Posts by Joe Popp, JD, LLM:
- Keeping your computer secure
- Avoiding phishing emails and malware
- Protecting your personal information on and offline
- The actual name, title and contact information of somebody in the company
- A request to provide sensitive information, including:
- Keep your computer secure
- Avoid phishing email and malware
- Protect your personal information
It’s unfortunate that identity theft and refund fraud have become commonplace in our society, especially during tax season. On the other hand, it’s reassuring to see our government agencies stepping up to protect taxpayers from this threat.
In Ohio, the Identification Confirmation Quiz has been especially successful. Last year, the quiz helped prevent an estimated $259.1 million from going to fraudsters. At a federal level, during the 2013 filing season, the IRS launched a number of counter attacks to prevent around $24.2 billion from being claimed as the result of bogus income tax returns.
Even though identity theft and refund fraud show no signs of slowing down, in addition to the state-wide and federal efforts to protect taxpayers, there are ways you can help protect yourself. During tax season, take care when choosing your tax preparer. It’s important to be sure that they take their responsibility to safeguard your information very seriously. And, all year long, take common-sense precautionary measures that include:
Few things are worse than suspecting, and then confirming, that you have had your identity stolen. Recovering from such a violation can be overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. Your tax preparer can help you along the way. Email Rea & Associates to learn more.
This article was originally published in the March 2016 edition of Consult The Expert column published in Columbus Business First.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to learn more about the refund fraud epidemic? These articles will help.
Over the last few years, the threat of refund fraud and identity theft has become a very real concern, and criminals have proven that they will go to great lengths to get the information they need to complete their scams. This recent phishing scam is no exception.
Criminals Phish HR, Payroll Departments
The IRS recently alerted payroll and human resources professionals of an “emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees.” The scam has already claimed several victims.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said that this particular tactic appears to be “a new twist on an old scheme.” These cyber criminals are using the cover of tax season to trick people into sharing confidential data.
“If your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond,” said Koskinen. “Everyone has a responsibility to remain diligent about confirming the identity of people requesting personal information about employees.”
According to the IRS, a criminal investigation is already in place and several cases in which people have been tricked into sharing social security numbers and other sensitive information with criminals are being reviewed. Officials report that criminals regularly use the stolen personal information to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.
Remind Employees To Remain Alert
To avoid becoming a victim of this particular scam, encourage your employees to pay close attention to emails that contain the following information:
o Oftentimes, criminals will use the name of the company’s CEO to enhance the message’s legitimacy.
o The names of employees along with their Social Security Numbers, date of birth, address, and/or salary
o A PDF of an individual’s 2015 W-2 or an earnings summary of all the company’s W-2s.
Other Scams Abound For Businesses, Individuals
Unfortunately, businesses appear to have seen an increase of cyber attacks – especially over the last year. Last June, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, the FBI and the United States Secret Service issued a fraud alert in response to a scam dubbed the “Business Email Compromise,” in which fraudsters compromise “legitimate business email accounts for the purpose of conducting an unauthorized wire transfer.”
Also, in response to a nearly 400 percent increase in phishing and malware incidents so far during this tax season, the IRS also renewed its wider consumer alert for email schemes. These emails are designed by scammers to trick taxpayers into believing they are being sent directly from the IRS, other tax industry professionals and/or software companies.
The best thing to remember when it comes to protecting your business, and yourself, from becoming a victim of fraud is that if something seems a little out of the ordinary, it’s worth checking it out before you act.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to take steps to ensure that you won’t be a fraud victim this year? These articles feature information that can help.
Thinking the provisions outlined in the Affordable Care Act doesn’t apply to your business because you are “under the threshold of 50 employees” is a very dangerous assumption to make.
It’s likely that you’ve heard much ado about the significant changes (and the penalties associated with these changes) large employers – those with more than 50 full-time-employees – are expected to make, but small employers are not immune to the ACA. In fact, the legislation also outlines changes that are mandatory of “any” employer.
The “any” employer changes I have found typically aren’t considered a problem for larger employers because they aren’t likely to have the conditions that result in issues with these specific changes. Companies with fewer than 50 full-time employees, on the other hand, are at great risk.
Why small business owners should be aware of “any” employer changes
It’s typical for small business owners to think they don’t have to worry about the changes that resulted from the ACA. Oftentimes, they will point to their smaller size as justification. The only thing that does is leave them vulnerable to the penalties associated with noncompliance.
Listen to episode 5 of unsuitable on Rea Radio to learn more
about ACA changes small business owners should be aware of.
The “any’ employer changes impacting small businesses are potentially even more costly than the penalties faced by the “larger” employers. In fact, you could be looking at a max penalty of $36,500 per employee, per year. In contrast, the max penalty on the “large” employer is only $2,000 per full-time employee, per year.
If you own a business with around 30-50 staff members and you are thinking about dealing with the new health insurance mandates on your own, take a minute to consider whether it’s really worth the risk. I recommend seeking another opinion. So many people, including you and your family, depend on the general well-being of your business. You can protect this valuable asset by being sure about whether or not you comply with these costly ACA provisions.
Email Rea & Associates to connect with an ACA expert today.
By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Need to learn more about the ACA? These articles will point you in the right direction:
Income tax identity theft and refund fraud has become a huge problem over the last few years; and while billions of dollars are finding their way into the pockets of fraudsters, the IRS is working hard to shut down these schemes.
The IRS paid roughly $5.8 billion dollars in fraudulent refunds to identity thieves over the course of the 2013 filing season. While that is a huge number, it could have been a lot worse. During the same time period, the amount the IRS successfully prevented or recovered totaled around $24.2 billion. But these statistics only take into consideration the fraud we know about.
Identity theft isn’t just a threat during tax season, scammers are exploiting a lot of cracks in your armor. Listen to episode 12: the great data saver on unsuitable on Rea Radio for insight from Joe Welker, CISA, Rea’s IT Audit Manager
The Unknown Number
While it is nice to know that the IRS is working hard to prevent identity theft and refund fraud, the truth is that we don’t yet have all the information to determine how bad the income tax fraud epidemic really is. This means that we continue to be at risk of becoming a fraud victim again this tax season. Perhaps if we knew how many fraudulent tax returns went on to be processed and how many billions of dollars were paid out to scammers looking to make a quick buck we could finally make some educated assumptions about the likelihood of being defrauded out of your refund check.
