As a small business owner, it is imperative for you to pay close attention to all of the accounting and regulatory issues that could have a negative impact on your company. For example, tax laws change on a regular basis, and you are required to comply with them at all times. This is one of the main reasons that working with a virtual accounting services provider can be extremely beneficial. After all, staying on top of each tax and regulatory change can be almost impossible for someone who is also responsible for overseeing every other aspect of their business.
There are many new changes and hot topics that each small business owner needs to be aware of for 2015. To assist you with this process, we have compiled a list of five issues that you must stay on top of if you want to avoid future legal or tax related problems.
Five Items to Watch in 2015
1. Taxes and Online Sales
For many years, the Internet provided a safe haven that enabled companies to avoid collecting sales taxes in most cases. This was instrumental in getting consumers to shop online more frequently, but recent changes have made it necessary to collect sales tax if your warehouse or customer is located in specific states. Lawmakers sought to take this a step further in 2013 when the Marketplace Fairness Act was passed by the U.S. Senate, but the bill did not move any further. Because there is so much tax money at stakes, the odds are high that some version of this bill will be considered again in 2015. Therefore, it will be vital to be prepared to take action immediately if new online sales tax regulations are signed into law.
2. Tax Reform and Tax Extenders
Small businesses currently benefit from many tax extenders that offer breaks such as the ability to have expensing accelerated for some asset purchases. These options were extended by President Obama through December 31, 2014, when he enacted the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. Unfortunately, the passage of this bill did not happen until December 19, 2014, and this has left experts predicting that the processing of refunds and returns could be negatively affected. Additionally, there are indicators that the tax code could be at least partially rewritten in 2015. You will need to pay close attention to each new development to avoid dealing with unexpected penalties later on.
3. The Potential Implementation of New Privacy Laws
2014 was a horrible year from an online privacy and security perspective, so it will not be surprising at all if lawmakers seek to pass new legislation to protect consumers. This means that you need to start upgrading your cyber security right now if it not up to par. Every private piece of information that you collect and store about your customers should be protected via malware and virus protection software, strong encryption, the usage of secure networks and stronger credit card security. New regulations are likely to impose harsh penalties on companies that do not meet the minimum cyber security standards.
4. Payroll Cards
The topic of payroll cards is a divisive one in some states, and further legislative action is expected to be taken throughout the country during the next few years. With this in mind, you need to either avoid payroll cards altogether or take steps to ensure that your provider is always up to date with every legal aspect of providing this payment method.
5. New Overtime Regulations
The Fair Labor Standards Act has provisions in place regarding overtime pay, but these guidelines are expected to be revised in the near future. It is likely that the U.S. Department of Labor will issue their revision recommendations within the next few months, and you need to be prepared to move forward immediately if these suggestions become the law. You can begin prepping right now by looking closely at the duties that are associated with each of your exempt positions, and you should also get ready to implement a new tracking process for overtime. This will make it easier to comply immediately if the law changes in 2015. Please note that the minimum salary for exempt workers is expected to go up.
If you need assistance tracking and implementing each change, you can turn to our professional virtual accounting team. Small business accounting is our primary focus, and this makes it easy for us to stay up to date. When you work with AccountingDepartment.com, you will be able to enjoy the peace of mind that is associated with receiving accurate and timely service that will keep all of your financial data safe.