporting (AIR) Program page on and in Publications 5164 and 5165.

**Applicable large employers that provide employer-sponsored self-insured health coverage to non-employees may use either Forms 1095-B or Form 1095-C to report coverage for those individuals and other family members.
This chart applies only for reporting in 2017 for coverage in 2016.
See IRS Notice 2016-70 for more information.


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Do You Have Sales Tax Nexus in New York?



  • What is Nexus?

The need to collect sales tax in New York is predicated upon having a physical connection with the state. This is a concept known as nexus. Nexus is a latin word that means “to bind or tie” and it stands as the deciding factor for whether the New York Department of Taxation and Finance has the legal authority to require your business to collect, file, and remit sales tax.

  • What situations or activities may trigger nexus in New York?

Sales tax nexus in New York can be triggered by a number of factors. The most common include having a physical location (office, warehouse, plant, etc.) within the state, having employees within the state, or conducting marketing activities within the state.
And more recently, internet commerce has sparked debate over what activities can trigger nexus and where sales tax should be collected. For example, Fulfillment by Amazon merchants may find their products stored in Amazon warehouses across the country. This presence of physical goods in a state may trigger nexus and expands the complexity of managing sales tax compliance.

  • Does Amazon have Fulfillment Centers in New York?

Yes, there are Fulfillment by Amazon(FBA) in NY; one in New York City and another is scheduled to open this fall 2016 in Bethpage-Long Island, NY.

  • Click-through nexus

Click-through nexus in New York constitutes a situation in which a seller outside New York makes a sale to a resident of the state that is initiated through online contact with a 3rd party. Working with an affiliate marketer is a common example of a way in which click-through nexus may be triggered.
New York does have click-through nexus. If you are selling taxable goods to New York residents via affiliate marketers who are residents of the state.
Please contact us for a consultation to determine whether you have triggered New York nexus.

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IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Matthew

IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Matthew; Many Extension Filers in North Carolina Now Affected; Relief for Other States Expected Soon

IR-2016-131, Oct. 11, 2016

WASHINGTON –– North Carolina storm victims will have until March 15, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, with similar relief expected soon for Hurricane Matthew victims in other states, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief.
Following this week’s disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt and Robeson counties will receive this and other special tax relief. Locations in other states are expected to be added in coming days, based on damage assessments by FEMA.
The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Oct. 4, 2016. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until March 15, 2017, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes the Jan. 17 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 17, 2016. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2015 returns were originally due on April 18, 2016, those are not eligible for this relief.
A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the Oct. 31 and Jan. 31 deadlines for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. It also includes the special March 1 deadline that applies to farmers and fishermen who choose to forgo making quarterly estimated tax payments.
In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Oct. 4 and before Oct. 19 if the deposits are made by Oct. 19, 2016. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on
The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.
In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.
Individuals and businesses who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2016 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2015). See Publication 547 for details.
The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by severe storms and flooding and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit

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Tax Effects of Divorce or Separation

