Bizwiki Blog

Archive for February, 2015

Tax Deadlines for Businesses in the US for 2015

Every business has to pay taxes, but paying taxes can get complicated when you miss some of the important deadlines throughout the year. It is important to have a reliable resource you can use to help you keep an accurate calendar of tax due dates throughout 2015 to make sure that you avoid any penalties for late payments.

January 15, 2015

This is the deadline to file estimated payments for the fourth quarter of 2014 for self-employed individuals.

January 20, 2015

This the date when the IRS officially begins processing all of the corporate and individual returns it has received up to that point. This is not the deadline for filing your return.

February 2, 2015

This is the official deadline for W-2 and 1099 forms to be postmarked and mailed.

February 17, 2015

This is the final day of the month for employees to file their tax exemptions forms with their employers that determine how much is withheld from their paychecks for federal taxes. This is also the date where all 1099-B forms (income received through stock transactions) and 1099-S forms (income received from buying or selling real estate) must be issued for 2014 by responsible organizations.

February 28, 2015

By this date, all companies who utilize independent contractors must have their 1099 and 1096 forms for 2014 submitted to the IRS.

March 17, 2015

Any corporation that uses the calendar year as its fiscal year must have its corporate tax returns filed by this date. This is also the deadline date for corporations that do use the calendar year as their fiscal year to file for a six-month extension for their corporate returns.

April 15, 2015

This is a busy day on the tax calendar as it is the date for self-employed people to file estimated tax payments for the first quarter of 2015, the deadline for filing and paying all 2014 personal income taxes, and it is also the last day to file an amended return for the 2011 tax year. This is also the filing deadline for any taxpayer looking for a six-month extension to submitting their 2014 return. This is also the date that sole proprietors, LLCs, and partnerships must file their corporate taxes. Read more »

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Advice for Online Retailers in the UK

Online retailing is rapidly expanding. Major online retailers like Amazon and eBay are achieving high sales, bringing more and more retailers online. According to The Centre for Retail Research, in 2014, online retail sales in the UK increased by 15.8 percent, whereas the estimate for 2015 is a 16 percent increase. British consumers spend on average GBP59 for online shopping, mostly on tablets (82 percent).

Here is some online retail advice.

Tips for online retailers

a) The basics
An online business does not have a physical address. You should not neglect to list some basic information like your phone number and/or an email address. Customers should feel that they can contact you anytime with questions about your products or services.

Write straightforward, accurate and easy to understand product and/or service descriptions, including prices and any extra fees. Over-complicated descriptions will confuse your customers, who, most likely will prefer another online retailer.

Include nice, colorful pictures of your products so that customers can actually see what they are buying. Don’t forget that your business is not brick-and-mortar, so customers trust your product descriptions, but they also need a visual communication of what they are shopping for.

Create a user–friendly website where visitors can navigate with easiness. Check out eBay or Amazon to see what makes them so easy to function. Don’t forget that your website is, in fact, your shop window, the entrance to your business. Make it attractive, but, above all, efficient. Read more »

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Small Business Support Guide for the UK

Managing a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) in the UK can sometimes feel financially restrictive. While many may struggle to access private funds, there are government backed schemes available. Although some are available throughout the UK, others are restricted to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland respectively.

Starting a new business
The government offers advice for those who are starting a new business. This includes researching the market and developing a business plan, both of which are essential when seeking funding from private or public schemes. After this, new entrepreneurs need to find partners and suppliers, then register the business, before looking for funding.

Business funding schemes available throughout the UK
There are several lending programs supported by the government throughout the UK.

Enterprise Financial Guarantee Scheme
Under the Enterprise Financial Guarantee scheme, the government backs up to 75 percent of the business’ loan, and a private lender covers the remaining 25 percent. It is available to businesses with an annual turnover under £25 million, and they can borrow between £1000 and £1 million over a 10-year period.

There are some restrictions businesses should be aware of. The coal industry is not covered, and some areas of agriculture, forestry, finance, and transport are excluded.

Enterprise capital funds
Rapidly growing SMEs can access a £1 million investment over a 10-year period, which is partially backed by the government. There are no restrictions, but most of the successful applications have been granted to high-tech businesses. This scheme transferred to the British Business Bank in 2014.

