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Is Rental Income Fully Taxable?

Rental-Income-300x257Owning real estate can help you offset your tax bill. Things like property taxes, mortgage interest, and PMI are all deductible. If you choose to rent out your property for the purpose of augmenting your income, it is important that you familiarize yourself with basic information related to it so that you will be able to maximize your earnings by maximizing your tax deductions. Let Practical Taxes explain what you need to know about rental income and taxes.

 

What is Rental Income?

Rental income refers to any payment you receive for the use of your property. Like other types of income, it has to be reported in the same year when you received it, even if it is supposed to be payment for the following year. For example, you enter into a contract where your property will have a 5-year lease. If your lessee pays rent for both 2016 and 2017 within the year 2016, you have to report both payments as income for the year 2016.

Likewise, if you make use of security deposits for final rent payment or to cover damages caused by the tenant, this should also be included as part of your income in the year when you received it (typically the year when your lease contract started). Don’t include security deposits, though, if it is to be literally used as a “security deposit”, meaning that you will return it to your lessee at the end of the lease.

In case of lease cancellation, the payment you receive will still be considered as rent, thus, it will also have to be reported as part of your rental income for that year.

Rental income and expenses are reported through Schedule E of IRS Form 1040.

What Expenses can be Deducted from Rental Income?

Because rental income is considered as income, the IRS will let you deduct expenses from rental income so that you will not have to pay taxes for the entire amount that is paid to you. Generally speaking, any cost you incur from operating, managing and maintaining your rental property can be considered as rental expense, and therefore deductible from your rental income. These expenses are those that are necessary to keep your property in optimal operating condition. Rental expenses include (but may not be limited to) the following:

  • Repair costs such as fixing faulty plumbing; replacing broken doors, windows or cabinets; repairing damaged appliances; or repainting chipped or cracked paint.
  • Insurance fees for fire, flood, liability and mortgage
  • Maintenance fees such as utility expenses, cost of supplies, cleaning expenses, wages paid to maintenance personnel, salaries paid to managers or supervisors running the rental property, homeowner association dues or condo fees, pest control fees, and garbage disposal fees.
  • Tax-related fees such as legal fees paid for tax preparation, mortgage interest payments, and local property taxes.
  • Advertising and promotional expenses.
  • Travel expenses you incur when the purpose of your travel is to check on your property or do other tasks related to renting your property such as collect rent.
  • Losses from natural disasters (fire, flood, hurricane, Godzilla attack) or theft.

What Expenses cannot be Deducted from Rental Income?

At some point, you might consider upgrading or modernizing your property for better appeal and resale value. Expenses that are incurred for such purposes are not necessary to continue operating your rental property and are therefore not deductible from your rental income. Examples are structure additions (such as a new floor, a new room, any extension, a swimming pool) and constructions that can extend the usefulness of your property (such as adding a new roof or installing insulation).

To recover from expenditures like these, you may report the expenses as depreciation deductions through IRS Form 4562. Unlike expenses which you can deduct in full, depreciation cost has to be spread out equally over the number of years it is expected to be useful.

As for rental-related losses incurred, special rules referred to as Passive Activity Rules (PAL) will apply. In a nutshell, these rules restrict you from using passive income losses (such as those from your rental activities) to offset other taxable income that you have.

Practical Taxes Knows Rental Taxation Laws

If you are considering buying a house, condo, or apartment building to be used as a rental, you need to know some of these rules. If you have been considering it, but you haven’t taken the plunge, don’t let this dissuade you! Owning a rental can be a great source of revenue.

The best part of collecting rental income is that you just need to keep track of the numbers. Then let Practical Taxes, your accountant in Billings, MT, handle the rest. We have trained accountants that fully understand the rental income tax laws so that you don’t have to learn them.

 

How to Find the Best Accountant in Billings

Are you looking for the best accountant in Billings? Then you don’t have to look any further. Practical Taxes is your trusted accounting expert, and we want you as a client for life. Here is a look at why we believe we can surpass all of your expectations.

Practical Taxes Saves You Money

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When it comes time to do your taxes, you have a lot of options. Many people will choose to work with an accountant so that they don’t have to worry about anything. However, accountants can tend to get pretty expensive.

To combat those high rates, there are big national firms that offer tax preparation services. These firms are in business about 3 or 4 months out of the year, and only charge slightly less than an accountant that is available all year round.