Issue Number: IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2016-23

Tax Effects of Divorce or Separation

If you are divorcing or recently divorced, taxes may be the last thing on your mind. However, these events can have a big impact on your wallet. Alimony and a name or address change are just a few items you may need to consider. Here are some key tax tips to keep in mind:
  • Child Support.  Child support payments are not deductible and if you received child support, it is not taxable.
  • Alimony Paid.  You can deduct alimony paid to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation decree, regardless of whether you itemize deductions. Voluntary payments made outside a divorce or separation decree are not deductible. You must enter your spouse’s Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on your Form 1040 when you file.
  • Alimony Received.  If you get alimony from your spouse or former spouse, it is taxable in the year you get it. Alimony is not subject to tax withholding so you may need to increase the tax you pay during the year to avoid a penalty. To do this, you can make estimated tax payments or increase the amount of tax withheld from your wages.
  • Spousal IRA.  If you get a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of your tax year, you can’t deduct contributions you make to your former spouse’s traditional IRA. You may be able to deduct contributions you make to your own traditional IRA.
  • Name Changes.  If you change your name after your divorce, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on or call 800-772-1213 to order it. The name on your tax return must match SSA records. A name mismatch can cause problems in the processing of your return and may delay your refund.  Health Care Law Considerations.
  • Special Marketplace Enrollment Period.  If you lose health insurance coverage due to divorce, you are still required to have coverage for every month of the year for yourself and the dependents you can claim on your tax return. You may enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period, if you lose coverage due to a divorce.
  • Changes in Circumstances.  If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit. If you do, you should report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace throughout the year. These changes include a change in marital status, a name change, a change of address, and a change in your income or family size. Reporting these changes will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance. This will also help you avoid getting too much or too little credit in advance.
  • Shared Policy Allocation. If you divorced or are legally separated during the tax year and are enrolled in the same qualified health plan, you and your former spouse must allocate policy amounts on your separate tax returns to figure your premium tax credit and reconcile any advance payments made on your behalf. Publication 974, Premium Tax Credit, has more information about the Shared Policy Allocation. For more on this topic, see Publication 504, Divorced or Separated Individuals. You can get it on at any time.
Please contact us for a consultation if you have additional questions,


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IRS Announced 2016 Standard Mileage Rates and They’re DOWN from 2015!!



The IRS announced on December 17, 2015 the new 2016 tax-deduction rates for using your vehicle for business, charity, medical and moving…

These rates tend to change from year to year, usually going up. This will not be the case for 2016!  Vehicle-Use tax-deduction rates will decrease in 2016:

• Business:  54¢ per mile (57.5¢ in 2015, decrease of 3.5¢)
• Charity:     14¢ per mile ( 14¢ 2015, No change)
• Medical:    19¢ per mile (23¢ in 2015, decrease of 4¢)
• Moving:    19¢ per mile (23¢ in 2015, decrease of 4¢)

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Stay up to date with the latest tax news and information at LAE Business Services on LinkedIn.

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4 Tips for Successfully Managing Accounts Payable

4 Tips for Successfully Managing Accounts Payable

Laura A. Ehle | February 18, 2015| LAE Business Services, Inc.

APNo what matter what size your business is, paying bills will always be part of it. Whether it’s the monthly operating expenses, an occasional order to pay or a fully staffed accounts payable department managing hundreds or thousands of invoices.  By implementing best business practices you can streamline your accounts payable process and be prepared for future growth.


Below are 4 tips to help you successfully manage your accounts payable:

1. Simplify Your Accounts Payable Process

  • Reduce the number of check runs to every other week.
  • When the accounting staff prepares check runs, they should have the invoice, any backup (packing slips, pod’s, etc.) ready and invoices approved by the appropriate department heads before coming to you for signatures.
  • Make Accounts Payable aware of any cash disbursement ceilings for each check run so they can then select the most important invoices to pay if cash is tight during that payment cycle.
  • Empower your staff with decisions that will make your life easier and are not dangerous for them to make. The decision to make partial payments on larger balances, or delaying payments to vendors who have a higher tolerance on due dates are a couple of examples.

2. Use Technology

  • Analyze and reduce errors such as paying incorrect amounts, incorrectly entering check numbers used to pay vendors, and paying too early or too late.
  • Make sure your accounts payable module is set up correctly so that transactions flow properly. You may need to use a consultant to make sure your accounting software and accounts payable module are correctly configured, or you could cause more problems than you solve.
  • Have Accounts Payable staff enter terms for each vendor in which the system can default to, such as Net 30, Net 60, etc. Terms are often provided by the vendor, and are usually printed on the face of their invoice.
  • If they don’t send them already, require your vendors to send monthly statements to ensure you’re not missing any invoices.
  • Run aging reports so you know what is in the pipeline.  You may have a small check run this period, but could have a large one coming up that you didn’t know about until looking at these reports.
  • Use laser printed checks, which will update the system automatically, marking which invoices have been paid and with what check numbers.

