LoudounPreneur entrepreneurial newsletter
 Information for the Innovative, Enterprising and Brave
November 2014

Save Money on Taxes

The time to save money on taxes is before April 15. In fact, it's before December 31. Here are two key things small business owners can do over the next seven weeks that can reduce the amount of taxes you'll owe next spring.

 

1.     Reduce Your Income. Give your customers a holiday gift by extending the due date on their invoices to January 2015. That will reduce the amount of revenue you earn in 2014, and what you earn in 2015 won't be taxed until 2016.

 

2.     Increase Your Giving. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about 75 percent of small companies give around 6 percent of their profits to charity each year. In addition to being a tax deduction, corporate philanthropy strengthens the nation as a whole.

 

However, you have to be careful about which charity you choose. Con artists ramp up their efforts around the holidays, and it's easy to become a victim of fraud. Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Never donate cash; always keep a paper trail in case you're audited.
  • Never respond to a phone call or email solicitation; contact charities yourself.
  • Check with the state of Virginia, the IRS and/or the Better Business Bureau to make sure the charity you've chosen is legitimate.

Be strategic about your donations. Choose a charity that supports your company's mission. For example, if you make a homework app, think about giving to a school or library foundation. If you're a defense contractor, consider donating to an organization for veterans or military families.



Five Easy Ways to Spot Scam IRS Calls 

You've probably been personally contacted by scam artists trying to get your personal bank account information. Small businesses are also targets for theft and fraud. Some scammers pretend to be with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a way to trick you out of money.

 

These con artists can sound convincing. They may know a lot about you or your business, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don't answer, they often leave an "urgent" call-back request.

 

"These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business."

 

The IRS reminds taxpayers that you can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things scammers often do that the IRS does not. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

 

1.  Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

 

2.  Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

 

3.  Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

 

4.  Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

 

5.  Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

 

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:

 

If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-(800)-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

 

If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-(800)-366-4484 or at www.TIGTA.gov.

 

You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose "Other" and then "Imposter Scams." If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

 

Remember, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal taxes. For more information on reporting tax scams, type "scam" in the search box at www.IRS.gov.

 

Info courtesy of Melody Green, stakeholder liaison for the Internal Revenue Service, which provides educational resources in partnership with small business organizations. Originally posted on MOSourceLink, a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.

 

 


Note From Debi Roder

In my role as Loudoun's small business and entrepreneurship manager, I enjoyed launching this newsletter and watching the number of subscribers grow. More importantly, I'm really proud of the ecosystem we've built for startups here in Loudoun. After three wonderful years working at Loudoun Economic Development, I'm turning the reins over to colleagues who'll continue the mission we started together. I want you to know how much I've enjoyed working with you all, and I look forward to hearing about your progress. If there's anything the department can do to help your business grow, please don't hesitate to call us at 703-777-0426, or email us at LoudounBiz@Loudoun.gov. Thanks for subscribing to this newsletter, and best wishes for your continued success!


Events and Training

The Power of Networking

Author/business coach Sheila Savar will help you identify which networking opportunities to take advantage of, and how to make the best use of your time at those events.

Date:   November 18, 2014

Time:   6-8:30 p.m.

Place:   George Washington University, 20101 Academic Way, Ashburn

Cost:    $25 online; $30 at the door

 

Doing Business With Loudoun County

Information on the county's procurement processes and upcoming contracts.

Date:   November 18, 2014

Time:   2 - 3 p.m.

Place:   Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison Street SE, Leesburg

Cost:    Free; register online

 

The Art of the Deal: How Successful, High-Growth Companies Close Deals

Learn how several local businesses are closing deals in spite of the tough economy, and strategies that will help you improve your closing ratios.

Date:   November 20, 2014

Time:   7:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Place:   IFC International, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax

Cost:    Varies; register online

 

1 Million Cups

Join us for six-minute presentations from Loudoun business owners. Engage in peer mentoring by giving the presenter ideas for resolving business issues to make their company grow.

Date:   November 12, 19 and 26, 2014

Time:   9 - 10 a.m.        

Place:   Mason Enterprise Center, 202 Church Street SE, Leesburg

Cost:    Free

 

Tech Breakfast

Network and learn as four innovative companies make showcase-style presentations to techies, developers, designers and entrepreneurs.

Date:   December 3, 2014

Time:   8 - 10 a.m.

Place:   AOL, 22000 AOL Way, Dulles

Cost:    Free; register online

 

Start Your Business

Ruth Cope, assistant director of the Loudoun Small Business Development Center, and Arthur Thompson, a principal at Keyser Thompson Insurance Agency, will answer essential questions about starting a small business. Highlights will include taxes and licensing, business plan development and sources of financing.

Date:   November 13, 2014

Time:   11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Place:   Loudoun Small Business Development Center, 202 Church Street SE, Leesburg

Cost:    $10 online; $15 at the door


Read It and Reap

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

This book is written like a novel, and is short and easy to read. It tells the story of a CEO who tries to rescue a tech company from an early death. As the story unfolds, the author drops in the five principles necessary for a healthy team, and shows how the five dysfunctions of a team are like links in a chain: an absence of trust leads to fear of conflict, which generates lack of commitment and avoidance of accountability, which creates inattention to results. At each level, the author brings practical strategies for building a productive organization. This book is available in paper and electronically from the Loudoun County Public Library.


Gut Check From a Guru

"You ought to be able to do something to make a nice profit, and also to change the world." -- John Paul DeJoria, cofounder, John Paul Mitchell Systems



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Loudoun Economic Development DC's Technology Corridor 
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