How Can You Build And Develop Your Organization?

Mike Taylor | April 16th, 2014

If you run a manufacturing business, then you know it’s no easy task. You may often find that the day-to-day activities become your focus. It can be hectic, time-consuming and physically and emotionally draining. These issues can take away from your ability to focus on actually growing your business. It can be a “Catch 22″ because if you aren’t building the right organizational structure, then the day-to-day activities continue to consume your time and before you know it, you’ll become like a cat chasing your tail.

Going From ‘Good to Great’

In the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, he touches on this very issue. He says, “The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it.”

Many closely-held business owners struggle to grasp this concept. In my experience, if you want to grow a successful company and have a reasonable quality of life, you must get your arms around your organizational structure. For individuals who don’t, your company probably won’t reach its potential and you may spend most of your time working in your business and not on it.

Building Your Organization May Require Tough Choices

In my career I have worked with many companies that have had a difficult time building their organization.  It’s not easy and you won’t always get it right. When you get it wrong you must move swiftly to make the necessary changes. Most of us know when we have the wrong person in the wrong position, but we just procrastinate in making a change. Making the right move is critical for building an organization, even when it’s a tough choice.

Maximize your time and talents – and the time and talents of your employees. But know that it can’t be done without the right people around you. Make sure you have a solid management team surrounding you that can help you move your business in the direction you want it to go.

Author: Mike Taylor, CPA (Millersburg office)

Are you interested in reading more blog posts about managing your business? Check these ones out:

What Are 6 Things You Can Do To Improve The Health Of Your Business in 2014?

What Are The Top 10 Signs Your Business’s Internal Controls Aren’t Strong?

What Are The Top 5 Challenges Business Owners Face in Today’s Economy?

What Should You Do After Tax Season?

Dave McCarthy | April 14th, 2014

Now that most of you have either filed your 2013 tax return or at least gathered your tax information and sent it off to your CPA, I know what you’re thinking. Phew! I’m done with my taxes for yet another year! But guess what? No, you aren’t!

Now is the time to start planning for next year. The sooner you plan ahead and strategize for next year’s tax season, the better off you may be. Not happy with the amount of taxes that you had to pay this past year? Not happy that you seem to work harder and harder only to pay more in taxes and get further behind? Start planning now for future tax seasons!

Tax Planning For the Future

Here are a few things you can start working on now to help create a better tax experience for yourself next year:

  • Develop an investment strategy. Most people don’t understand the affect this can have on your tax return. You can control when and how to take gains from your investments. You should work on developing a long-term investment strategy with your investment advisor.
  • Create a plan to sell property. Are you considering selling property sometime in the future? Did you know that there are ways to minimize taxes that need to be paid on the sale of property? This isn’t done by calling your financial advisor and letting them know you just sold some property. Get them involved now and discuss that you plan to sell some property in three to five years. Your financial advisor can help you structure the property sale and ultimately help you control the tax effect.
  • Establish a business plan. If you’re thinking about starting a new business, work with your financial advisor now to determine what tax savings you may be able to realize. Depending on the type of entity there could be significant tax savings down the road. 

Tax Planning Help

While there’s no single quick fix to solving all of your business and tax woes, planning now will certainly help you when tax season rolls around next year – and the year after that and so on. If you need help with your tax planning, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio tax planning professionals can help you develop a tax strategy that best suits you for years to come.

Author: Dave McCarthy, CPA, CSEP (Medina office)

 

Want to read some more articles related to tax planning? Check these posts out?

What Is The Difference Between Fixed Asset Expensing And Capitalization?

So Is It a Tax Credit Or a Tax Deduction?

How Will A Tax Credits and Incentives Plan Benefit Your Business?

How Can Heartbleed Affect You and Your Business’s Online Identity?

Joe Welker | April 11th, 2014

The Internet is a powerful tool – something that can make our lives (and businesses) easier. But it also can be our worst nightmare at times. If you keep up on the news, you may recall within the past few days hearing something about “Heartbleed.” No, this isn’t the name of a new rock-n-roll band. It’s the latest threat to your security on the Internet. News sites started reporting on this newest Internet threat earlier this week. But as more and more has become known about this Internet defect, it’s becoming clear that everyone with an online identity needs to be concerned about it.

Heartbleed is an exploit that basically allows malicious users to run a tool that will gain them access to a Web server and provide them with usernames and password from that server. What can this defect potentially affect? Every website on the Internet. Bank websites, social media sites, online merchant sites … the list goes on.

Within the past couple days, a Heartbleed defect was discovered that allows hackers to access chunks of a server’s memory that could contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Sites that integrate a Secure-Socket Layer (SSL) encryption certificate are now at risk of this new defect.

Steps For Protecting Your Online Identity

So what should you do to protect you and your business from this risk? Follow these steps:

  1. Take inventory of all of your online accounts and make a list of your accounts.
  2. Before changing your online passwords, contact the businesses of any accounts that may have SSL certificates to ensure that the company has issued new certificates. To check the “grade” of an SSL-secured site, you can visit Qualys SSL Labs website and input the URL of the site you’re checking. Sites are graded (A through F) on how secure they actual are.
  3. Change your passwords for each of your online accounts.
  4. Clear your Web browsers’ cache, cookies and history. Check out this ZDNet article for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
  5. Closely monitor your bank and credit card statements to make sure there’s no unusual or suspect activity.
  6. If you receive emails or other online communication that promises a solution to your Heartbleed woes, don’t buy it. These communications are more than likely spam connected to dangerous malware or pointing you to malware. Heartbleed is a very complex online security threat, and there’s not a simple, quick fix for it.

Need Advice On Protecting Your Online Identity?

Following the steps outlined above will hopefully help lessen your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud. If you have questions or need additional guidance on how to protect your business, contact our IT audit professionals at Rea & Associates.

Author: Joe Welker, CISA (New Philadelphia office)

 

Looking for other blog posts about protecting your business’s online identity? Check these posts out:

Do You Know Who Has Access To Your IT Network?

How Can I Protect My Business From A Data Security Breach?

How Can You Prepare For The Retirement of Microsoft Windows XP?

 

Retirement Is Knocking … Are You Ready To Answer The Door?

Darlene Finzer | April 2nd, 2014

Traveling to exotic places. Spending hours on the links. Enjoying time with the grandkids. Supporting philanthropic efforts. While these all might be things you hope to do during retirement, do you have any idea the likelihood that you’ll actually get to do them? Sadly, more and more individuals are finding that they’re not adequately prepared for retirement. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI’s) March 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey, 49 percent of individuals surveyed are “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that they’ll have enough income when they hit retirement. That’s an astounding, yet insightful number. How would you answer the question, “How confident are you that you’re prepared for retirement?” If you find yourself in either of the categories mentioned above, all hope is not lost.

For many of you, retirement probably seems light years away. But there may be some of you who are fast approaching retirement age. Wherever you’re at on the retirement spectrum there are practices you can put in place now to move you toward your retirement goals.

Five Practical Tips for Retirement Readiness       

  1. Look at your ability to save and cut corners where you can to save money. Even if your savings goal seems beyond reach or too distant in the future to be of concern now, re-evaluate where you can save and strive for it. Some individuals won’t begin to save if they see the goal as unattainable and set themselves up for failure before they even begin. Just as a tiny grain of sand can form into a pearl within an oyster over time, small steps in saving for retirement can lead you to your goals. Take responsibility to make it happen, and get financial advice if you need some help.
  2. Determine what you expect your retirement lifestyle to look like. If you dream or envision traveling to those exotic places I mentioned earlier, or perhaps you want to buy a motor home and travel the United States, it’s critical that you have the funds to do it. In theory it sounds like a great idea, but what many people realize upon retirement is that they don’t have enough funds to support these kinds of adventurous or carefree lifestyles. The EBRI survey cited above also showed that seven out of 10 individuals haven’t talked with a financial advisor about their financial situation nor have they put together a plan for retirement. If you want to have a retirement that’s close to what you dream of, put a realistic plan together for what you expect retirement to look like and go after it to make it happen.
  3. Evaluate your debt. Have you purchased a new car? Is your mortgage paid off? Are you (or are you planning on) paying for your kids’ college education? As you prepare for retirement, it’s important you evaluate your debt situation. Ideally, you don’t want to go into retirement with any debt. Work hard now to pay off debt you may have. It’ll pay off (literally and figuratively) later on down the road!
  4. Consider what monetary resources you have to pull from. There’s a whole slew of ways you can fund your retirement. Make certain you are taking advantage of any retirement plan your employer offers. Not only does this give you the ability to save for retirement, but many employers will also contribute money for you – do your best to take full advantage of the contribution your employer will make for you. Personal savings and other avenues, such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or investment in property, could be considered. Social security benefits can also be factored in as part of your retirement benefits, but should not be viewed as the only or primary source of retirement income.
  5. Anticipate medical costs and needs. You may feel fit as a fiddle. But unfortunately for many of us, that feeling won’t last our entire lives. As we get older, our bodies age, and it’s important for us to prepare financially for any potential medical costs or needs we could encounter. Medical costs are one of the more commonly overlooked items when planning for retirement. Knowing your family’s medical history could be helpful when anticipating your future medical costs. 

Retirement Planning Help

While these five tips won’t completely solve all of your retirement woes, they’ll help you get in better shape for retirement. Don’t wait until it’s too late. To celebrate National Employee Benefits Day, which is today, start preparing for the retirement of your dreams today. If you need guidance or additional insight on how to best plan for your retirement, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio tax professionals can help you put together a plan to ensure you’re on a good path to retirement.

Author: Darlene Finzer, CPA, QKA, CSA (New Philadelphia office) 

 

Looking for more advice on retirement planning? Check out these posts:

What Are Ways You Can Ensure You’re Ready for Retirement?

Will You Be Ready for Retirement?

What Are The Rules For Taking A Distribution from My 401(k) Plan?

 

Where’s Your Tax Refund?

Cathy Troyer | March 28th, 2014

Do you find yourself checking your mailbox every day? Or maybe you’re watching your bank account to see if your account balance went up? It’s the time of year that many Americans are waiting with bated breath for their coveted tax refund. If you haven’t already, you’re probably getting ready to file your tax returns in the next few weeks, and you may be wondering when you can expect to receive your refund or if there’s anything you can do to speed it up. Well, wonder no more and read on!

Speeding Up Your 2013 Tax Refund

The best way to receive your tax refund sooner than later is to file your tax return electronically and to select “direct deposit” as the delivery method for your refund. Electronic filing is faster, more accurate, and more secure than paper-filing your return. Likewise, direct deposit is faster and more secure than receiving a paper check refund. There’s no chance of your refund check being lost or stolen if it’s electronically deposited directly into your bank account. Please note that calling the IRS will not speed up your refund.

When Will You Receive Your Federal Tax Refund?

If you’ve already submitted your 2013 tax return and are curious where your refund is at, you can check the status of your federal tax refund using the IRS program, “Where’s My Refund?” This is available at http://www.irs.gov/Refunds, or you can use the mobile app, IRS2GO. If you file your return electronically, you can check the status 24 hours after your return was electronically submitted. If you file a paper return, you can check the status four weeks after your return is mailed.

In order to use “Where’s My Refund?”, you’ll need the primary taxpayer’s social security number, the filing status, and the exact amount of the refund. Your return will be in one of three stages:  Return Received, Refund Approved, or Refund Sent. While using “Where’s My Refund?” will not speed up the waiting time, it’s a convenient way to check the status of your refund.

Got Tax Questions?

If you have tax-related questions, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio tax professionals would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Author: Cathy Troyer, CPA (New Philadelphia office)

 

Looking for other tax-related articles? Check these out:

What Tax Benefits Exist When You Donate to Charity?

What Tax Liabilities Accompany Inherited Real Estate?

What’s The Relationship Between Side-Businesses And Tax Deductions?

 

Do You Know Who Has Access To Your IT Network?

Joe Welker | March 20th, 2014

You may find that your business relies heavily on the technical support provided by third-party hardware and software providers. But have you ever considered whether your vendors have direct access to your business’s internal IT network without having to gain permission from someone within your business? If you’re not positive about how to answer, then it’s probably time to do some digging to see if that’s the case or not. It’s possible that your vendor(s) has access to your business’s sensitive data and devices.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are The Responsibilities of a Fiduciary?

Darlene Finzer | March 19th, 2014

Do you ever long for the carefree bliss of your childhood? No real responsibility. No bills to pay. No one depending on your performance. While it’s nice to daydream, it’s never going to happen, especially considering the fiduciary responsibility you have as a plan sponsor.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Tax Benefits Exist When You Donate to Charity?

Wendy Shick | March 18th, 2014

We’re three months into 2014, and you may be thinking about what charitable donations you’d like to make this year. If you’re planning to make a donation to a qualified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, make sure to look at your investment portfolio before you write a check.  Read the rest of this entry »

Which Life Insurance Policy Is Right For You?

Lee Beall | March 17th, 2014

Back in January, I shared some insight about six common stages of life where you should review your life insurance policy. Today I want to provide some insight about how you can know what the right life insurance plan is for you.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Is The Petroleum Activities Tax and How Does It Affect My Business?

David Shallenberger | March 10th, 2014

Remember the CAT—the Commercial Activity Tax? Well, there’s another acronym you’ll need to get familiar with – the PAT, the Petroleum Activities Tax. Starting July 1, any receipts from the sale of motor fuel will be excluded from Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) receipts. That means if you’re a supplier of motor fuel, you’ll have to pay the replacement Petroleum Activities Tax (PAT), measured by your gross receipts for first sales of motor fuel outside of the distribution system in Ohio.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are Ways You Can Ensure You’re Ready for Retirement?

Lee Beall | March 5th, 2014

Yes, yes. You have a million things going on, and retirement planning may be the furthest thing from your mind. But it really shouldn’t be. In order to be well-prepared for retirement, you need to start now regardless of where you’re at in your career. Here are five financial requirements you should focus on as you prepare for retirement: Read the rest of this entry »

Why Should You Review Your Retirement Plan Documents Now?

Paul McEwan | March 4th, 2014

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” A lot of people adhere to this philosophy, but in some cases, a review of how something works is not only helpful, it is required. If a business’s retirement plan seems to be working fine, and there doesn’t appear to be anything out of place, many employers believe there is no reason to review the provisions of the plan. This may be the case for a plan that was recently established, but it is always a good idea to review provisions every few years to ensure the plan is still meeting the goals of both the employer and its’ employees.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can My Statement of Cash Flows Transform My Business?

Chris Roush | February 28th, 2014

Do you realize that your business’s financial statements are a valuable management tool for decision making? You may be thinking, “Well, I just get them done because the bank needs them for my loan file,” or, “I think I have a copy in a drawer somewhere.” But if you take the time to understand your financial statements, you’ll be surprised to find that they can give you information on the condition of your company and allow you to make better business decisions.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Could Ohio’s Small Business Investor Income Tax Deduction Do For Me?

Chad Bice | February 27th, 2014

In an effort to become more taxpayer-friendly and reduce the effective tax rate, Ohio enacted the Small Business Investor Income Tax Deduction effective for tax year 2013. This tax deduction benefits many of Ohio’s individual income taxpayers. So how exactly does this deduction work?  Read the rest of this entry »

What Tax Liabilities Accompany Inherited Real Estate?

Lesley Mast | February 26th, 2014

So you just inherited some real estate. You’re probably now wondering – is this a blessing or a curse? From the tax perspective, of course. And that’s a good question to ask. Just because you inherit something doesn’t mean that you’re free and clear of any potential tax liabilities. Depending on how you use the property and if you sell it will determine if you have a taxable situation. So here’s what you should know about taxes and inherited real estate.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Do I Apply For Ohio’s Honor Project Trust?