I don’t like not having all the necessary information.
This year, income tax fraud is expected to be higher than ever. This video, produced by abc6 out of Columbus, Ohio, shines more light on the topic of identity theft in Ohio.
Calling In Reinforcements
The IRS has realized that identity theft and refund fraud are threats that are showing no signs of going away. So the agency has requested help. The Internal Revenue Service, in cooperation with state tax administrators and tax industry leaders, has formed a public-private sector partnership to identify and test more than 20 new data elements on tax return submissions that will be shared with the IRS to detect and prevent fraudulent filings. The software industry is doing its part by putting enhanced identity validation requirements in place to protect customers and their personal information from identity thieves.
As of October 2015, 34 state departments of revenue and 20 tax industry members have signed memorandums of understanding regarding coalition’s roles, responsibilities and information sharing measures. More states are expected to sign on later.
Taxpayers Are Encouraged To Fight Back Against Fraud
Over the last 3 years, the IRS has initiated more than 3,000 fraud investigations. Those investigations have gone forward to convict and sentence close to 2,000 thieves to around 40 months in prison apiece. But there is still much to be done. They are doing their part. We as taxpayers have to do ours.
In January, the IRS launched the “Taxes. Security. Together.” initiative to educate taxpayers on income tax identity theft and ways they can safeguard their information and protect themselves. According to the agency, there are several ways you can protect yourself from identity theft – especially during tax season:
Above all, choose your tax preparer wisely and make sure they take their responsibility to safeguard your information very seriously. A tax preparer can also help if you do encounter a situation in which your information could be compromised.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to take steps to ensure that you won’t be a fraud victim this year? These articles feature information that can help.
It’s getting expensive to not have health insurance and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people out there who are not prepared to pay the $700 flat fee for 2016 (or 2.5 percent of your income if greater). The break even is $28,000 income for single, so a great majority of people will likely pay the higher fee based on percentage of income.
If you don’t have insurance, or if you know somebody who has neglected to purchase insurance, time’s running out. The deadline to enroll on healthcare.gov is Jan. 31.
Just look at how much penalties have increased over the years!
2014, 2015 and 2016 Annual Payment Amounts
|Year 2014||Year 2015||Year 2016|
1% of income
|2% of income
above filing threshold*
|2.5% of income
above filing threshold*
Flat dollar amount**
|$95 per adult
$47.50 per child
|$325 per adult
$162.50 per child
$695 per adult
Employees: Do you know how the new IRS Form 1095-C filing requirements impact you? Click here to find out.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to learn more about your healthcare options? Check out these articles:
While some taxpayers may be rejoicing after learning that the IRS has delayed 1095-C reporting deadline, it’s important to remember that this late Christmas gift may not be as great as it seems – especially when it comes to meeting the deadline to file your individual tax return.
Read Also: Make BIG Changes Or Face BIG Fines
1095-C Reporting Deadline Postponed
As you may already know, failure to comply with provisions set forth in the Affordable Care Act can lead to catastrophic penalties, which is why we have actively sought to inform business owners of their responsibility to file Form 1095-C. Unfortunately, we knew that while we could successfully inform many businesses in advance of the original Jan. 31 deadline – some were going to be left behind. Time, it seemed, just wasn’t on our side. But the IRS saw this threat and, as 2015 came to a close, took action to delay the 1095-C reporting deadline – (hopefully) keeping many small businesses in tact.
Employers now have until March 31 to provide employees with Form 1095-C and the deadline to file the form electronically with the IRS was moved to June 30. The IRS also extended the deadlines for 1095-Bs to these new dates as well.
Remember, all 2014 large employers are required to file these forms, based on 2015 data. Per employee penalties will accrue for those who file late or fail to file. Some businesses may be considered large employers under the ACA, and not even know it; but there are ways to determine your employer status before it’s too late.
That Sounds Great, Except …
Now for the bad news – there will be some individual tax payers who may not get these forms to us until the first week of April. For most taxpayers, this will simply require some additional due diligence with no delay to filing their tax return. However, there will be some individuals who will likely have to file an extension if they do not get their forms in time. Don’t be afraid of tax extensions. As long as you work proactively with your tax advisor, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. In fact, filing a tax extension could be very helpful. Click here to get “The Truth About Tax Extensions”
You Do Not Have Permission To Do Nothing
You’ve been given extra time. Now let’s make the most of it. Rea & Associates is still accepting new clients for 1095-C Form preparation projects, And, as we have previously stated, the top payroll companies are already booked to capacity with wait lists growing by the day. If you haven’t started on this project yet and know that you should, take advantage of this delay and email me for help. My team here at Rea can also help you determine if your business is considered a large employer – which can keep you from being blindsided when the IRS determines that you do, indeed meet the large employer qualifications.
By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to learn more about your responsibilities under the ACA? These articles will provide you with more insight:
What do you know about the new Affordable Care Act’s filing requirements?
Well, if you are a large employer (an employer with 50 or more full-time employees or full time equivalent (FTE) employees), for example, you should be in the process of preparing your 1095-C forms to distribute to employees before the Jan. 31, 2016 deadline. But that’s not all …
I recently spoke with Gary Hunt, senior content editor for the Ohio Society of CPAs, about the “ACA’s latest hits” for an episode of OSCPA Spotlight video series. During this interview, I went into some more detail about the forms large employers are required to file per the ACA, specifically Form 1095-C.
So, if you want to know a little more, including who’s responsible for completing the forms and when they’re due, among other things, click on the video below or check it out on the OSCPA website.
You can also learn more about the services our team at Rea & Associates is offering large employers who are scrambling to meet the deadline – I mentioned this at the end of the segment – when you visit www.reacpa.com/affordable-care-act-consulting.
Don’t say we didn’t warn ya! Here are some more resources that shine light on the upcoming ACA filing requirements:
If you haven’t made arrangements to complete your company’s Form 1095-C yet, you can’t afford to put it off any longer.
What is Form 1095-C?
Think of the 1095-C like a W-2, but for health insurance instead of wages. It’s a mandatory form applicable large employers (ALEs) must complete. There are non-filing penalties that start small but could lead to larger penalties, such as the pay or play penalty ($2,000 per employee, per year).
