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Updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4

The Internal Revenue Service today released an updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4 to help taxpayers check their 2018 tax withholding following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December.

The IRS urges taxpayers to use these tools to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.

“Following the major changes in the tax law, the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets.

If changes to withholding should be made, the Withholding Calculator gives employees the information they need to fill out a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employees will submit the completed W-4 to their employer.

“Withholding issues can be complicated, and the calculator is designed to help employees make changes based on their personal financial situation,” Kautter said. “Taking a few minutes can help taxpayers ensure they don’t have too little – or too much – withheld from their paycheck.”

The withholding changes do not affect 2017 tax returns due this April. However, having a completed 2017 tax return can help taxpayers work with the Withholding Calculator to determine their proper withholding for 2018 and avoid issues when they file next year.

Source: IR-2018-36, Feb.28,2018 (Spanish)

Google Drive going away – replacement options

The Google Drive app for PC and Mac is being shut down in March 2017, however the Google drive service will remain operational – how you access it will change due to some feature changes.

Consumer app: Backup and Sync. The replaces the standalone Google Drive and the Google Photos Uploader app. Very similar functionality to the original Google Drive app.

Business app: Drive File Stream. The app maps a network drive on your mac or pc to the files stored in Google Drive storage in the cloud. No files are stored on your local drive, however you can elect an option to have the files stored locally as well.

 

Compare Backup and Sync & Drive File Stream

If you want to sync files between Google Drive and your computer, there could be two options for your work or school account: jeff@qbpros.net.

  • Backup and Sync syncs and stores Drive content locally on your computer. You may not be able to use Backup and Sync. If you can’t, contact your administrator.
  • Drive File Stream streams all files and folders from the cloud.

Learn more about using Drive File Stream with your Google Account for work or school.

See differences between Backup and Sync & Drive File Stream

Backup and Sync Drive File Stream
Use files in My Drive Yes Yes
Use files in Team Drives No Yes
Sync only selected folders in My Drive Yes Yes
Sync only individual files in My Drive No Yes
Use native apps, like Microsoft Office & Photoshop Yes Yes
Sync other folders, like Documents or Desktop Yes No
Use with your personal Google Account Yes No
Use with your work or school Google Account, like jeff@qbpros.net Maybe Yes

The admin for your work or school can turn off either Backup and Sync, Drive File Stream, or both for your organization.

 

Sources:

https://support.google.com/drive/answer/7638428?

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/7/16267624/google-drive-desktop-app-shutdown

https://support.google.com/a/answer/2490100?hl=en

http://nextfridayit.com/reviewing-google-drives-new-drive-file-stream/

Non-taxable de minimus fringe benefits

In general, a de minimis benefit is one for which, considering its value and the frequency with which it is provided, is so small as to make accounting for it unreasonable or impractical. De minimis benefits are excluded under Internal Revenue Code section 132(a)(4) and include items which are not specifically excluded under other sections of the Code. Read more on what items this includes: https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/federal-state-local-governments/de-minimis-fringe-benefits

24 hr Direct Deposit now active in Intuit QuickBooks Full Service Payroll & QBO Online Payroll

Today, Intuit announced that 24 hr Direct Deposit now active in Intuit QuickBooks Full Service Payroll & QBO Online Payroll. This means that you can approve your direct deposit by 5 pm PT and still make payday the next business day! There is no additional cost.

It is not currently supported in Intuit Online Payroll, Intuit Full Service Payroll, Desktop Payroll, or Assisted Payroll.

Banks have until end of day (11:59 pm PT) on payday to release funds into your employees’ accounts. With 24-hour Direct Deposit, this means employee funds may post at a different time on payday (early morning or early afternoon). Don’t worry, however, employees will be paid on payday!

While Intuit recommends submitting before the 5pm deadline, you may submit payroll until 7am PT the following morning and your employees will receive their money later that day. Payments received after this time will be processed the next available business day. Of course, you always have the option to print checks for your employees if you prefer.

Source: https://community.intuit.com/articles/1624548-24-hour-direct-deposit

Source: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/accountants/payroll-full-service

Video Tutorial to create mailing lists from QuickBooks Online for mail merge.