3. Vendor Terms May Be Negotiable

  • Usually invoices will come with set terms-Net 30, Net 60, 2%10 Net 30, etc.
  • Give you vendors a schedule of when your check runs are so they know when to expect payments.
  • Regardless of the terms given, you can call your vendors and negotiate terms for your own company.
  • Vendors will often give discounts or special terms to customers that purchase large volumes and on a regular basis.
  • Even if the normal terms can’t be changed, if you run into an issue and must pay late, it’s best to call and discuss it with your vendor rather than avoiding them. Follow the phone call up with an email with what was discussed to there is no miscommunication.

4. Reduce CFO Impact to Verification & Signature

  • Typically the CFO signs checks or in the case of small companies, an owner will often sign the checks, but should not be assembling the check run.
  • Accounts Payable should run the aging, choose which invoices to pay, assemble the invoices, print the checks, and verify that all invoices are approved before bringing them to the appropriate party for signature.

Regardless of the size of your company, start managing your accounts payable process more efficiently to save time and money.

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Surety Bonds – What Are They, How Do They Work and Where Do You Get One

 When you deal with construction, either as a general contractor, sub-contractor as a project owner, you may eventually encounter the need for a surety bond. Regardless of where your interests lie in the project, you need to understand the mechanics of surety bonds to understand your options.

What is a surety bond: A surety bond is a promise to pay one party (the obligee) a certain amount if a second party (the principal) fails to meet some obligation, such as fulfilling the terms of a contract. The surety bond protects the obligee against losses resulting from the principal’s failure to meet the obligation. A surety bond is a contract among at least three parties:

  • The obligee – the party who is the recipient of an obligation,
  • The principal – the primary party who will be performing the contractual obligation,
  • The surety – who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task

Commercial and Contract Surety Bonds / Contract(Construction Bonds) Bid Bond:   Required with the Bid Proposal, Bid Bonds guarantee to the owner that you will enter into a contract and provide the required Performance and Payment Bonds if the job is awarded to you.

  • Performance Bonds:  Guarantee that you will complete the contract in accordance to the contract terms for the amount agreed upon and in the time specified.
  • Payment Bonds:  Guarantee that your suppliers, sub-contractors and labor force are paid.
  • Maintenance Bonds:  Guarantee the maintenance on the work performed. These bonds are usually run for one or two years after the bond contract is complete.

Commercial Bonds 

  • License/Permit Bond:   When one has been granted a license to engage in a particular business or a permit to exercise a particular privilege upon condition that they post a bond with the agency granting the license or permit
  • Judicial Bonds are separated into two categories: ERISA Bonds:   Required to protect the participants and beneficiaries from dishonest acts of a fiduciary who handles the plans assets. ERISA requires every plan to bond any fiduciary and all other persons who handle plan assets.
    • Court Bonds – Required in a judicial proceeding where a litigant, in advance of a final decision by the court on the merits of his claim, is allowed the remedy sort in their suit upon the condition that he files a bond.
    • Fiduciary Bonds – Required when one has been appointed to a position of trust to be administered under the jurisdiction of a court, such as an Executor, Administrator, Guardian, Trustee or Receiver
  • Public Official Bonds:   Required by state, county and municipal officers who are required by law to post a bond for the faithful performance of their duties.

Who do I get a surety bond from?   You want to find an agent experienced in and preferably one that specializes in surety bonds for your industry. Agents that work in surety bonds are required to have an insurance P&C License.  

Before you agree to provide a surety bond, be aware that not everyone qualifies for bonding. What Do I Need To Apply For A Surety Bond?

