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Badger Business Services



In The Know - Articles and Updates for You and Your Business

Intuit Will Exit IRS Free File Program

July 16, 2021 (Author: Cathy Roth with the Woodard Report)


Intuit has announced that it will no longer participate in the IRS Free File Program. They will exit the program at the end of the current filing year in October. Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, participated in the program for nearly 20 years.


The Free File Program began in 2003, and more than 60 million tax returns have been filed through the program since its inception. For the current tax year, there are nine Free File Online offers listed on the IRS Free File website. Each offer provides its own eligibility requirements, with limitations depending on state, age and income.


 According to Intuit's blog, Intuit is, "Committed to helping our customers solve their biggest financial challenges, and that means 

we need to focus on helping them not only get their biggest refund, but beyond tax preparation so they can increase savings, increase income, pay down debt and have faster access to their money.... which we cannot effectively do as part of the Free File program."

Intuit cites the success of the Free File Program as one of their reasons for leaving. “Today, over 90% of all taxpayers e-file their taxes and free tax preparation is currently available to 100% of American taxpayers through a combination of commercial, philanthropic and IRS-sponsored methods. We are proud that Intuit’s participation in the Free File program has helped the organization exceed its charter of increasing electronic filing to 80% and making free tax preparation available to 70% of filers.”


Intuit has been in the news, along with other tax preparers, following a ProPublica investigation into Free File partners. A class action lawsuit was filed against Intuit in May of 2019 alleging that TurboTax free tax filing users were misled into purchasing online tax filing services. 


Editor's Note: We will continue to monitor the status of the TurboTax class action lawsuit.


Read the article here.

Intuit to Share Payroll Data with Equifax

July 2, 2021 (Author: Cathy Roth with the Woodard Report)


According to Intuit, QuickBooks Payroll and Intuit Payroll information will be shared with Equifax beginning early fall 2021. Intuit's data share will be automatic for all QuickBooks Payroll and Intuit Payroll customers unless those customers opt out.


Intuit's new service will allow employees of 1.4 million small businesses who do not opt out of the service to have easy access to employment and income verification when applying for a loan or line of credit. You can view Intuit's FAQ here


Intuit announced this news to QuickBooks Payroll and Intuit Payroll users by email with a link to the new terms of services, saying, "Your QuickBooks Online Payroll subscription will include an automated income and employment verification service powered by The Work Number from Equifax."


Equifax is well-known not only as one of the top three consumer credit bureaus, but also because of their data breach between May and July 2017 that affected 147.9 million Americans. Through a 


settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission, Equifax offered affected users settlement funds and free credit monitoring.

 

According to their website, The Work Number currently maintains a database of nearly 115 million records and makes those records available to "credentialed verifiers with permissible purpose access to income and employment data" in those records.


Important deadline: July 31, 2021, for opting out


Businesses currently using QuickBooks Payroll or Intuit Payroll who wish to opt out of this service must do so by July 31, 2021 by following these steps:

1. Sign in to QuickBooks Online Payroll.

2. Go to Payroll Settings.

3. In the Shared data section, select the pencil and uncheck the box.

4. Select Save.


Please read the full article here.

5 Considerations When Picking Payroll Frequency

April 20, 2021: When you hire your first employees, you get to dive into all the aspects of running payroll. One of the first payroll decisions you may make is how often you run payroll (i.e., payroll frequency). (article sourced from the Woodard Report)


It might not be advised to choose a payroll frequency out of a hat. Instead, think about how often you should pay employees by considering the following five factors.

1. What are the options?

When it comes to choosing a pay frequency, you have options. Typical pay frequencies include:

  • Weekly: 52 paychecks per year
  • Biweekly: 26 paychecks per year
  • Semimonthly: 24 paychecks per year
  • Monthly: 12 paychecks per year

Under a weekly pay schedule, employees receive their wages once per week, on the same day of the week (e.g., Friday).

A biweekly schedule gives employees their pay every other week on the same day (e.g., Friday), generally resulting in two paychecks per month.

Semi-monthly frequencies result in employees receiving two paychecks a month but on specific dates (e.g., the 15th and 30th).

Last but not least, monthly payroll doles out one paycheck per month to employees.

In many cases, setting up a payroll calendar comes down to your preference, which we’ll get into in the next sections.


2. What’s popular?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, biweekly is the most common pay frequency—42.2% of private employers use it. The next most popular is weekly with 33.8% of private businesses using it, followed by semimonthly (18.6%) and monthly (5.4%).

Keep in mind that a number of other factors could influence what’s popular, including:

  • Industry
  • Employer size
  • Employee types (e.g., hourly vs. salary)

For example, the most popular pay frequency among employers with one to nine employees is weekly, not biweekly.


