Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the commonly asked questions we receive from new and existing clients:

That never happens with Cruise & Associates, because each of our clients meets with his or her accountant each and every tax season.  During that one hour meeting you can ask any questions you might have and your accountant will discuss any strategies they uncover to help you lower your taxes, now and into the future. 

At Cruise & Associates each client is assigned a specific accountant and bookkeeper (if needed) and these Associates will work with you day in and day out and get to know you and your business.

No, we understand that it might feel like that but we are here to help make this transition as smooth as possible. We have a dedicated Associate whose full time job is to help you with that process. We can also contact your previous accountant directly and request any information we may need directly from them. Think of it like this, if you were an auto mechanic, working on a car it would be easy for you and hard for most other people. This is what we do every day so we make it very easy for you.

Yes, we believe the best results come from us getting to know our clients and the best way to do that is to have our clients work with the same Accountant, and bookkeeper (if needed), day in and day out. Unlike a lot of firms that assign work based on whoever has the time no one really gets to know your business.

Over our 20 plus years in business, we have discovered that small business clients are really good at what they do, but no one ever taught them how to run a business. One of our doctor clients once said “I spent four years in undergraduate school, four years in medical school and two years in residency.  You would have thought that someone would have taught me to balance my checkbook.”  We bring good solid business advice to our clients.   We will never tell you how to run your business, but we will give you the information to help you make good business decisions.

We are not just here to put numbers on forms, but to look for ideas on how to increase your income cut expenses and decrease your tax liability. We do this by meeting with our clients multiple times throughout the year. Our goal is to be proactive, we don’t sit around and wait for you to ask for our advice; our job is to bring ideas to the table at each and every meeting.

Yes, your financial statements have a wealth of information within them, and if you are like most people you don’t know how to tap into that information.  We do!  We make it a point to meet with each of our business clients multiple times thoughout the year, at those meetings we will talk about and give advice based on what we are seeing in the financial statements. 2

We are a fixed fee firm. What this means is we bill you for a project and not for every minute we spend. In all possible cases our fees are quoted up front and then are fixed so there are no surprises. We then take the risk on how much time it is going to take.

Each client needs in this area are unique. That is why we offer all new clients a free initial consultation. At that meeting, we will review your situation and then in most cases give you a quote needed to complete the project.

Cruise & Associates is a full service income tax, business, and financial services firm. Please click on the “Services” icon on the tool bar across the top of our web site to learn more about the services that we have to offer.

Our goal is to provide you with the lowest tax liability and most accurate return possible. To do that we like to look at your situation in a one on one meeting that allows you and us to ask questions. Once that meeting is complete our professional can give you a quote. We do this initial consultation at no cost or obligation to you.

We are a regional accounting & financial services firm with offices in both Omaha and Columbus Nebraska. Click this link to view our Contact Us page or Our Associates page to contact one of our Associates directly.

Yes, we have a firm goal of returning all client contacts the same day or no later than the next business day.  So you will always here back from us.

No, if the penalty is at the fault of Cruise & Associates then we will pay it.

It depends on your situation.   In most cases you would want to use the one that gives you the greatest deduction. We are seeing a lot of people that could use and benefit from itemized deductions even though they have used standardized deductions in the past.

There are four tests to determine if your child can be claimed as a dependent on your tax return: relationship test, member of the household test, age test, and support test. In most cases, you are able to claim the child as a dependent if they are under age 19 and you provide more than 50% of their support OR if they are a full-time student under age 24, you most likely will be able to claim that child.   This area can get very complex, so you should check with a tax professional before making a final decision.

Don’t talk to them! The IRS does not make calls or send emails to taxpayers.   If you do receive a letter from the IRS, our advice would be to contact a tax professional right away. An IRS agent will claim they will help you; however, they truly work for the IRS and not you. A qualified professional will work, on your behalf, to get you the best possible outcome for your situation.

For tax purposes, you need to file a final individual tax return. It is also possible that the estate may need to file an estate tax return.

To determine if someone qualifies as an employee or independent contractor, the IRS has a 15-20 question test to help clarify.   Cruise & Associates can help you go through the questions to determine the best answer for your situation.

The law only requires you to get a Federal ID Number, or EIN, if you are going to have employees or set up an entity like a LLC or corporation. With that said, Cruise & Associates recommends that every full time business obtains one, regardless, if you have employees or not. The EIN number is basically equivalent to a social security number for your business. If you don’t get an EIN you will have to use your personal social security number, which could possibly lead to other problems.

Yes, in most cases you can deduct it on your personal 1040 tax return. There are also ways to deduct your health insurance on a business return, Cruise & Associates will review your situation and determine what will work best for you.

In many cases, the answer is yes. The IRS rules as such that, the area used for business needs to be exclusive and it should also be the main location of the business.

Advertising is a better business deduction than charitable contributions. If you can help support a charitable organization by purchasing an ad, instead of giving a cash donation, it will provide a better benefit in decreasing your taxable income.

When you get your tax return done at Cruise & Associates, you will meet with a tax professional for about one hour. During that time, we get to know you and your business better so we can identify business deductions that may have been missed. Our goal is to uncover as many business deductions as possible.

At Cruise & Associates, we do not believe that any one entity is the magic answer. Both have advantages and disadvantages.   We will review your situation and make a recommendation based upon your specific needs and goals.

A corporation is just that… a corporation. The IRS has very specific rules for a corporation to follow regarding how a tax return is filed.   An LLC doesn’t have any specific set of tax laws to follow because the IRS considers them to be a unique entity. It can choose to file taxes like a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. That gives the business owner the greatest amount of flexibility by allowing them to file like a sole proprietorship until it becomes more beneficial to file as a corporation.

A C-Corporation is what I would call a full corporation. It has its’ own tax brackets and pays its own taxes. An S-Corporation does not pay the taxes directly. All profits and losses are passed down to the stockholder so they can report the S-Corporation income and losses on their individual tax return.

There isn’t an exact answer as to when a business should incorporate. In general, any sole proprietorship with a net income of $40,000 or more should discuss with a professional whether incorporating their business would be beneficial or not.

This question is frequently asked by new businesses owners. The answer depends on what type of entity you have chosen to set your business up as.   As a sole proprietorship, you can take draws as needed. As a partnership, you can take guaranteed payments to partners or income draws. As a corporation, you must take a salary first then you can take dividends or distributions.

Most often times in Nebraska, the answer is yes. However, there are a few exemptions to consider which are for manufacturers, farmers, and common carriers. If you have questions about this, please contact a tax professional.

Under federal rules you must start withholding taxes from an employees’ wage from the first dollar you pay them.

This can vary by state. However, under Nebraska law, you must give someone a 15 minute break after four hours of work.

This varies by state, however, under Nebraska law you must give someone at least a 30 minute lunch break on every eight hour shift. You are not required to pay that person, unless you insist that they stay on site.

Overtime is due anytime someone works more than 40 hours in one work week, regardless of the pay period.

No, there isn’t a requirement in Nebraska law to ever pay double time. That is at the discretion of the employer.