Maribeth Wright | February 19th, 2014

Could your nonprofit use some “extra cash”? I’m sure most of you answered “yes” to that question. And the timing couldn’t be better. A few months back I wrote a blog post about Ohio’s Honor Project Trust. The Honor Project Trust was created as a result of a lawsuit settlement. Excess settlement proceeds from the lawsuit totaling approximately $9 million were earmarked for Ohio nonprofits. The trust’s mission is to identify and providing funding to not-for-profit charitable organizations that have a societal impact in the State of Ohio.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Should Plan Sponsors Ask Their Investment Advisors?

Steve Renner | February 12th, 2014

Like many business owners, running your business every day is a top priority for you. But as a sponsor of a 401(k) plan, you have an obligation to your employees to make your plan a priority as well. The truth is, most business owners are not 401(k) experts. Therefore, working with a quality 401(k) investment advisor should also be a priority. As a plan sponsor, there are questions you should be asking your advisor to ensure they are helping your meet your fiduciary obligations as the plan sponsor.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Do The Recent IRS Final Regulations for Obamacare Entail?

Joe Popp | February 12th, 2014

You’ve probably never received a Valentine’s Day gift from the IRS, but this year you did! On Monday, the IRS issued final regulations on Obamacare’s employer shared responsibility payment provision, otherwise known as the “pay or play” provision. Like many things the IRS announces, there’s quite a bit a fine print. This time is no exception. Check out some of the highlights of the final regulations and learn what you need to know moving forward.  Read the rest of this entry »

When Should You Start Thinking About Succession Planning?

Tim McDaniel | February 10th, 2014

You’re busy serving customers. Managing employees. Overseeing the day-to-day operations of your business. Stepping down as the head of your company may not be on your radar, but sooner or later you’ll need to think about what will happen to your business once you’re out of the picture. We recommend that business owners start thinking about their business succession plan at least five years before planning to implement it.  Read the rest of this entry »

What’s The Relationship Between Side-Businesses And Tax Deductions?

Tom Jeffries | January 31st, 2014

Do you or someone you know enjoy knitting or jewelry-making? Or perhaps you do résumé writing or other professional consulting work? If you do any of these as a side business and make a profit, did you know that you can deduct expenses that are ordinary and necessary to your business? If your side business expenses exceed the income for your business, then the loss can be deducted against other income. However, if your loss is from a business that’s not making a profit, then you’re not allowed to deduct your loss against other income.  Read the rest of this entry »

When Is The Best Time To Review My Life Insurance Policy?

Lee Beall | January 30th, 2014

Cartoon characters and celebrities all tell you to get it – life insurance that is. Now that you have it (or are at least considering purchasing it), is that it? Do you just sit back and pay your monthly life insurance fee until your policy expires? No way!  Read the rest of this entry »

Will You Be Paying With Cash, Credit Or Bitcoins?

Meredith Mullet | January 29th, 2014

Bitcoin has been all over the news lately, and you may be asking – what exactly is it? Bitcoin is a virtual currency. Only existing online, it’s powered by its users and not backed by any government agency. This new currency offers anonymity, convenience, helps facilitate international commerce and can fluctuate in value. Check out www.bitcoin.org for more information and frequently asked questions.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Prepare For The Retirement of Microsoft Windows XP?

Joe Welker | January 16th, 2014

You’ve probably heard by now about the Target data breach, but just this week other retailer data breaches during the 2013 holiday season have become known. In light of these broad, major data breaches, this is a great time to ask yourself: When was the last time you evaluated your business’s IT network? If this has been an area of your business that you’ve let slide, then let it slide no more!  Read the rest of this entry »

What Should You Know About 2014 Standard Mileage Rates?

Joe Popp | January 14th, 2014

Do you use your personal vehicle for business purposes when you’re on the clock? Or do you use your vehicle medical, moving or charitable purposes? If so, did you know that you can claim a tax deduction on the mileage you rack up?  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are 5 Things You Should Do Financially Now?

Mark Fearon | January 7th, 2014

As a small business owner, you probably find the end of the year a busy time. Before you know it, you find yourself into January trying to determine what the New Year will bring. One of the keys to being a successful business owner is taking a break from the day-to-day routine and spending some time doing valuable planning. This is sometimes referred to as working on your business, not just working in your business. To help you with this process, here are five things you should consider doing as a small business owner as you start the New Year.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are 6 Things You Can Do To Improve The Health Of Your Business in 2014?

Dave Cain | December 30th, 2013

Are you out of breath from the impact the economy had on your business during the last several years? Is it time to develop some New Year’s resolutions that will make a difference in your business? Adopting a new diet, jumping on the treadmill or committing to run a half marathon are common items on the “personal” resolution menu. However, is it time to add energy and resources to your resolutions in order to improve the health of your business?  Read the rest of this entry »

Obamacare Exchange Enrollment Deadline Extended One Day

Joe Popp | December 23rd, 2013

Things are continually changing on the Obamacare front. I wanted to provide you with a brief update since my blog post from last Friday. In last Friday’s post, I explained that today (Dec. 23, 2013) was the last day for individuals to sign-up for insurance through the federal government (“the Exchange”) that would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014. However, the Obama administration announced today that it is extending the deadline by one day. If you’re interested in obtaining health insurance through the Exchange, you can now enroll through tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 24. For more information on the deadline extension, view this recent CNNMoney articleRead the rest of this entry »

Do I Need To Have Health Care Coverage Before Jan. 1, 2014?

Joe Popp | December 20th, 2013

Christmas is upon us, but you know what else is? The federal deadline to pay for exchange insurance that’s effective Jan. 1, 2014. Yes, that’s right. If you want health insurance through the federal government, you’ve got until Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, to apply and pay for it. Some insurance companies have delayed this deadline to Jan. 10, 2014 – but not all. So don’t wait – make sure you’re covered today.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Manufacturers Deal With Competition?

Kyle Stemple | December 20th, 2013

Contrary to popular belief, the manufacturing industry is alive and well. For years, we’ve heard that it’s a “dying” industry. But that’s just not so. In fact, many manufacturers are enjoying higher profitability than 2008 pre-recession levels. However, if your manufacturing business is still young or you’ve hit a rough patch and are starting to see a downward shift in your sales and employment, there’s assistance that you may qualify for to help you get out the rut you’re in.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Can I Protect My Business From A Data Security Breach?

Joe Welker | December 19th, 2013

We live in an ever-increasing digital world. And with that comes risk – and lots of it. The number of stolen debit/credit card numbers continues to grow every day. Today’s news story about how nearly 40 million Target customers had debit or credit card information stolen is the most recent example of the kind of risky, digital world we live in.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are Some IT Audit Tips That Can Keep You off Santa’s Naughty List?

Joe Welker | December 19th, 2013

The end of the year is near, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holidays. But don’t let that be an excuse to forget about your entity’s security and information technology (IT) operations. As you close out your year, here are seven areas and tips that can help you strengthen and further secure your entity’s IT environment – and keep you off Santa’s naughty list!  Read the rest of this entry »

Where Can I Find Easy-To-Use Tools For Calculating Complex Data?

Lee Beall | December 18th, 2013

The holidays are upon us, and right now you’re probably looking forward to celebrating with family and friends. Your finances may be one of the furthest things from your mind, but once Jan. 1 hits, the holidays are over and we all go back to our “regular” lives. If you’re an individual who sets goals or resolutions for the New Year, you may find yourself hoping to get into better physical shape or get better organized. But in the craze of the holidays and in the midst of your New Year’s resolutions, have you considered your finances?  Read the rest of this entry »

Peeling Back The Onion: Answering 3 Popular Obamacare Questions

Joe Popp | December 12th, 2013

As Obamacare becomes more and more of a reality to individuals, I’m being asked lots of questions. In the past few weeks, I received three questions that I’m finding are common concerns among the people I’ve talked with. I wanted to share these questions and provide some insight into each. So let me peel back the Obamacare “onion” and help you better understand how you may be impacted or what options you have available to you.  Read the rest of this entry »

Will There Be Changes To The Small Business Health Care Credit?

Joe Popp | December 6th, 2013

Has your business enjoyed the small business health care credit for the last few years? Well, get ready because changes are coming in 2014.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Best Prepare For The Upcoming Tax Season?

Lesley Mast | December 4th, 2013

It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means. I’m not talking about shopping or decorating or eating until your heart’s content. I’m talking about cleaning out those filing cabinets and getting ready for tax time! The more prepared and organized you can be as you approach tax season, the smoother a process you can create for yourself or your business.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can I Make My Benefit Plan Audit A Smoother Process?

Darlene Finzer | November 28th, 2013

Your time is precious and you want to use it effectively. The last thing you want to face is multiple requests from auditors that make you feel like you’re running around without purpose. It doesn’t have to be this way. A little preparation on your end will help the process run smoother and give you fewer headaches.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are Some Changes Plan Sponsors Can Expect To See In 2014?

Darlene Finzer | November 26th, 2013

Every fall, just as we can expect the leaves to change colors and the weather to turn colder and a little dreary, we can also anticipate changes we will see coming in the following year with respect to employee benefit plans.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Franchising Work For You?

Jim Fracker | November 25th, 2013

Purchasing a franchise might seem like a very daunting process, enough so that you might not even consider it a possibility for you. However, have you ever considered what advantages buying a franchise might bring to you? Before jumping ahead to the benefits, let’s first look at what exactly franchising is.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Should Your Digital Assets Be Part of Your Estate Plan?

Inez Bowie | November 21st, 2013

Just when you think your estate plan is complete, is it really? Your will gives your personal property to your daughter, Suzie. Great, Suzie gets your laptop and your smartphone. But what happens to your online accounts, emails, Facebook account, iTunes account, that special digital crown won in an online game, and digital pictures stored in the “cloud”? Does Suzie know where to find your usernames or passwords? Even if she does, does she have a right to access the accounts?  Read the rest of this entry »

Ohio House Passes Municipal Tax Reform Bill – What Does This Mean For You?

Tracy Kaufman | November 15th, 2013

If you’re tired of spending countless hours and money on getting your local taxes in order, then relief may be on its way. The Ohio House of Representatives recently passed the state’s municipal income tax reform bill (Sub House Bill 5), which seeks to standardize and create more efficiency for Ohio’s patchwork municipal tax system.  Read the rest of this entry »

Health Insurance Options: SHOP, Drop, Roll, or Self-insure?

Joe Popp | November 14th, 2013

You may recall the popular saying, “Stop, Drop and Roll.” This is what we were taught in case a piece of our clothing or hair caught on fire. This same clever saying can (in a roundabout way) be applied to the list of options that businesses now have because of Obamacare. SHOP, Drop, Roll or Self-insure.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are The Top 10 Signs Your Business’s Internal Controls Aren’t Strong?

Chris Roush | November 8th, 2013

Internal controls are procedures that companies develop to safeguard their assets and to produce accurate, reliable financial statements. When a company doesn’t have strong internal control procedures, fraud can occur much easier. Other issues that can arise include inaccurate financial statements, the inability to find certain documents such as invoices or purchase orders, or a higher than usual number of customer complaints.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Did The IRS Delay The Start Of The 2014 Tax Season?

Tiffany Crawford | November 6th, 2013

Recently the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that due to the 16-day government shutdown, they will begin processing tax returns one- to two-weeks later than planned. The original start date was Jan. 21, 2014. With this delay, the tax season could begin no earlier than Jan. 28 or as late as Feb. 4. The IRS will not process paper returns until the official start date, even if they are received before the official start date.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Contractors Ensure They Have Sufficient Cash Flow?

Matt Pottmeyer | October 28th, 2013
As a construction contractor, income taxes are probably the furthest thing from your mind. And you’re probably not too excited about writing big checks to the respective taxing authorities. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Your Company Have Solid Internal Controls?

Don McIntosh | October 24th, 2013

Let’s admit it… we all want to be able to trust other people. And we generally do…until we’re proven wrong. Owners of small, family-owned businesses are no different, and must put their trust in someone to handle their revenue, disbursements, payroll and inventory, among other financial functions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is A Budget Important To The Success Of My Business?

Mark McKinley | October 18th, 2013

The end of the year is fast approaching. Before you know it, Jan. 1, 2014, will be here and another business year is at hand. So… have you started planning and budgeting for your 2014 business year? If you haven’t, don’t wait any longer. The sooner you get your budget in place, the better idea you’ll have of what you can do in the year ahead.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Is The Difference Between Fixed Asset Expensing And Capitalization?

Christopher Axene | October 17th, 2013

If you’re about to acquire, produce or improve real or tangible personal property, and then turn around and use the property in a trade of business for income, stop right there. Under the Internal Revenue Code, you’re required to capitalize certain amounts of money you invested into the property.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can My Nonprofit Organization Benefit From Ohio’s Honor Project Trust?

Maribeth Wright | October 10th, 2013

Nonprofit organizations in Ohio may soon have “free money” coming to them. Who’s giving out the money? The State of Ohio. The Honor Project Trust was created as a result of a recent lawsuit settlement. Excess settlement proceeds from the lawsuit totaling approximately $9 million were earmarked for Ohio nonprofits. The trust’s mission is to identify and providing funding to not-for-profit charitable organizations that have a societal impact in the State of Ohio. So how do you know if you qualify for this grant and get a piece of the pie? Read the rest of this entry »

Should I Be Worried About the New 3.8 Percent Medicare Surtax?

Joe Popp | October 10th, 2013

Obamacare is a complex piece of legislation. And in a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 62 percent of Americans said they lack information they need to understand Obamacare and how it will impact them.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can I Solve My Staffing Woes In The Manufacturing Industry?

Gene Spittle | October 4th, 2013

Being a manufacturer in today’s economy has it opportunities and challenges, and right now you may be flying high on business and running low on people to actually do the work. You may scratch your head daily over this issue and wonder how you can attract the right individuals to do the jobs. Let’s start with the root of the problem—perception. And then I’ll share how some manufacturers are combating this perception.  Read the rest of this entry »

What’s The IRS Up To During The Government Shutdown?

Christopher Axene | October 1st, 2013

We’ve read for weeks that a government shutdown was possible, but at 12 a.m. this morning, it happened. It has been 17 years since the last government shutdown, and you, along with the rest of the American people, are probably wondering how the shutdown will impact their lives. Fortunately, last week the Internal Revenue Service published “FY 2014 Shutdown Contingency Plan (During Lapsed Appropriations) Non-Filing Season,” a set of guidelines that explains what will go on at the IRS during a shutdown.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are The Top 5 Challenges Business Owners Face in Today’s Economy?

Mike Taylor | September 26th, 2013

You may find that being your own boss is extremely rewarding. Starting a business from the ground up takes a lot of hard work, and you’ve been seeing the fruits of your labor. But your success doesn’t come without challenges. Business owners are facing some tough challenges these days, and you yourself may be experiencing some of these growing pains. Here’s a list of the top 5 challenges I’m seeing business owners like yourself facing in today’s economy. Do any of these resonate with you?

Read the rest of this entry »

What Should I Do If I Recently Received An IRS Notice About Form 5500 or 8955-SSA?

Paul McEwan | September 25th, 2013

No one likes to hear from the IRS. But for the roughly 4,000 plan sponsors who have recently received erroneous notices, it’s extremely frustrating. Chances are if you have received a notice telling you that the IRS is assessing a penalty due to your “filing a late or incomplete” Form 5500 or 8955-SSA, it may very well be a mistake.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Should I Expect From My CPA?

Dave Cain | September 24th, 2013

As a small business owner, you may have started your business because you have a passion for your particular business/industry or you may have had the desire to “take the plunge” and be your own boss. Income taxes, payroll or financial reporting were probably not anywhere on your list of top reasons to own your own business. However, these three items along with many others fall under the umbrella of accounting services, and require the training and expertise of a CPA. So, since your business needs these services, what should you expect from a CPA?  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can A Focus on Inventory Management Help My Business?

