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Who Should Read This?  Everyone (to the end)!

Dear Clients:

Things are busy here! As always, we have a lot of information to share and will try to be concise. We appreciate you taking the time to read this.

I am pleased to say that we will continue to prepare all tax returns in-house using our THG employees. Unlike many CPA firms that ship the tax prep work overseas, we have a team of in-house staff members, including admin staff, bookkeepers/preparers, and CPAs. Please don’t be alarmed when you hear from different staff members working on your return. That’s by design!

 More New Software – But Don’t Be Scared 

We are continuing to use TaxCaddy for individual tax returns and Safesend for business tax returns. But we are in the process of moving away from the Thomson Reuters client portals that we have been using for decades and that everyone hates. All of the documents are being moved to our new portals with Canopy. We are moving over 20 years of documents, so it’s a slow process. The good news is that you don’t need to do anything. Your Thomson Reuters portal is still working. We are slowly sending out invites to the new Canopy portals as time permits.

 Individual Taxes:  What You Need To Know

Beginning on January 8th, you will be able to log onto your TaxCaddy account to complete the questionnaire, engagement letter, and begin uploading documents to your Document Request List (DRL). The DRL lists all the tax documents you submitted for your 2022 tax return. Please go through the DRL and upload the 2023 version in the same place. For instance, if your DRL lists a W-2 from ABC Company, please upload your 2023 W-2 there (or click the box to indicate that it does not apply.)

We are continuing to offer a 5% discount to clients who upload their tax documents to TaxCaddy! But this year we expect you to use the Document Request List (DRL) to qualify for the discount!  

We are still accepting paper tax documents for 2023 taxes. We will scan them and upload them to your TaxCaddy account for you. Even if you give us paper docs, you’ll still need to log into TaxCaddy to complete the engagement agreement, questionnaire, and DRL.

We need 4 things to get you in the queue: 

  1. Your completed questionnaire in TaxCaddy

  2. A signed engagement agreement in TaxCaddy

  3. Your completed DRL (Document Request List) in TaxCaddy

  4. Your tax docs. You must click “Done Uploading” when you have finished uploading 85-90% of your tax docs. When you do that, we get notified to add you to the queue. (Or drop off or mail us paper docs.)

Once we receive all four of these items, we will let you know that you are in the queue. If you don’t receive an acknowledgment from us, please let us know!

This year all written communication about your tax return will go through TaxCaddy instead of email.  TaxCaddy is secure (whereas email is not) and TaxCaddy allows us to easily make the conversation part of your permanent tax file.

 Business Taxes:  What You Need To Know

This year we will be using our new Canopy portals for business tax docs, like loan statements, inventory reports, etc. Don’t worry if you haven’t received an invite yet. We’ll ask about it on the questionnaire and make sure you get an invite promptly if needed.

We are continuing to use SafeSend to deliver business returns. This year, if you have multiple businesses, you’ll be able to see all the returns with one link.

We need 2 things to get you in the queue: 

  1. Your business questionnaire. The business tax questionnaire is posted on the home page of our website (right below the dog). Please do not complete the questionnaire until you have reconciled all bank and credit card accounts.

  2. Access to your QuickBooks Online*

*If you use QB Desktop – please read!

We are no longer supporting QuickBooks Desktop.  (Intuit is going to stop selling it in 2024.)  If you use QB Desktop, please click here to see what reports we will need you to submit.  

*If you use spreadsheets – please read!

If you are submitting your business tax return info in spreadsheet form, we will be charging an hourly fee of $300 per hour to convert them into financial statements for tax preparation.

 Extensions For All! 

We extend all tax returns, regardless of when we complete them. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that the late filing penalty is ten times higher than the late paying penalty, so we like to take that off the table. The second is that employer retirement plan contributions are due with the tax return due date, including extensions. So this gives our small business clients an additional 6 months to make employer 401-K or SEP contributions. And the third is that we know we can only complete about 50% of the tax returns we do by April 15th. It’s easier for us to extend on the front end and remove some of the drama.

If we completed your return last year, we will automatically extend it this year.  If you are a new client, or if you have to file in a new state, please contact us to confirm that we have all the information we need to file the new extensions. Generally speaking, businesses need to file in all states where they have an employee physically working, a physical office, or if inventory is stored there.  (The ecommerce rules are too complicated to get into here.)

