Tax stamps
Bogus home bank busted

Check those statements

A couple of months ago I finally opened a business account for my editorial services company. Yeah, I know it was late in the program, but so many of the business checking accounts included fees, which I didn't want to pay. So I kept putting it off until I could research it a bit more.

Bank_teller_classic_2 Then one day at my local bank branch -- the hubby, who's a co-owner of our accounts and, as regular readers know, dearly loves his anonymity and privacy, has asked that I not divulge too much here; since I'm a better wife than blogger (really!), I've agreed; I can tell you, though, that it’s a national megabank -- the teller went into the standard up-sell mode.

Because we had enough funds with the bank via personal checking, savings/MMF and a CD, we qualified for a special bank program that waives fees (which we weren't paying anyway). Plus, and this is where it got a bit more interesting, I could open a biz account, also fee-free.

So I bit. Went home, got my business docs and returned to set up the specific bank account for "Kay Really Works for Herself from Home." A week or so later, some of those funky business checks arrived (haven't written any yet). Then my bank debit/credit card arrived. I have used that to buy some office supplies.

All seemed to be going along fine. I was feeling smug and professional. Life was good. Until yesterday afternoon. That's when the April bank account statement arrived showing a $16 maintenance fee.

What???? I immediately called my bank. Was I misinformed? Did I misunderstand? Was this a mistake?

Luckily, it was a mistake. For some reason, months after the account was set up and working fine, a "code" somehow was changed "unlinking" my business account and our personal accounts with the fee-waiving qualifying amounts.

The bank rep credited back the fee. I love online banking; I was able to see that money, or at least the processing of it, show back up in my account immediately.

The woman with the bank also said the code error had been corrected. That I couldn't check on the spot, so I have to wait until the end of this month when the statement arrives to make sure.

The suspicious hubby wondered if sometimes financial institutions do these kinds of things, collect fees and/or change account codes, just to see if they can collect a little more from folks who don't routinely check their statements.

Checking_bank_statements_2 I'm trying to give the bank the benefit of the doubt, although it was weird that it worked as advertised for a while and then didn't. But whatever caused the incorrect charge to appear, the lesson is the same: Even when a bank account isn't very large, diligently check its statement to make sure it's correct.

Or actually, because it's not very big, check it immediately and carefully upon receipt. A few months of uncontested $16 fees, and my business account could be wiped out!

IRS approved business expenses: It's nice to know that the Internal Revenue Service wants to help me use my new business account checks and debit/charge card properly.

The agency has been issuing fact sheets on assorted topics this year. Here's what it has to say about some common deductible business costs, as well as the tax treatment of "other" business expenses.


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I too held off opening a business acccount even though I'm a CPA(!). I'm cheap and my part-time CPA business was very small. I finally opened an account at Fifth Third Bank (a large midwest bank) that offered free checking to small businesses. Ideal! Debit card too! Are fee-free business accounts that hard to find? I tell business clients to open a separate account all the time. It realy helps with recordkeeping at tax time.

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