To compete against those national firms, there are some seasonal accountants in Billings. They offer affordable tax preparation, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes. They refresh their accounting skills every January, prepare dozens of returns for the next few months, and then move on to a different job for the remainder of the year.

Here at Practical Taxes, we believe that everyone should be able to afford an accountant. We also believe that your accountant should be available if you have questions outside of tax season.

We are the best accountant in Billings because we offer affordable tax preparation, by a trained accountant, that is available all year round.

Practical Taxes Saves you Time

Best accountant in BillingsThere are a lot of people that choose to do their own taxes. Now if your taxes are simple, such as you only have a single W2 and you claim the standard deduction, then your taxes won’t take that long to do yourself. But most people don’t fall into that category.

Instead, people will use tax preparation software and spend a number of hours on their taxes. In the end they wonder if they did them correctly, spend at least 4 hours, and have a small refund to show for it.

Here at Practical Taxes, we want you to spend time with your friends, family, and doing things that you love. Don’t waste even an hour on doing your own taxes. Just make an appointment, have a professional accountant prepare your return, and be done with it.

We are the best accountant in Billings because we offer affordable tax preparation, by a trained accountant, that saves you a lot of time.

Practical Taxes Gets you More

How to do your own taxesEveryone wants the biggest tax refund possible. There are some accountants that will cut corners and fudge the numbers to help you get a bigger refund. We are not that kind of accounting firm. We will help you get the largest tax refund available to you legally.

When you do your own taxes, you might miss out on some credits and deductions. We do continuing education courses all year round so that we don’t miss those. In the end, your tax refund is bigger than if you were to do your own taxes.

Practical Taxes is the best accountant in Billings because we offer affordable tax preparation, by a trained accountant, that can get you a bigger refund than you can on your own.

Let us Prove we are the Best Accountant in Billings

We can tell you everything in the world. Now let us prove it! Have Practical Taxes prepare your tax return this year, and we will show you how we blow the competition away.

You save money.

You save time.

You get more back.

With our three promises, you will leave happy. Come see as at 2201 Grand Ave. in Billings, MT.

When it comes time to do your taxes, we know that you have choices. Here at Practical Taxes we have three goals in mind:

You save money using Practical Taxes

You save time using Practical Taxes

You get more using Practical Taxes

As we seek to provide you with the best service possible, we also seek to shoot to the top of the list of Billings accountants. Through excellent customer service, top notch tax preparation, and fast responses, we believe that we can be number one in the Billings community.

Billings Accountants

 

List of Billings Accountants

If you were to try to put all of the accountants in Billings into a list, you would see some distinct categories come up.

The Seasonal Firms – These are mostly the big nationwide companies. They open their doors in early January, and by the end of April they are nowhere to be found. They offer fast tax preparation, and they are usually pretty competitively priced. The problems arise when you can’t get a hold of anyone outside of the regular tax season.

The CPA’s – Many accountants continue their education and earn their Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. This opens them up to a larger variety of services beyond tax preparation. If that is what you need, we recommend checking out Kevin King & Company. CPA’s are great at their jobs, but if all you need is tax preparation, then a CPA is probably more expensive than what you need.

The Accountants – The bulk of the list of Billings accountants is made up of those who are accountants. The majority of their seasonal work is to help with tax preparation, but they also can perform other services like bookkeeping, payroll services, and the like. Here at Practical Taxes, we know accounting.

Here at Practical Taxes, we offer a more personalize service than the seasonal firms (generally at a lower price), a more affordable tax preparation service than a CPA can offer, and we believe our customer service is the best in the industry. Here is how we top the list of Billings accountants.

Our Customer Service Goals

The bottom line is that we aren’t happy unless you are happy. And for most people, that sounds like a bunch of buzzwords. Here’s what it means for you.

You are looking for the most affordable way to do your taxes. You have probably read our blog post on how an accountant saves you time, money, and can often get you a larger refund. Now you are here and you wonder why you should choose Practical Taxes for your needs.

You are looking for customized service. If you go to a seasonal accounting office, you get run through a template. While templates are great for the business owner, they speed things up dramatically, they irritate the customer. You don’t want to be a number; you want attention to your details.

You are looking to save time. You know that you could spend less out of pocket if you do your own taxes. But you also know that you will waste a ton of your time. Practical Taxes won’t waste your time when you come in to have your taxes prepared.

