Category Archives: Accounting

U.S. Department of Treasury Expands Income Tax Filing and Payment Relief

In an official pronouncement released Thursday, April 9, the U.S. Department of Treasury expanded on the income tax filing extension and payment relief efforts in response to the current COVID-19 situation.  Effectively, any “income” tax filing or payment that would normally be due during the months of April through June of 2020 has now been automatically extended until July 15, 2020.  As a supplement to the prior income tax filing and payment extensions granted, this new announcement delays the need to remit any quarterly estimated tax payments until July 15th without incurring any penalty or interest charges.  As a result, any business or individual with 2020 quarterly estimated tax payments needs is able to delay both the Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 payments (normally due April 15th and June 15th, respectively) until July 15, 2020.  Also extended are any fiscal year-end income tax return filings (and corresponding tax payments) for businesses (corporate, LLC, partnerships or trusts), gift and estate tax filings, nonprofit organization income tax filings that would have been due in April, May, or June of 2020.  Note that these enhanced extension relief rules do not pertain to Employment Tax Reporting and Payments (including all payroll-related tax returns and deposit requirements).  Finally, as reaffirmation of the recommendations we have previously provided for any business, organization or individual taxpayers that will require additional time to file their respective 2020 income tax returns, the standard extended due dates of September 15 and October 15 may still be requested via filing of the applicable extension form prior to July 15, 2020.

We trust you will find the highlights we have provided on this new pronouncement helpful, but should you have further questions please contact us.

SBA loans may be more difficult than we thought

Small businesses looking to get some relief from the Payroll Protection Program may run into a snag or two.  Because this stimulus package was passed so quickly, the banks are not necessarily prepared to handle the loans like the media initially described.  This article from Fortune provides some additional insight.

If you are a small business looking to apply for one of these loans, here is a link to help you find a lender along with a sample application.

We understand how difficult this time is for you.  If we can be of any assistance, we will be happy to help!  Please contact our office if you have questions or would like to know more about other COVID-19 relief options.

PRESS RELEASE: NC Deferring Interest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        Contact: Joseph Kyzer<mailto:joseph.kyzer@ncleg.net>

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

 

North Carolina Leaders Announce Shared Support for Deferring Interest on Income Tax Until July 15

Raleigh, N.C. – North Carolina leaders announced shared bipartisan support for deferring the accrual of interest on state income taxes filed before July 15, 2020, in a joint statement released by General Assembly lawmakers and Governor Cooper on Tuesday.

View on SpeakerMoore.com<http://speakermoore.com/north-carolina-leaders-announce-shared-support-deferring-interest-income-tax-july-15/>

The deadline for state and federal tax filings were recently delayed to July 15, 2020, and penalties for late payments were also waived.

However, the North Carolina General Assembly and Governor must approve legislation to defer accrual of interest on income taxes, an action that state leaders announced shared support for approving retroactively on Tuesday.

State Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue (D-Wake), Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), and House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) released a joint statement with Governor Cooper on Tuesday.

“One of the biggest questions we are getting on economic issues is whether families and businesses will be responsible for paying interest on their income taxes now that the filing deadline is delayed,” the five state leaders said in a joint statement Tuesday.

“Today, we can announce our shared support for retroactively waiving the accrual of those interest payments to provide further tax relief for North Carolinians amid the COVID-19 crisis, an important step to offer certainty and recovery assistance for millions of our state’s residents.”

Under North Carolina law, the liability for failure to pay estimated income tax on time is the accrual of interest. The Secretary of the Department of Revenue is not authorized to waive interest and the agency is required to charge interest on any unpaid tax.

Therefore, the General Assembly and Governor must approve legislation to ensure taxpayers are not liable for such interest between April 15, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the extended deadline.

____________________________________________________________________________________

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Legislative Building | 16 West Jones Street | Raleigh, NC 27601 | 919-733-4111

 

Key Highlights of the COVID-19 Relief Programs

by Tony Pandiscia

We have compiled the following useful and concise information for your reference as you consider the various planning opportunities available to address the impact of the COVID-19 situation on your business operations.  After studying the recently enacted law and interacting with other professionals, by parsing through the voluminous CARES Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and relevant peripheral materials, the following includes the highlights of the relevant relief available to you via the government stimulus packages:

