Author: Alita Hall

Tax Tips – Vol. 1

Parents with working dependents, this post is for you and your working dependent. Below is the link to an article I found giving some insight into the requirements to file with your working dependents and if they should file on their own as well. I am going to highlight the key points AND provide the link to the article as well. Happy reading! What can you claim on your return? For 2019, dependents who are not 65 or older or blind, who have earned income more than $12,200, must file their own return. Income levels required to file a return for those 65 and over or blind are higher. You do not include their earned income on your taxes. If they earned less than $12,200 in 2019, they do not have to file a return, but may wish to do so to recover any withheld income taxes. You can still claim them as a dependent on your return. Dependents who have unearned income, such as interest, dividends or capital gains, will generally have to file their own tax return if that income is more than $1,100 for 2019 (income levels are higher for dependents 65 or older or blind). A

A Word From AMH I want to keep this post short and sweet. It’s listing the 5 major things THIS bookkeeper wants small business owners of all industries to know. Let’s get into it.   Bookkeeping is not a glorified data entry position. It takes education and industry knowledge to properly enter transactions so that they are hitting the proper income and expense categories. This is to ensure maximum business tax deductions for you, the owner, which in turn reduces your tax liability.   The price of your accounting software does not equate the monthly cost of your ongoing bookkeeping service. I say again, the price of your accounting software does not equate the monthly cost of your ongoing bookkeeping service. When all you care about is the price, you underappreciate the experience, knowledge, and expertise of all bookkeepers. Cheap work is often not the best work. Think about it. Anything you see as high quality always comes with a higher price right? Treat your bookkeeping needs the same…you will not regret this decision.   Your bookkeeping needs are NOT simple. If your bookkeeping needs were as simple as you say they are, you would not be behind or in need of an

Efficiency: Tenant Exit Interviews

The final installment in the efficiency series is on Tenant Exit Interviews. How will this make me efficient? When a tenant moves out (this is when you want to conduct an interview, not when they are evicted) he or she can give you valuable insights that can level up your rental business. You can ask questions like the following: What did you like about the application process? Was it easy to get through? Were you fully aware of what we expected from you and what you could expect from us? Would you rent from us again? What was the best thing about the entire process? What was the worst thing? What could we have done better? What do we need to keep doing? If you were renting from us again, what amenities would you like to have that weren’t present now? The key to growing your business is making your rentals stand out to your ideal prospects. What better way to do that than to interview those tenants that are moving on their own accord? Especially if they are caught up on rent, didn’t damage the place, and actually give you a notice BEFORE they move. It’s tenants like this

Efficiency: Tenant Onboarding

Now if you have been following my blog, you know that we have already covered employee onboarding and how that helps keep your business running efficiently. Onboarding a tenant also helps and that is what we are going to focusing on in part 5 of our Efficiency series. Onboarding starts at the very beginning when he or she is still a prospect. The purpose of taking you tenant through an onboarding process is so that he or she knows what their responsibilities are and what he or she can expect from you, the landlord. In the beginning this is the application and screening process. Establishing your screening process early on and having a scoring worksheet handy for tenant viewing will let every prospect know what is required from them to rent from you. This keeps you compliant with the Fair Housing laws. The beauty of making this worksheet available to view for your tenant is it will weed some of the prospects out before they even get to the application process. The next step in onboarding is your application process. How clear is this to your prospects? Do they know what kind of documentation you require when they are filling

Efficiency: Documents

Welcome to Part 4 of the Efficiency series. In this post we are going to talk about document preparation, retention, and filing for accounting and bookkeeping purposes. Paperwork, YIKES! It is a necessary pain for all business owners. Applications, consent to background and credit checks, lease agreements, income verification, and so much more.  Of all the document types there are, this post will focus on those needed for rental property owners in regards to their accounting. Let’s get into it. As a bookkeeper for rental property owners, I have developed a set of documents I require to accurately record transactional data for my clients. Depending upon your bookkeeper of the choice, the amount of work they do versus the amount of work you do, and the timeframe the work is completed in, this document set may be different. Bank Statements Credit Card Statements New Tenant Info – Name, Unit Number, Rent Amount, Amount of Security Deposit, and payment method Ex Tenant Info Itemized Deposit Return Letter Copy of Security Deposit Check Deposits Slips – Must have unit number, amount, and payment method of each tenant Copies of Checks written Any other document created from the resort of a transaction concerning