You want a big refund. While we can’t artificially inflate numbers, we can find the best deductions that fit your situation. There are no guarantees that we can find things that other accountants won’t find, but we do know the tax laws and we do know how to make sure you are maximizing your credits and deductions.

You want someone you can trust. We can throw numbers and figures at you all day long. When it comes down to it, you want to find a Billings accountant that you can trust with your personal information. We consider our client’s taxes as important as our own. We will keep your private life private.

When all is said and done, we meet the criteria for topping the list of Billings accountants.

  • → You can trust us with your personal information
  • → You can afford our tax preparation services
  • → You will get the biggest refund possible
  • → You will save time and money

Let Practical Taxes Help with your Finances

Practical Taxes understands finances. We can help you with your tax preparation needs, and provide advice along the way.

If you are a business owner, we offer even more services to help lighten your load. Our payroll services can save you multiple hours every month, and our bookkeeping services can keep you worry free knowing that your taxes are in good hands.

When it comes time for you to do your 2015 taxes, don’t waste your time doing them yourself; don’t waste your money on a high priced accountant; and don’t let worry take over by using a seasonal accountant. Come to Practical Taxes, the firm that’s at the top of the list of Billings accountants.

 

So you’ve got a great product, business, or service to offer. You’re sure because the small number of people who’ve tried it sing nothing but praises. So how do you go about promoting your product without having to spend that little profit you have earned so far? Your online advertising budget can only go so far. Use the power of the Internet to get noticed online with these 3 simple tips.

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Have a Great Website

Even with social media around, it’s safe to say that everything starts with your website because it is the first thing that people will go to for information about your business and your brand. It’s been said that first impressions are always the last. With this in mind, you have to make sure that your website is not only visually appealing, it is crucial that you work on having your loading time as short as possible. As fast-paced as everything is right now, you don’t want people leaving your site even before you are able to present your brand. Once they are in, they should see clear, organized, and accurate information. One of the quickest turn-offs is being provided with erroneous information — from incorrect contact numbers or operation hours, or something that’s much more disappointing like displaying an offer that is no longer available. Work on having a website that is nice-looking, responsive, informative, and up-to-date. Keep in mind that websites are get-what-you-pay-for. If you plan to spend just a little bit, expect to have a website that looks like you didn’t invest much.

Personalized Experience and Lasting Relationships

Having accounts on social media, as well as having a blog, have become an integral part of online branding efforts. Typically, you blog about information that your targeted audience is searching for, and then share your posts on your social media platforms. That’s just part of the strategy, though. More than just publishing content that’s worth reading, you should make it a point to interact with your audience — not just in general, but on a more personal level. Don’t be a mere observer, participate too. Thank them for liking and re-tweeting. Respond to their comments. Offer your insights and share some additional inputs. Make them feel that you do not just view them as customers or consumers, but as human beings who have to deal with everyday life experiences. Relentless pushing of your products is a no-no. Instead, try to build a positive relationship with your audience. Win their trust and you’ll likely win their loyalty too. Don’t just sell — connect!

Be Your Own Brand

While it is tempting to do what everyone else is doing and copy marketing tactics that seem to catapult other businesses to success, it is important to stay grounded and accept the reality that just because it is working for many, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will work for you too. Before going any further, it is important to clearly define what your brand is all about, and what you really want to be known for. Think of something that will set you apart from everyone else. All your strategies should revolve around this. Regardless of what channel you use, the actions you do and the things you say should support and reinforce your ideal brand image.

Practical Taxes Can Help After You Get Noticed Online

We can’t run your social media for you, or build you a website, but we can help when it comes time for your business to grow. Whether you are freelancing right now in order to bring in side income, or if you are in the throes of building a business, we have services to meet your needs.

Practical Taxes offers payroll services, business tax preparation (as well as individual), and more. If you are looking for the best accountant in Billings, MT, then you have come to the right place!

 

Divorce-1-300x200Have you wondered how divorce affects taxes? Perhaps you are in the midst of a separation, or you are recently divorced. Going through a divorce is hard enough. Thinking about taxes at the same time might just be borderline torture. To help lighten the burden, even just a little bit, here are the most important things you need to know when it comes to taxes amidst divorce, particularly for the first year after.