David Shallenberger | September 17th, 2013

Is the recession over? Reports show that we are continuing the slow climb out. While the hill may be tall, chances are the recession has given you new tools to manage the effectiveness of your business and business capital – a renewed focus on cash flow and collections. But is that enough to get you into smooth waters?  Read the rest of this entry »

What Do I Need To Know About Unclaimed Property in Ohio?

Meredith Mullet | September 16th, 2013

We have all lost things from time to time. Our keys, our phones, and sometimes it seems our minds. But did you know that more than 200,000 Ohioans have lost financial assets worth more than $1 billion? As a result and in an effort to protect property rights and reunite the owners with their rightful funds, Ohio enacted unclaimed property laws.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Does Worker Classification Impact Companies In The Oil & Gas Industry?

David Shallenberger | September 12th, 2013

As an employer in the oil and gas industry, historically you may have found it better for your company to hire independent contractors rather than employees. You probably paid your contractors flat day rates rather than an hourly wage. But now these practices are being challenged and companies of all sizes — including oil and gas companies — are being audited by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).  Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Prepared For The Obamacare Deadline On Insurance Marketplace Availability?

Joe Popp | September 10th, 2013

The next Obamacare requirement deadline is right around the corner— are you ready? If you’re an employer, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires you to provide copies of one of the following insurance notices to all of your employees:

You must provide these insurance marketplace availability notices to your employees by Oct. 1, 2013.   Read the rest of this entry »

How Does DOMA Affect Me?

Christopher Axene | September 6th, 2013

This article discusses the changes to individual tax payers that are in a legal same-sex marriage.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court declared that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.  Section 3 of DOMA required that same-sex spouses are to be treated as unmarried for purpose of federal law.  It is now recognized that same-sex couples that were legally married in states that recognize same-sex marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, even if the state they are currently residing in does not allow same-sex marriages.  The same is true for couples married legally in a foreign jurisdiction.  This now allows for same-sex married couples to file with the status of “married filing jointly” (MFJ) or “married filing separately” (MFS). Read the rest of this entry »

Why Should You Upgrade Your Business’s Windows XP Software?

Joe Welker | September 5th, 2013

If you missed it… you should know that Microsoft recently announced that effective April 8, 2014, it will no longer release any security patches or extend support for its Windows XP operating system. You may be thinking, “So what?” Well, if your organization is running its IT systems on Windows XP, your organization could open itself up to security issues. Furthermore, if your organization is in the healthcare industry and using Windows XP, it could be held liable and found non-compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) laws.  Read the rest of this entry »

Can I Qualify for New Incumbent Workforce Training Dollars?

Joe Popp | September 5th, 2013

The state just announced that it will launch the second round of the Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program. Earlier this year the state offered $20 million in cash to businesses to reimburse for training costs. However, all those dollars were accounted for the first day the program launched. Don’t fret though – more dollars will be available on September 30 at 10:00 a.m.! Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Make Vacant Commercial Space Work for You?

Chad Bice | September 3rd, 2013

How could vacant facilities be so lucrative? You can thank the state of Ohio for making that possible. In an effort to encourage the revitalization of vacant business property, Ohio enacted a bill that created the Ohio Vacant Facilities Fund, a program that essentially pays businesses to purchase or lease vacant property. So by now you’re probably wondering how your business can get a piece of this action.  Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Have An Exit Strategy?

Frank Festi | August 29th, 2013

This month marks my 38th year in public accounting, 32 of which have been as a principal interacting with business owners and executives of closely held entities. I have been able to observe the good, the bad and the ugly as it relates to exiting a business. Throughout the years, I’ve had the privilege to serve some outstanding captains of industry who exemplified the ideal way of exiting a closely held business.  Read the rest of this entry »

What are the Consequences of Having Misclassified Workers?

Cathy Troyer | August 29th, 2013

My co-worker, Maribeth Wright, recently wrote a blog post titled, “Are You Properly Classifying Your Workers?”. The post explained how to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. The article mentioned that this is a hot button issue with the IRS, as well as other government agencies.  In fact, according to The Kiplinger Tax Letter, the IRS is currently in the process of conducting 6,000 random audits, which are focusing on several payroll and fringe benefit issues – one of which is worker misclassification. Read the rest of this entry »

So Is It a Tax Credit Or a Tax Deduction?

Joe Popp | August 21st, 2013

As you can probably guess if you have seen any courtroom dramas lately, semantics is very important when it comes to the law. One word can totally change the meaning of something, and hence change the thinking or behavior of someone.  Or in the case of tax law, one word can be a “gotcha!” or really change just how useful a provision might be to your business.  Let’s take a look at the small business tax break that is part of the recently passed Ohio budget as an example.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Will ACA Federal Exchange Premiums Affect Ohio Small Businesses and Consumers?

Joe Popp | August 16th, 2013

By now, you’ve been hearing a ton about the Affordable Care Act (yes, even from us), and you may be getting tired of all this news. However, it’s critical for you and your business to stay up-to-date on what is changing and what is being decided as it relates to the ACA. The Ohio Department of Insurance (DOI) recently announced in a press release that if you’re an individual consumer who chooses to buy health insurance through the federal government’s insurance exchange, you’ll be paying approximately 41 percent more than what you paid in 2013. And if you’re a business owner, you’ll see somewhere in the ballpark of an 18 percent increase.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are The Rules For Taking A Distribution from My 401(k) Plan?

Andrea McLane | August 12th, 2013

So maybe you’ve been storing up money in your 401(k) plan for years, possibly even decades. Or maybe you’ve just started paying into your 401(k), and have a little bit of money in your account. You suddenly find yourself in a situation where you need money… and you need it now. What do you do? Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Properly Classifying Your Workers?

Maribeth Wright | August 7th, 2013

You may employ hundreds, if not thousands of employees. Or maybe you only employ three to five. Regardless of the number of employees you have, the way you classify your workers is important to the federal government. Worker status is a hot button issue at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Ohio Job and Family Services, Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the U.S. Department of Labor are also challenging the way businesses report their payments to “independent contractors.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is A Relationship With Your Banker Important To Your Business?

Tom Jeffries | August 1st, 2013

You have a bank. But do you have a relationship with your bank? A relationship with your bank is important to the success of your business. A banker can be a great source of information and a valuable part of your team. Too often it seems that the banker is only contacted when money is tight or there is an immediate need for cash flow. A business then spends several weeks obtaining information for the banker and attempting to communicate the importance of the current need. If the business had an on-going relationship with the bank, then this process is much easier to handle for the banker and the business.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Will A Tax Credits and Incentives Plan Benefit Your Business?

Chad Bice | July 30th, 2013

What if someone told you that you had an opportunity to claim thousands of dollars? You’d jump on it, right? Well, guess what? If you’re a business owner, you do have this opportunity!

Did you know there are an estimated 3,000 federal, state and local credits and incentives valued at more than $50 billion available to your business? These opportunities are both statutory and negotiated and include hiring credits, investment credits, real and personal property incentives, utility rate reductions, and infrastructure grants – just to name a few. Unfortunately, only a relatively small number of companies are taking advantage of these credits and incentives to which they are entitled.
Read the rest of this entry »

Some PCORI Fees Due This Wednesday – Do You Owe?

Joe Popp | July 29th, 2013

And so it continues… the next deadline in a long list of fee deadlines for the Affordable Healthcare Act is fast approaching. If you are a business that is self-insured for health care (this includes Health Reimbursement Arrangements/Accounts), and if you had a plan year end on or between Oct. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012, then you have a new fee to pay by this Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Calendar year plans are included in this because their end date would have been Dec. 31, 2012.
Read the rest of this entry »

How Can A Business Plan Prepare You for Your Future In the Oil & Gas Industry?

David Shallenberger | July 24th, 2013

As a business owner in the oil and gas industry, you may have a substantial and noble strategic vision for your company. You may even be thinking that the list of possibilities for what your company can become is endless. But wait… how do you reach your business goals and get to where you want to be?  Read the rest of this entry »

Need Some Cash Now?

Wendy Shick | July 19th, 2013

Are you in the market for a new home? Or maybe you’re looking to purchase a new car for your daughter or son? Don’t have enough cash for a down payment? No problem. There’s a nice workaround that can provide short-term relief for your immediate need.  Read the rest of this entry »

Is it time to review your choice of entity?

Mark Fearon | July 17th, 2013

When is the last time you talked to your accountant about your business’s entity type? If you’re like most business owners, it’s probably not something you regularly think about. Whether you are taxed at the corporate level as a C-corporation, or have a pass-through entity such as an S-corporation or a limited liability company (LLC), there have been plenty of changes in the tax laws recently to warrant at least considering your entity type. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does the Ohio Budget Bill Impact Oil and Gas Producers?

David Shallenberger | July 12th, 2013

By now you’ve heard that Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Ohio’s new budget bill into law. Luckily, the severance tax on oil and gas production was removed from the bill a while back. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other components that you need to be aware of.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Ensure You’re Compliant With Disclosure Review?

Paul McEwan | July 11th, 2013

Let’s face it. You like to be prepared when it comes to your finances. So do participants of your benefit plans. That need for preparation is what has driven the recent changes in regards to fee disclosure. As a plan sponsor, you need to comply with these new requirements. Are you sure you’re keeping up with your role in the process? Read the rest of this entry »

What Should You Be Prepared For Now With the ACA?

Joe Popp | July 9th, 2013

By now you have probably heard about the one-year delay to certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  But beware!  The other elements of the law are going into effect soon and there is one that may have sneaked past you – a new filing and fee due July 31, 2013.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Has the Fiscal Cliff Deal Impacted Trusts?

Inez Bowie | July 8th, 2013

If you deal with trusts, you may soon feel the effects of new higher tax rates and the Medicare surtax. Unfortunately, the fiscal cliff deal was not kind to trusts, trustees or trust beneficiaries. For 2013, a trust will pay income tax at the highest individual tax rate of 39.6 percent when taxable income is more than $11,950. An individual would not pay at this highest tax rate until taxable income exceeds $400,000. In addition, the new 3.8 percent Medicare surtax on net investment income applies to trusts if taxable income exceeds $11,950.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Get A Strong Start With QuickBooks®?

Clay Rose | July 5th, 2013

As a business owner, you may prefer to maintain your own accounting records, and you either use or have investigated using the accounting software product called QuickBooks®. The program is an easy-to-use, affordable accounting software package. Read the rest of this entry »

With the Affordable Care Act “pay or play” provision delayed, I don’t have to do anything before 2015, right? Wrong!

Joe Popp | July 3rd, 2013

If you had more time to prepare for something that could have a huge impact on your business, would you take advantage of that extra time? If you answered no, then you might want to think again.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why might the delay in the Affordable Care Act be better news than you think?

Joe Popp | July 3rd, 2013

This week, President Obama and the Department of the Treasury announced that several key elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be delayed until 2015.  Specifically, the “pay or play” provision, or employer mandate to provide essential minimum coverage that is both affordable and minimum value. In addition, the employer informational reporting requirement has also been delayed until 2015. The administration cited stakeholder concerns and difficulties in implementing smoothly as reasons for the delay.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Might You Be Impacted By Ohio’s New Budget?

Joe Popp | July 3rd, 2013
On Sunday, June 30, 2013, while some people were celebrating birthdays, or anniversaries, or other significant milestones in their lives, Ohio Governor John Kasich was signing Ohio’s new biannual budget bill into law.  Read the rest of this entry »

Did You Know That Treating Your Business like an Investment Can Lead to Wealth?

Tim McDaniel | June 19th, 2013

If you’re a business owner, did you know that you can significantly increase your net wealth by simply changing the way you look at your business? Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Understand Your Company’s Financial Statements?

Chris Roush | June 19th, 2013

Big GAAP vs. Little GAAP has been a hot topic in recent years. (Okay, “hot” topic may be a stretch…) The question of the hour is: Why should a privately held company with close relationships to owners, bankers, insurers and other financial statement users need to comply with the same complex rules and extensive disclosure requirements that a publicly traded company is held to? Read the rest of this entry »

Did You Know the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Will Be Distributing Rebates To Employers?

Tiffany Crawford | June 12th, 2013

Guess what? If you’re one of the 210,000 customers of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, then you could be getting a nice-size check. Thanks to Ohio Governor John Kasich and the BWC’s board, $1 billion will be returned to 210,000 Ohio employers in the form of a rebate. The board of the BWC unanimously approved the governor’s proposal two weeks ago.  Read the rest of this entry »

Looking To Stay Up-To-Date On Ohio Oil & Gas News?

David Shallenberger | June 6th, 2013

The oil and gas industry in Ohio is constantly changing. So if you’re involved in the industry or are looking to break into the industry, it’s important for you to stay up-to-date on what’s happening. If you haven’t checked out, Ohio Gas & Oil Magazine, then I highly recommend you do. This monthly publication covers an array of topics from government regulations to industry best practices.  Read the rest of this entry »

Part 2 | What Happens if My 401(k) Plan is Out of Compliance with an IRS or DOL Rule?

Paul McEwan | June 5th, 2013

In the last issue of Illuminations, you read about some initial consequences you may face if you find that your 401(k) plan is out of compliance with an IRS or DOL rule. In this week’s issue, check out the second part of the article that explains the statute of limitations and how you can work to rectify any issues you may have with your business’s retirement plan. To refresh your memory, you can read the first part of the article hereRead the rest of this entry »

Did You Know that the FASB Wants to Hear From You?

Michaela McGinn | June 5th, 2013

Let’s face it—opinions matter. We all like to be asked for our opinion. And more often than not, opinions help shape decisions and the direction that a group of people may take. Read the rest of this entry »

When Can I Apply for the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program?

Joe Popp | May 28th, 2013

When will the application process begin for the next round of the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program? This is a burning question for many Ohio companies these days. While the Ohio Development Services Agency has not yet communicated what date the application process will begin, you can keep an eye on its website for an official announcement.  They are hoping to have the application process open sometime in June, though it’s possible that date may get pushed back.  Read the rest of this entry »

New Tax on Shale-Related Rent Monies and Landowner Royalty Payments

Jim Fracker | May 22nd, 2013

If you receive shale-related advance rent monies or landowner royalty payments from an existing well, you should be aware of a potential increase in tax that may hit in 2013. With the passing of the Patient Protection Act, a new tax provision took effect in 2013 – and it could impact the amount of tax you need to pay when you receive your royalty and rent payments. Read the rest of this entry »

What Happens if My 401(k) Plan is Out of Compliance with an IRS or DOL Rule?

Paul McEwan | May 22nd, 2013

With all of the rules in the business world, it sometimes can be difficult to know and understand all of the rules we need to follow – there are a lot of them. So what happens if you find yourself in an unintended situation where your business’s 401(k) plan is out of compliance? Simply put, a plan out of compliance with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Department of Labor (DOL) rules is subject to disqualification. But what does that mean? It is very important that you fix any compliance issues when they are identified – whether they are document-related issues, government reporting issues (5500) or plan operational issues. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program Work for Your Business?

Joe Popp | May 17th, 2013

It’s almost half way through the year. When thinking about your employees, how have you helped them develop professionally during the past few months?  Investing in your people pays off. It helps them, helps you, and helps your customers. But, it’s expensive and time consuming – training is one of those things that always seem to get pushed until tomorrow. But now the state of Ohio is taking away one of your excuses – it’s picking up part of the tab. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Your Business Have Cracks in its Foundation?

Dave Cain | May 9th, 2013

During the recession, the fiscal cliff and the so-called recovery, did your business develop cracks in its foundation? If you answered “yes,” you are not alone. Many businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries are still trying to rebuild cash flow strategies and bottom line results. Read the rest of this entry »

Cash Flow is King: Where Do You Need to Focus?