Initial Information Requirements To Maximize Bonding Credit

  1. Last Three Fiscal Year End Financial Statements (F/S) prepared by a CPA on either a Review of a Fully-Audited Basis. These F/S must be prepared on the Cost-to-Cost Percentage of Completion Method of Accounting with the appropriate Contracts-in-Progress and Completed Contracts schedules;
  2. Six-Month Interim F/S, if the current Fiscal Year End F/S is more than six months old;
  3. Aging Schedule of Accounts Receivable as of the most current F/S date with Subsequent Collections Noted (if not already included in the F/S);
  4. Most Current Corporate Tax Return;
  5. Most Current Financial Statement and/or Tax Return on Affiliated/Related Party Entities;
  6. Personal F/S on all Stockholders/Spouses as of the most current Corporate Fiscal Year End Date. Documentation of personal liquid assets and schedules of rental/investment real estate owned documenting the cash flow of the properties MAY be needed;
  7. Most Current Individual Tax Return on all Stockholders;
  8. Current Schedule of Contracts in Progress;
  9. Fully Completed Contractor Questionnaire;  for LLCs, please provide a copy of the Operating Agreement
  10. Current Letter from the Firm’s Bank(s) Outlining; Average and Current Balance, Line of Credit, Terms and Conditions of the Line of Credit, Amount Outstanding Against the Line of Credit, General Comments including the Length of theRelationship
  11. Resumes on all Stockholders and Key Employees;
  12. Current Certificates of Insurance;
  13. Bond Request form, Copy of the Contract, etc. (if applicable)
  14. If available
  •  Supplier Reference Letters and Projects Reference Letters, preferably on the largest completed projects;
  • Business Continuity Plan (such as Buy-Sell Agreement or Life Insurance naming the Firm as Beneficiary).    

Bond requirements may vary depending on the state you are in, so please check with your surety bond agent for further details. Visit the website of  NASBP (National Association of Surety Bond Producers)for additional information.
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Making Your Construction Business More Profitable

10152641_573081996138421_5796564990161265784_n (3)Small companies are always struggling to find more profits with less time and resources.  Construction and architectural companies are faced with these same struggles, but they often have the additional challenges of high equipment costs and the competition of bidding on jobs against a tight pool of opponents. Trying to maintain a tight leash on costs while growing the business and staying competitive can be a daunting task. There are a few small business areas where additional attention now can mean more profitability in the long run.

Understanding of your company’s overhead- Look at all those expenses that you would still have to pay if no one worked for a week, like rent, utilities, equipment loans, salaries, web site, internet and other costs. Once you have a firm grasp on your fixed costs, it will be easier to bid on jobs and more importantly, make a profit from the jobs you win.

Accounting on and off the job site- Trying to juggle your small business accounting on napkins and post-its from the field or an antiquated accounting system can cost your business thousands or even tens of thousands in lost time and missed revenue.  Invest in a productive and efficient small business accounting software program like QuickBooks. Consult with a small business accountant about the best way to set up your accounts and how to generate reports.  You’ll need to access this data time and time again, so an investment in solid advice at the start will enable you to do the job right the first time. After you have a good accounting practice in place, you’ll be far better prepared to process invoices in a timely manner. Better accounts receivable means better cash flow.

Change Orders- Sustaining a tight control on client’s change orders can be the difference between being profitable or not. Change orders are those requests that fall outside the scope of your original contract and can add up to hours of re-estimating work and lost time if you’re not careful.  Failure to keep up with change orders can also mean that your business is losing considerable dollars and opportunities for profitability because you’re doing work that you’re not being paid for. Change orders serve as an excellent source of increased revenue, too.  Because you already have the original contract, you don’t need to compete with other construction firms to win the business – you’ve already got that! Put a tracking system in place to organize, manage and complete change orders in the field and translate those modifications into actual billable time on the accounting side. Which takes us to the next step – accounting.

Job Analysis- Having a good estimating and accounting system will also save you the repetition of freshly estimating every job.  In construction as in many other businesses, there are similarities from job to job.  Having an electronic reference will equip you with a track record from which you can gauge the profitability of your pricing structure including the raw materials and labor required for each job. When you take the opportunity to reflect on previous projects, it will enlighten you to the success of the job, stumbling blocks and enable you to learn from mistakes so you can be more profitable with future contracts.