  • Loans available under the CARES Act provide the largest measure of assistance available via what is termed the “PPP”.  The borrowing amount is capped at a formula calculating the average monthly “Total payroll” incurred in a trailing 12-month period.  “Total payroll” includes employee compensation (not to exceed $100,000 annually per capita) + health insurance (employer share only) + PTO.  PPP loans will be obtained through traditional lending relationships (local / national banks) and NOT the SBA; best bet is to work with lenders with whom a borrowing relationship already exists as it may help expedite the process.   Our understanding is that local lenders will have finalized the application process and be in a position to initiate the approval process by April 3.
  • Forgiveness of any “PPP” loans received under the CARES Act will be available if proceeds are used for payroll, rent, utilities AND employee labor force or employee compensation after April 1 remains consistent with a pre-April 1 “measurement period”.
  • Independently, “Disaster Relief Loans” (referred to as “EIDL”) are available under the more traditional borrowing program offered by the SBA.
  • What is interesting and somewhat confusing, the EIDL program administered by the SBA also includes a grant opportunity for up to $10,000 for businesses that have been severely effected by COVID-19.  The grant does not require repayment, nor does it obligate the recipient to also apply for an EIDL loan; furthermore, it does not preclude the business from also applying for the PPP.  Many businesses will apply for the grant through the SBA (which should be received on an expedited basis according to the Federal government’s stimulus objectives) while simultaneously applying for the PPP through their local lender.
  • NC-based businesses may also apply for loans of < $50,000 under the “NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan” program administered by a consortium of local lenders and stakeholders, and funded by the “Golden Leaf Foundation”.  The loans will have favorable repayment terms and the application process is available on-line.
  • Payroll tax deferment is available for employer FICA and Medicare due 4/1/20 – 12/31/20.  Any tax amounts deferred must be repaid in no less than 50% < 12/31/21 and the remaining 50% < 12/31/22.
  • Payroll tax credit is available up to $10,000 by meeting certain workforce retention criteria [50% of wages paid to retained labor force during period when business gross revenues decline > 50%]
  • EFMLA [“Family leave”] and EPSL [“Sick leave”] benefits paid out to  qualifying employees will generate a payroll tax credit (rather than the normal deduction).  The mandatory leave provisions may not be applicable to anyone in the healthcare industry, however if a business already has family leave policies in place as part of their employee benefits, the policies will need to be adhered to with regard to relevant claims made by employees whom are incapable of working due to COVID-19 issues.
  • Employees whom are separated from service via layoff can qualify for Unemployment Insurance.  Filings are now made via on-line platform by the terminated employee directly.  Under NC Law, even employees whom were not fully terminated but experienced severe decrease in work hours may qualify to receive partial benefits.  Anyone properly terminated would be ineligible for EFMLA or EPSL; in addition, employees severed from service whom were participants in the group health plan will need to offered COBRA coverage.  [Note for exit- counseling purposes and temporary layoff planning, a terminated employee is typically not required to self-pay the monthly premium amount until after a 59-day grace period; therefore, if a business anticipates rehiring the terminated employee < 59 days following the expectation of a return to business activity suspended due to COVID-19, there may not be any additional premium cost to the employee nor significant interruption in health care coverage.  [However, each business should consult with its health plan advisor or representative to verify no other “breaks in service” nor “on-board delays” in coverage would apply under the terms of the group plan in place.]

Details continue to be released and we will keep you posted as to any new developments, and of course feel free to contact us should you need further information.

COVID-19 Links

In an effort to streamline the ever-changing world we live in with the COVID-19 virus, here are some links that are all related to updated tax changes, small businesses, individual sick leave, and other filing requirements.  As more information is released, it will be added at the top of this list.

 

 

 

Have you been using zoom?  https://www.forbes.com/sites/leemathews/2020/04/13/500000-hacked-zoom-accounts-given-away-for-free-on-the-dark-web/#58a7fbc858c5

US Dept of Treasury Grants Additional Income Tax Filing and Payment Relief https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-23.pdf

New NonProfit Extensions https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm970

CDC Recommendations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

COVID-19 Relief Tracker https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannegarrett/2020/03/20/small-business-relief-tracker-funding-grants-and-resources-for-business-owners-grappling-with-coronavirus/#1e1e001bdd4c

There’s hope for Small Businesses! https://www.wraltechwire.com/2020/04/03/bank-of-america-accepting-virus-crisis-loan-applications-receives-10000-in-first-hour/

Key Highlights of the CARES Act and the FFCRA Relief Provisions https://www.langdoncpa.com/?p=4717&preview=true

SBA loans more difficult than we thought https://www.langdoncpa.com/2020/04/03/sba-loans-may-be-more-difficult-than-we-thought/

Employer tax credits, and more https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/apr/irs-new-employer-tax-credits-form-employee-retention-credit-guidance-coronavirus.html