Tom Jeffries | May 9th, 2013

Do you know the current balance of your business checking account? If you don’t, keep reading. Cash flow is the key to business survival. A healthy business generates money for the operations of the business.  Read the rest of this entry »

Why is the Timeliness of Employee Contributions Under Scrutiny?

Darlene Finzer | May 3rd, 2013

The Department of Labor (DOL) has focused on the timely remittance of employee contributions to retirement plans for a few years. And recently, they stepped up efforts during agency-conducted audits, making this a key area of detailed review. The timeliness of your remittances will be under the microscope, and not only the frequency, but also the consistency. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Retirement Provisions in the President’s 2014 Budget Proposal Affect You?

Darlene Finzer | April 25th, 2013

The past few weeks have been full of high visibility news stories ranging from the tragic Boston Marathon bombing to the devastating plant explosion in West, Texas. Amidst these stories and others, there was one important story you may have missed that could affect you and your retirement in a very significant way. President Obama recently unveiled his 2014 budget proposal that resulted in varied opinions over the retirement-related provisions that could greatly impact the retirement industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Your Audit Process Protect You From Fraud?

Mark Van Benschoten | April 22nd, 2013

Fraud Reporting Hotline Could Be the Answer to Your Problems

Picture this: You have an annual audit. You comply with the auditors’ requests, provide the necessary documentation and never end up with any findings. So you’re good. Your finances are safe, right? Wrong.

Some people think conducting an audit is like a trip to the doctor – it should catch any and all financial problems. But, just as a visit to the eye doctor won’t include a check for cavities, an audit isn’t designed to uncover all financial troubles. For example: fraud. In very rare instances, an auditor may catch an occurrence of fraud, but it’s not his job to uncover it.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Legacy Do You Want to Leave?

Tim McDaniel | April 12th, 2013

Last year, I was consulting with a client who owned a business that was worth over $20.0 million. He said that one of his advisers told him “Why waste your time and money developing an exit and succession plan? You will be dead and won’t care and let others take care of it after you die.”

I guess that’s a good plan – if you don’t mind the chaos it creates for your family members and if your legacy is not important to you. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Protect Yourself from Identity Theft?

Maribeth Wright | April 11th, 2013

“Interested in credit card theft? There’s an app for that.”

Those were the recent words of Gunter Ollmann, a technology security consultant. To Mr. Ollmann’s point, identity theft is getting easier and easier to perpetrate. Identity thieves are using the internet to find victims and steal their private data.  But, the use of technology swings both ways; consumers are increasingly using it to protect themselves and their identities.  Here are some on- and offline steps you can take to protect yourself from those trying to gain access to your data: Read the rest of this entry »

How Will Health Care Reform Impact Small Employers & the Labor Market?

Mark Fearon | April 10th, 2013

As you have probably heard by now, starting Jan. 1, 2014, you will have to comply with the “pay or play” guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if you have more than 50 employees. If you have anywhere near 50 or more employees, hopefully you are looking at the requirements and considering your options. If you have less than 50 employees, you may jump to the conclusion that the ACA will not impact you. Not so fast… Read the rest of this entry »

Does Vendor Verification Really Matter?

Annie Yoder | April 3rd, 2013

As a business owner you likely have heard more than once that you should treat your vendor listing like Fort Knox – keep it secure and prevent access to all but authorized personnel. Typically this conversation is geared toward access to the vendor master, which lists all the important information for approved vendors. The Fort Knox comparison is apt; vendor master security is extremely important. Access should be limited and only granted to appropriate individuals. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program Coming Back Again?

Joe Popp | March 29th, 2013

A few months ago, businesses across the state were racing to participate in the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program. The program, which offered $20 million in cash to businesses that provide certain types of employee training, seemed almost too good to be true. It was true, but it was too good to last. The whole $20 million was initially claimed the first day of the program!

If you’ve got expensive training costs and didn’t get a piece of the $20 million last time, don’t fret.  Ohio will be rolling out another round of the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program – this time with a $30 million pie! This second round of the program will provide funds for trainings that will take place between July 1, 2013, and June 31, 2014. The official kick-off date for the applications has not yet been announced, but state officials hope to go live in May or June. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does the Proposed Ohio Budget Impact Your Business?

Lee Beall | March 27th, 2013

Governor Kasich’s proposed budget, Ohio H.B. 59, shifts around Ohio’s tax burden. Limiting commercial activity tax and eliminating the estate tax, the bill initially seems like a boon to business owners. But, the truth is a little more complicated. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Your Charity Profit from Instant Bingo?

Mark Van Benschoten | March 25th, 2013

Between the new Ohio casinos, Ohio Lottery drawings and instant games, legalized gambling is all over the place. Have you ever considered how this pastime could benefit your charitable organization?

Qualifying charitable organizations can benefit from properly structured bingo operations, but the requirements could prove to be a burden. As an alternative, qualifying charitable organizations can receive proceeds from instant bingo activities. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does Getting Divorced Impact Your Taxes?

Lesley Mast | March 15th, 2013

Like so many Hollywood couples these days, maybe you are finding yourself a newly divorced person. With all the legal shenanigans that can happen during a divorce proceeding, have you taken the time to consider some of the more practical matters related to your finances? There are several tax-related items and helpful advice tidbits to be discovered after a change in your marital status. Read the rest of this entry »

How Much Will Health Care Reform Cost Your Business?

Joe Popp | March 13th, 2013

If you’re like most business owners, health care reform has you running scared. You’re worried about how much it will cost you – and if your business can survive the burden.

You’ve heard about the employer mandate and the potential fines for not complying with it. But, that’s all in the abstract. No one has told you what it will cost your business – and what you can do to mitigate that cost. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Make Your Charitable Contributions Count?

Wendy Shick | March 5th, 2013

Tax deductions aren’t the only reason that you make charitable contributions – but they’re a nice perk!  Unfortunately, the IRS has been cracking down on the documentation required for charitable contribution deductions.  Here’s what you need to know to make sure that your charitable contributions get you the deductions that you deserve. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Motivate Your Employees in 2013?

Tom Jeffries | February 28th, 2013

Many analysts say that 2013 is the year for jobs – meaning that hiring businesses are going to be going after your employees. Are you sure that you’re doing everything you can to hang onto your talent? How do you plan to motivate your team?

Money is a motivator and you should offer competitive compensation, yes, but compensation is consistently not in the top three when employees list what’s most important to them in their job. Instead, focus on these items to help take care of and hold on to your employees this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Is It Time to Upgrade Your QuickBooks to a Current Version?

Clay Rose | February 22nd, 2013

Intuit recently released the 2013 version of QuickBooks.  If you are a registered user of QuickBooks, you will certainly have received notice of this release, and have been encouraged by them to consider upgrading.  But, do you need to?

For those of you who don’t know, QuickBooks is an accounting software package that was designed for smaller businesses.  It is a very good package, is simple to use, and is very affordable.

The newer versions of QuickBooks certainly contain some nice enhancements, and those enhancements are helpful, not only to you the user, but also to your accountant.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Prepare to Sell Your Business?

Mark Fearon | February 20th, 2013

Do you plan to sell your business someday? Although you may not think of your business as a traditional retirement plan, it may be the largest asset you have to “cash in” upon retirement. There are many issues to consider when thinking about selling your business.

Timing of Business Sales

One of the first things a potential buyer is going to ask for is historical financial statements. If your most recent financial statements show healthy profits, you are more likely to be able to justify a larger selling price than trying to sell your business after several less profitable years.

Current developments in your industry may also impact the timing of when you want to sell your business. Do you anticipate new government regulations that could impact your business? Or is there a trend of consolidations in your industry? If so, this may increase the value of your business.

Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Take Your Business to the Next Level?

Gene Spittle | February 13th, 2013

When was the last time you talked about taking your business to the next level? If you’ve had this discussion recently, what changes or improvements did you decide on? Were you only thinking about growing your sales? Or did you think about improving your systems and processes? How about your people – do you need to take them to the next level, too?

Making It to the Next Level

In my 31-plus years with this firm, I watched many clients grow from small mom & pop businesses to major employers in their communities. Until the past few years, I really didn’t think much about why some grew and others, well, didn’t.

Many of us learned two fundamentals in college – or in the classroom of life: In order to grow, a business needs solid leadership. And business owners needed to surround themselves with good people.

As I build our firm’s manufacturing client services team I have spent a lot of time reading, listening and asking questions about this idea of the next level. What I have found in my research is that not only do businesses need good people to grow, but you need great systems and you need to stay focused. Read the rest of this entry »

Did Your Company Miss Out on the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program?

Chad Bice | February 12th, 2013

Don’t Give Up Yet!

Applications for Ohio’s Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program were accepted on Monday, January 7, 2013. By the end of the day, Ohio officials said they received applications with requests exceeding the $20 million allotted for fiscal 2013. Funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you weren’t one of the first, you might have missed out on this opportunity for your company. But don’t give up yet…

There will be another opportunity for you to secure your piece of the pie as a second round of applications, for fiscal 2014, will be accepted after June 30 for an additional $30 million. While the exact date that applications will be accepted are not yet known, we do know what the applications will look like, how the application process will work and what information you will need to have ready to submit your application.

Why wait? Begin pulling your information together now so that you will be ready the second time around. Read the rest of this entry »

What Does ASU 2011-04 Mean For Your Pension Audit?

Darlene Finzer | February 7th, 2013

How to Prepare For Changes to Your Retirement Plan

While the basics of double entry accounting haven’t changed in hundreds of years, the devil, as they say, is in the details. And, when it comes to accounting, the details are always changing. A new accounting standard update has been announced – and it could have a big impact on your pension plan’s 2012 audit.

For the last decade, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have been working toward accounting convergence; bringing U.S. accounting standards into harmony with international requirements. Through the Accounting Standard Updates (ASUs), FASB has been nudging U.S. standards closer to their international counterparts. Think of it as the accounting equivalent of finally getting America to convert to the metric measuring system. It’ll be great once we’re all on the same page, but the process of getting there… well, it’s a little complicated.

Here’s what you need to know about ASU 2011-04 and what you can do to prepare for its impact on your retirement plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Reviewed Your Life Insurance Lately?

Lee Beall | February 4th, 2013

You’re used to discussing your financial assets with your CPA. You talk to your accountant about your income, your business and your estate plan. But there’s one financial asset that doesn’t always come up in discussions of your financial situation: your life insurance policy. Insurance might seem more like a safeguard than an asset, but it’s an important part of your financial portfolio. And, it’s important to review it regularly with the same diligence that you devote to your income, your business and your estate.

Why review your life insurance? Three reasons: to save money, reduce risk and ensure policy suitability. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Keep Your Tax Documents Organized?

Clay Rose | January 25th, 2013

It’s mid-January. Statistically, most Americans have already abandoned their New Year’s resolutions – those promises you make to yourself to hit the gym, get more sleep and read your favorite accounting blog every day (hey, it was worth a shot). But if you resolved to be more organized in 2013, don’t give up on it just yet – at least not until April 15.

This tax filing season carries extra challenges, thanks to the late passage of the “Fiscal Cliff” tax laws. The IRS isn’t going to be able to process tax returns until around February 1, which gives us a much smaller window of opportunity.

Follow these tips to stay organized this tax season and hopefully experience a few fewer headaches with Uncle Sam’s name on them. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Have to Take a 2012 Required Minimum Distribution?

Christopher Axene | January 23rd, 2013

ACT FAST: Limited Time Offer for RMDs

Thanks to a hot-off-the-presses provision in the new tax law, taxpayers over 70 ½ have a very limited window to address 2012 required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement accounts.

Here’s what happened: an incentive for donating your RMDs directly to charity tax-free expired in 2011, so at the end of 2012 many of you weren’t sure what to do. Some of you may have taken your RMD as usual and used that money toward regular living expenses, but other retirees who typically donate their RMD to charity may have taken a different approach. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Choose a Business Exit Strategy?

Tim McDaniel | January 17th, 2013

Exit strategies are the options that you have to leave your business.  There are only a few exit strategies that Ohio business owners can choose from and each will provide you with a different level of proceeds when you leave. All strategies will require planning and time to implement.

It’s never too soon to start planning your exit. You will eventually leave your business, and it’s better to do so before a life-changing event forces you out. The sooner you plan, the more options you will have. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Safety Key to Working with Big Oil?

David Shallenberger | January 10th, 2013

Do you operate a safe business? Of course you do. But is your safety to the level it needs to be to work with the “Big Oil” companies?

The Utica shale boom has presented tremendous opportunities for businesses, like yours, that can somehow assist in the production of oil and gas. However, dealing with Big Oil is unlike dealing with your typical customer. If you’ve yet to discover this yourself, you need to know how to play by their rules. And the first one you’ll need to comply with is safety. Read the rest of this entry »

What Does the Fiscal Cliff Deal Mean for You and Your Business?

Christopher Axene | January 4th, 2013

By now you’ve heard that last minute actions by Congress and the President pulled us off the brink of the fiscal cliff. But, do you know what the American Taxpayer Relief Act means for you and your business?

Overall, the deal is good news for most Americans. While it’s true that the tax rates for 99 percent of taxpayers will not change, everyone who pays payroll taxes will see a slight increase. Here’s what you, as an individual taxpayer, should expect in the year to come: Read the rest of this entry »

Can I Get a Rebate for Training Through the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program?

Joe Popp | January 3rd, 2013

You may have thought that you’ve opened all your gifts, but the state of Ohio has one more for you – and it’s a good one.  Launching next week, the Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program [http://development.ohio.gov/bs/bs_wtvp.htm] will provide $20 million in cash to businesses that provide certain training for their employees.  If your business is in one of the program’s targeted industries, you could qualify for up to $4,000 per employee.  Read the rest of this entry »

What Are 5 Things You Should Do Financially At the Beginning of the Year?

Mark Fearon | January 3rd, 2013
As a small business owner, the beginning of the year is a busy time. It’s January and you’re trying to determine what the New Year will bring. One of the keys to being a successful business owner is taking a break from the day-to-day routine and spending some time doing valuable planning. This is sometimes referred to as working on your business, not just working in your business. To help you with this process, here are five things you should consider doing as a small business owner as you start the New Year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Employee Welfare Benefit Plans Making Your Head Spin?

Darlene Finzer | December 28th, 2012

Every year, we receive questions regarding whether a filing requirement exists for a client’s welfare benefit plan. Clients want to ensure that their plans remain ERISA compliant without taking on the burden of any unnecessary paperwork.  Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about employee welfare benefit plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Have Any QuickBooks Tips for Managing Cash Flow?

Clay Rose | December 26th, 2012

Cash flow management is a struggle for many small businesses.  Unlike revenue, cash flow isn’t easy to quantify or pin down.  It’s up and down and moves around.  But, most small businesses that fail do so because of a lack of cash flow… not revenue or profits. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Ohio Have an Estate Tax?

Inez Bowie | December 21st, 2012

Recently, Ohio eliminated the Ohio estate tax.  The estates of individuals who die after January 1, 2013 will not be subject to the Ohio estate tax. Read the rest of this entry »

What Difference Does a Day Make?

Joe Popp | December 19th, 2012

How do you plan for an uncertain future?  Very carefully.  That’s the advice that we’re giving to our clients as they to prepare for the tax law changes that are coming on January 1, 2013.

We can’t see into the future, but it looks like rates will go up, on lots of different types of income, in 2013.  Unless changes happen, your rates will be significantly higher on January 1 than on December 31.  What difference does a day make?  Perhaps as much as a 29.4 percentage point jump in your taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Ready For FASB 715-80 Disclosures?

