Archive for August, 2015

Don’t Like Your Retirement Plan Design?

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Time’s Running Out to Establish, Alter Your Plan

Time's Running Out to Establish, Alter Your Retirement Plan Design - Rea & Associates - Ohio CPA Firm

If you haven’t made time to speak with a retirement plan specialist recently to make sure that your retirement plan still addresses your company’s unique needs, there’s a chance you are missing out on a more cost-effective solution. Your retirement plan team can quickly run some illustrative numbers to compare your SEP against a 401(k) plan to reveal whether a better option exists for your business.

Your SIMPLE IRA or Safe Harbor 401(k) plan isn’t going to establish or change itself and if you want yours to be effective in 2015, you need to know that an Oct. 1 deadline is looming – as though you really needed something else to worry about. Fortunately, a retirement plan expert will not only help you meet your deadline, they can make sure your plan is optimized to ensure maximum results.

If you’ve never taken the time to really understand how valuable your retirement plan can be for your business, this is your chance. Read on to learn six other reasons why you might want to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting with a retirement plan expert today.

Read: Why You Should Review Your Retirement Plan Documents Now

Six Reasons To Call Your Retirement Plan Administrator

  1. You have no retirement plan at all. Offering your employees a retirement plan is more than just a great recruitment tool; it’s an excellent way to make your company’s profits go further. Read Retirement Plan Design: One Size Does Not Fit All to learn more about how a retirement plan might help bolster your business’s growth strategy.
  2. You have a SEP Plan with more than two employees. If you haven’t made time to speak with a retirement plan specialist recently to make sure that your retirement plan still addresses your company’s unique needs, there’s a chance you are missing out on a more cost-effective solution. Your retirement plan team can quickly run some illustrative numbers to compare your SEP against a 401(k) plan to reveal whether a better option exists for your business.
  3. You are a business owner who is able to maximize deferrals every year with a SIMPLE IRA. If so, it may be time to consider a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan in 2016 for additional tax deferral. For more insight into how this option can work for you, read Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans Provide Smooth Sailing.
  4. You have a 401(k) but receive corrective distributions every year. You may be missing out on a retirement plan design that can not only alleviate this problem, but can help you maximize the benefits your business receives for being active participants in your employees’ retirement strategy. Access Safe Harbor FAQ here.
  5. You maximize deferrals every year under your Safe Harbor 401(k) plan but offer no profit sharing option. A better plan design for business owners in this situation might be to maximize profit sharing contributions while limiting the amount that has to be provided to employees. For example, cross-tested profit sharing plans may save you money if your company’s staff consists primarily of younger employees. A retirement plan expert can help you identify a plan that helps address the uniqueness of your business.
  6. You are maxing out your profit sharing plan every year. It’s time to add a cash balance option to your existing retirement plan. This is a great option for business owners in this position, because it allows for much higher employer contribution deductibles for owners. Click here to learn more about how these plans can help your business.

Take control of your retirement plan today. Email a Rea & Associates retirement plan expert to find out what you have been missing.

By Steve Renner, QKA (New Philadelphia office)

Check out these articles for more helpful retirement plan advice specifically for small and midsize businesses.

Like Losing Your Wallet – Only Worse
Retirement Roulette
The ‘Van Halen’ Philosophy of Retirement Plan Compliance

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Businesses Beware: Sloppy Data Security Could Cost You

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Defend Against A Data Breach - Ohio CPA FirmAs if you didn’t have enough keeping you up at night, the topic of data security continues to send collective shivers up the spines of business owners worldwide. Unfortunately, the Aug. 24, ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit didn’t make matters any better (or less expensive) for businesses guilty of failing to protect their customers’ data. In fact, companies that utilize poor security practices that ultimately lead to a breach of consumer data are at risk of facing further disciplinary action and penalties.

Read Also: How Prepared Is Your Business For A Potential IT Disaster?

What does the FTC’s Courtroom Win Mean To Business Owners?

If you haven’t taken data security seriously in the past, it’s time to get real serious about it real quick.

Prior to the ruling, companies at the center of a data breach had to battle with lawsuits while working to rebuild their reputations. Now, in addition to litigation and negative headlines, your organization must also risk being fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Businesses can no longer operate with a subpar data security infrastructure. Those that do are at risk of losing everything.

The court upheld the FTC’s 2012 lawsuit against Wyndham Worldwide, a company known for operating hotels and time-shares. Records show that the FTC filed complaints against Wyndham for three data breaches occurring in 2008 and 2009, which resulted in more than $10.6 million in fraudulent charges. In its decision, the appeals court reaffirmed previous rulings that found Wyndham to be responsible for implementing better security practices, which would have helped prevent such breaches from occurring in the first place.

According to the FTC’s argument, software used at Wyndham-owned hotels stored credit card information as readable text, hotel computers lacked a system for monitoring malware, there was no requirement for user identification and or to make password difficult for hackers to guess, the company failed to use firewalls and, ultimately, failed to employ reasonable measures to detect and prevent unauthorized access to the computer network or to conduct security investigations.