3. What are the state laws?

Sometimes, choosing a pay frequency is about more than just personal preference—it’s also about compliance. There is not a federal payroll frequency law. However, almost all states have pay frequency laws.

Pay frequency laws by state require employers to pay their employees a certain number of times per month. In some cases, states require employers to pay employees every so many days (e.g., not more than 16 days apart in Arizona). You can pay employees more frequently than your state law requires, but not less.

In Wisconsin, an employer must pay employees all wages due at least once per month. Wages must be paid within thirty-one (31) days of the end of a pay period.


Before you choose a payroll frequency, inquire about the state’s laws at the Department of Labor website. Read about Wisconsin Wage Payment Laws here.


4. How often do you want to run payroll?

Pay frequency determines how many times you need to run payroll, which means you have to set aside the time to run payroll and cut checks (if applicable) and also plan your budget accordingly if you use

or intend to use payroll software. Software providers charge a fee per payroll run.


5. Do you value consistency?

Some pay frequencies are more consistent than others. Here are the two payroll frequencies that tend to be a little inconsistent from time to time:

  • Biweekly
  • Semimonthly

What is so inconsistent about biweekly payroll? Biweekly payroll uses an every-other-week system to pay employees, which leads to an employee receiving two paychecks per month. However, there are two months per year where employees receive three paychecks which might have an impact on the cash flow of your business for these months, if not planned ahead.


Semimonthly: Under weekly, biweekly, and monthly pay frequencies, employees receive their paychecks on the same weekday each pay period (unless there is a banking holiday), i.e. each Friday. But with a semimonthly schedule, employees receive their paychecks on the same dates each month, i.e. on the 15th and 30th of the month. That means the weekdays may vary.


As you can see, this is an important and far-reaching decision to make, even more so as, under Federal Law, you cannot repeatedly change your business's pay frequency.


Please reach out with any questions or concerns you may have, and we will discuss the different options for your business and do our best to provide you will all the information and parameters so you can choose what will work for you, your team and your business.


Contact us at Badgerbiz.  



TSheets® is now QuickBooks® Time

Feb 4, 2021: Introducing QuickBooks® Time: It's TSheets® .... with a new name.

After three years of being a part of the QuickBooks® family, TSheets is now QuickBooks Time, and even the time-tracking service has a new name, there will be no changes to features or functionality.

What else is changing?

There are no changes to the core product functionality or the overall customer experience; Intuit® has simply rebranded the solution. And of course, QuickBooks Time will continue to integrate with QuickBooks. If you have been using TSheets there is nothing you need to do to work with QuickBooks Time; all of the rebranding from TSheets to QuickBooks Time has happened automatically.


If you have never used TSheets, and you would like to add QuickBooks Time to your business apps, try it for FREE! A gift from Badgerbiz



Click Here

Update on QuickBooks Online Mac and Windows Desktop App

March 2021 Intuit Announcement: Intuit Support and software update for the QuickBooks Online Windows and Mac desktop apps will stop on April 20, 2021


As of April 20, 2021, Intuit will no longer support the QuickBooks Online Windows and Mac desktop apps.


What does this mean for you?


No action is required at this time, and you can continue to use the 

apps as long as your browser supports it.


However, you will no longer be able to download, receive customer support for, or receive software updates and bug fixes to the apps after April 20th.


Once your browser no longer supports your app, Intuit recommends accessing QuickBooks Online through your preferred browser by signing in at qbo.intuit.com.

PPP Loan Forgiveness: The Complete Guide

Sourced for you on bench.com: March 5, 2021 (by By Owen Yin): (Editor’s note: On February 22, President Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. One change allows the self-employed to apply using gross income so long as they file a Schedule C. )


How to Calculate Gross Income for the PPP


After receiving a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, it’s time to start thinking about how to use the loan to receive full PPP loan forgiveness.

Here’s our comprehensive guide to make sure you’re on track to receive full forgiveness every step of the way.


Note: in order to get your loan forgiven, you’ll need to fill out a PPP loan forgiveness application form. Don’t miss our walkthrough of how to fill out your PPP loan forgiveness form.


The conditions of the Paycheck Protection Program

Let’s first review the terms of using your PPP loan.

The funds from your PPP loan can be used for the following purposes:

• Payroll—salary, wage, vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave, health benefits

• Mortgage interest—as long as the mortgage was signed before February 15, 2020

• Rent—as long as the lease agreement was in effect before February 15, 2020 (here’s what’s included in rent)

• Utilities—as long as service began before February 15, 2020 (here’s what’s included in utilities)

• Operations expenditures—any software, cloud computing, or other human resources and accounting needs (like Bench)

• Property damage costs—any costs from damages due to public disturbances occurring in 2020 and not covered by insurance

• Supplier costs—any purchase order or order of goods made prior to receiving a PPP loan essential to operations

• Worker protection expenditures—any personal protection equipment or property improvements to remain COVID compliant from March 1, 2020 onwards

Further reading: How to Spend Your PPP Funds (Updated for 2021)

All expenses that fall under the above listed categories are eligible for forgiveness. The following conditions will also apply:

1. 8 to 24 weeks of expense coverage

Expenses eligible for forgiveness are those that are incurred over the 8 to 24 week period, starting from the day you receive your PPP loan from your lender. This is not necessarily the date on which you signed your loan agreement.