More Assistance for Nonprofits https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/trends-policy-issues/loans-available-nonprofits-the-cares-act-public-law-116-132

NC Press Release: Deferred Interest https://www.langdoncpa.com/2020/04/01/press-release-nc-deferring-interest/

Applications for Small Business Paycheck Protection Program https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/mar/paycheck-protection-loan-for-small-businesses-coronavirus-pandemic.html

Employer questions answered! https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/employers

SBA debt relief related to COVID-19 https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources#section-header-4

Gift tax returns extended too! https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/mar/gift-gst-tax-returns-postponed-filing-deadlines-coronavirus-pandemic.html

Assisted Living Resources for COVID-19 https://www.ncala.org/covid-19.html

How much COVID-19 stimulus will I receive? https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/27/the-stimulus-payment-calculator-tells-you-how-much-money-you-could-get.html

Possible Increase for VA Nursing Facilities https://www.vhca.org/publications/careconnection/march-26-2020/vhca-vcal-seeking-additional-funding-for-nf-care-under-covid-19-emergency/

COVID-19 Resources for Non-Profits https://www.ncnonprofits.org/resources/pandemicresources

The CARES Act questions answered https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2020/mar/cares-act-economic-relief-coronavirus-tax-provisions.html?utm_source=mnl:alerts&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=25Mar2020&utm_content=headline

NC DHHS provides additional COVID-19 support https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/nc-medicaid-increases-support-protect-those-most-risk-serious-illness-covid-19

Clarification on NC Tax Deadlines https://www.ncacpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Frequently-Asked-Questions-COVID-final.pdf?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=NCACPA&_zs=fG9HX&_zl=MMK22

Employers using Payroll Tax Credits for Paid Leave due to Coronavirus https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/employers-can-begin-using-payroll-tax-credits-for-paid-leave-for-coronavirus

CMS extends Cost Report Deadlines https://www.palmettogba.com/palmetto/providers.nsf/ls/JM%20Part%20A~BMYLSN5443?opendocument&utm_source=J11AL&utm_campaign=JMALs&utm_medium=email

Small Business Q&A https://sbshrs.adpinfo.com/covid19-faqs

IRS push back tax FILING deadline https://abc11.com/business/tax-day-pushed-back-amid-viral-outbreak-mnuchin/6031749/

Bill to address paid sick leave related to COVID-19 (FFCRA) https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomspiggle/2020/03/17/the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act-what-it-does-for-employees-who-need-paid-sick-leave/#615dd2f06f1a

HUD and Single Audit Extension https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/M-20-17.pdf?utm_medium=email&SubscriberID=111017000&utm_source=GAQC20&Site=AICPA&LinkID=8741972&utm_campaign=GAQC_AlertMAR20&cid=email:GAQC20:GAQC_AlertMAR20:https%3a%2f%2fwww.whitehouse.gov%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2020%2f03%2fM-20-17.pdf:AICPA&SendID=266068&utm_content=A20MAR400_GAQC_Alert401

IRS Press Release “Payment Relief” https://www.langdoncpa.com/2020/03/19/official-guidance-for-tax-deadlines/

Single Audit Submission Info https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/M-20-11.pdf

US Department of Labor defines FMLA related to COVID-19 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic

IRS extends PAYMENT deadline https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/treasury-and-irs-to-delay-tax-deadline-by-90-days.html

https://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21129660/2020-tax-season-payment-deadline-extended-to-july-15-as-nation-fights-coronavirus-irs-news?utm_source=CPA+Other+Communications&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CCSN200317002&o_eid=9442A3978623C7T&rdx.ident=[object+Object]

 

Cost management: A budget’s best friend

If your company comes up over budget year after year, you may want to consider cost management. This is a formalized, systematic review of operations and resources with the stated goal of reducing costs at every level and controlling them going forward. As part of this effort, you’ll answer questions such as:

Are we operating efficiently? Cost management can help you clearly differentiate activities that are running smoothly and staying within budget from the ones that are constantly breaking down and consuming extra dollars.

Depending on your industry, there are likely various metrics you can calculate and track to determine which aspects of your operations are inefficient. Sometimes improving efficiency is simply a matter of better scheduling. If you’re constantly missing deadlines or taking too long to fulfill customers’ needs, you’re also probably losing money playing catch-up and placating disappointed buyers.

Can we really see our supply chain? Maybe you’ve bought the same types of materials from the same vendors for many years. Are you really getting the most for your money? A cost management review can help you look for better bargains on the goods and services that make your business run.