“Today’s Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision reaffirms the FTC’s authority to hold companies accountable for failing to safeguard consumer data,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “It is not only appropriate, but critical, that the FTC has the ability to take action on behalf of consumers when companies fail to take reasonable steps to secure sensitive consumer information.”

Next Steps For Businesses

With regard to the case between the FTC and Wyndham, the next chapter of the story is uncertain. While the win in the courtroom has helped put some wind in the FTC’s sails, the commission has yet to levy any penalties or assertions against the defendant. What is clear, however, is that a data security breach is a very real threat – one that is felt by nearly every business in the world. Furthermore, as technology continues to advance and hackers adapt, the security procedures businesses deploy must be top-notch to avoid further complications and costs associated with a sloppy security infrastructure.

Will you be ready when disaster strikes? Email Rea & Associates today to learn what you can do to protect your business from unforeseen threats.

By Brian Garland, CPA (Dublin office)

Want to learn more about how to protect your business from a data security crisis? Check out these articles:

Could Your Company Be Ransomware’s Next Victim?
Don’t Turn A Blind Eye To PCI Compliance
How Much Is Your Data Worth To Criminals?

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How to ensure your plans aren’t bigger than your finances in times of growth

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Growth is the goal for many companies — whether you get that growth from adding another location, forming an alliance, adding services, diversifying into other areas or merging with/acquiring another business. But not all growth is good. So, it’s critical that you properly manage it. Smart Business explained monitoring and managing your business’s growth.

For example, when growth is on the horizon, construction companies will go out and take on more work than they can handle. They have to pay their labor weekly, but they may not get paid for 60 or 90 days. A big part of growth is being able to finance it; you must have the right financing sources, such as built-up profits and/or a line of credit.

To learn more about how to set up the right systems to monitor your financial accounting and cash flow in times of growth, read the full article on Smart Business’ website. 

Want to read more articles about business growth, check these out:

Don’t Shy Away From Business Debt

Getting Back To Business: How Outsourcing May Provide Relief To Your Business

Do Your Business Metrics Need an Oil Change?

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Dear Drebit: Is There A More Customer-Friendly OUF-8 Notice?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
Unclaimed Funds - OUF-8 - Rea & Associates - Ohio CPA Firm

Unclaimed funds may include savings, checking, certificates of deposit accounts, payroll (wages, underlying shares principal), insurance proceeds, credit balances, customer deposits, traveler’s checks, money orders and other intangible interests or benefits that have had no activity over a specific period.

Dear Drebit: Is there a more customer-friendly OUF-8 notice businesses can provide to account holders? Sincerely, Unclaimed Funds In New Albany

Dear Unclaimed Funds:

You know that feeling you get when you pull a forgotten $20 dollar bill out from deep inside your jeans’ pocket; faded and pressed from being through a wash cycle or two. It always kind of seems like the cash just materialized out of thin air. In fact, maybe you even “remember” spending it … But alas, there it is, as plain as the gills between my toes.

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

Unclaimed funds are kind of like that too, but instead of finding a bit of cash in your pocket, you will likely find a notification in your mailbox.

Unclaimed funds may include savings, checking, certificates of deposit accounts, payroll (wages, underlying shares principal), insurance proceeds, credit balances, customer deposits, traveler’s checks, money orders and other intangible interests or benefits that have had no activity over a specific period.

Businesses are responsible for notifying account holders of their unclaimed funds by using the official Notice of Unclaimed Funds Form (also known as OUF-8), which will be sent to the account owner’s last known address. The purpose of this form is to notify you that the funds will be remitted to the state as unclaimed funds if you do not claim them over the next 30 days. NOTE: Your unclaimed funds cannot be remitted to the state until the 30-day period has expired.

Therefore, because the OUF-8 is the official form used throughout the State of Ohio, the answer to your question is no, there is not a more customer-friendly OUF-8 notice available. That being said, you are not necessarily required to complete the form in its entirety. The only information you must include is the:

  • Recipient/account owner’s name
  • Recipient/account owner’s address
  • The dollar amount in question.

From there, it is up to you to decide if you want to provide the recipient with more customer-friendly information.

For example, you may like the idea of including a cover letter with your OUF-8 forms as a way to provide helpful, more personalized and branded information to the account holder. The letter might include information about your business as well as instructions for claiming the funds. It may also be a good idea to inform them of what will happen if the account owner does not claim the funds within the next 30 days. Just remember that a cover letter is only meant as a supplement to the official OUF-8 form. The OUF-8 may either be sent on its own or with your customized cover letter – the cover letter cannot be sent in lieu of the OUF-8 form.

Unclaimed Fund Clarity

I certainly hope I could clear things up for you about the unclaimed funds/OUF-8 form; but if you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask the financial experts at Rea & Associates.

How Can Drebit Help You?

Readers, do you have questions about taxes, accounting, succession planning, fraud detection and other general business topics but don’t know who to ask? Drebit has answers. You are more than welcome to fill out the form at the top, right side of this page. You can also click here to reach out to one of our expert financial advisors directly. If you like the Dear Drebit blog, why not click here to subscribe to get news, advice and general insight delivered directly to your mailbox?

Want to learn more about unclaimed funds? Check out these articles for more great information. 