Keep reading as your Practical Taxes, your tax preparation specialists in Billings, Montana explain what you need to know.

 

Divorce Affects Your Filing Status

As long as your divorce decree has not been finalized yet, your filing status remains a choice between married filing jointly, or married filing separately. Once finalized, you lose the joint return option and your choices revert to single, or head of household (if you and your spouse lived separately for at least the last half of the year, you had a child (or children) living with you for more than 6 months during the year, and you paid for more than 50% of the cost of maintaining your home to care for your child (or children).

Your Exemptions for Dependants May Change

Only one parent can claim a child as a dependent. To be able to claim your child, you must be what is referred to as the custodial parent. This means your child should have lived with you for more than 6 months out of the year (longer than he/she did with your ex-spouse). As a non-custodial parent, it will only be possible to claim dependent exemptions if the custodial parent agrees not to claim the exemption by signing a formal waiver or written declaration (IRS Form 8332).

Simultaneous with the dependency exemption, the spouse who claims it is also entitled to claim the Child Tax Credit (up to $1000 per child under 17 years of age), as well as one of the higher education credits — either the American Opportunity Tax Credit (up to $2500) or the Lifetime Learning Credit (up to $2000).

Alimony and Child Support Payments

If you’re the one who’s paying alimony, you will be entitled to tax deduction for the payments, provided you pay the alimony in cash, and the conditions of the alimony are explicitly expressed in the divorce settlement/agreement. On the other hand, the recipient of the alimony will have to pay income tax for the amount received.

Conversely, payments for child support are not deductible, and child support payments received are not taxable. The IRS recognizes that supporting one’s child is a parent’s obligation, so child support payments are deemed tax-neutral.

When it comes to medical expenses, even if you are not the custodial parent, you can claim these as deductions if you have been continuing to pay your child’s medical bills even after the divorce.

Divorce has big affects on your taxes

Expect a Transfer of Assets

When property is transferred to one spouse, the recipient does not need to pay tax for that. It is only when he/she decides to sell it that capital tax gains will be charged. The bad news? The tax will cover the cumulative value from before the transfer was made up to the present. To illustrate, if the husband transfers real property to his wife, no tax will be charged yet. When the wife sells the property later on, she will be charged with capital gains tax on the appreciated value from the time the property was still a joint ownership, up to the present time when the property is being sold to a third party.

For retirement savings, it is advisable to do the transfer under a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order). This will give the recipient access to the funds, and will relieve you of the burden of paying the tax.

Practical Taxes Knows How Divorce Affects Taxes

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about your taxes. Just bring in the appropriate paperwork (most will automatically be sent to you shortly after the new year begins), and we will take care of the rest. Our highly trained accountants understand how divorce affects taxes so that you don’t have to.

Practical Taxes offers affordable tax preparation, and other accounting services, to the Billings, MT community.

 

 

Guerilla-Marketing-300x200Tax season begins soon. And that means people across the country will frantically be trying to find the best deal on preparing their taxes. Some will do them the long way, by filling out a 1040. Others will turn to one of the many software programs available. And some will enlist the help of a Billings accountant.

Those who do their taxes on their own are usually trying to save money. Accountants in Billings can be expensive. However, they don’t have to be. We want to be your Billings accountant, and we have positioned ourselves to make sure we can prepare your taxes at the lowest cost possible.

In the end, you are better off using an accountant for tax preparation than learning how to do your own taxes. Here’s why.

An Accountant can get a Bigger Tax Refund

When you use an accountant to help you prepare your taxes, you generally receive a larger tax refund than if you were to do your own taxes. This isn’t guaranteed, but it is often the case. Here’s how your Billings accountant can help you get a bigger tax refund.

Let’s suppose you are doing your own taxes. During 2015 you took some college classes, and you know that you can claim one of the education credits. Good start, but which do you claim? The American Opportunity Credit? The Hope Credit? The Lifetime Learning Credit? You can’t claim more than one, so you have to make sure to claim the one that is going to maximize your refund.

Doing your taxes on your own might end up with you choosing the wrong credit. Sure you’ll get some money back, but you could have received MORE money back. When you use an accountant, they will crunch the numbers and make sure that you are getting the most back that you possibly could.

