The current hot topic in business at the moment, internet security tops the list of important things small business owners need to know this fall. As we discussed in Protecting Your Business and Customers From Data Breaches, taking stock of your current technology and upgrading to prevent breaches is a must. Add virus and malware protection, secure your wifi, make sure your cloud provider is secure, and encrypt your data. Consider hiring an internet security expert to make sure that your systems are completely secure before the busy holiday season hits.
Internet Sales Tax
Under current federal law, online, phone, and mail-order transactions are exempt from sales tax. However, Congress could act on legislation after the November elections that will force retailers to collect sales tax in states where they don’t have a store or physical location. Keep an eye on what’s happening in Washington during their winter lame duck session.
With Apple Pay looming in the near future, the need for up to date technology is a must. Apple Pay uses near field communication (NFC) to enable contactless communication between compatible devices. In order to utilize this payment method, you will need a payment terminal that supports NFC transactions. In October 2015, all merchants will be required to support credit cards with EMV chips, and nearly all EMV enabled payment terminals can also handle NFC transactions. Save time and money by investing now in an EMV enabled payment terminal that can handle NFC transactions, instead of waiting until the last minute, when time is short and availability may be limited.
If you have fewer than 25 employees and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 50% to offset the cost of your insurance; you can claim the enhanced credit for any two consecutive taxable years beginning in 2014. Businesses that have already filed and later find that they qualified in 2013 or an earlier year can still claim the credit by filing an amended return for the affected years.
The Section 179 tax deduction, which allows small companies to deduct expenses for equipment such as computers, furniture, and vehicles in one tax year rather than depreciate the cost over time, has been set at $25,000 for 2014. As a comparison, the Section 179 deduction was $500,000 in 2013, a difference of $475,000. Small business owners need to be aware of the difference in the deduction amount, and that although the House has voted to set the deduction permanently at $500,000, it has stalled in the Senate.