Free Money May Be Waiting for You!

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

Don’t Forget to File State and Local Taxes

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Dear Drebit: What Is The New Petroleum Activity Tax (PAT) Rate For The Second Half Of 2015?

Friday, August 7th, 2015
pretty drill

Are you familiar with PAT? Also known as the petroleum activity tax rate. While the PAT rate hasn’t changed for the second half of 2015, it is still making a buzz with recent changes. Read on to learn what all the buzz is about.

Dear Drebit: What is the new petroleum activity tax (PAT) rate for the second half of 2015? Sincerely, Wondering in Wooster

Dear Wooster:

The PAT, for those unfamiliar with the tax, is one that impacts suppliers of motor fuel. These amount suppliers are expected to pay – the rate – is measured by the supplier’s gross receipts from the first sale, transfer, exchange or other disposition of the motor fuel in Ohio to a point outside of the distribution system. Currently, this rate is set at 0.65 percent and it will not be changing during the second half of the year.

Read Also: Cash Continues To Flow From Ohio’s Shale Industry

That being said, there has been a change in the PAT that has been causing a bit of buzz (kind of like that fly that’s just close enough to be annoying, yet too far away for me to catch and enjoy for my dinner). This change is in regard to what gross receipts suppliers are expected to report. In the past, it was OK to use the supplier’s actual gross receipts. As of July 1, 2015, however, suppliers must adjust their calculation method to one that calculates gross receipts by multiplying the gallons of motor fuel sold by an average wholesale price.

Suppliers in need of help of calculating or reporting their PAT or need a second opinion to ensure that their reports are accurate and that they aren’t paying too much should reach out to one of Rea’s tax advisors for additional assistance. Those on the firm’s oil & gas team may be particularly suited to address your specific needs and concerns.

How Can Drebit Help You?

Do you have a question for Drebit? Don’t be shy! You can submit yours today by filling out the form on the top, right side on this page. You can also click here to contact one of our professionals directly.

Are you looking for more oil & gas industry advice? Check out the following articles for best practices and industry insights.

How Does Worker Classification Impact Companies In The Oil & Gas Industry?
How Can A Business Plan Prepare You For Your Future In The Oil & Gas Industry?
Looking To Stay Up-To-Date On Ohio Oil & Gas News?

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Colored Pencils, Glue and … Rubber Pants? Oh My!

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Ohio’s Tax Holiday

Ohio Sales Tax Holiday - Rea & Associates - Ohio CPA FirmRegardless of whether you are a parent with younger children, a student, a teacher, or maybe just someone who wants to stock up on a ridiculously large supply of colored pencils and glue, by the time you buy everything you need for that first day of school, you (and your bank account) are drained. OK – maybe it’s really not that bad, but by the time you purchase new clothes and shoes, a book bag or two and all the items that go in it, you will have spent a large sum of money.

Fear not fellow Ohioans! The Department of Taxation is offering relief.

This year, for the first time ever, the State of Ohio is giving those who shop for clothing (priced at $75 or less per item), school supplies (priced at $20 or less per item) and school instructional material (priced at $20 or less per item) a break from paying sales tax beginning 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7 and ending 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015. And there is no limit on the quantity of items you can purchase.

“As the new school year approaches, additional expenses can put a strain on family budgets, said Ohio Tax Commissioner in a news release. “The sales tax holiday will give back-to-school shoppers a break from paying sales tax, and let Ohio families save some money.”

The one-time tax holiday, which was enacted as a result of Senate Bill 243, also applies to eligible items purchased online, by mail, telephone or email. But to qualify, the order must be placed, paid for and accepted by the retailer for immediate shipment during the hours the tax holiday is in effect. That being said, actual delivery can occur following the tax exemption period.

Read on to learn five interesting facts about the upcoming tax holiday.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Ohio’s Tax Holiday

  1. Retailers cannot “opt out” of the 2015 Ohio Sales Tax Holiday event. The holiday is set by law, therefore all vendors must comply.
  2. Qualifying items placed on, or picked up from, layaway during the sales tax holiday ARE exempt from sales tax.
  3. During the sales tax holiday, all clothing that costs $75 or less is exempt from sales tax. So, obviously items such as shirts, pants, dresses, uniforms, shoes, coats, etc. are tax exempt; but items like receiving blankets, diapers, rubber pants and athletic supporters also made the cut.
  4. While you won’t have to pay sales tax on your aprons, belts and beach capes, wigs, belt buckles and wetsuits are another story. Make sure to check the official web page for more clarification.
  5. Teachers are also encouraged to take advantage of the holiday! In addition to traditional school supplies, the tax exemption is valid for reference books, maps, globes, textbooks and workbooks.


Click here to learn more about Ohio’s 2015 Sales Tax Holiday. Happy back-to-school shopping!

By Lisa Beamer, CPA (New Philadelphia office)

 Want to learn more about state and local tax topics that impact your life?
You might like these articles:

[SLIDESHOW] The Truth About Tax Extensions
[INFOGRAPHIC] Top 3 College Savings Account Strategies
How To Pay Your Tax Bill In 6 Easy Steps

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