When it’s a choice between three credits, all of which you know about, it isn’t quite as hard to maximize your tax refund. But what if there are deductions available that you didn’t even know about? There are plenty of those deductions around, and having a Billings accountant, especially one that you have worked with for a while and he or she knows your situation, will help you deduct the most from your income that is legally allowed.

The end result is that if you do your own taxes, your refund is often smaller than if you were to let an accountant do your taxes for you.

An Accountant can Save you Time

Preparing a tax return takes time. It all comes down to who spends that time: you, or your accountant in Billings, MT. Let’s look at the time spent doing taxes in various ways.

Taxes by Form – Most people won’t do their taxes by filling out a form 1040. It’s simply too confusing, and with all of the software programs out there, why spend the extra time? There are some who still do. In fact, we know of former accounting students who went on to pursue different careers that do their taxes the long way every year because it’s a bit of nostalgia for them. If it’s a hobby, then spend as much time on your taxes as you want. If it’s not, then you are spending as much as 8 hours doing your taxes by hand in order to save a little bit of money.

Taxes by Software – Companies like Tax Act and TurboTax know that people are not going to sit down and do their taxes by hand. They also know that most people don’t want to spend money on an accountant. For a long time there was this middle ground. People had to spend the money, or spend the time. Tax preparation software filled that gap. They offer low cost software that helps you prepare your own taxes, but you don’t have to spend the high costs on an accountant. It still takes time though. Plugging in all of your data can take about 4 hours.

Billings AccountantTaxes by Accountant – You alternative to filling out the forms or plugging numbers into the software program is to have an accountant handle your taxes. There are a couple of ways you can do this. If you are in Billings, you can swing by the Practical Taxes office and drop off your tax documents. Or, you can make an appointment and sit down with an accountant in order to have your taxes prepared (this gives you the opportunity to talk to the accountant and make sure everything is in order). Alternatively, you can send in your documents electronically. This is great for those that are out of town. Sign up with an account on ePractical Taxes, and you don’t even have to leave the house! The time using an accountant 5 to 60 minutes.

Your choices have a wide range. Those who do their taxes the long way by hand can spend 8 or more hours. Those who choose to have a Billings accountant do the work for them spend essentially no time on their taxes.

An Accountant can Ultimately Save you Money

The idea that you save money with an accountant is counter intuitive for most people. They think that an accountant charges far more than using a tax software or doing their taxes by hand. But there are several factors that come into play here.

Doing Taxes by Hand – Using our example above, doing your taxes by hand takes about 8 hours. Let’s suppose you value your time at $25 per hour; you are spending $200 to do your own taxes. And let’s suppose that using an accountant can get you a refund that is $200 larger than if you do your own taxes. The end result: doing taxes by hand doesn’t appear to cost you anything, but in reality it costs $400.

Doing Taxes with Software – Again using our example above. If you use a tax software you can likely buy the software for $25. You then spend 4 hours ($100 worth of time) to complete your own tax return. But you don’t maximize your refund, so you end up with $200 less than if you used a Billings accountant. The end result: you spend $25 out of pocket, $100 in time, and $200 in a lower return. A total of $325.

Using an Accountant – Let’s suppose you upload everything to ePractical Taxes. Your time commitment is essentially nothing. Your Billings accountant prepares your taxes for $125. The end result: you spend $125 out of pocket, nothing in time, and get more back. A total of negative $75 spent.

Naturally your situation will vary depending on how much time you spend, how big your refund is, how much you miss, and how much you would otherwise spend on an accountant. But for many people, using an accountant in Billings, MT would result in a net gain of $75, as opposed to spending $400 doing it the “cheapest” way possible.

An Accountant is Always Here

If you do your own taxes by hand, you rely only on yourself. You can Google some answers, but for the most part you are your only resource.

If you use a tax software, there is a help section and an online forum where you can ask questions (other users will do their best to answer). But you have to spend extra in order to have access to an accountant that can actually answer your questions (the right way).

If you use an accountant in Billings, your accountant is always here. If you have questions during the preparation period, your accountant can answer.   If you have questions in June, the accountant will be there. If you have questions that come up, no matter what the month is, an accountant will be there. The same can’t be said for online tax programs, or even the big national tax preparers that are in business 3 months out of the year.

An Accountant does more than Tax Preparation

Most people don’t need to worry about much more than having their taxes prepared. As employees they have taxes deducted from their wages all year long. When tax season comes along, they file a return, and they’re done with taxes until next year.