Efficiency: Lease Renewals Welcome to Part Three of the Efficiency series. Today we are going to discuss lease renewals and how to make this process as efficient as possible. First, how many of you are scattered in terms of when you renew your leases? Meaning are you doing this every month with a new tenant, several in the same month? If you answered yes to the above question, please, keep reading. Lease renewals can be a stressful part of your rental business, particularly if it is not a streamlined process. Trying to coordinate the signing with the tenants, driving all over your city, performing the walkthrough to note the wear and tear and needed repairs, and finally sitting down to sign the lease can drain you. Let’s get into how you can streamline this process. Draft and send a letter to all of your tenants letting them know the change in this process. Address the why as clearly as you can. I recommend that you speak to maintaining professionalism and to ease the process for the tenant as well by giving them earlier notice of the renewal. As mentioned in Part One, you can use Acuity to set up 1 or 2

Efficiency: ACH for Rent Payments

In part two of the Efficiency series, I am going to discuss rent payments; specifically the most efficient way to receive payments that can “kill two birds with one stone” for your rental business. First let’s discuss the most common ways rent is paid. Cash – This method is a bit antiquated but still acceptable. Lends itself to being spent before being deposited into the rental checking account and understates the income received. Aside from that, proper handling isn’t always completed. When receiving cash payments for rent, AMH recommends that a receipt, signed by the property manager or landlord, be given to the tenant, that the payment gets recorded into the accounting system, and a deposit slip is immediately made for that payment listing the address and tenant the payment came from. Multiple cash payments can go on one deposit slip. Check – Another acceptable and somewhat antiquated method of payment. There are benefits for the tenant in being able to pay rent via check not for the landlord or property manager. For tenants, particularly if they are using a checkbook with the carbon copy feature, have written proof that a check was written for their rent. For the landlord

Efficiency: Acuity Scheduling

Landlords? This post is for you. As an employee of my local Landlord Association, one of the biggest sources of stress I hear about is scheduling showings. Scheduling individual showings of units, just to have the prospect not show up is a stressful waste of time. Unfortunately it is a necessary step in getting the unit rented, no matter WHEN you perform it. I have a solution to automate this and make it smoother and less stressful. Enter Acuity Scheduling. A Squarespace company, boasts “No More Scheduling Hassles” and I agree. I use Acuity in my business and it makes scheduling appointments easy for me and my clients. I know it will make showing a vacancy a breeze for you landlords. Easy to use, you can set Acuity up to have multiple people choose a showing of your own choosing. For each vacancy you have, you will want a separate appointment type for. It will send them reminders for you so they are always aware and you can add screening questions that they have to answer before they can confirm the appointment. Acuity can be configured to send multiple reminders on the day of the showing so the prospect can

Schedule C & E: Using These Forms for the Setup of Your Accounting System

Depending upon your entity type and industry for your business, setting up the books for bookkeeping can be quite simple. For the purpose of this post I am going to discuss the two setups I am most familiar with. The first is based upon the IRS Form Schedule C. Page one of the form handles the income and expenses of your business to arrive and the profit and loss. The business expense categories listed are all that is needed in your accounting systems’ Chart of Accounts. Having this form handy keeps the Chart of Accounts clean and streamlined. You can always add sub-accounts for the things you want broken down for reports to be used internally. Another form I like to use as a reference is the IRS Form Schedule E. I love this form because my specialty is rental property accounting and it helps keep my clients Chart of Accounts clean as well. Page one of this particular form deals with the income from rent or royalties and the other page deals with other kinds of passive income such as income from Partnerships or S Corps. For this purpose, only the rents concern us. When you have property that you allow

What Bookkeepers Want Small Business Owners to Know

Being a bookkeeper is not a glamorous job. There are no fancy products to really showcase the value the service brings to all business industries. Part of my job as a bookkeeper is to educate my clients on the key reasons why professional bookkeeping is so crucial to the overall success of their business. Below are 6 of these reasons. 1. Accurate and organized financial data is NECESSARY. As a business owner, it is your job to keep financial accurate and organized financial records. Those records can tell you how well the business is doing, where the money is coming from, and where it is going. Aside from the obvious, it can help you should there be an audit. Being able to clearly explain any transaction at any given time can potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars. 2. Proper categorization of the Income and Expenses. For tax purposes this is particularly important because getting it wrong can mean an audit, over or understated income and expenses, missed deductions, and overpayment or underpayment of tax liabilities. 3. Timely reporting of sales and payroll tax. As a business owner, there are several tax reporting agencies that require timely filing and