Jim Fracker | December 13th, 2012

From ERISA fee disclosures to benefit limitation regulations, 2012 has been a year of regulations for retirement plans.  If your company offers a retirement plan, you may feel like you’ve spent the whole year jumping through the hoops that regulators threw at you.  Bad news, you might have one more hoop to hop. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Prepare for 2013 Tax Hikes?

Chad Bice | December 10th, 2012

2012 Year-End Tax Tips

2012 is almost over and 2013 tax policy hasn’t yet been set. With so much media coverage about expiring tax cuts, increasing tax rates, and the looming fiscal cliff, CPAs and business owners alike are worried about what the New Year will bring. All we want for Christmas is sound 2013 tax policy!

Currently, President Obama is struggling to rally a squabbling Congress; without agreement, big tax hikes are coming. Unfortunately, this might not happen until the New Year – after the higher rates have kicked in. So, what’s a taxpayer to do? You can write a letter to Santa asking him to make Congress come to an agreement or you can act now to help save money and insulate your business from expected tax hikes. Here’s what you might want to consider with the help of your CPA: Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Change Your State of Domicile?

Tiffany Crawford | December 7th, 2012

Trying to plug yawning budget deficits, states are fighting a never ending battle for revenue. One common weapon in this battle: the increased enforcement of tax laws. Areas that were overlooked in the past now face heightened scrutiny. One area under the microscope: analyzing individuals’ domiciles. The purpose of this analysis: to find more people to tax. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Your Ohio Business Benefit from the Utica Shale Play?

David Shallenberger | December 5th, 2012

Ohio is in the early stages of what may be a large oil & gas boom. The state overlays a large shale play called the Utica Shale. However in recent months, news from the oil patch has slowed as oil & gas companies have cut back on efforts to lease additional mineral interests, and are instead focused on exploration. But while news of the play has been quiet, that doesn’t mean the business opportunity is any less. Read the rest of this entry »

What Changes Do Pension Plans Need by Year-end?

Darlene Finzer | November 29th, 2012

In the midst of the publicity surrounding the new ERISA fee disclosures requirements, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that other recently enacted legislation may impact your retirement plan.  Changes to IRS regulations may require plan’s to adopt amendments before the end of the year.  Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Get a Handle on Your Inventory?

Chris Roush | November 28th, 2012

Inventory management can have a very direct impact not only on your profit but also the cash flow of your business. Inaccurate inventory will directly affect your business profit. If the inventory is too high, you may be paying tax on higher profits than you actually have. If it is too low, you run the risk of understating taxable income and, if audited, the IRS can hit you with back taxes and penalties. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does the IRS Treat Property Repair Expenses?

Christopher Axene | November 21st, 2012

Tax treatment of property repairs has long frustrated business owners and accountants alike. The system has been confusing, hard to follow and seemingly eternally inconsistent. Recent changes to the Internal Revenue Code have streamlined the treatments of property repairs, but not all the changes are as taxpayer-friendly as you may have hoped. Read the rest of this entry »

Which 990 Policies Do Non-Profits Need?

Maribeth Wright | November 15th, 2012

It’s been 4 years since the IRS redesigned the 990 Form. Part of the change was the addition of a list of questions on various policies your organization may have adopted. Since that time, the IRS has conducted a study to determine which policies organizations have and how the existence of those policies correlates to both good governance and IRS compliance. The study found that those organizations that have polices – and follow them – generally have better tax compliance and governance. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Prepare for Uncertain 2013 Tax Rates?

Inez Bowie | November 7th, 2012

As we approach the end of 2012, there is much uncertainty regarding tax legislation. Tax rates, exemptions, credits and deductions are likely to change for both businesses and individuals, but no one yet knows which of the predicted changes will really come to pass. How do you prepare for this uncertain future? Take advantage of the 2012 rates while you still can and plan for contingencies in 2013 and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »

How Could Ohio’s Election Impact Severance Tax?

David Shallenberger | November 5th, 2012

Every four years, national politics takes center stage here in Ohio. You can’t turn on the radio or t.v. without being inundated with presidential, senatorial or congressional election ads. But there are issues a bit closer to home that are equally important to us.

Of the many state and local issues getting lost in the commotion is one that can have a big impact on Ohio’s oil and gas industry – Governor Kasich‘s proposed severance tax change. Initially introduced in March, this is not a new issue. It was tabled in the lead up to the election and is likely to be reconsidered once the Ohio House and Senate return for their next session. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Need to Send an Annual Notice to Your 401k Participants?

Paul McEwan | November 2nd, 2012

Does your 401k plan have a calendar year end? If so you have until December 1, 2012, to send notice requirements to plan participants or the operation or qualification of your plan could be impacted. Use this checklist of notices to get started: Read the rest of this entry »

What Accounting Methods Do Contractors Use?

Kent Beachy | November 1st, 2012

Usually when you hear the words “accounting method,” you think of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). However, you should not overlook the impact that accounting methods have in the tax world, especially for construction contractors. Read the rest of this entry »

Who is Responsible for Fidelity Bonding?

Darlene Finzer | October 26th, 2012

When it comes to following the ERISA requirement of fidelity bonding, the devil, as they say is in the details.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) requires that fidelity bonding be obtained to cover each person who “handles” plan assets.  The general rule is the bond amount be ten percent (minimum of $1,000) of plan assets as of the beginning of the plan year, not to exceed $500,000, or one million dollars if the plan holds employer securities.

While this requirement seems relatively straightforward, we find plan sponsors are sometimes unclear about their fidelity bond responsibilities when we are performing  benefit plan audits.   Following are some of the commonly asked questions. Read the rest of this entry »

What are the Tax Rules for Gamblers?

Matt Pottmeyer | October 25th, 2012

With the new Cleveland Horeshoe Casino, gaming is becoming big business in Ohio.  From occasional slot machine players to poker pros, Ohioans are experiencing gambling and all the wins and losses that come with it.  While residents of Las Vegas may already be familiar with the IRS’s tax treatment of gambling wins and losses, Ohio gamers might not be  The IRS has special rules for gaming income and losses, which I’ll describe below, but the general rule is this: gambling winnings are taxable. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Employers in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan & Tennessee Get a FICA Tax Refund?

Christopher Axene | October 18th, 2012

Downsizing by companies has been a fact of life over the past several years.  As a part of this process companies may have paid severance payments to employees who were involuntarily terminated due to either: (1) reduction in force (“RIF”) initiatives or (2) plant closings or other similar conditions.

Historically the IRS has argued that such payments are subject to FICA tax withholding in addition to income tax withholding at the time of payment.  In 2002, the Court of Federal Claims in CSX Corp v. U.S. held that severance payments made by CSX were not subject to FICA tax and thus CSX was entitled to refunds of amounts previously withheld.   The IRS appealed and in 2008 the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the Court of Claims holding that such payments were subject to FICA tax. Read the rest of this entry »

Will You Be Ready for Retirement?

Darlene Finzer | October 10th, 2012

You may have heard the retirement terminology “three-legged stool” used to describe the three most common sources of retirement income: Social Security, employer sponsored retirement plan and personal savings. Many factors affect the strength of each “leg,” so you must continually evaluate what changes you need to make to keep the stool strong and upright. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Stop School Credit Card Fraud?

Annie Yoder | October 9th, 2012

Is your school struggling with declining funding? If so, you’re probably worried about the top line. You’re closely watching what’s coming in. You’re exploring ways to generate revenue. But, you need to be equally worried about what’s going out.

Credit cards are one of the most common ways for funds to escape your district. This type of fraud is particularly destructive because it tends to be long-term, continuous and difficult to spot. Employee fraud is like a hole in a bucket – no matter how much water you add, slowly but surely, the water level keeps going down. However, if you understand where fraud may be taking place, you can take steps to deter it. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can Lease Holders Benefit from the Utica Shale Play?

Jim Fracker | October 5th, 2012

Much has been written about the Utica shale development phenomena since it first arrived on the scene in eastern Ohio. The topics of discussion are numerous and include tax planning and environmental impact, just to name a few.  But, for the most part, discussion of the Utica shale involves two main parties of interest:

  • Acquisition/exploration/production companies and supporting casts
  • Landowner/mineral interest entities (“lease holders”) Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Need to Send an Annual Notice to Your 401k Participants?

Paul McEwan | October 2nd, 2012

As we begin the last quarter of the year, if your company sponsors a calendar year 401k plan, don’t forget about participant notice requirements.  They must be furnished by December 1, 2012 and may impact the operation or qualification of your plan.  Here is a checklist that may be helpful, but check with us if you are not certain which of these requirements apply to your plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Should You Maximize Cash Flow or Minimize Income Taxes?

Matt Pottmeyer | September 27th, 2012

“Do I need to buy, and expense, equipment or a vehicle before the end you the year to save income tax?” Every CPA involved in business tax planning hears some variation of that question several times, on an annual basis. Our first question back to you is, “Do you need it?” Read the rest of this entry »

How Do Your Avoid IRS Penalties on Your IRA?

Wendy Shick | September 21st, 2012

With our government requiring more cash each year, there is growing sentiment is the financial community that the IRS is becoming more vigilant in obtaining all revenue available related to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). According to a recent article, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration estimates that the IRS failed to collect as much as $286 million of revenue in 2006 and 2007 alone. From a political aspect, it is easier to raise revenue by simply enforcing the existing rules, than it is to cut spending or pass a new tax increase. Read the rest of this entry »

You Got a Tax Notice… Now What?!

Lesley Mast | September 19th, 2012

You know the feeling well… you’re just going about your business, walking out to the mailbox to pick up the daily mail. For some reason, the pile feels a bit heavier today. And as you sort through the junk and the magazines and the bills, you find that you’ve received a little love note in the form of a tax notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). No wonder the mail is so heavy today… the IRS is looking for more of your well-earned money. Read the rest of this entry »

What Does the Medicate Surtax Mean for Employers?

Christopher Axene | September 14th, 2012

Even though the Supreme Court’s decision was a few months ago at this point, healthcare reform is still getting a lot of coverage in the media.  Individuals and business owners are still trying to get their hands around what it will mean for them and what they’ll have to do to comply with the new law.

Most discussions about how healthcare reform will impact taxes have centered on the so called “Individual Mandate.”  But, health care reform will lead to other tax changes, too.  One such tax chance is the addition of a .9% Medicare tax surcharge. Read the rest of this entry »

Is It Fair to Require Online Retailers to Collect and Remit State Sales Tax?

Chad Bice | September 12th, 2012

Recently we’ve been hearing calls for everyone to pay their fair share of taxes. One regular target: online retailers, who are being criticized for failing to collect and remit sales tax. But, like many questions of tax policy, this one is more complicated than headlines might lead you to believe. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Value Property for an Estate in Ohio?

Inez Bowie | September 5th, 2012

Recently, a reader shared with us that she inherited property in both Ohio and Florida. She had a pretty specific question related to the value of the Ohio property. That question made me think there may be more people who don’t know how to handle newly inherited property for estate tax purposes. Hence, I’m going to provide some general estate information I hope will help.

According to Ohio law, “the value of any property included in the gross estate shall be the price at which such property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”

Now, let me put that in simpler terms. If there is real estate in an estate, then you need to claim its fair value. That value is the amount the property would sell for assuming both the buyer and seller know about the property and neither was pressured to either buy or sell. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Protect the Value of Your Business?

Tim McDaniel | August 31st, 2012

One of the most basic individual investment principals is the concept of diversification. As an investor, diversification can protect you from a large drop in your portfolio due to the poor performance of any one investment.

If you own a business, the business value is most likely more than half of their entire net worth.  You cannot simply call your investment advisor and quickly sell a part of your business to diversify.  It is possible to sell a partial interest in a business, but this is not available to all business owners and requires significant amount of planning.

So, what can you do to protect your net worth from dropping from a large decrease in the value of your business?  Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve Received Fee Disclosures, Now What?

Darlene Finzer | August 23rd, 2012

It’s Your Turn to Disclose Fees to Participants

Did you suffer from sticker shock when you received the recent fee disclosures from your service providers? If so, you weren’t the only plan fiduciary to be surprised, even though it’s your job to know the ins and outs of your pension plan.

Now, by August 30, you have to disclose that fee information to your plan participants. How do you think they will react? It is possible they aren’t going to like the news. Worse yet, they may be confused as to why they are suddenly paying new fees when the reality is they have always paid them. Being upfront about plan costs, and plan benefits, can help you make it through this new disclosure requirement. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Build a Strong Not-for-Profit Board?

Mark Van Benschoten | August 22nd, 2012

Not-for-profit organizations need strong active engaged boards for long term success. Success can be defined as continually achieving/reaching the potential of the organization. Success can also be defined as continued existence and continuing to providing services. All things change; economy, funding, services needed, staffing, technology – it is reasonable to expect and/or demand that boards also change. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Qualify for Tax Credits and Incentives?

Chad Bice | August 8th, 2012

Don’t Leave Money on the Table

If your business is thinking of hiring or training employees or investing in fixed assets, you might qualify for a tax credit.  But, tax credits need to be considered up front.  Once you miss the boat on applying for them, it’s too late, even if you would have been a perfect candidate.

Securing these types of credits and incentives can dramatically improve your return on investment. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Know The True Cost of The Products You Produce?

Gene Spittle | August 3rd, 2012

After the ups and downs of the last few years, we should all know that, when it comes to the economy, anything is possible.  Some businesses vanished during this downturn, others survived – and some actually flourished!  Those that survived and those that flourished had one thing that others did not: an understanding of their product cost. While many of our clients are seeing their sales volumes return to pre-2008 levels, I wonder how many of them truly know what it costs to produce their products. Read the rest of this entry »

Insurance Company Rebates

Paul McEwan | August 1st, 2012

Why They’re Coming and What To Do with Them

Not sure why you got a check in the mail from your insurance company? No, they’re not dropping your coverage. They’re crediting you back for what they overcharged your participants in 2011. Why? Because of health care reform.

Since the Supreme Court decided on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we told you about how it might mean additional taxes and regulations for your business. But, the ACA isn’t all bad news for small business owners. In fact, it could get you a check from your insurance company! Read the rest of this entry »

A Use Tax Audit Could Cost You Big

Chad Bice | July 27th, 2012

The State of Ohio is looking for additional tax dollars, and they’re not going to give you the benefit of the doubt if your business is audited for use tax. But you may be able to avoid a use tax audit if you qualify for a one-time opportunity to enter into the State of Ohio’s amnesty program. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Need to Report Health Care Benefits on W-2s?

Christopher Axene | July 26th, 2012

“Obama Care is terrible!”  “Health care reform is great!”  Depending on your political stripes, you may have differing views on the Affordable Care Act.  Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, health care reform will impact your business in the years to come.  Read the rest of this entry »

Now is the Time to Gift to Your Family

David Shallenberger | July 19th, 2012

Expiring Provisions Will Cost you Big

There is a gentleman I know who started a successful business and has become a wealthy man. He always tells me that he wants to provide for  his children and grandchildren – however, he needs to wait to make sure his wife will have the money the need to live comfortably for the foreseeable future. It’s something he adds to his to-do list for the fantasy “next year.”

It’s respectable that he’s worried about the economy, and the impact it may have on his personal lifestyle. However, Uncle Sam is taking the luxury of waiting away from many people. If you’ve ever considered making a gift, there may not ever be a more opportune time. Read the rest of this entry »

How Could Ohio Medicaid Expansion Impact Your Business?

Joe Popp | July 11th, 2012

Recently, we told you about some of the immediate tax consequences that you, as a business owner, can expect because of the Supreme Court’s decision on health care reform.  If you read How Does the Health Care Reform Decision Impact Your Business, you know that your healthcare costs and Medicare taxes are likely go up.  But, did you know that you might need to pay more for Medicaid, too? Read the rest of this entry »

Is Now the Time to Gift a Business Interest?