Payroll servicesBut there are some that need ongoing services. Business owners have payroll and quarterly taxes that need to be filed. Those who are wealthy have estate issues, trusts, and other money problems that need to be solved on an ongoing basis.

Your Billings accountant can help solve all of those issues for you. Don’t waste your time writing paychecks, let Practical Taxes help. Don’t worry about whether you are filing on time; let Practical Taxes do it all for you.

You focus on running (and growing) your business, we focus on taking care of the finances.

Practical Taxes is your Choice as a Billings Accountant

We know you have choices. And we strive to provide exemplary customer service. In the end you get an accountant preparing your taxes, you save money, you save time, and you have an advocate for all of your financial needs.

Want to learn more about how we will be the best accountant in Billings to handle your needs? Feel free to give us a call at 406-894-2050.

Networking-300x127Word of mouth refers to the spread of messages from one person to another. It can be done through face-to-face interactions, through mobile phones, through the Internet and other media channels like TV and radio. Particularly when it is done voluntarily without any kind of payment involved, word of mouth advertising is very powerful because you are putting your reputation on the line by making a recommendation.

To generate word of mouth advertising and maximize its benefits, follow these 6 tips from your Billings, Montana accountant:

Respond Immediately to Word of Mouth Advertising

Whether it’s positive feedback or negative feedback, it is important to respond promptly. If it’s a simple thank you for a great product or great service provided, a simple welcome or acknowledgement will be sufficient. And when it’s anything negative, responding with urgency is even more crucial because it gives a customer the feeling of being valued. Sometimes, what started out as a disastrous encounter can be transformed to an amazingly memorable one, if you just take the time and exert sincere effort to set things right and turn a disappointed customer to a happy patron (who is likely to refer you to more people).

Have Social Media Presence

Let’s face it. The influence of social media has been going strong for some time (Facebook has been around for over a decade), and it doesn’t take a genius to see that knowing how to capitalize on this will be a big promotional help for any type of business. People talk on social media all the time so make sure you have accounts on the most popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Know what your customers are talking about and make it an effort to interact with them. Connect with them on a more personal level and talking about you with their friends, family, and other associates will come naturally. Word of mouth advertising spreads quickly on social media; especially through customer service watchdog groups.

Be Honest

Marketing has a tendency of exaggerating the positive and undermining the negative. While this is generally a given, it is still important to set limitations so customer expectations can be managed more effectively. When a question about your service or product is asked, answer truthfully. If you lie and it results in some kind of injury, illness or damage, the situation will be that much harder to address and might even result in major losses. Keep in mind that even if you might not have been able to sell your product at that instant because it really isn’t what the customer needs, he/she will remember your honesty and possibly tell other potential customers about your business.

Share Positive Feedback

You’ve been working hard to provide a great product and exceptional service. When customers take the time to write about how pleased they are about your business and express appreciation for your efforts, isn’t it only fitting that you take pride in what you accomplished? Don’t be coy about it. When you receive positive reviews, proudly display them on your website and your social media pages. Especially now that most consumers tend to rely on reviews before deciding on making a purchase or availing of services, testimonials from satisfied customers boost interest in your products and encourage others to give your business a try. Of course, never ever forget to thank your customers for such inspiring feedback.

Provide Incentives

When waiting for customers to talk about your product is taking a bit too long, it’s time you give them a little push. This can be done by providing incentives. For example, you can give coupons or discounts to customers who leave reviews, or those who refer their friends. The best word of mouth advertising is done because people love your service or product, but sometimes they need a gentle reminder (in the form of a gift card).

Aim for Personalized Service

It is not uncommon for customers to remember the service provided even more than the actual product purchased. When a customer makes a special request, rather than look at it as an inconvenience, it should be regarded as an opportunity to exceed, and not just satisfy expectations. He/she will surely be pleased that you went out of your way to provide what he/she was asking for, and telling other people about the great experience will be a strong likelihood. Plus, you will have gained a loyal customer for sure.

Practical Taxes is here to Help

When you have your word of mouth advertising down just right, your business is going to explode with growth. All that growth will mean that you don’t have time for things like preparing your own taxes, and doing your own payroll. You focus on your business, and let us focus on the mundane accounting details.

Practical Taxes provides tax preparation and accounting services to the Billings, Montana area.

