Archive for May, 2010

Can Efficiency Help You Make Better Hiring Decisions in an Uncertain Economy?

Friday, May 28th, 2010

The recent economic downturn forced many companies to reduce their workforce to a level more commensurate to revenue. And now that a few “green shoots” of recovery are beginning to sprout, some of them are considering hiring more workers. However, they’re cautious, and not sure the current uptick will last beyond a few months. Is there another way to address your increasing work load? (more…)

Should I worry about Red Flag Rules?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

On June 1, the Federal Trade Commission begins enforcing “Red Flag” rules, which require businesses to implement anti-identity theft policies. Created through Fair and Accurate Credit Act of 2003, the regulations require businesses that extend credit to consumers to develop a written policy that identifies warning signs and suspicious activities (i.e., red flags) of possible identity theft, and tactics to address and prevent it. If your business defers payment for goods or services, you must follow the Red Flag rules. (more…)

If something happens to me, what will happen with my financial matters?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This past New Year’s Eve, I received a call from a client whose husband had been hospitalized for a couple of weeks.  He had mentioned to her 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 that day.  We worked things through, but a valuable lesson was learned that day that we are now following up on.  She realized she doesn’t know much about the family finances. (more…)

What does “good governance” mean for nonprofits?

Friday, May 21st, 2010

IRS auditors know what good governance practices are, and they’re not afraid to test them on your not-for-profit organization.

Tax-exempt organizations represent a significant and growing industry. There are more than 1.9 million exempt organizations, not including those with religious exempts, and more than 200 new applications are approved each day. With such large numbers, it’s not surprising the agency is placing increased focus on this area. (more…)

Is there a rural loan program for businesses?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Actually, yes, there is. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering guaranteed loans of up to 90 percent to businesses in communities with populations of less than 50,000 people. The loan program was created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but has not attracted as many takers as officials had hoped. (more…)

What’s wrong with loaning money to family and friends?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Dear Cousin Lauren is in a tough spot and she asked you for money. Again. Granted, she’s family and you want to help, but maybe she hasn’t made the best financial decisions in the past. What should you do?

It’s tempting to loan money to a friend or family member when times are tough. But whether Cousin Lauren asks you to float some cash “just this once,” or needs ongoing help that may impact your comprehensive estate plan, consider the following before you commit to an intra-family loan. (more…)

Should I Convert to a Roth IRA?

Friday, May 14th, 2010

We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA over the past several months, and you probably already know the decision has many considerations. Here are three more to consider: (more…)

How can the HIRE Act help my business?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

In March, President Barack Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act. The HIRE Act contains several tax items, the biggest of which is a payroll tax holiday for employers who hire qualifying workers – someone who has not worked more than 40 hours during the last 60 days. This employer benefit is for qualifying new employees hired after Feb. 3, 2010, and before Jan. 1, 2011, however, only wages paid after March 18, 2010 qualify for the payroll tax holiday. (more…)

Is now a good time to gift interest in my business?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

If you’ve been considering gifting interest in your family-owned business or real estate holdings, you’ll certainly get the most “bang for your buck” right now.

The Great Recession wreaked havoc on business values, making your business worth considerably less than it once was. In our recent business valuations, we’re finding business values far below what they were two or three years ago. This means you can pass more stock in your company now than you could in a healthier economy. (more…)

Can I take a loan against my company retirement plan?

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

The short answer is – it depends on your plan. Retirement plan participant loans are an optional feature of qualified plans.

The IRS and Department of Labor dictate the loan limits and manner by which retirement plan loans and repayments can be made. The plan must contain a written loan policy explaining the requirements and terms; loans must be available to all participants. Here’s a summary: (more…)

What should not-for-profit trustees know about the 990 Form?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

In recent years, the IRS has made several revisions to its Form 990, the tax return for tax-exempt organizations. These changes focus on obtaining additional information that help organizations become more transparent to both the IRS and the general public. However, these changes also mean increased responsibilities for the trustees of these organizations. (more…)

What are the new tax preparer requirements?

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The Internal Revenue Service has established new registration, competency and continuing education requirements for tax preparers who prepare returns for compensation. The new rules will not apply to the 2010 tax season, but are projected to begin with an online registration process on September 1, 2010.

We at Rea & Associates, Inc., applaud these new regulations that now encompass preparers who were previously unregulated. As certified public accountants, we have been governed by ethics, continuing education and professional standards for many years. We welcome the additional accountability and professional standards for these tax preparers. (more…)