It’s that time of the year where many need a Customer Mailing List to send out Christmas Cards. There’s no function for that in QuickBooks Online, so we created a video to show you how to export that information from existing reports that can be used for a mail merge.

The video shows you how to create two different mailing lists from QuickBooks Online for mail merge. List 1. Active customers. List 2. Active customers with sales in the current year.

Are bonuses a form of employee recognition or compensation?

Are bonuses a form of employee recognition or compensation? Bonuses given to every employee can actually work against productivity and engagement. In these environments, employees come to expect bonuses whether they work hard or not.

Read more… https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/are-bonuses-really-employee-recognition-or-compensation

How to create a mailing list from QBO (QuickBooks Online)

1. In QBO > Reports > Review Sales> Sales By Customer Summary to determine active customers in current year.
2. Inactivate Customers not on list.
3. In QBO > Reports > Review Sales>
4. Click Customize link on Customer Contact List

5. When the report comes up, click the triangle to next to Rows/Columns to expand options.

a.) Click Change Columns link.
b.) De-select the default checked values.
c.) Select these columns: Company Name, Shipping Street, Shipping City, Shipping State, Shipping Zip, Last Name, First Name.
d.) OPTIONAL: Drag columns to to be in the order they would appear on an envelope.
e.) Click the triangle to next to Rows/Columns to collapse options.

6. Click the triangle to next to Header/Footer to expand options

a.) De-select all Header and Footer checkboxes

6. Click Run Report.

7. Review data and determine if any data needs to be updated, added, or deleted. You can click in to the customer from this report to edit.

8. Click Save Customization to save this report for future use.

9. Export the report by clicking on the square box w/ arrow icon pointing to the right, next to the printer icon.

10. Open exported Excel document. You’ll need to clean-up a few things before using in a mail merge.

a.) remove the top blank rows (keep column header rows)
b.) remove the left most blank column
c.) remove any blank rows that may be present in the data area.

Payment Practices Barometer

Key survey results from the 2016 Payment Practices Barometer

https://group.atradius.com/publications/payment-practices-barometer-americas-2016.html

2018 Social Security Wage Base set at $128,700

Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program limits the amount of earnings subject to taxation for a given year. The same annual limit also applies when those earnings are used in a benefit computation. This limit changes each year with changes in the national average wage index. We call this annual limit the contribution and benefit base. For earnings in 2018, this base is $128,700.

The OASDI tax rate for wages paid in 2018 is set by statute at 6.2 percent for employees and employers, each. Thus, an individual with wages equal to or larger than $128,700 would contribute $7,979.40 to the OASDI program in 2018, and his or her employer would contribute the same amount. The OASDI tax rate for self-employment income in 2018 is 12.4 percent.

For Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) program, the taxable maximum was the same as that for the OASDI program for 1966-1990. Separate HI taxable maximums of $125,000, $130,200, and $135,000 were applicable in 1991-93, respectively. After 1993, there has been no limitation on HI-taxable earnings. Tax rates under the HI program are 1.45 percent for employees and employers, each, and 2.90 percent for self-employed persons.

Also, as of January 2013, individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) pay an additional 0.9 percent in Medicare taxes.

Source: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/cbb.html  https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2018.pdf

2017 Social Security Wage Base set at $127,200

Social Security’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program limits the amount of earnings subject to taxation for a given year. The same annual limit also applies when those earnings are used in a benefit computation. This limit changes each year with changes in the national average wage index. We call this annual limit the contribution and benefit base. For earnings in 2017, this base is $127,200

The OASDI tax rate for wages paid in 2017 is set by statute at 6.2 percent for employees and employers, each. Thus, an individual with wages equal to or larger than $127,200 would contribute $7,886.40 to the OASDI program in 2017, and his or her employer would contribute the same amount. The OASDI tax rate for self-employment income in 2017 is 12.4 percent.

For Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) program, the taxable maximum was the same as that for the OASDI program for 1966-1990. Separate HI taxable maximums of $125,000, $130,200, and $135,000 were applicable in 1991-93, respectively. After 1993, there has been no limitation on HI-taxable earnings. Tax rates under the HI program are 1.45 percent for employees and employers, each, and 2.90 percent for self-employed persons.

Source: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/cbb.html