A big problem for many businesses is lack of practical data. Without the right information, you may not be fully aware of the key details of your supply chain. There’s a term for this: supply chain visibility. When you can’t “see” everything about the vendors that service your company, you’re much more vulnerable to hidden costs and overspending.

Is technology getting the better of us? At this point, just about every business process has been automated one way or another. But are you managing this technology or is it managing you? Some companies overspend unnecessarily while others miss out on ways to better automate activities. Cost management can help you decide whether to simplify or upgrade.

For example, many businesses have historically taken an ad hoc approach to procuring technology. Different departments or individuals have obtained various software over the years. Some of this technology may still be in regular use but, in many cases, an expensive application sits dormant while the company still pays for licensing or tech support.

Conversely, a paid-for but out-of-date application could be slowing operational or supply chain efficiency. You may have to spend money to save money by getting something that’s up-to-date and fully functional.

The term “cost management” is often applied to specific projects. But you can also apply it to your business, either as an emergency step if your budget is really out of whack or as a regular activity for keeping the numbers in line. Our firm can help you conduct this review and decide what to do about the insights gained.

© 2020

5 ways to strengthen your business for the new year

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a great opportunity for reflection and planning. You have 12 months to look back on and another 12 ahead to look forward to. Here are five ways to strengthen your business for the new year by doing a little of both:

1. Compare 2019 financial performance to budget. Did you meet the financial goals you set at the beginning of the year? If not, why? Analyze variances between budget and actual results. Then, evaluate what changes you could make to get closer to achieving your objectives in 2020. And if you did meet your goals, identify precisely what you did right and build on those strategies.

2. Create a multiyear capital budget. Look around your offices or facilities at your equipment, software and people. What investments will you need to make to grow your business? Such investments can be both tangible (new equipment and technology) and intangible (employees’ technical and soft skills).

Equipment, software, furniture, vehicles and other types of assets inevitably wear out or become obsolete. You’ll need to regularly maintain, update and replace them. Lay out a long-term plan for doing so; this way, you won’t be caught off guard by a big expense.

3. Assess the competition. Identify your biggest rivals over the past year. Discuss with your partners, managers and advisors what those competitors did to make your life so “interesting.” Also, honestly appraise the quality of what your business sells versus what competitors offer. Are you doing everything you can to meet — or, better yet, exceed — customer expectations? Devise some responsive competitive strategies for the next 12 months.

4. Review insurance coverage. It’s important to stay on top of your property, casualty and liability coverage. Property values or risks may change — or you may add new assets or retire old ones — requiring you to increase or decrease your level of coverage. A fire, natural disaster, accident or out-of-the-blue lawsuit that you’re not fully protected against could devastate your business. Look at the policies you have in place and determine whether you’re adequately protected.

5. Analyze market trends. Recognize the major events and trends in your industry over the past year. Consider areas such as economic drivers or detractors, technology, the regulatory environment and customer demographics. In what direction is your industry heading over the next five or ten years? Anticipating and quickly reacting to trends are the keys to a company’s long-term success.

These are just a few ideas for looking back and ahead to set a successful course forward. We can help you review the past year’s tax, accounting and financial strategies, and implement savvy moves toward a secure and profitable 2020 for your business.

© 2019

Does your team know the profitability game plan?

Autumn brings falling leaves and … the gridiron. Football teams — from high school to pro — are trying to put as many wins on the board as possible to make this season a special one.

For business owners, sports can highlight important lessons about profitability. One in particular is that you and your coaches must learn from your mistakes and adjust your game plan accordingly to have a winning year.

Spot the fumbles

More specifically, your business needs to identify the profit fumbles that are hurting your ability to score bottom-line touchdowns and, in response, execute earnings plays that improve the score. Doing so is always important but takes on added significance as the year winds down and you want to finish strong.

Your company’s earnings game plan should be based partly on strong strategic planning for the year and partly from uncovering and working to eliminate such profit fumbles as:

  • Employees interacting with customers poorly, giving a bad impression or providing inaccurate information,
  • Pricing strategies that turn off customers or bring in inadequate revenue, and
  • Supply chain issues that slow productivity.

Ask employees at all levels whether and where they see such fumbles. Then assign a negative dollar value to each fumble that keeps your organization from reaching its full profit potential.

Once you start putting a value on profit fumbles, you can add them to your income statement for a clearer picture of how they affect net profit. Historically, unidentified and unmeasured profit fumbles are buried in lower sales and inflated costs of sales and overhead.

Fortify your position

After you’ve identified one or more profit blunders, act to fortify your offensive line as you drive downfield. To do so:

Define (or redefine) the game plan. Work with your coaches (management, key employees) to devise specific profit-building initiatives. Calculate how much each initiative could add to the bottom line. To arrive at these values, you’ll need to estimate the potential income of each initiative — but only after you’ve projected the costs as well.