Tim McDaniel | July 10th, 2012

2012 Gift Tax Exemptions and Business Planning

As you go about your day-to-day work within your business, you might not be thinking about what will happen when it’s time for you to leave the company. However, recent changes in the gift tax laws have created a window of opportunity that could allow you to transfer more of your business interests for less tax liability than at any other time in history. Read the rest of this entry »

Fraud Prevention Through Risk Assessment

Annie Yoder | July 5th, 2012

All too often, school clients come to us asking about fraud detection. But, needing fraud detection implies that there’s fraud to detect. Clients should really be asking us about fraud prevention. A proactive approach to fraud prevention, rather than a reactive approach to fraud, helps schools to stop fraud in its tracks.

One of the most important parts of fraud prevention is risk assessment. Determining your organization’s high risk areas will allow you to focus your efforts on the areas where they’ll be most effective – giving you the best bang for your buck. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Can You Get Cash for Your Business?

Brad Martyn | July 2nd, 2012

All businesses need cash to operate. Without it, you can’t repay expenses let along find new ways to grow your business. But where can you go to find that needed cash? There are only three options: an investor, a bank or within your business. Read the rest of this entry »

How Does the Health Care Reform Decision Impact Your Business?

Joe Popp | June 29th, 2012

By now you’ve probably seen the headlines that the Supreme Court announced its decision on health care reform and are wondering what it all means. What parts of the laws have been upheld? As a business owner, what will you need to do to comply with them?

In general, all of the tax provisions in the health care reform laws have been defended and will continue to be phased in over the next two years. Here’s what you need to know about what that means for you and your business. Read the rest of this entry »

What do InvestOhio Changes Mean for You?

Joe Popp | June 28th, 2012

If you’re a tax payer who’s invested in a small business through the InvestOhio program, or if you’re a business owner who’s received a credited investment, you could find yourself impacted by new program changes or fees. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Have Ohio Use Tax Exposure?

Joe Popp | June 26th, 2012

Commonly Overlooked Ohio Use Tax Liabilities

For the last year, we’ve been telling you about the State of Ohio’s efforts to step up enforcement of its use tax law. Use tax can be thought of as a companion tax to sales tax. In many cases, if you didn’t pay Ohio sales tax, chances are you will owe Ohio use tax. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Manage Your Non-Profit’s Investments?

Mark Van Benschoten | June 22nd, 2012

Ten Tips to Help Your Organization Protect Its Investments

A nonprofit organization’s investments can be its lifeblood, allowing the group to maintain services or supplement its day-to-day income. Or investments can provide the insurance that an organization has long-term financial security. However your group uses investment income, it’s important to take steps to protect it. Read the rest of this entry »

What is a Roth 401(k)?

Darlene Finzer | June 21st, 2012

Understanding Employee Benefit Plan Types

In 2001, a new retirement plan option was created.  Although this option, known as a Roth 401(k), has been around for a few years now, there’s still some confusion about how it works and what makes it different from a traditional 401(k).  As a plan sponsor, you need to understand the Roth 401 (k) and its benefits so that you can be sure that you’re offering the right retirement planoptions to your employees. Read the rest of this entry »

What is the 990 Form?

Maribeth Wright | June 18th, 2012

Understanding Tax-Exempt Reporting

The IRS Form 990 is an annual reporting return that certain federally tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS. It provides information on the filing organization’s mission, programs, and finances.

Form 990 has been around for more than 50 years. The first 990 was filed for tax years ending in 1941. This comparatively simple two-page form included only three yes/no questions, an income statement, and a balance sheet (although some line items required attached schedules). For example, individuals paid a salary of $4,000 or more were required to be listed on a schedule showing their name, address and amount paid. Similarly, contributions exceeding $4,000 received from any one person were required to be itemized. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Understand the New ERISA Fee Disclosures?

Darlene Finzer | June 13th, 2012

408(b)(2) Regulations Help Meet Fiduciary Responsibilities

Are you wondering why there is so much buzz these days about ERISA Section 408(b)(2) fee disclosures? After all, your service provider tells you what you pay for the services provided, right? Maybe.

Service provider pricing and compensation can be structured many different ways, so it may prove difficult for you, a responsible plan fiduciary (RPF), to evaluate plan fees. The Department of Labor (DOL) recognizes this and, in  408(b)(2) regulations, is mandating what information is to be disclosed to help you assess the reasonableness of fees paid for by the plan. The regulations also aim to help identify conflicts of interest that may impact a service provider’s performance. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Protect Your Non-profit’s Donations from Fraud?

Mark Van Benschoten | June 12th, 2012

In recent years, there’s been a lot of media coverage about corporate fraud. We hear about bankers embezzling millions or CEOs with hidden accounts. But, all fraud isn’t on such a large scale. Sometimes it’s a matter of a $25 check here and $50 in cash there. From a fraudster’s perspective, non-profits’ donations (especially small amounts) are often ripe for the picking. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Need a CFO?

Dave Cain | June 8th, 2012

Outsourced CFO Services Support Small Businesses

Do you ever feel like you can’t seem to get your arms around costs? If so, you could probably benefit from the skills of a CFO. The following are other signs that you may need a CFO:

  • You regularly bounce checks.
  • You don’t have immediate access to financial information when your banker asks for it.
  • Your budget and forecasting is lacking.
  • As an owner, you have your hands in too many things to focus properly on your finances.
  • You can’t answer the question, “How much money did you make yesterday?”

Most small business owners face at least one of these issues; however, they don’t have the need or resources for a full-time CFO. These owners often rely on a controller, bookkeeper or office manager to manage the internal accounting function.

Sound familiar? If so, you need to recognize that even though these people can do an excellent job for you, a CFO can bring additional skills to the table. You’ll probably wonder how you ever got by without this kind of person. Read the rest of this entry »

Healthcare Reform and W-2 Reporting

Joe Popp | June 6th, 2012

Healthcare Reform’s Impact on Employers

The Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform) put into law a number of provisions which impact employers. These provisions are being rolled out slowly over the next few years. One provision that’s new for 2012, regarding W-2 reporting of health insurance costs, applies only to large employers. As this provision is likely to get a lot of attention in 2012, it’s important to know, up front, if your business is required to comply. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Benchmarking Uncover Money Hiding in Your Retirement Plan?

Paul McEwan | June 5th, 2012

Benchmarking may result in potential savings

Could you use an extra $26,000 a year? A plumbing company realized that savings after discovering it was overpaying recordkeeping and investment fees in its retirement plan.

By benchmarking the plan, this company saw how the fees compared to plans of a similar size across the country. This provided the plan sponsor with solid data to discuss fees with current providers.

While there are plans out there where reasonable fees are being paid, that’s not the case in every situation. From a law firm that saved $46,000 in investment fees to an administrative services firm that reduced its annual recordkeeping fees by $50,000, some plan sponsors have found that their plan fees are not in-line with similar plans. Read the rest of this entry »

Where does Fraud Happen?

Annie Yoder | May 31st, 2012

When we speak to clients about fraud prevention, they’re often overwhelmed. They often think they can’t possibly be watching every part of their operations all the time. Fraud doesn’t occur equally in all parts of an organization’s operation and is often committed in the same ways: false invoicing, fake vendors and inappropriate employee expense reimbursements. By watching for easy-to-spot signs in each of these areas, organizations can go a long way towards preventing fraud. Read the rest of this entry »

What Does a CFO Do?

Brad Martyn | May 25th, 2012

A CFO, or chief financial officer, is the financial head of an organization. Usually reporting directly to the CEO, or chief executive officer, a CFO is responsible for keeping an organization financially healthy.

CFOs work in businesses, not-for-profit organizations and even some government entities. They are responsible for the finances, but what all does that entail? A CFO has four “COAR” areas of responsibility:

Cash Flow
Operations
Accounting
Revenue Read the rest of this entry »

Are Tax Credits Available for Hiring Veterans?

Chad Bice | May 25th, 2012

Memorial Day is a great time to think about our veterans and what we can do to show our thanks for all that they’ve done for our country. One way to show your thanks: hire a veteran. All too often, our men and women returning from active duty come home to a weak economy and limited job prospects. But, as an employer, you have the unique ability to help ease their transition to civilian life – by giving them a job and a chance.

Hiring a veteran can be good for the veteran, the community and your business. The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 provides work opportunity tax credits to businesses that hire certain veterans. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you heard the Good News?

Kent Beachy | May 18th, 2012

The Economic Recovery has hit the Construction Industry.

While every industry has suffered during the Great Recession, the construction trade has been particularly hard hit.  As tight government budgets were hampering major infrastructure projects, the foreclosure crisis was impacting new home construction – talk about a double whammy!

But, there’s good news for the construction industry: home prices and construction are beginning to turn around! Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Your “Get Out of Business” Plan?

Tim McDaniel | May 18th, 2012

You’ve worked hard to build your business and probably can’t imagine a time when it won’t be a major part of your life.  But, someday, you’ll approach retirement and you’ll want to spend more time enjoying your life and less time balancing your books.

Maybe you’ll want to leave your business to your daughter.  Maybe you’ll want to sell it and cash out.  Either way, business transition doesn’t just happen.  It isn’t serendipitous.  You need a “get out of business” or succession plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Need a Business Prenup?

Tim McDaniel | May 15th, 2012

About 25 percent of businesses fail within the first year, according to Small Business Trends.  Only 44 percent survive for four years.  What if your business doesn’t make it?

If you don’t have a buy-sell agreement, things could get hairy. Or if you developed one in haste and never update it, the buy-out probably won’t be fair to all parties. The hassles from litigation that result from faulty buy-sell agreements could last for years and negatively impact your business. Read the rest of this entry »

How many kinds of tax amnesty does Ohio have?

Joe Popp | May 11th, 2012
A lot of people call our office looking for information about Ohio tax amnesty.  When we ask them which one they mean, they say, “You mean there’s more than one?!”

Actually, there are two types of Ohio tax amnesty running right now:

How Do You Get Your Social Security Statement?

Wendy Shick | May 10th, 2012

If you’re not yet nearing retirement age, Social Security probably means two things to you: the amount of money that disappears from your pay checks and the annual statements that you get in the mail. If you’ve ever taken the time to read these statements, you’ve probably learned some neat things about your finances – like your lifelong earning history and the amount of Social Security benefits that you’d receive if you were to need them right now. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you identify potential fraudsters?

Annie Yoder | May 7th, 2012

As auditors, we often hear about fraud after the fact. We’re asked to investigate what went wrong and how it happened. Organizations should not wait until after the fact to identify fraud. Through risk assessment and management processes, organizations can identify potential fraud and act to prevent it. Read the rest of this entry »

When Does Ohio General Tax Amnesty Start?

Joe Popp | May 1st, 2012

Ohio’s newest tax amnesty program, General Tax Amnesty, starts today.  General Tax Amnesty gives taxpayers amnesty for previously underreported or unreported taxes (but it is not available for reported but unpaid taxes).    General Tax Amnesty is available for most, but not all, types of Ohio taxes.  A list of the types of taxes which qualify for amnesty can be found in my previous blog post about the topic. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You File for Ohio General Tax Amnesty?

Joe Popp | April 30th, 2012

Ohio’s General Tax Amnesty program kicks off tomorrow, but a lot of individuals and businesses don’t know how to participate in it.  That’s a shame, because it’s been 3 years since the last general amnesty for businesses and 6 years since the last amnesty for individual taxpayers. Read the rest of this entry »

Could Ohio Use Tax Amnesty expose vendors who aren’t charging sales tax?

Joe Popp | April 27th, 2012

Over the last year, you’ve heard a lot about Ohio’s Use Tax Education program, which has since become the Use Tax Amnesty program.  Use tax is tax that is owed on goods and purchases for which sales tax should have been charged, but wasn’t.  It’s a great program, assisting Ohio taxpayers in getting current with their Ohio use tax liabilities and waiving penalties and interest.  Ohio’s got another tax amnesty program, General Tax Amnesty (which includes sales tax) starting this week – which makes this a good time to mention a darker side to the Use Tax Amnesty program and how it could impact vendors. Read the rest of this entry »

What are the 12 qualities you want from your accountant?

Lee Beall | April 26th, 2012

When you’re looking to hire an accountant, what qualities should you consider? Sure there’s technical acumen, but that’s a given. What other qualities are important in developing a long-term business relationship? Read the rest of this entry »

How do you stay financially healthy?

Alan Hill | April 20th, 2012

As a doctor, you know that prevention is the best medicine.  You encourage your patients to eat their greens, to exercise, and to make healthy decisions.  Physical health is important; but so is another kind of health.  As a CPA, I help physicians to stay financially healthy.  While there’s no “apple a day” to keep the IRS away, there are some preventative steps that you can take to maximize your financial well-being. Read the rest of this entry »

Did a not-profit’s tax return compromise your identity?

Maribeth Wright | April 19th, 2012

A new study by Identity Finder shows that 18% of non-profit organizations have published social security numbers on their Form 990 tax returns.

But, we all put our social security numbers on our tax returns.  So, what’s the big deal?  Unlike personal income tax returns, 990s are available to the public.  They’re regularly published by the IRS and shared with various grant-making organizations and the public.  Non-profits use 990s for a lot more than just filing taxes – often they submit copies of 990s with grant applications and make them available to donors.  A 990 can tell you a lot about the financial health of an organization; they’re considered the industry standard financial snapshot for non-profit organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you create a succession plan?

Tim McDaniel | April 18th, 2012

One measure of great business leaders is that their businesses continue to thrive once they leave their positions.  Visionary leaders captain the ship today while making plans for someone else to take the helm tomorrow.  Proactive succession planning allows businesses to continue their smooth sailing long after the captain abandons ship. Read the rest of this entry »

What if you can’t pay your taxes?

Chad Bice | April 13th, 2012

The April 17th tax deadline is looming closer and you know that you’ve got to get your payment in soon.  But, what if you don’t have the cash on hand?  Don’t panic, there are ways to file your taxes and avoid penalties – even if you can’t pay everything that you owe right away. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you manage your personal cash flow?

Dave Cain | April 12th, 2012

There’s no such thing as a free lunch… but a little planning ahead can make it a lot cheaper.

Let’s say you go out for lunch, on average, twice a week. At $8 per meal, you’ll spend more than $800 in one year on those lunches. And if you add in a weekly dinner out ($20), you’ll spend upwards $1,800 per year in restaurants. These little indulgences – fast food here, a sit down dinner there – add up and wreak havoc on your checkbook – and possibly your credit. Read the rest of this entry »

Is tax amnesty just for use tax?

Joe Popp | April 5th, 2012

Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty Program has been big news.  We’ve been happy to help businesses across Ohio take advantage of the Use Tax Amnesty Program, perhaps the most business-friendly tax program in Ohio’s history.  Businesses have been able to take care of outstanding use tax liabilities, open a use tax account, and start themselves off with a clean slate with the Ohio Department of Taxation. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you need to report large cash payments to the IRS?

Chad Bice | April 4th, 2012

$10,000 in cash is the same as a $10,000 check, right?  Not from the perspective of the IRS.  If your business receives $10,000 in cash from a single transaction (or multiple related transactions), you’re required to report it to the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »

Did you send a wedding announcement to Social Security?

Lesley Mast | April 3rd, 2012

When you’re newly married, there’s so much to think about.  Did you remember to thank Aunt Joan for that silver tray?  Did you remember to have your mail forwarded to your new address?  One thing that may not make the list: Did you remember to notify the Social Security Administration of your name change? Read the rest of this entry »

What does the new ERISA regulation mean for plan sponsors?

Paul McEwan | March 30th, 2012

If your company sponsors a 401k plan, a new ERISA regulation could mean extra paperwork… and potentially extra liability. Read the rest of this entry »

Are you having trouble staying current with payroll taxes?