You do not need to adjust your payroll schedule. All payroll that your employees incur over the 8 to 24 week period is eligible for forgiveness, even if the actual payout date falls outside the covered period.

2. The 60/40 rule

At least 60% of your loan must be used for payroll costs. Payments to independent contractors cannot be included in the payroll costs. Your forgivable amount will scale in proportion to the percentage of your loan that you spend on payroll, up to the total loan amount.

3. Staffing requirements

You must maintain the number of employees on your payroll. This is because the purpose of the PPP loan is to maintain jobs.

4. Pay requirements

You must maintain at least 75% of each employee’s total salary.

This requirement applies to every employee that received less than $100,000 in annualized pay in 2019 or 2020 (depending on what year you used to calculate your PPP loan amount).

5. Rehiring grace period

For PPP loans distributed in 2020, any rehiring must have been done before December 31, 2020.

For PPP loans distributed in 2021, the SBA has not released any information on a potential grace period for rehiring employees. As of now, any rehiring must be done before the end of your covered period.

Further reading: Safe Harbor Rules for PPP Loan Forgiveness

------------------

Please note: The article above is an excerpt. Please read the full article: https://bench.co/blog/operations/ppp-loan-forgiveness/

with more detailed information concerning the current status quo, also on PPP forgiveness for self-employed individuals, PPP forgiveness for partnerships and Applying for PPP Loan forgiveness.


Please reach out with any questions or concerns you may have and we will do our best to help guide you to the answers you are seeking.

On Cyber Security: Tax Season Ushers in Quickbooks Data-Theft Spike

February 24, 2021 (Author: Becky Bracken)


Quickbooks malware targets tax data for attackers to sell and use in phishing scams.


Cybercriminals are ready for tax season with new malware designed to exfiltrate Quickbooks data and post it on the internet, according to a new report from ThreatLocker.


Attackers use email to deliver the malware, which the ThreatLocker’s CEO Danny Jenkins told Threatpost is a simple, 15-line piece of code. There are two specific methods attackers used to get the malware to targets: The first is to send a PowerShell command to exfiltrate the data; and the second is to use a Word document to deliver a link or macro to retrieve a file.


After that, the stolen files are sent to the internet, where they’re up for grabs.


“Once the executable or PowerShell command is running, it retrieves your most recently saved Quickbooks’ file location, points to your file share or local file, and proceeds to upload your file to the internet,” the report said.


Jump in PowerShell Access to Quickbooks


Jenkins added that ThreatLocker has seen a six- to seven-times increase in instances of PowerShell accessing QuickBooks in recent weeks. A QuickBooks default permissions setting makes things extra-easy for attackers, according to the firm.


“When Quickbooks is on a file server, you are required to use a Quickbooks Database Server Manager, the report said. “When carrying out a repair, file permissions are reset and the ‘everyone’ group is added to the permission. As a result, access to the database is left wide open and this is a major security concern. ”

Jenkins said he was able to reverse engineer the Quickbooks malware and traced Quickbooks data on the dark web. He found it to be up for sale at prices starting at 100 databases for $100, and “up to thousands of dollars,” for a clean database of financial information with passwords, he explained.


Besides selling the Quickbooks data for a profit, Jenkins said that he predicts the data will also likely be stored and used to power future spear-phishing campaigns, which rely on personal information to tailor social-engineering scams for maximum effect.


Quickbooks Default Permissions


To protect tax data, ThreatLocker recommended making sure the “everyone” group is not selected for Quickbooks permissions — the best idea is to limit access to a single user.


“If you are using a Database Server Manager, be sure to check the permissions after running a database repair and confirm they are locked down,” the report added.


Jenkins said that his company looks at wide trends in data the ThreatLocker solutions encounter across a variety of networks, and said he suspects that Quickbooks attacks are more visible because it’s one of the most-used accounting packages during tax season. He said other, similar software is also likely vulnerable to this type of malware.


Jenkins told Threatpost once attackers have a person’s data, they can use it whenever, wherever and however many times they want, amounting to what can feel like “seven years of bad luck,” following a breach. He added that when this kind of sensitive tax data is exfiltrated without alerting victims, coupled with the potential long-term fallout, it makes these types of attacks a “worst-case scenario.”


Source: https://threatpost.com/tax-quickbooks-data-theft/164253/

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