Please remember, 2023 taxes are due March 15th for pass-through entities or April 15th for corporations and individuals. The extensions give us more time to file, not more time to pay!  If you don’t pay your taxes in full by March 15th or April 15th, either with the extension or with the return, you will be charged interest and a late-paying penalty. (A valid extension means you won’t be charged the late-filing penalty.)

As always, our best advice is to get your information in early! We hope to meet our goal of completing all returns that we receive at least 45 days in advance of the deadline. The deeper we get into tax season, the number of tax documents submitted by our clients grows exponentially. We want to give each return the care and attention it deserves, and it normally involves a lot of back-and-forth communication. We are not able to estimate extension payments for returns that come in less than 45 days in advance.

 2024 Estimates

When we complete your 2023 return, we will automatically prepare 2024 estimates based on the safe harbor of 110% of your 2023 tax (if needed). We’ll be asking you in the questionnaires if you have other information that we should consider instead of using the safe harbor. We will provide up to 30 minutes of tax planning during the preparation of your return.

 1099s due January 31, 2024

If you would like us to prepare any 1099s for you, please fill out this 1099 questionnaire.

Cyber Security

Unfortunately, we have had multiple clients with cyber security breaches this year. We strongly recommend that you have cyber insurance! Contact your insurance provider to learn what policies are available and make sense for you. The number one thing you can do to keep your email and data safe is to use multi-factor authentication on everything, especially email. It’s a pain, but not nearly as painful as getting hacked.

 Corporate Transparency Act

The new Corporate Transparency Act goes into effect in 2024 and requires companies to register their business and its owners with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). The due date is January 1, 2025, which is good because the government is still figuring out how to implement it!  FinCEN is already experiencing widespread email fraud with scammers requesting information for compliance.  FinCEN will never contact you with an unsolicited request, so be wary of clicking on any links or scanning any QR codes directly from emails. We’ll be sharing more information about this as it becomes available.  For now, you can learn more here. 

 Employee Retention Credit

The Employee Retention Credit was a credit for small businesses whose revenue dropped due to the pandemic. The rules are very complicated and there were a lot of unscrupulous firms helping clients apply, regardless of whether or not they actually qualified for the credit. If you have filed for the ERC when you did not qualify, the IRS has a new program where you can pay back the money or rescind the application if you haven’t received the funds yet.  For more info click here. 

 Virtual Currency

Virtual currency continues to be an audit flag. The IRS is trying very hard to get their share of tax revenue on virtual currency transactions. Please keep pristine records. If you sold any virtual currency or used it for a purchase of any kind, it needs to be reported on your tax return. Likewise, if your business had any virtual currency transactions, they also need to be reported.

 Maryland bFile is becoming Maryland Tax Connect

The last day to use the current bFile application is January 22, 2024. Maryland will be mailing a welcome letter with instructions on how to register for a Maryland Tax Connect account to all active business taxpayers in February 2024. Hopefully, this new system will allow us to make MD pass-through entity estimated tax payments!

 The Secure Act 2.0

Toward the end of 2022, Congress passed the Secure Act 2.0 which made lots of changes to retirement plans, like RMDs and credits for small businesses that have retirement plans. The required minimum distribution age is now 73. Small businesses can get credits for start-up costs, employer contributions, and automatic enrollment. We’ll be asking you about these in the business questionnaire. There are more than 100 provisions in the Act!

 Form 1099-Ks

The IRS announced the new reporting rules for Form 1099-Ks will not go into effect until 2024. The new rule will set the reporting threshold for companies like PayPal and Venmo to report amounts over $5K (instead of the current $20K). For 2023, it’s still $20K.

 Key Numbers

To see the new mileage rates, FICA limits, HSA limits, and retirement limits, click here.

 Maryland Minimum Wage

Beginning January 1, 2024, the Maryland minimum wage is $15/hour, except it’s Howard County which is $15.50/hour.

Happy New Year!

We appreciate your business and look forward to working with you in 2024. May you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Marla & Kara
(and the whole THG team)

Office Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm M-F

Contact Kara O. for questions on SafeSend, tax signature pages, eFiling, and THG invoices and payments.  443-505-2148

General Contact Info:
2028-B Industrial Drive
Annapolis, MD 21401
(off of Bestgate Road, behind the Annapolis mall)

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