Read Also: Make BIG Changes Or Face BIG Fines
Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to tell if your company is an Applicable Large Employer – other times, it’s not as clear. For example, you might have only a few full time employees but lots of part time employees. Every hour a part time worker works counts toward your large employer status. So, if you aren’t quite sure whether your business is actually required to file Form 1095-C, you need to work with an ACA expert immediately.
What Happens If I Don’t File?
The 1095-C is the form that tells the IRS if the employer should be penalized or not, whether the employee should be penalized or not, and if the employee or members of the employee’s family is eligible for premium subsidies. If you don’t file the form, how do you think the IRS will answer these questions? “Yes,” “Yes,” and “No” would be a good guess.
Both the employer and the employees have to do something to avoid being penalized – employer has to offer coverage and employee has to have coverage. If you don’t file, it is likely to cause trouble to both the employer and the employees – and you’ll end up having to file the forms anyway, in addition to the employer paying the late penalties and everyone having to deal with cleaning up all the notices from the IRS.
Am I Too Late?
Unfortunately, business owners nationwide are having problems finding a service provider who can help them locate the information needed to complete the form. Some payroll providers will offer their assistance, but they will likely require you to buy more services than you want or need to do it. Fortunately, you do have another option – Rea & Associates.
Ours is one of only a few firms offering stand-alone 1095-C service. Not only will our experts generate the 1095-C Forms you need, they will help you retrieve the data you already track and have access to or that you would have to retrieve from your service provider anyway.
But time is still of the essence. Don’t wait! Learn more about our Form 1095-C Preparation Services and then call me at 614.923.6577 to talk about your specific needs.
By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to learn more about your responsibility under the Affordable Care Act? Check out these articles:
Ohio Reports $2.8B In Unclaimed Funds
Businesses are required to report unclaimed funds to the state of Ohio every year. Oftentimes, these unclaimed funds could be in the form of uncashed checks, rent or utility deposits that were never deposited or savings accounts that may have been forgotten, for example.
Businesses are responsible for notifying account holders of their unclaimed funds by using the official Notice of Unclaimed Funds form (also known as the OUF-8), though it’s not uncommon for these notices to fall through the cracks.
In 2015, Ohio is reporting that there is $2.3 billion in unclaimed funds to be collected in 2015. So far this year, Ohioans have received $34.4 million with an average claim of $2,100. In 2015, Ohio citizens claimed about $76 million in unclaimed funds.
Not sure if you have a forgotten checking account? Or was there a deposit that never made it to the bank? Check to see if you can make a claim for some of these unclaimed dollars, visit the Department of Commerce website or call the state agency.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want to learn more about unclaimed funds? Check out these posts:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has put a lot of stress on business owners over the last couple years, and 2016 will be no exception. However, if you look closely, you might be able to uncover areas of opportunity. Here are three points all business owners should know to avoid penalties:
- Large employers (50+ full time employees) have to worry about large employer reporting and potential pay or play penalties (roughly $2,000 per employee annually).
- All employers need to avoid excise taxes for discrimination and violating the ACA’s “all or nothing” mandate. These are business busters – $100 per employee, per day for noncompliance – meaning you could owe the government as much as $36,500 per employee, per year! Excise taxes can be triggered by continuing to do things you’ve always done, such as offering reimbursement arrangements to your employees.
- Employers also have the opportunity to review their insurance options and compensation structure. SHOP, drop, roll (“traditional” insurance), self-insure, private exchange and models like reference-based pricing are all options to explore. Dropping insurance can often actually result in less expenses and improved benefits for the employers and employees alike. In some industries this can also be a deterrent to competing businesses that are trying to recruit your workforce.
Don’t wait any longer. Work with an ACA expert who can help you determine the best option for your business while helping you identify areas of opportunity and risk. To learn more, listen to our podcast, “Unsuitable on Rea Radio.” Episode 5, “Don’t Get Burned By Obamacare,” covers this topic in more detail. Check it out at www.reacpa.com/podcast.
This article was published in the November 6, 2015 issue of Columbus Business First – Ask The Expert.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Want more articles about Obamacare? Check these out:
This article was published in the July 2015 issue of Columbus Business First – Ask The Expert.
Identity theft and tax fraud are problems that show no signs of stopping. This year, in an attempt to provide an added layer of protection, taxpayers in Ohio had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Ohio Department of Taxation’s (ODT) newest fraud safety measure – the Identification Confirmation Quiz.
While you may have heard your friends and family comment (perhaps unfavorably) about this added step, government officials have said that the quiz helped thwart countless attempts to steal refund checks from Ohio taxpayers this year. During the 2014 tax season, fraudsters pocketed more than $250 million worth of taxpayer refunds, prompting the need for additional safety measures. Due to its success, the ODT expects the quiz to become a mainstay of your tax prep routine.
But just because tax season is over, doesn’t mean you should let your guard down – quite the contrary. When it comes to protecting your identity, you must remain vigilant. Whether you are aware of it or not, criminals are still looking for ways to steal your personal identification information for a myriad of uses.
Do you know what to do if your ID is compromised? Visit www.reacpa.com and click on the “Tools” button in the top navigation bar. From there, you can read our compilation piece How to Recover from Identity Theft & Refund Fraud for more insight and information that can help you recover from identity theft and tax fraud.
The United States Supreme Court upheld a key provision of the Affordable Care Act Thursday after the justices released its 6-3 ruling on King v. Burwell, which will leave the law in tact in its current form. The four-word statutory passage – “established by the State” – stood at the heart of the case and the nine justices set to deliberate the interpretation of these words.
If taken literally, they would have rendered Obamacare immobile in many states. However, the judges opted to look beyond these words and interpret them in light of the rest of the law – which left healthcare subsidies intact for individuals and families throughout the nation.
Read Also: Obamacare: Discrimination Is Not An Option
“This case is about whether the Act’s interlocking reforms apply equally in each State no matter who establishes the State’s Exchange,” according to the official Opinion of the Court, which points to the provision that allows the federal government to establish a state’s exchange if the state fails to establish its own.
After much deliberation, the court found that phrase in question should be interpreted in context. According to the court’s formal opinion, the law “allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that congress plainly meant to avoid.”
“We don’t look at four words, said Justice Elena Kagan. “We look at the whole text, the particular context” to gain “an understanding of the law as a whole.”
The Right Decision?
Was the decision of our nation’s highest court the right one? Well, as always, it depends who you’re asking.