Training- This portion of your small business management translates into many aspects of your business.  Invest in your staff by providing growth and enrichment opportunities. This benefits both the employees and your company, resulting in employees who are more loyal, resulting in less turn over.  Absence of employee retention can wreak havoc in a small business, especially when those individuals in strategic positions leave the company. The cost to search for and hire replacements can impact your company both financially and emotionally as the strain of double-duty roles on the remaining employees can be exhausting. By providing in-house training on responsibilities, roles, safety and procedures, you will have a more efficiently operating organization. Set aside time to draft procedures and maintain them will streamline repeated questions, curtail errors and in the case of safety, can prevent costly and serious injuries on the job site. Procedures aren’t etched in stone but they should be documented, reviewed by your team and then revisited regularly.  As procedures change, they should be revised with a journal log so you can see who updated the procedure, what changes were made and why.

A business is a business, but each type of industry has different obstacles where the company can become stuck if the right reinforcements aren’t in place. Construction firms have unique needs; speak with an experienced small business advisor in your area to learn how you can become more profitable.

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12 Bookkeeping Tips For Your Business

accounting2Bookkeeping is probably not the most exciting part of your day, but it is a crucial component of running your business that cannot be ignored. Whether you hire someone else to do it for you or do it on your own, it needs to be regularly maintained and monitored. By keeping your financial records organized throughout the year you will be able to keep your business focused. Additionally you will be able to assist your accountant when it comes time for the financial year end.


Here are 12 bookkeeping tips to help your business stay on track and flourish:


Find a good bookkeeper

A professional bookkeeper can train you on your software, answer any questions and fix any mistakes that might have been made. Ask for help when it comes to running your business in the best way possible.  Your business can only benefit when your financial affairs are all in order.

Invest in technology

Accounting/bookkeeping software will make it easy to be efficient, accurate and up to date.  More and more business owners are turning toward cloud software and other accounting solutions that allow them and their accountants to access financial information from any electronic device.
Keep personal and business finances separate

Never mix the two, it will make your accounting much more difficult to handle. It’s a lot easier to keep accurate records if there is only one type of account.  There will not be any guessing as to whether it’s a personal or business expense. A lot of time will be saved by keeping these accounts separate.

Plan for major expenditure

Set aside money for major expenses like large stock purchases, office equipment and repairs and maintenance.  By budgeting for these types of expenses, the funds will be available when you are ready not when you can afford it.

Set aside money for taxes

Setting aside money each month towards paying your businesses taxes will mean your ATO obligations will always be met on time.

Keep an eye on your Creditor Invoices

Late and unpaid bills can affect your businesses credit. Keep your bills organized and always pay on time. And if you can’t pay of time, keep an open line of communication with your vendors.

Reconcile bank accounts monthly

It is important to do bank reconciliations for all your bank accounts, credit cards and petty cash.  You will have accurate and up to date information including profit and loss and be able to manage cash flow. Another reason is that it will cut down the amount of time needed by your external accountant in preparing your year-end figures for tax and statutory compliance.

Review your cash flow statement as often as possible

The cash flow for most small businesses is constantly fluctuating, which means it needs to be regularly monitored. If you are using an online bookkeeping software program, it will be easy to generate and review your cash flow statement from anywhere. This way you can avoid insufficient fund charges by researching financing options in advance and making sure all of your debts are covered.

Avoid cash

If cash is used, it is hard to keep track of spending. By using a debit or credit card you can keep track of amount spent, where it was spent and when it was spent. This makes tracking your expenses much, much easier.

Schedule a set time each week to enter all invoices

Make sure that there is a portion of your weekly agenda designated specifically on managing your finances and updating your records. Depending on the volume of invoices you receive, this could be easily accomplished in 30-90 minutes per week, especially if you are using an accounting system with quick entry fields and handy drop-down toolbars.

Regularly check up on your debtors

Make sure you stay on top of your accounts receivable so that you are receiving payments from clients when they are due. Regularly running an accounts receivable report and issuing monthly statements to clients will help you stay on top of monies that you are owed.  It will also assist with your cash flow.

Good filing system
Maintaining a good filing system is imperative in keeping your paperwork organized.  You will always be able to find ‘that piece of paper’ when you need it.  Or go one step further and create an electronic filing system and do away with ‘that piece of paper’ altogether.


By keeping your records in check, you will be able to spend less time on business finances and more time on growing your business. For more information please contact us at

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