Mark Fearon | March 27th, 2012

Do you process your own payroll? If so, do you ever find it challenging to stay current on the filing and payment of your payroll taxes? If so you are not alone. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office estimated that 1.6 million businesses are behind on paying their payroll taxes. It estimates that collectively, these businesses owe approximately $58 billion in payroll taxes.  And, the recession may have made those delinquent tax numbers even worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Ohio Use Tax Amnesty just for companies?

Joe Popp | March 26th, 2012

Everyone’s heard of sales tax.  That extra 7-ish percent that you pay on all of your purchases that goes to the State of Ohio.  But many consumers haven’t heard of use tax.  An accompaniment to sales tax, use tax is a tax on the goods and services that you should have had to pay sales tax on, but didn’t.  Confused? Read the rest of this entry »

How do you increase cash flow?

Dave Cain | March 21st, 2012

Contrary to popular opinion, profits are not the pulse of business. You can’t spend profits. Most companies go out of business because they lack quality cash flow — not because they lack profits or assets. Read the rest of this entry »

What red flags might get you audited?

Chad Bice | March 21st, 2012

The IRS may audit only 1 percent of all tax returns annually, but if you’re one of the unlucky few, you may be wondering “Why me?” Since the agency doesn’t have enough personnel to closely review each and every tax return they receive, they rely very heavily on their computer systems flag items of “interest”.. Here are six of most common “red flags” that may impact a business owner filing a personal return. Read the rest of this entry »

How can you protect yourself from tax fraud?

Wendy Shick | March 16th, 2012

Tax identity theft is an increasingly enormous problem. The IRS has been bombarding us with warnings of identity theft and scams this tax season.

Here’s a summary of some of the latest information you should know. Read the rest of this entry »

How can you protect your family business?

Tom Jeffries | March 13th, 2012

Did you know that research shows that young men and women today will likely have more spouses than children? Unfortunately, that could have a huge impact on your family business. Read the rest of this entry »

How do you participate in Ohio’s use tax amnesty program?

Chad Bice | March 9th, 2012

The requirements for participating in the State of Ohio’s use tax amnesty program’s payment program just got a little easier. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you have to file taxes for your dependent children?

Wendy Shick | March 6th, 2012

A question we hear quite often during tax season relates to when it is necessary to file a tax return for a dependent child. Some people think that money held in an account intended for college education is exempt from taxation. That is not the case, unless the account is an Education IRA or Section 529 plan. If the investments are held in a custodial account or held in the child’s individual name, the child is deemed the owner and the income is attributable to him/her. Read the rest of this entry »

How can your accountant help your business get the necessary financing?

Chad Bice | March 6th, 2012

Your accountant can help your business get financing in a number of ways.

Preparing documents. Lenders want to receive financial information in a specific format, and also want year-end and interim financial statements on a timely basis. Your accountant can help. Read the rest of this entry »

Should your not-for-profit complete online charity registration?

Mark Van Benschoten | March 2nd, 2012

If you are a not-for-profit organization with a fiscal year ending on or after Nov. 30, 2011, listen up – you will be required by the Ohio Attorney General to make online filing of charity registrations. Read the rest of this entry »

How can you get Akron tax amnesty?

Joe Popp | March 1st, 2012

If you’re an Akron business that collected income taxes from your employees but didn’t pay them to the city, the city is going to come after you if you don’t step forward. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can You Track Use Tax in QuickBooks?

Clay Rose | February 29th, 2012

Now that you have filed for use tax amnesty and are all set up with an account, how are you going to track it daily going forward? If you use QuickBooks, the answer is as simple as 1-2-3. Read the rest of this entry »

If Something Happens to You, What Will Happen to Your Finances?

Clay Rose | February 24th, 2012

One day, I received a call from a client whose husband had been hospitalized for a couple of weeks.  He had mentioned that he thought a tax payment was due that day.  She did not know how to make that payment, or if it needed to be paid.  We worked things through, but learned a valuable lesson: she realized she doesn’t know much about the family finances. Read the rest of this entry »

Is the Price Right?

Chris Roush | February 23rd, 2012

Could you be charging more for your products or services? Every smart business owner is continually analyzing people costs and product and market profitability.  Read the rest of this entry »

How do you follow IRS regulations when gifting a business interest?

Tim McDaniel | February 17th, 2012

Lately we’ve been surprised by how many people are thinking about filing a gift tax return without a business valuation. We’ve had a few conversations with people who are under the impression that they don’t need to attach a valuation of their business interest to the gift tax return.

Before you file your return without a valuatio Read the rest of this entry »

When Can You Expect to Receive Your Tax Refund?

Chad Bice | February 16th, 2012

If you’re expecting a federal tax refund this year, it could be delayed. The agency reports that new anti-fraud measures could slow the refund process by approximately one week. Read the rest of this entry »

Did You Discuss Finances Before Saying “I Do?”

Inez Bowie | February 14th, 2012

It may not be the most romantic Valentine’s Day conversation, but financial planning is an important part of starting your marriage on solid financial footing. After all, married couples fight over personal finances more than they fight over anything else. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Farm a Hobby or a Business?

Maribeth Wright | February 10th, 2012

Farming is a pleasure activity for some individuals, and for others, it’s how they support themselves. If you farm for profit, how do you prove it to the IRS? Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Ready for Tax Time? Have More Than a Shoe Box

Clay Rose | February 8th, 2012

So it’s tax time. While that thought might conjure up images of lots of receipts in a shoe box, you don’t want to be that person. With a little preparation, you can help make your visit to your accounting professional less expensive and more enjoyable. Here are a few tips to help you prepare. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Buy-Sell Agreement Up-to-Date?

Tim McDaniel | February 6th, 2012

When two or more people want to co-own a business, the buy-sell agreement should be one of the first documents that is created. The buy-sell agreement determines what will happen if a co-owner wants to leave the business, retire, sell shares to someone else, dies or goes through a divorce. Read the rest of this entry »

Could Your Not-for-Profit Organization’s Website have Tax Implications?

Maribeth Wright | February 1st, 2012

Anyone can access your organization’s website – even the IRS. Not only can anyone easily find it through an Internet search, it is now prominently displayed on the first page of your Form 990. As the IRS begins to scrutinize tax-exempt organizations more closely, it is likely examine your organization’s Web advertising and merchandising. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Have a Business Pre-nup?

Tim McDaniel | January 30th, 2012

No one enters a relationship wanting to get jilted. It’s true whether you’re entering a business together or a marriage together – and the consequences can be even more painful if you’re doing both at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

Does New 1099 Reporting Affect You?

Tiffany Crawford | January 25th, 2012

If your business has paid at least $600 in professional services or other payments in 2011, you may be subject to a new 1099 reporting requirement as you begin to file your 2011 taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling Your Business? Moving Out of State Won’t Save Taxes

Chad Bice | January 20th, 2012

If you’re considering selling your closely-held business, moving out of state may have crossed your mind as a way to avoid paying Ohio personal income tax on your gains. You might be surprised to learn that simply residing outside the State of Ohio won’t protect you from paying Ohio personal income tax on gains from selling your debt or equity in your business. Read the rest of this entry »

Filing a 990? Some Tax-Exempt Groups Receive a Deadline Extension

Maribeth Wright | January 17th, 2012

The IRS recently announced an extension until March 30, 2012, for tax-exempt organizations that normally have a January or February return filing deadline. Read the rest of this entry »

Surpise! Your Business Might Owe Retroactive Federal Unemployment Taxes

Christopher Axene | January 11th, 2012

Employers may surprised to find that they owe more federal taxes on employee wages than they expected for 2011 and they could continue to pay more in 2012. Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are just a few of the 21 states that accepted a loan from the federal government for unemployment insurance that have outstanding balances on the loan – and as a result are collecting more federal unemployment taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking of Doing InvestOhio? Additional Guidance Released

Joe Popp | January 9th, 2012

Approximately 70 percent of the $100 million in tax credits remain available for Ohio’s InvestOhio nonrefundable tax credit program. Through InvestOhio, Ohio you can invest in qualifying Ohio small businesses as an individual taxpayer. Then, you can receive a credit for 10 percent of the amount invested against their personal Ohio income tax if they meet certain requirements. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Business in the Crosshairs? Ohio Commerce Div. Examines Taxpayers for Unclaimed Funds

Joe Popp | January 3rd, 2012

Businesses that owe customers funds and are unable to contact them can face substantial penalties from the Ohio Department of Commerce if they don’t properly report these accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking of Gifting Money to Relatives? Late 2011 and Early 2012 May Be Best Timing

Inez Bowie | December 28th, 2011

If you’ve been considering making a monetary gift to your children or other relatives, you may want to make your gift well before December 31. And better yet, if you haven’t made any previous gifts in 2011, you can gift up to $13,000 in 2011 and follow up with a gift of up to $13,000 in early 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Sooner Rather Than Later? Why You Should Do Ohio Use Tax Amnesty Now

Chad Bice | December 19th, 2011

For the past several months, we’ve told you about Ohio’s use tax amnesty program. You may have read that the program will continue through April 1, 2013. So why should you participate in the amnesty program now rather than later? Here are four reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Your Nonprofit Qualify for the Health Care Tax Credit?

Maribeth Wright | December 14th, 2011

Wouldn’t your not-for-profit organization love to find an additional $500 to $5000? Nonprofit groups are often surprised to find that they may qualify for the small business healthcare tax credit, which began in 2010. The credit, which applies to both for-profit and nonprofit entities, has already netted several of our clients between $500 and $5000 in refunds for the 2010 tax year. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Business Ready for a Year-End Check-Up?

Alan Hill | December 12th, 2011

2012 will be here before we know it. Now is the perfect time to bring all of your business advisors together for a year-end financial check up. Read the rest of this entry »

Is 2011 the Year to Give? IRA Contributions to Charity

Joe Popp | December 9th, 2011

If you’re thinking about donating a portion of your IRA to charity, you’ll receive a greater tax benefit if you do so before December 31. A popular provision is set to expire at the end of the year, and there is no guarantee the provision will appear in an extender bill in Congress anytime soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Got GAAP? Private Companies Asked to Comment on National Financial Reporting Standards

Chris Roush | December 6th, 2011

Private companies have a once in a lifetime opportunity to express their concerns to standards setters that private company financial reporting is far different from publicly traded ones – and as a result financial reporting standards should be created and governed by an independent private company board. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Ready for the Next Phase of InvestOhio?

Joe Popp | November 30th, 2011

Recently we’ve been telling you about Ohio’s new nonrefundable tax credit program called InvestOhio. Through it, Ohio taxpayers who invest in qualifying Ohio small businesses can qualify for a 10 percent credit against their personal Ohio income tax if they meet certain requirements. In less than two weeks, taxpayers can begin the second step in the application process for this tax credit. Read the rest of this entry »

Ready for a Walk Through Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty Process?

Chad Bice | November 28th, 2011

If you owe use tax, you currently have an opportunity to save thousands of dollars in use tax, interest and penalties thanks to Ohio’s use tax amnesty program. The program is one of the most taxpayer-friendly programs ever enacted by the State of Ohio. Read the rest of this entry »

Do you know the 2012 Retirement Limits?

Paul McEwan | November 23rd, 2011

Employees and individual retirement plan owners can contribute more toward their retirement benefits next year. Read the rest of this entry »

Need Help Understanding Employee Healthcare Benefit Reporting on W-2s?

Tiffany Crawford | November 22nd, 2011

The IRS recently held a webinar to explain its reporting requirements for healthcare coverage on employees’ W2’s for the 2011 tax year. We’ve provided a summary of the webinar below for those of you who missed it. Read the rest of this entry »

Guarantor Requirementsfor Ohio Use Tax Payment Plan Changed

Chad Bice | November 17th, 2011

The requirements for participating in the State of Ohio’s use tax amnesty program’s payment program just got a little easier. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Ready for the InvestOhio Tax Credit? Register for Tax Credit This Week

Joe Popp | November 15th, 2011

Ohio taxpayers who invest in a qualifying Ohio small business can qualify for a 10 percent credit against their Ohio income tax if they meet certain requirements  – and they can now apply for the credit. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Determined a Beneficiary for Your Retirement Plan?

Paul McEwan | November 11th, 2011

A single dad wanted to designate his two children as beneficiaries of his retirement benefits. He mailed his beneficiary designation form to his employer with a cover letter explaining his wishes. When he died, the benefits administrator noticed the designation form wasn’t signed. Should the plan assets pass to the estate or the children? Read the rest of this entry »

Investors: Have You Learned the Lessons of 2008?

Lee Beall | November 8th, 2011

What are the lessons investors and advisors have learned from the Great Recession? Investment Partners’ Doug Bambeck shares these four tips. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Secure? Cyber Security Targets Employee Benefit Accounts

Tom Jeffries | November 3rd, 2011

In July 2011, federal solutions group RSA’s Anti-Fraud Command Center detected more than 25,000 phishing attacks, the most recorded in a one-month period.  A part of the reason: Employees are increasingly being deceived into providing personal information through their employee benefit accounts. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Medical Concierge Fees Be Applied to Health Savings Accounts?

Alan Hill | November 1st, 2011

“Medical concierge” physician practices are growing in popularity with both physicians and patients. In this type of practice, patients pay a set fee that entitles them to much quicker access and more dedicated time with their physician as well as the opportunity to participate in additional diagnostics, wellness services and preventive care programs. Read the rest of this entry »

Going, Gone? Tax Provisions that Could End in 2012

Tiffany Crawford | October 24th, 2011

Late in the year last year, Congress extended several tax law provisions but only for a short period of time. Below are items that may expire at the end of this year if no action is taken by Congress. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Understand Michigan’s Business Tax Changes?

Tiffany Crawford | October 19th, 2011

We recently reported that Michigan is changing their tax structure effective January 1, 2012. In a nutshell, Michigan is replacing the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) with a Corporate Income Tax (CIT). Changes coming with the new CIT include a 6 percent tax imposed on C corporations only, making Michigan’s corporate income tax rate the lowest in the Midwest. Read the rest of this entry »

Will I Be Penalized for a Hardship 401K Withdrawl?

Paul McEwan | October 17th, 2011

A reader asked: I wanted to do a hardship with my 401k and was wondering if would be penalized 10 percent of the balance? I borrowed from my 401k and haven’t paid all of it back yet. Will I be able to do a hardship with remaining balance left? Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Taking Advantage of This Year’s Federal and State Hiring Tax Credits and Incentives?

Tiffany Crawford | October 11th, 2011

State and federal governments have made a number of tax incentives and credits available to employers in 2011 to help stimulate the stagnating economy. In many cases, your company may not see the tax benefit until it files its 2011 taxes, but this delayed benefit should not stop you from considering them. Read the rest of this entry »

Wrong Worker Classification? IRS Offers Voluntary Settlement

Christopher Axene | October 6th, 2011

Employers who have erroneously treated workers as nonemployees or independent contractors now have an opportunity to get into compliance with the IRS through a low-cost, voluntary reclassification program. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Received an IRS Notice? Nine Things to Know

Chad Bice | October 3rd, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons each year. Here are some things to know if you receive one. Read the rest of this entry »

So the Grass Wasn’t Greener? Time to Reverse Your Roth IRA Conversion

Tiffany Crawford | September 27th, 2011

If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA account last year, you may be facing an account that is worth much less than when you converted it. But you might also be facing a tax bill on value you no longer have. You do have an option, but only if you act quickly – reverse your 2010 Roth conversion.

If you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA last year, the transaction triggered a taxable distribution from the traditional IRA, followed by a contribution to your Roth account. That tax will be based on the value of the traditional IRA on its conversion date. That means if your account is worth less now, you will owe taxes on money that no longer exists.