Certainly, for those who will retain their health care as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, the outcome was optimal. But if you’re a business owner, you may not agree with the ruling.
What is clear is that (at least for now) Obamacare is here to stay. Business owners and professional service providers must continue to work to understand it and to identify the best way to work in tandem with its multitude of provisions.
To learn more about your responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act, email Rea & Associates.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Are You Prepared To Pay? Obamacare’s Shared Responsibility Provision
Health Insurance Options: Shop, Drop, or Self-Insure?
How Will ACA Federal Exchange Premiums Affect Ohio Small Businesses And Consumers?
If you aren’t already aware, Amazon is in the process of bringing three of its data centers and a distribution center to Ohio. And yes, the company’s decision to open up shop in the Buckeye State is expected to boost the state-wide economy and add about 1,000 jobs to the ranks. But what is generating the most excitement these days (at least throughout Ohio’s retail industry) is the company’s new responsibility to collect sales tax from our state’s shoppers.
Traditional retailers anticipate this move will effectively level the playing field, helping encourage the growth of the state’s locally-owned businesses. Amazon, however, appears to be unaffected by the possible repercussions of adding sales tax to customer’s invoices as its focus seems to have shifted from a superior price point strategy to high efficiency and extra speedy service. [SPOILER ALERT: Drone delivery appears to be imminent!] According to reports, the online giant continues to move forward with initiatives that promise even speedier delivery – further cutting the time it takes for a product to hit the customer’s front porch after the order was placed. The company is also exploring ways to keep the cost associated with such speed minimal – information from the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals the company’s desire to “dominate the skies.”
Ohio-Based Amazon Shoppers Begin Paying Sales Tax
Paying taxes on your purchased items is not a new phenomenon. In fact, you’re probably not too shocked to see the roughly 7 percent (based on your county) charge permanently affixed to the bottom portion your receipts whenever your purchase a variety of products from a local brick-and-mortar shop. Until June 1 though, Ohio residents didn’t see this charge when purchasing products from Amazon, simply because the online retailer wasn’t required to make those living in the Buckeye State pay these taxes.
In Ohio, only vendors with a physical presence in the state, such as a storefront, warehouse, factory or call center, must charge sales tax to in-state customers. Otherwise, it’s up to individual taxpayers to report and pay the taxes when filing their annual tax returns, which is a relatively uncommon practice.
“The Ohio Department of Taxation has estimated that Ohio will lose out on about $400 million in unpaid sales or use tax on unpaid sales or use tax on so-called remote sales this year,” reported The Columbus Dispatch. “More than 5 million Ohioans filed tax returns for 2012. Of those, a little more than 50,000 paid a total of $3 million in taxes due on Internet or mail-order purchases. Retail groups and analysts welcomed the news that Amazon will start collecting taxes.”
Ohio Taxpayers Still On The Hook For Other Purchases
It may seem like it’s too soon to start thinking about your 2015 tax return, it’s actually a great time to start collecting information you will need to complete your paperwork early next year. For example, while you won’t need to collect your Amazon receipts anymore, you may have to keep tabs of your Etsy habit (for example) to help make calculating your 2015 use tax as simple as possible.
Email Rea & Associates to learn more about use tax.
By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
We find ourselves, once again, at the end of another income tax season. A time of year that many American taxpayers (and accountants) hold dear. We, however, know that while tax season may be “officially” over, there is still plenty of tax work to be done.
The first four months of the year is a busy time for accountants and, because we work closely with so many small businesses all year long, we are acutely aware of how much stress you are under to meet your first quarter obligations. This is why, instead of rushing just to get your taxes filed and out the door ahead of the April 15 deadline, we frequently recommend that our clients file for a tax extension.
Unfortunately, there are some pretty nasty rumors going around about tax extensions. Hopefully, I will be able to debunk some common tax extension myths while helping those who opted to extend their deadline sleep a little better tonight. Check out the slideshow and get the facts about tax extensions!
The Truth About Tax Extensions – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Filing a tax extension increases your chance of an audit.
First and foremost, your chance of being audited by the IRS does not increase simply because you chose to file a tax extension. In fact, in the event that you are chosen to undergo an audit, you will be able to go into the process with more confidence. Tax extensions can be great for businesses that were simply overwhelmed by other critical responsibilities during the first quarter of the year. When you give yourself the luxury of filing an extension, you give yourself more time to compile all the files and information necessary to make tax return prep as seamless and thorough as possible.
Tax extensions burden accountants.
On the contrary, fling an extension not only gives your accountant extra time to check and double check the work, it gives them the added time needed to provide better service. For example, we pride ourselves on our work ethic, attention to detail and client service – especially during busy season. However, as trusted financial advisors, we are able to better serve our clients better when we have a chance to help them understand the opportunities they qualify for and how they can use certain tax strategies to help plan for the future. Believe me when I tell you that we do not look at extensions as burdens.
There is nothing to gain by filing a tax extension; it’s just a way to prolong the inevitable.
Filing a tax extension not only gives you more time to file your return with the IRS and the state, it effectively stalls some of your other looming deadlines as well. For example, a tax extension can award you more time pay your profit sharing plan, defined benefit, or your SEP IRA as part of your retirement plan contribution, which is an excellent short- and long-term benefit! Once your extension has been filed, you will have more time to file your retirement plan contribution, all while claiming the deduction in your prior year’s return.
Email Rea & Associates to learn more about the benefits of filing income tax extension with the IRS and the state.
By Joe Popp, LD, LLM (Dublin office)
The IRS recently made the road on which business owners must travel to comply with final tangible property regulations a little less bumpy. Currently, most businesses that buy, depreciate, or repair property were required to file Form 3115 basically telling the IRS that the business had changed its accounting methods to comply with the new IRS rules and safe harbor, regardless of whether the change actually impacted their income.
Today, now that Revenue Procedure 2015-20 (15-20 relief) is in effect, small business taxpayers have the option of foregoing that extra paperwork. This relief removes the requirement to file a 3115 or statement with the tax return just to tell the IRS that you are making the changes. But, is that a good idea?
The main reason that you might still want to file a 3115 is if you have favorable tax adjustments from the past that you can harvest and take on your tax return this year. Filing the form is the only way to get at those. You also waive the audit protection for prior years that would be available with filing the 3115. But, you do get to save some money on tax prep fees and paperwork.