Funds for England only

Local Enterprise Partnerships

Local Enterprise Partnerships are largely available in areas where local employment is dependent on the public sector. For example, the North East. Businesses that can meet employment deficits in a local area may be able to access grants under the partnership scheme. Read more »

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Business Tax Changes for the USA 2015

Each new year means another new set of tax rules for businesses across the country. There are some major business tax changes for 2015 and then there are also some smaller ones that are still very important to note and implement.

Even if you have a tax accountant take care of your business taxes, it is important to know the business tax law changes so you can alter the way you collect information throughout the year. The more you know about the pending changes, the more you can help your tax accountant to maximize your deductions and save you money on your taxes.

Affordable Care Act

If your small business is below the 50-employee threshold for the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act, then your concerns in 2015 are no different than they were in 2014. But if you do have 50 employees or more, then the ACA could affect your taxes at the end of the year.

One of the changes that 2015 brings with the ACA is an increase in tax penalty for people who do not have coverage. Along with stiffer fines comes the requirement that employers offer adequate insurance for a reasonable price. A professional tax expert can explain to you exactly what constitutes adequate insurance and reasonable prices.

If you are planning an expansion in 2015 that will force you to hire more employees, then the ACA could become an issue for you in 2016. With the ACA, it is always best to plan at least one year in advance to avoid tax problems. Read more »

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How To Get Your Business Noticed Online in the UK

Establishing a strong web presence through a successful online business can be a really profitable venture. The following techniques will help you get your business noticed online and stand out from your competitors.

Choose an accurate domain name
Many businesses fail to establish a strong online presence because their owners choose irrelevant domain names. The domain name of your online business should contain your key product. For instance, if you sell glasses, you should include the keyword “glasses” in your domain name. Unless you have an already established and reputable online business, customers will find you by typing in the search engine the keyword of the product they are looking for. So, make sure to select an accurate domain name in order to target the right audience and convey the right marketing message.

Optimize your website
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial success factor for your online business. By optimizing your website, your online business earns a higher ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPS). Effective optimization means that when a user enters a keyword in a search engine like Google or Yahoo, your website will appear in the first pages of results. For example, if you sell women’s clothes, use keywords such as “women’s apparel”, “women’s fashion” and so on. Generic keywords like “jeans”, “underwear”, “skirts” etc. won’t bring traffic to your online business. By making your website “search-engine friendly” you can attract prospects and turn them into regular customers. In fact, Google uses “spiders”, a software that crawls the web frequently and finds sites to index. Read more »

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Consumer Regulations Guide: What You Need to Know

Online sales are booming across the UK, and everything suggests that this trend is here to stay. The United Kingdom tops the list of European countries in terms of online sales, as during 2014 alone online transactions generated revenues for the value of nearly £45 billion. In only six years, the volume of online sales in the UK has tripled, especially since more and more consumers are using their mobile devices (like tablets and smartphones) to make purchases online.

Online retail sales (also known as e-tailing) offer consumers the convenience of purchasing their favourite goods from the comfort of their homes. This new way of conducting commercial transactions also benefits business owners, who can now easily reach a wider consumer base and multiply their income exponentially. Whether you are a consumer who shops online or the owner of an online business, it is important that you are aware of the new consumer regulations that apply to online commercial transactions since June 2014. Read through our summary below to familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities.

What type of transactions are included?
The new consumer regulations apply to online transactions used to purchase both goods and services. This includes the purchase of digital content (music, movies, software, etc.) but excludes things like the purchase of foodstuffs, gambling transactions, and transactions that involve residential accommodation.

What information are retailers obliged to provide?
Retailers must make the customer aware of the following information before any contract is signed and before orders are placed: the characteristics of the goods on offer; the final price including any relevant taxes; clear delivery information; the seller’s name and contact details; and the duration of the contract where applicable.

How do the changes affect the ‘cooling off’ period?
Previously, consumers had a seven-day ‘cooling off’ period that allowed them to cancel a contract or purchase without needing to have any specific reason. Under the new consumer regulations, this period has been extended to 14 days. The 14-day period also applies to other parts of the transaction, such as returns and refunds, which must be processed within 14 days of receiving the returned goods.

What about delivery terms?
Under the amended consumer regulations, online retailers must deliver goods or services without delay and within a maximum of 30 calendar days from the date in which the order was placed.

The following infographic, courtesy of Waterfront Solicitors, provides a detailed visual overview of the regulatory changes that every e-tailer in the UK should be aware of.

Guide For Online Businesses

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