Grow-your-business-300x235If your business has been bringing in steady profit for a while, it is no doubt time to start thinking about how to step up and take things to the next level. Similar with what you probably went through during the startup stage, growing your business will likewise require the same, if not an even higher degree of planning and research to make sure that your business moves forward in the right direction. Consider these 4 simple concepts to help grow your business.

 

Product and Service Diversification

No company can remain successful without regularly coming up with new and innovative products and services. Change has always been a constant factor and people are always looking for something new. This implies continuous research and development so the company can readily adapt to the changing needs of the market and the times. New products mean more sales from existing customers, plus additional sales from new customers.

Physical Expansion

Eventually, staying in just one location can result in market saturation. When you have the means, expansion should be the next logical move. By expanding, you will be able to penetrate new markets and build a new customer base. It can be as simple as opening a new store in a different location, or something as ambitious as going from local to global. Whatever the case may be, expansion can make your business soar to new heights as there will always be new markets to conquer. Just make sure that you have done your part in studying the market that you intend to bring your business to so you can achieve maximum gain at minimum risk.

Build Your Online Presence

The Internet has become an integral part of our everyday lives and it is useless to fight it. As the fixation on social media and online shopping continues to intensify, businesses should capitalize by building and maintaining a strong online presence. This does not simply mean that you should have your own web store where consumers can buy your products conveniently from their own homes. Equally important is having accounts on popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Through your social media accounts, you can be all business-like by regularly providing updates about company offerings and events. At the same time, you can also interact with your customers for a more personalized relationship. Using online resources will help grow your business much further than ignoring them.

Reciprocation

As information exchange has become relatively faster and easier, it has become more critical than ever to ensure that you are able to take care of your customers and make them feel how important it is for you to keep them happy and satisfied. Instead of allocating a big chunk of your marketing funds for the usual ads and promotions, why not give back to your customers? To further strengthen their loyalty to your brand, try rewarding them with gifts like being entitled to discounts, rebates, or other exclusive offers simply by referring new customers to you. It’s a win-win deal. As your loyal customers, you already know how much they believe in your brand so referring their friends will come naturally to them. Being given special treats for doing so will just be like a bonus for them.

Practical Taxes can Help Grow Your Business

As your business grows, you will become busier and busier. We can alleviate some of those growing pains by taking things off your plate. We offer tax preparation services, which will free up hours of your time, and we offer payroll services, which will free up even more hours of your time.

If you want to take your business to the next level, get in touch with us and we can help you grow.

Practical Taxes is a full service accounting firm in Billings, MT. We love helping small businesses grow and succeed.

 

 

Marketing-300x212As essential as it is for any business, marketing is quite the challenge because there is no universal formula for success. At the very least, though, you should have a clear idea of who your target customers are, what they need, and what they want. With this in mind, your accountant in Billings, MT explains 5 simple marketing tips that can help boost sales for your small business.

 

Be Active on Social Media

If social media has yet to be part of your business, then you are missing out. Get on it right away and create accounts on popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Then comes the hard part; coming up with quality content that will continually engage your target audience and keep them coming back to your page. Don’t just post about your products as this will make it seem like your page is purely an advertising channel. Include posts about useful tips and hacks, best practices, interesting top 10 lists, and tutorial videos. If there are comments and questions, respond accordingly so your readers will feel that they are important to you. Strive to inform, entertain, and interact. Make sure also that your content is relevant in some way to your customers, as well as your brand, otherwise, you’re just wasting time and effort.

Establish Community Presence

Business should not always have to be all about profit. Let your customers know that you embrace this philosophy by giving back to the community. Participate in local events, sponsor local contests by providing your products and services as prizes, donate to charity, do volunteer work. The more involved you get, the more you’ll become recognizable as an organization that cares about more than just making money.

Advertise Relentlessly – Day and Night

All materials related to your business should show your website name. This includes your business cards, posters, flyers, banners, brochures, signs, delivery vehicles, and all other advertising materials. Go further by having clothing items (shirts, jackets, caps) branded with your logo and company name. Distribute and encourage everyone in the organization to wear these as often as they can to help improve awareness of your brand. You might also want to have stickers made to put on your car, or even on your kids’ bikes. Additionally, make use of the power of search engines to make it easier for customers to find you. There are a number of search engines out there – register your website to as many as you can, and use search engine optimization techniques.