Here’s a brief “true-or-false” quiz to help you decide what to do. Of course you have to be eligible for the 15-20 relief, so the eligibility statements must be true. You should also consider filing a 3115 if you answer false to the later items.
- True or False? Your small business’s assets total no more than $10 million or, over the last three years, your gross receipts have totaled no more than $10 million. (only need one of these to be true).
- True or False? You will not file Form 3115 for any other business activity or any other change in accounting method for the year.
- True or False? You get no benefit (or you don’t care about the benefit) from harvesting favorable 481(a) adjustments as a result of partial dispositions made in previous years.
- True or False? You don’t care about prior year audit protection.
- True or False? You believe that adequate records will otherwise be maintained with regard to what you have done (and are going to do) to protect against an audit. For example, if you have chosen not to do repair X, Y and Z because of your obligation to list it on Form 3115, will you continue to maintain that information in the event an audit were to occur?
Better Safe Than Sorry
Because it’s the only way to harvest prior year benefits and because most taxpayers desire the audit protection on these issues for prior years, we will likely continue to file Form 3115 for many of our clients.
Email Rea & Associates to learn more about Revenue Procedure 2015-20 and to find out if the new simplified method of reporting property changes is right for you.
By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Suspecting, and then confirming, that you’ve had your identity stolen is a nightmarish scenario. It combines one of your worst fears, losing your wallet or purse, with all of the work of replacing the things that were lost. It can be so overwhelming you might be wondering: “Where do I even start?”
An increasing number of identity thefts are first identified when a thief attempts to file a tax return on your behalf and claim a federal or state tax refund. To help you navigate some of the issues you may be confronted with, we recently released a compilation of documents and resources.
The documents that are included are intended to help you navigate some of the issues you may be confronted with if you find that you’ve been an identity theft and fraudulent tax return victim.
Beat The Identity Thieves
The guidance includes a variety of valuable information for those who have been (or suspect they’ve been) a victim of identity theft and refund fraud. The following is a brief synopsis of information included in this guide.
The IRS has provided a short list of items for you to complete, which is substantially similar to the items the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) covered in its longer, checklist-style guidance.
- The primary item to complete for the IRS is Form 14039 which initiates the IRS fraud protection procedures.
- Also included is a form letter, one of several, the IRS may send to a taxpayer if tax return fraud is suspected to be occurring on the account.
- The IRS has published a number of articles related to identify theft and how to protect yourself. A master page with links to all these topics is included in this packet. You may also check out some of our recent articles on the topic, which can be found in the “Related Articles” portion of this post.
The process of reporting fraud in Ohio is similar to the IRS procedures.
- Ohio also sends form letters to the taxpayer.
- Ohio recently added an identity quiz for roughly 50 percent of taxpayers requesting a refund. This letter simply asks the taxpayer to complete a quiz specifically used to prove their identity. Note: This request doesn’t indicate that your identity has been stolen (unless you haven’t filed your tax return for the year yet).
- If the Ohio Department of Taxation suspects fraudulent activity on the account, the taxpayer will receive a second letter that will indicate these suspicions.
- Ohio includes an affidavit (Form IT TA) that must be filled out to initiate their protection procedures, similar to Federal.
The FTC is the primary federal government agency dealing with identity theft.
- The FTC has put together a very detailed, checklist to help you with the identity theft process. The guidance includes information on most forms of identity theft – of which tax identity theft is just one. While this may be more information than you need, if the fraud has gone beyond your tax returns and includes false credit activity (or you are concerned this may happen), this guide will be very useful for you.
- The guide includes a wealth of information, such as sample letters and a variety of websites and contact information to relevant organizations that can help you. It also guides you through the process of making a police report in response to the theft of your personal information.
- Note: The IRS and the FTC generally do not share data with each other. Therefore if you have completed the IRS identify theft notification procedures, don’t assume that the FTC, credit bureaus, etc., are also aware of your situation.
Check Your Mail, Not Your Caller ID
Remember, the first contact taxpayers will have with the IRS regarding any issue will be in the form of an official mailed letter – not a phone call. These scammers appear to be determined to steal your money and/or your identity and reports of these types of scams continue to be on the rise. By educating yourself, your friends and your family, you are taking a proactive stance against these criminals.
If you would like to learn more about how you can protect yourself against, and recover, from Identity Theft & Refund Fraud, click here to view our compilation of documents and resources. You may also email Rea & Associates for more information.
Did you get hit with the “shared responsibility payment” for not carrying health insurance on yourself or your family members in 2014? If so, you’re not alone.
Americans who were unaware of (or who simply didn’t understand) the fees they would be subjected to as a result of not carrying health insurance coverage may have been equally surprised to learn that the open enrollment period to obtain coverage for 2015 closed last month – meaning that even if they wanted to avoid the fees next year, they were out of luck. Fortunately, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) realized this dilemma and took steps to create a special enrollment period to allow individuals and families in this bind to secure 2015 health insurance coverage through the federal marketplace. This will be a big help to those who may have found out that they were eligible for premium subsidies to help pay for insurance – a little too late. The new open enrollment period is March 15, 2015, through April 30, 2015, and is only available for individuals and/or families that:
- Are not currently enrolled in federally-facilitated coverage for 2015,
- Had to pay an individual mandate on Form 1040 of their 2014 tax return, and
- Live in a state with a federally-facilitated exchange (Ohio residents qualify. Those who do not live in Ohio may click here for a full list of other qualified states).
According to CMS, eligible enrollees also must “attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.” “We recognize that this is the first tax filing season where consumers may have to pay a fee or claim an exemption for not having health insurance coverage,” sad CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a press release. “Our priority is to make sure consumers understand the new requirement to enroll in health coverage and to provide those who were not aware or did not understand the requirement with an opportunity to enroll in affordable coverage this year.” Note that even if you don’t qualify for this open enrollment, there are a number of qualifying events that let you sign up for coverage on the exchange any time of year. If you want to know whether you qualify for subsidies to help shoulder the burden of health insurance, click here. Or you can email Rea & Associates for any Affordable Care Act questions.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
If you are one of the millions of people who love to browse and buy online, it may shock you to learn that the Ohio Department of Taxation is looking at you to declare and pay a little more when you go to file your 2014 tax return. From gifts to grocery shopping, many of us use the ease of online shopping to snag a good deal and avoid the hassle of braving the brick-and-mortar shops – especially during the holidays, but sometimes that convenience might come at a price.