How to Reverse Your Roth IRA

Thankfully, the Roth conversion regulations allowed for the ability to reverse the conversion – but only if you do so before October 17. This involves completing the proper paperwork with your IRA custodian or trustee. When properly filed, the IRS considers your account as being “recharacterized” from a Roth account back to traditional IRA status. It’s as if the conversion never happened, and your tax liability disappears.

You’ll need to amend your 2010 tax return to allow for the reversal, or adjust your 2010 return if you have filed for an extension. Your reversal of the Roth conversion this year will also trigger some additional documentation requirements for your 2011 tax return.

Reconverting to Roth

Now that you’ve lessened your tax liability on phantom income that vanished due to the market’s versatility, you might consider using the down market to your advantage. You can reconvert your now traditional IRA back to a Roth – and pay less tax on it than you would have paid last year. You must wait 30 days after the reversal to reconvert it. Reconverting your traditional IRA account to a Roth can make sense if you expect your assets to appreciate quickly.

Your tax professional can assist you in amending your 2010 tax return or adjusting your extended 2010 return. He or she can also walk you through the reporting process that will be required should you decide to reconvert your IRA.

Want to Lessen Chances of a DOL Inquiry? Ten Tips

Paul McEwan | September 21st, 2011

The Department of Labor (DOL) enforces fiduciary, reporting and disclosure requirements for employee benefit plans. The agency is recruiting more investigators, so DOL investigations will be on the rise. Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama’s Jobs Bill: How Would It Impact Your Business?

Christopher Axene | September 19th, 2011

Last week, President Obama outlined the American Jobs Act, his jobs creation bill, which he will soon send to Congress. The bill includes a number of tax components which could impact your business, if the legislation passes Congress. Among them: Read the rest of this entry »

Raising Funds for Booster Club? The Rules are Tricky

Mark Van Benschoten | September 13th, 2011

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning to booster clubs that conduct fundraisers that they may be subject to IRS scrutiny, including jeopardizing the groups’ 501(c(3) status. An IRS directive addresses the possible tax consequences for booster clubs that reduce the amount a participant is required to pay based on the amount of fundraising the individual has done. Read the rest of this entry »

How Can I Apply for Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty Program?

Chad Bice | September 6th, 2011

By now you may have heard that the Ohio Department of Taxation has changed the process for businesses and individuals to voluntarily come forward to declare use tax they owe. A voluntary disclosure program that started earlier this year was suspended when the Ohio legislature approved a new Use Tax Amnesty Program as part of the biennial budget bill. Read the rest of this entry »

What to Do? Uncertainty Continues to Make Tax Planning Difficult

Christopher Axene | September 2nd, 2011

Ohio business and individual taxpayers, as well as their tax professionals, faced a great amount of uncertainty in 2010 as they waited to see what tax rules would apply to them for 2011 and 2012, until the 2010 Tax Relief Act was signed into law in December. Now, the recently approved debt ceiling legislation averted another immediate crisis, but continued this guessing game as Americans wait to see if comprehensive tax reform will be accomplished. Read the rest of this entry »

Understand Ohio’s New Use Tax Amnesty Program?

Chad Bice | August 31st, 2011

A new use tax amnesty program in Ohio will provide businesses with a one-time opportunity to save thousands of dollars in use tax, interest and penalties. This program was established by the Ohio legislature as part of Ohio’s biennial budget bill that passed in early July 2011.  Ohio’s amnesty program is one of the most taxpayer-friendly programs ever enacted by the State of Ohio. Read the rest of this entry »

Have Offshore Income? Time is Running Out for Voluntary Disclosure

Chad Bice | August 26th, 2011

If you have undisclosed income through offshore accounts, time is running out to voluntarily disclose it and bring your taxes current. The IRS is winding down a voluntary disclosure program that began February 8 and will end on August 31. Read the rest of this entry »

Heard about Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty Program? Learn More at Our Webinar

Chad Bice | August 23rd, 2011

Rea & Associates, Inc. will host a webinar detailing Ohio’s use tax amnesty program on Thursday, September 8. The webinar will provide details on what the amnesty program does, how it will work and what steps businesses should take to participate.

What is the Ohio Use Tax Amnesty Program?

The Ohio legislature established Ohio’s use tax amnesty program as part of Ohio’s biennial budget bill that passed in early July 2011. It is an improved version of the voluntary disclosure agreement program (VDA) that has existed for some time. Among other things, the new law eliminates several years of unpaid use tax liabilities for over 300,000 Ohio businesses, by:

  • Shortening the statute of limitations
  • Shortening the look-back period for amnesty participants
  • Abating all penalties and interest for amnesty participants
  • Providing a payment plan for those who cannot pay the entire use tax due

We will provide details about what to do if your business enrolled in the use tax voluntary disclosure program earlier this year. The VDA program is still open for taxpayers who don’t qualify for amnesty. However, guidance from Ohio indicates that all taxpayers qualifying for the amnesty program will need to use this new amnesty program, even if they have a VDA in process.

Ohio’s use tax amnesty program will operate October 1, 2011 through May 1, 2013, and applies to businesses that have not been issued a formal assessment as of early July 2011. We’ll walk webinar participants through Ohio’s use tax amnesty enrollment process step-by-step.

The new amnesty program will provide Ohio businesses with a one-time opportunity to save thousands of dollars in use tax, interest and penalties. It is one of the most taxpayer-friendly programs ever enacted by the State of Ohio. As our government looks for additional revenue, it’s certainly possible that this program could change or be eliminated at a later date – so be sure to take advantage of it now while it is in effect.

To learn more or register for the webinar, click here.

Contact Our Ohio Use Tax Professionals

If you are unsure what to do regarding the Ohio Use Tax Amnesty Program, then contact us now! For additional information please contact Chad Bice, CPA at  740.454.3198, or click here to contact Chad. In a brief consultation he can assess your situation and determine the best way to proceed.

Waiting on the Airline Refund? Now It’s Not on the Way

Christopher Axene | August 11th, 2011

So much for the airline tax refund you may have been expecting.

If you traveled by air and purchased a plane ticket on or before July 22, 2011, for a trip leaving July 23 or later, you may have heard that you may be eligible for a refund on the air transportation excise tax you paid. Recent legislation means there will not be a refund. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Eligible for an Airline Tax Refund?

Christopher Axene | August 10th, 2011

If you traveled by air and purchased a plane ticket on or before July 22, 2011, for a trip leaving July 23 or later, you may be entitled to a refund on the air transportation excise tax you paid. Read the rest of this entry »

Starting a Business? Tips to Managing Your Credit

Chris Roush | August 8th, 2011

Developing a credit record for your business that is separate from your personal credit record is important as your business grows. It can lead to lower rates on loans and leases as well as protect your personal credit record. The Better Business Bureau offers these tips to establishing business credit. Read the rest of this entry »

Less Ohio Tax Centers, No Tax Booklets, But Still Many Resources

Tiffany Crawford | August 3rd, 2011

With more Ohio taxpayers now filing state returns electronically, the Ohio Department of Taxation has closed seven regional taxpayer centers and will no longer mail its income tax booklets to taxpayers. Read the rest of this entry »

Investing in a Small Business? Get InvestOhio Tax Credit

Tiffany Crawford | July 29th, 2011

Ohio taxpayers and pass-through entities can now receive a non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying investments to acquire an equity interest in a small business through a program called InvestOhio. Investors may claim up to $1 million ($2 million for married taxpayers filing jointly) through the new tax credit every two years. Any unused portion of the credit can be carried forward seven years. Read the rest of this entry »

What Kind of Fiduciary Are You?

Lee Beall | July 25th, 2011

Over the years, I’ve worked with many clients who served as fiduciaries for their company’s retirement plan. It’s a serious position. When you serve as a fiduciary, the position comes with responsibility outlined by ERISA, including keeping track of reasonable fees, completing and following an investment policy and providing guidance to participants. Unfortunately, plan fiduciaries who do not fulfill their duties can be found liable by the Department of Labor, and participants have also successfully sued fiduciaries in civil actions. Read the rest of this entry »

Want Some Good Business News? BWC Base Rates Reduced 4 Percent

Mark Fearon | July 22nd, 2011

The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation’s board of directors recently approved a four percent reduction in workers’ compensation base rates for private employers. The new rate became effective July 1, and will result in a collective cut in premiums of around $65 million for Ohio businesses. The new rates will be reflected in the next BWC payroll report. Read the rest of this entry »

Confused About Ohio’s New Use Tax Amnesty?

Chad Bice | July 19th, 2011

As we’ve mentioned over the past several weeks, Ohio businesses have a one-time opportunity to save thousands of dollars in use tax, interest and penalties thanks to a new use tax amnesty program. This program was recently established by the Ohio legislature as part of Ohio’s biennial budget bill that passed in early July 2011.  Ohio’s amnesty program is one of the most taxpayer-friendly programs ever enacted by the State of Ohio. Read the rest of this entry »

Want some good news? Ohio tops in manufacturing, logistics

Gene Spittle | July 15th, 2011

According to a report by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research, Ohio is one of only two states in the country to earn an A in manufacturing and logistics. And the Center predicts manufacturing to hit all-time highs in 2011 and 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Want a More Efficient 401K Audit? Here’s How

Tom Jeffries | July 12th, 2011

Employee benefit plan audits are deadline-driven, and can require plenty of documentation and interaction with your auditor. Delays could mean fees and/or penalties –as well as higher audit fees than originally estimated. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Group Still Exempt? 11,000 Ohio NFPs Lose Tax-Exempt Status

Mark Van Benschoten | July 8th, 2011

The IRS recently announced that nearly 11,000 Ohio not-for-profit organizations lost their tax-exempt status. Why? They failed to file an annual informational return for three consecutive years. Read the rest of this entry »

Ohio’s Use Tax Amnesty Program

Chad Bice | July 6th, 2011
Your Ohio business has a one-time opportunity to lessen your use tax liability due to a use tax amnesty measure recently passed as part of Ohio’s budget bill. It’s one of the most taxpayer-friendly laws the State of Ohio has ever enacted. Read the rest of this entry »

A One-Time Opportunity? Proposed Ohio Use Tax Amnesty Program Explained

Chad Bice | June 28th, 2011
Ohio businesses may have a one-time opportunity to lessen their use tax liability due to a use tax amnesty measure in Ohio’s current budget bill. If passed, the law could be one of the most taxpayer-friendly laws ever enacted by the State of Ohio.

Note: Ohio has established its tax amnesty program since this post was originally created. Please click here for the most recent information. Read the rest of this entry »

Higher Gas Prices Mean Higher Business Mileage Deduction

Joe Popp | June 24th, 2011

In a nod to higher gas prices, the IRS has increased the business mileage rate deduction to 55.5 cents per mile.   The new rate becomes effective July 1 and raises the rate 4.5 cents.   The deduction for medical and moving expenses also increases 4.5 cents to 23.5 cents per mile.  Read the rest of this entry »

Determining a Retirement Beneficiary? It Isn’t Always Simple

Paul McEwan | June 20th, 2011

A single dad wanted to designate his two children as beneficiaries of his retirement benefits. He mailed his beneficiary designation form to his employer with a cover letter explaining his wishes. When he later died, the benefits administrator noticed the designation form wasn’t signed. Should the plan assets pass to the estate or the children? Read the rest of this entry »

Balloon Mortgage Payment Coming Due for Your Business? Consider SBA Commercial Mortgage Refi

Mark Fearon | June 17th, 2011

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is accepting currently accepting applications for a commercial mortgage refinancing program that was created as part of the Small Business Jobs Act. Read the rest of this entry »

Live or Do Business in Michigan? Tax Amnesty Ends Soon

Joe Popp | June 13th, 2011

The Michigan Department of Treasury is providing an opportunity for delinquent taxpayers to pay their taxes while avoiding penalty charges and criminal prosecution, but time is running out to participate in the program. Read the rest of this entry »

Ohio Use Tax Audits Find Big Liabilities from Small Items

Chad Bice | June 10th, 2011

Note: Ohio has established a tax amnesty program since this post was originally created. Please click here for the most recent information.

Keeping meticulous records has never been more important than it is today. With today’s governmental agencies looking for additional dollars, they’re not going to give you the benefit of the doubt should your business be audited for use tax. Consider these two recent cases: Read the rest of this entry »

Employees on the Fence? Ten Reasons to Join Your Ohio 401(k)

Paul McEwan | June 7th, 2011

In spite of recent history in the stock market, when you compare 401(k) plans to other savings plans available to employees, the 401(k) plan has many positive points. Here are ten reasons your employees should participate. Read the rest of this entry »

Want to Look Back in Time? See an 1864 Tax Return

Joe Popp | June 3rd, 2011

Recently blogger Paul Caron, a professor of law at Cincinnati College of Law, shared an IRS tax form from 1864. The form was two pages, and 10 questions. As our country considers ways to simplify our current tax laws, it may make sense to look at where and how our tax laws began nearly 150 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Live or Do Business in Michigan? Your Tax Laws Are Changing!

Tiffany Crawford | June 1st, 2011

In late May, the Michigan legislature voted to make dramatic changes to Michigan’s corporate and individual income tax laws. The measure repeals the Michigan Business Tax and eliminates numerous individual income tax credits, deductions and exemptions as well as changes future income tax rates. Read the rest of this entry »

Do You Owe Use Tax? See These Commonly Taxed Items

Chad Bice | May 27th, 2011

Use tax is one of those taxes that can sneak up on your business. And unfortunately, the State of Ohio has begun efforts to increase its education and enforcement of use tax. The Ohio Department of Taxation has already identified 380,000 businesses that do not have use tax accounts, and will soon be sending notices to bring them into compliance.

Note: Ohio has established a tax amnesty program since this post was originally created. Please click here for the most recent information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Saving for College? Use Sallie Mae’s New Mobile App

Paul McEwan | May 23rd, 2011

If you’re saving money for college through a tax-deferred 529 plan (or you know someone who is), a new mobile app from Sallie Mae could help you add even more to the till. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Celebrating National Small Business Week?

Mark Fearon | May 18th, 2011

May 16-20 is National Small Business Week, and several organizations are providing materials, events and other tools to help small businesses. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You a Manufacturer? Purchase Now For More Tax Benefit

Kyle Stemple | May 17th, 2011

If you purchase equipment in 2011, you can take advantage of greater depreciation bonus expensing, but you have to plan ahead. Here are some considerations. Read the rest of this entry »

What If Will and Kate Married in the US? Financial Advice for Newlyweds

Lesley Mast | May 13th, 2011

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge settle into married life, they may manage many of the same financial issues that any other newlyweds face with a new union. So, what if William and Kate got married in the United States instead? What financial advice might they receive that soon-to-be brides and grooms might also heed? Read the rest of this entry »

Overwithheld FICA taxes in 2011? Here’s how to fix it

Chad Bice | May 5th, 2011

What is the proper procedure for those who over-withheld Social Security taxes early on in 2011, but failed to make the proper adjustment prior to the March 31 filing deadline? How should the first quarter 2011 Form 941 be filed?  Should adjustments be made as soon as possible?  I am unable to find any help on the government sites. Read the rest of this entry »

Are you following fiduciary best practices?

Paul McEwan | May 3rd, 2011

If you operate a retirement plan, you’re probably well aware that your position as a fiduciary is facing increasing scrutiny – and increasing liability and risk. In addition to increasing rules from the Department of Labor, recent lawsuits and settlements have highlighted the “significant potential liability for breach of fiduciary duty.” Read the rest of this entry »

Didn’t File Your Taxes or Can’t Pay Them Now? Here’s What To Do

Joe Popp | April 29th, 2011

The federal tax deadline has come and gone. What if you haven’t filed your taxes? Read the rest of this entry »