Reward Loyal Customers

It’s been said that the second sell is more important than the first sell simply because it implies that the customer was satisfied with the purchase and is well on the way to becoming a regular buyer of that product or service. It is not enough, though, that the customer remains satisfied. You need to go one step further and make sure they know that their loyalty is appreciated, and that you are always working on maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. One sure way to achieve this is through an incentive program. By continuing to buy from you, as well as referring and endorsing your products to family, friends, colleagues or associates — your existing customers get to receive discounts, rebates, special deals, and other gifts.  

Repeat What Works and Improve on It

Analyze what’s been bringing in more sales and conversions. Once you find out which strategy or strategies are working best, focus on these, and find ways for improvement.

Let Practical Taxes Help with Marketing Tips

We can’t offer to do your marketing, but we can offer marketing tips, and we can take your mind off other things. If every two weeks you are slogging through your payroll, let us take that burden off you. If you are sitting down every spring and spending hours and hours on your taxes, you need to stop! We can free up those hours where you can be more invested in your business.

Practical Taxes offers affordable tax preparation services, as well as many other accounting products, to the Billings, Montana community. Give us a call at 406-894-2050 to learn how we can help you.

 

“In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later, their footage was found.” Remember where you heard these 2 unforgettable statements? This was used as the tagline for the 1999 American horror film, The Blair Witch Project. This also happens to be one of the most famous embodiment of what has come to be known as guerrilla marketing.

Guerilla-Marketing

Guerrilla Marketing?

Formally introduced to the world in 1984, guerrilla marketing is a term coined by marketer Jay Conrad Levinson. Simply put, guerrilla marketing is an advertising tactic that makes use of non-traditional methods (creative stunts and gimmicks rather than high-budget promotions) to achieve traditional results (sales and profits). It was originally intended to give small businesses a chance to make themselves known, while working only on a minimal budget.

Doing away with the usual high-budget tactics, guerrilla marketing relies on sheer guts, ingenuity, and audacity to work its magic, and influence their targets to buy what they are selling, so to speak.

Origins of Guerrilla Marketing

Inspired by guerrilla warfare — a form of small-scale combat used by armed civilians that is characterized by surprise attacks — guerrilla marketing also depends heavily on the element of surprise to make the campaign effective. Because many consumers are so used to being bombarded with the usual forms of advertising (print, media, radio), the unexpected ways that are used by guerrilla marketing to make a product, service, or information known leaves a more lasting impression and results in a more memorable experience.

The Blair Witch Project Example

In the given example, the filmmakers (college pals Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick of University of Central Florida Film School) were able to draw considerable public attention by creating a website devoted to the Blair Witch – a wood-based kid-snatching character who has supposedly been terrorizing Maryland for the past century. Received too enthusiastically by those who visited website, the Blair Witch soon turned from a fictitious character into some kind of urban legend. The overall effect? The movie earned a whopping $250 million all over the world. A major feat considering it only cost about $50,000 to make.

This is the kind of reaction that guerrilla marketing is aiming for. Requiring creativity and imagination that targets customers in ways that no one can predict, guerrilla marketing attempts to create unforgettable impact and elicit observable reactions that will logically lead to the intended course of action, in this case — watching the film.

Characteristics of Guerrilla Marketing

Aside from being far less costly than traditional advertising strategies, a guerrilla marketing campaign generally exhibits the following characteristics:

  • It is interactive and stimulating so you can’t help but react.
  • It catches you off-guard because it is there when and where you least expect it.
  • There is an outrageous, shocking and mischievous element to it, yet when its true intention becomes obvious, there is hardly any feeling of negativity.
  • It can turn routine or everyday experience from ordinary to extraordinary.
  • It has the tendency to become viral.
  • It generates a buzz, creates a hype, and people actually talk about it.

Practical Taxes Can Help…

… with your taxes. While we do love to see businesses succeed, and we can offer some marketing advice, we tend to stick with what we know. And we know taxes, finances, and business. If you are a small business owner, and you have seen a sudden surge in success due to your guerrilla marketing techniques, that’s awesome! We can help you manage the tax implications of your success. Of course if you need help with your tax return, and you are looking for the largest tax refund possible, we can help with that too.

Practical Taxes has recently moved! We are now your Billings, Montana accountant located at 2201 Grand Ave.