Were you charged sales tax for that pair of shoes you bought last October or those books you had shipped to your house in June? If the company you made purchases from doesn’t have facilities in the state or a law that requires it to collect sales taxes for your state, then it’s likely you owe use tax to Ohio – and you have to report your use tax on Line 19 of your Ohio Form IT 1040.
Use Tax Is Not A New Tax
Declaring and paying sales and use tax on your state tax return is not a new responsibility. The Ohio Department of Taxation states that “in transactions where sales tax was due but not collected by the vendor or seller, a use tax of equal amount is due from the consumer.” In Ohio, the use tax rate is the same as sales tax rate you would have paid if sales tax was correctly charged by the vendor. This is usually the place of purchase (or your home address for shipments from outside Ohio). You can read Ohio’s use tax law in its entirety here.
As a courtesy, Amazon provides a brief explanation of the consumer’s responsibility to pay use tax on its website. Because Amazon suspects its customers aren’t keeping a file of receipts, the online retailer provides customers with the option to create and download an Order History Report, which compiles your download, shipment, return and refund activity and can be used to help calculate use tax.
But your Amazon purchases aren’t the only ones to consider when you sit down to file your tax return this year. Other popular online retailers and groups, including Etsy, are also depending on their consumers to pay use taxes on the products they sell. So make sure you take a second look at that packing slip and receipt.
Little Box, Big Pause
While the responsibility of paying use tax isn’t new, this is the first year taxpayers in Ohio are required to certify their use tax claim before filing their return with the state. If you didn’t shop online or make a “sales tax-free” purchase, you should have nothing to worry about – simply check the box and continue on. On the other hand, if you did partake in online retail therapy in 2014 and don’t have your receipts handy, you may have to pause your tax preparation to give yourself a little more time to find out what you owe.
To find out more use tax, email Rea & Associates.
By Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Do you provide health care benefits to a few of your employees and not others? This is an eligibility and richness of benefits issue. You may find yourself at risk for eligibility discrimination if, for example, you offer coverage only to the owner and an employee or two and not to the rest of your team. You also run into problems if you are found to be discriminating in the benefits your company provides. An example could be if you offer your management group 100 percent of premiums paid by the company and only offer your staff 50 percent of premiums paid. This is not related to the 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) large employer status.
While it might be possible to set up a plan to comply with the tax non-discrimination rules where employees throughout the company are offered different benefits, you also have to navigate through federal and state insurance laws and other Department of Labor regulations – the short answer is just don’t do it! The penalty for non-compliance is $100 per failure per day.
Do You Qualify For The Self-Insured Health Deduction?
Are you seeking to claim the self-insured health deduction (SIHD) on your 1040? If so, one of the following statements must be true:
- You were self- employed and had a net profit for the year. (Profits should be reported on Schedule C, C-EZ or F).
- You were a partner with net earnings from self-employment.
- You received wages in 2014 from an S corporation in which you:
– Owned more than 2 percent of shares and
– Health insurance premiums paid or reimbursed by the S corporation are shown as wages on Form W-2.
Easy enough … until it isn’t.
S Corps: Catch 22
If you are basing your self-insured health deduction on only the S Corp eligibility criterion above, you have to be very careful to a.) not violate ACA non-discrimination and, b.) maintain your eligibility for the self-insured health deduction.
In order to get the self-insured health deduction, S Corp either needs to pay directly or reimburse the owner and include the amount on form W-2. Whichever of those two choices the S Corp makes, the S Corp is providing coverage to that owner. And, if you remember in the non-discrimination section above, ALL employees of the S Corp must receive the same benefit in order to comply with the non-discrimination rule. So by doing the actions required to get that owner eligibly for the self-insured health deduction, S Corp is covered by the ACA non-discrimination testing and it had better be sure to offer coverage to everybody.
And if you think you can just get around the rule by simply increasing wages in lieu of paying for or reimbursing shareholder’s premiums, you’re wrong. Doing this will put you at odds of the self-insured health deduction eligibility rules, making it impossible for your shareholders to claim the deduction.
Let this be your guide:
A shareholder of an S corporation (who doesn’t have a schedule C or one of the other SIHD criteria) will not be able to take the self-insured health deduction unless the S corporation is providing similar coverage to ALL other S corporation employees AND is including the amounts paid directly to the insurance provider or in payments reimbursed to the shareholder on Form W-2.
Remember, you do have options. A tax professional can help identify yours. Email Rea & Associates to learn more.
By Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
American businesses have been feeling the push and pull of Obamacare on their bottom lines for a while. Now, it’s time for individuals who chose to forego health insurance coverage to see what the individual shared responsibility provision has in store for them. If you did not have insurance coverage in 2014, you may need to send a little more money to the IRS when you go to file your 2014 federal tax return.
The individual shared responsibility provision became active in 2014 and, absent an exemption, requires individuals to pay a fee into the system if they choose not to carry health care insurance.
An exemption may be granted if:
- The minimum cost for your premiums totals over 8 percent of your household’s total income.
- You have had a gap in your health insurance coverage for less than three consecutive months.
- You have a hardship that prevented you from obtaining coverage.
- You are a member of certain religious groups (e.g. Amish) and you have Supplemental Security Income (SSI) exemption on file.
- There are several other criteria and fine print you can see here.
According to the IRS, your shared responsibility payment for 2014 will either be “the greater of one percent of the household’s income above the income filing threshold for your tax filing status, or a flat dollar amount of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child (under the age of 18) – but no more than $285 per family. The individual shared responsibility payment is also capped at the cost of the national average premium for bronze level health plans available through the health insurance marketplace that would cover everyone in your family who does not have minimum essential coverage and does not qualify for an exemption – for example, $12,240 for a family of five.” This fee will increase in future years.
As you prepare to file your 2014 federal tax return, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- You must make the IRS aware of whether your household had minimum essential coverage for each month in 2014. This can be done by checking a box identified on your tax return document.
- If your household qualified for an exemption in 2014, an additional form must be attached to your tax return, which will provide the IRS with the information needed to approve the exemption claim.
- Those required to make an individual shared responsibility payment, must make the payment when you submit your federal tax return to the IRS.
If you’re unsure whether you qualify for an exemption or need help calculating how much you will owe to the government when making your shared responsibility payment, email Rea & Associates. We can help you determine how the shared responsibility provision will affect you.
Author: Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin)
Interested in other Obamacare-related posts? Check these out:
Are you wondering what to do with all those tax documents and records you have piling up around your office or in your computer files? Are you thinking about wiping them from your company’s hard drive or sending them to the shredder? Not so fast. The IRS has several rules when it comes to how long your business should keep its records. Make sure you are up to date on the current records retention schedule before you permanently delete something important.
Generally speaking, records that support your income or deduction claims for tax return purposes should be kept until the period of limitations for a particular tax return expires. The “period of limitations” is defined as the period of time the IRS gives you to change information on your return, particularly when the information relates to a refund or credit you have claimed. Also, just because you aren’t planning to make any changes to your tax return doesn’t mean the IRS won’t. Therefore it’s in your best interest to keep your documents until the IRS can no longer assess additional taxes or request additional information from you.
Below is a quick reference guide pertaining to some common records your office has been collecting over the years and how long you should keep them.
Records You Should Keep Permanently:
- Copyright registration
- Correspondence (legal and important matters)
- Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale
- Depreciation schedules
- Financial statements (end-of-year)
- General and private ledgers (and end-of-year trial balances)
- Insurance records, current accident reports, claims, policies, etc.
- Minute books for director and stockholder (including bylaws and charter)
- Property appraisals by outside appraisers
- Retirement and pension records
- Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agent’s reports and other documents relating to determination of income tax, sales tax, or payroll tax liability
Records That Should Be Retained For At Least Seven Years:
- Accident reports and claims (settled cases)
- Accounts payable/receivable ledgers and schedules
- Expense analyses and expense distribution schedules
- Inventories of products, materials and supplies
- Plant cost ledgers
- Telephone logs/message books
- Time books/cards
- Withholding tax statements
- Employee payroll records (W-2, W-4, annual earnings, etc.)
Records That Can Be Destroyed After Three Years:
- Bank deposit slips
- Employment records
- General correspondence
- Internal work orders
- Production and sales reports
- Sales commission reports
If the records you are looking for aren’t listed above, you can find additional record retention recommendations in our current record retention schedule.
IMPORTANT: The actual amount of time you are required to keep a specific document may be longer depending on your business or what is contained in the document. If you have questions about specific documents or would like some advice on your current record retention practices, email Rea & Associates.
Author: Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
The State of Ohio announced that it will launch its third round of the Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program. As in previous years, the state has upped the ante.
This time around businesses will have a chance to claim a piece of $29.4 million, which will allow Ohio’s employers to enhance the skills of their workforce. That’s the good news. The bad news however, is that you have to be quick if your business has a desire to claim any portion of these funds. We expect all of the training dollars to be claimed within hours of the application going live at 10 a.m. on Sept. 30.
According to the state, the funds are to be made available on a first-come, first-served basis. Employers can apply for a credit that will reimburse them up to 50 percent of eligible training costs – which could mean the business could be reimbursed up to $4,000 per employee. Training performed between Aug. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2015, qualifies for the third round of the Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program – meaning that employers have the option to apply vouchers to training that has already taken place.
Similar to round two of the program, a pre-application process is available. The period to complete this process began Sept. 15, and will continue until the application officially goes live on Sept. 30. Pre-application allows employers to enter as much information and specific details as possible. Then, the minute the application goes live; all you need to do is log on to your account and submit it. Because we expect all funds to be accounted for within the first few hours of the application going live, we urge businesses to take time to complete the pre-application process as soon as possible.
What Is Considered Eligible Training?
- Classes at an accredited education institution
- Training that leads to an industry recognized certificate
- Training provided in conjunction with the purchase of a new piece of equipment
- Upgrading computer skills (e.g. Excel, Access)
- Training for the ICD-10-CM/PCS diagnostics classification system
- Training from national, regional or state trade associations that offers certified training
- Training for improved process efficiency (e.g. ISO-9000, Six Sigma, or Lean Manufacturing)
- HR Certification – limited to HR staff only
What Companies Can Apply?
For-profit entities located in Ohio and that operate in one of the following industries are eligible to apply for the Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program.
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Aerospace and Aviation
- Bio Health
- Financial Services
- Food Processing
- Information Technology and Services
- Polymers and Chemical
- Research and Development
- Companies with a Corporate Headquarters in Ohio (with limited availability of funds)
The Importance Of Pre-Application:
If your business wants to have a chance at claiming any of these dollars, it is imperative that you complete the pre-application. Your objective should be to simply log on to the page on Sept. 30 to formally submit your application. It is so important to carefully and completely fill out the pre-application form with as many specific details about the proposed training as possible. If you will apply, or think you may qualify and would like to apply, do your homework now.
If you would like help determining if your business is eligible for the program or if you want more information, email Rea & Associates.
Author: Joe Popp (Dublin office)
Countless small businesses soon may find that they have money coming back to them. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has decided to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that the BWC, over the course of many years, had a system of group rating in place that improperly overcharged many Ohio businesses. A lower trial court originally ruled in favor of the plaintiffs with possible damages exceeding $800 million. While the ruling was upheld on appeal, the appeals court sent the decision back to the initial court to better address the issue of damages.
Now the BWC has agreed to pay out $420 million to those affected by the state agency’s practice of overcharging for workers’ compensation premiums between the years of 2001 and 2008.
To fulfill its obligation under the settlement agreement, the BWC said it will create a fund that will be specifically used to pay: claims made by employers found to be participants in the class action lawsuit, attorney fees, court costs, and costs associated with administering the fund. According to the settlement agreement, any unclaimed money will be returned to the bureau.
Can You Make An Ohio BWC Claim?
In order to make a claim, you must have been a private, non-group rated employer at some point during 2001-2008 who:
- Subscribed to the state workers’ compensation fund
- Was not group-rated
- Reported payroll and paid premiums in a manual classification for which the non-group effective base rate was “inflated” due to application of the group experience rating plan
Employers who were non-group rated for at least one policy year between 2001 and 2008 are eligible to claim a portion of the settlement. Eligible employers should be receiving a notice that indicated their status as class members and how to make a claim. A website where claim information can be submitting is currently under development.
Class members are required to submit their claims to Judge Robert McGonagle of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Claims must be postmarked no later than Sept. 22, 2014. More information on this ruling can be found here. More details are coming, so stay tuned!
If you’re entitled to a portion of the BWC settlement, make sure you understand your rights and know how to follow the transaction process. If you’d like more information about how to claim what’s yours, email Rea & Associates and ask for information about this process.
Author: Joseph Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Stay up-to-date on other recent business advice blog posts. Check these out:
Obamacare is back in the news as a top story! Why? Because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that closely held, for-profit companies can claim religious exemption to avoid providing health insurance coverage for contraceptives.
An Obamacare provision stated that businesses with more than 50 employees must cover preventive care services, including birth control and morning-after pills to female employees. Today’s Supreme Court ruling provides relief for many U.S. for-profit companies by giving way to this religious exemption. Now companies that feel offering health insurance the covers contraceptives goes against their religious beliefs can opt out of providing this kind of coverage. Check out this New York Times article which provides a more in-depth look at the today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Of course, its too early to tell the practical impact of this decision – insurance companies are free to choose which kind of coverage is covered by their insurance plans, and the relative pricing of those plans, after all.
Do you feel like today’s Supreme Court ruling could impact your business and the health insurance coverage you offer to your employees? If it does, and you need help, contact Rea & Associates. Our health care reform tax experts can help you determine how it affects you and your business.
Author: Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Interested in other Obamacare-related blog posts? Check these out:
You may have heard some buzz lately about the Obama administration and/or the IRS barring employers from “dumping” employees onto the health care exchanges – with some truly severe cash penalties for doing so. But is this really “new” news? What exactly does this mean? It might surprise you to know that employee dumping is not all it seems.
A recent New York Times article explains that “employee dumping” is the practice where an employer drops health insurance coverage to its employees, the employees go to the health care exchange to buy insurance, and then the employer on a pre-tax basis reimburses its employees for their premiums. This “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too” approach (with various ways to accomplish it) was one of the leading responses to this legislation that Obamacare consultants developed. The administrating agencies (IRS, HHS, DOL) shut this option down when they issues guidance in September 2013. ANY attempt by an employer to pay an employee a pre-tax benefit for health insurance has since then been a very dangerous approach, although some exceptions exist (e.g. retirees only). This current “news” is simply a clarification that these things are indeed busted.
Can You Still Drop Health Care Insurance Coverage?
What if you want to drop your coverage, send employees to the exchange, and then increase their after-tax pay so that they can pay for exchange insurance? That’s OK, it doesn’t conflict with the rules. It’s only pre-tax benefits you should be concerned with.
What if you increase worker pay as I just described, and then the employee sinks that cash into an HSA that they get from a bank (for free)? That gets them a tax deduction (up to certain limits) … is that OK? Yes! Remember that what the IRS is looking to prevent is employers trying to give pre-tax benefits without offering insurance – that is the “evil” that these regulations are designed to combat. Once the employer pays taxable wages to an employee, the employee is free to use whatever means they have available to be tax efficient.
A Pit Trap For The Unwary
So is “employee dumping” limited to the situation where employers are trying to push tax-free cash to employees? Actually no, and this is why I refer to this as “a pit trap for the unwary.” Dumping also refers to the practice of employers encouraging workers with high medical bills to go to the exchange.
What exactly does this mean? Think of it this way … As an employer, you have an insurance plan that still takes into account the health and claims of your workforce (they still exist). If you can get an employee to the exchange that has $400,000 of medical costs a year, you could potentially save a large sum of money and your employee is not harmed because they can get quality coverage on the exchange for no more than a healthy individual can.
Some companies throw a cash kicker on top for the employee to voluntarily drop coverage (what’s an extra $10,000 in cash if you are saving $100,000+). Everybody wins, right? Well, not the Exchange. If it’s discovered that you – the employer – are doing this, there are administrative rules in place that can throw that cost back at you. Insurance companies have a duty to report suspected employee dumping, so be careful!
Have you considered “dumping” or are you unsure if you’re heading down this path? If so, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio tax professionals can help you determine what path is best for you to take, as well as help you stay in compliance with Obamacare rules and avoid any pitfalls along the way.
Author: Joe Popp, JD, LLM (Dublin office)
Interested in reading more on how Obamacare will impact you and your business? Check out these posts:
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 “
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 “
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 article. Read the rest of this entry “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
With the Affordable Care Act “pay or play” provision delayed, I don’t have to do anything before 2015, right? Wrong!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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
Actually, there are two types of Ohio tax amnesty running right now:
- Ohio General Tax Amnesty
- Ohio Consumer’s Use Tax Amnesty Read the rest of this entry “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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.
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
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 “
The federal tax deadline has come and gone. What if you haven’t filed your taxes? Read the rest of this entry “
When it comes to 1099 reporting rules, it’s out with the new and in with the old. Read the rest of this entry “
If your NCAA college basketball bracket brought you some winnings, remember that your earnings count as taxable income, and you’ll need to report it when you file your 2011 taxes. Read the rest of this entry “
If your company does its own payroll, make sure you have reimbursed any 2011 Social Security taxes that may have been overwithheld to your employees by March 31. Read the rest of this entry “
Governor Kasich recently signed into law House Bill 58. This new law updates the version of the Internal Revenue Code that Ohio uses to include the end-of-the-year changes that the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 made to federal law. Read the rest of this entry “
A business owner asks: If I have an LLC in Michigan but sell my product in North Carolina, do I have to file a tax return in North Carolina? If so, what type?
That’s a great question, in fact it touches on one of the questions in state and local taxation today – do I have nexus with a state and if so, what kind of return do I need to file there. Read the rest of this entry “
Taxpayers can now check the status of their IRS refund on their smart phone. The IRS has unveiled IRS2Go, a smart phone application, and also announced a news feed on the social media platform Twitter. The new communication channels are two of a growing list of ways the agency is working to communicate with taxpayers. Read the rest of this entry “
If your business files Ohio taxes, you’ll soon receive similar tax breaks to the recent federal tax code, according to Ohio Tax Commissioner, Richard Levin. Read the rest of this entry “
Single member limited liability companies and qualified subsidiaries may have a new filing requirement in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Treasury recently issued a notice to taxpayers stating that entities and persons disregarded for federal tax purposes are required to file a Michigan business tax return if they meeting the filing threshold. Read the rest of this entry “