Appoint team leaders. Each profit initiative must have a single person assigned to champion it. When profit-building strategies become everyone’s job, they tend to become no one’s job. All players on the field must know their jobs and where to look for leadership.

Communicating clearly and building consensus. Explain each initiative to employees and outline the steps you’ll need to achieve them. If the wide receiver doesn’t know his route, he won’t be in the right place when the quarterback throws the ball. Most important, that wide receiver must believe in the play.

Win the game

With a strong profit game plan in place, everyone wins. Your company’s bottom line is strong, employees are motivated by the business’s success and, oh yes, customers are satisfied. Touchdown! We can help you perform the financial analyses to identity your profit fumbles and come up with budget-smart initiatives likely to build your bottom line.

© 2019

Employers can truncate SSNs on employees’ W-2s

 

The IRS recently issued final regulations that permit employers to voluntarily truncate employee Social Security Numbers (SSNs) on copies of Forms W-2 furnished to employees. The purpose of the regs is to aid employers’ efforts in protecting workers from identity theft.

Proposals and comments

On September 20, 2017, the IRS issued proposed regs on the truncation concept. A truncated taxpayer identification number (TTIN) displays only the last four digits of a taxpayer identifying number and uses asterisks or “Xs” for the first five digits.

Seventeen comments were submitted on the notice of proposed rulemaking and many recommended adopting the rules. Some disagreed and noted concerns of employees not being able to verify whether the SSN filed with the Social Security Administration and IRS is correct. Other comments indicated concerns that it would be more difficult for tax return preparers to verify the employee has provided the correct SSN.

But the IRS and U.S. Department of the Treasury determined that the benefit of allowing truncation outweighs the risk that unintended consequences could occur. Moreover, the agencies believed problems could be mitigated. For example, tax return preparers can use Forms W-2 containing truncated SSNs to verify employee information by using the last four digits of the SSN and the employee’s name and address.

Other considerations

Another objection noted an increased administrative burden on employers with employees who work in multiple states because the employer will have to determine the requirements for each state. (Some state and local governments may not allow truncation.) This, too, was rejected by the IRS and Department of the Treasury. The agencies explained that the rules accommodate potential burdens on employers by making truncation optional.

It was also suggested that a better way to protect employees’ identities is to require employers to furnish the employee copy of Form W-2 electronically. But this was outside the scope of the rule and, under existing rules, employers are permitted to furnish Form W-2 electronically if the employee consents.

Final regs

The final regulations amend existing regs to permit employers to voluntarily truncate employees’ SSNs on copies of Forms W-2 that are furnished to employees so that the truncated SSNs appear in the form of IRS TTINs. The final regs also:

  • Amend the regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 6109 (supplying of identifying numbers) to clarify the application of the truncation rules to Form W-2,
  • Add an example illustrating the application of these rules, and
  • Delete obsolete provisions and update cross references in the regs under Sec. 6051 (receipts for employees) and Sec. 6052 (returns regarding payment of wages in the form of group term life insurance).

The final regulations took effect on the date of publication in the Federal Register: July 3, 2019.

Important role

Employers play an important role in the fight against identity theft. Consider whether truncation of employees’ SSNs on W-2s is a feasible step for you. Contact us for further information and assistance.

© 2019

Avoid excess benefit transactions and keep your exempt status

One of the worst things that can happen to a not-for-profit organization is to have its tax-exempt status revoked. Among other consequences, the nonprofit may lose credibility with supporters and the public, and donors will no longer be able to make tax-exempt contributions.

Although loss of exempt status isn’t common, certain activities can increase your risk significantly. These include ignoring the IRS’s private benefit and private inurement provisions. Here’s what you need to know to avoid reaping an excess benefit from your organization’s transactions.

Understand private inurement

A private benefit is any payment or transfer of assets made, directly or indirectly, by your nonprofit that’s:

  1. Beyond reasonable compensation for the services provided or the goods sold to your organization, or
  2. For services or products that don’t further your tax-exempt purpose.

If any of your nonprofit’s net earnings inure to the benefit of an individual, the IRS won’t view your nonprofit as operating primarily to further its tax-exempt purpose.

The private inurement rules extend the private benefit prohibition to your organization’s “insiders.” The term “insider” or “disqualified person” generally refers to any officer, director, individual or organization (as well as their family members and organizations they control) who’s in a position to exert significant influence over your nonprofit’s activities and finances. A violation occurs when a transaction that ultimately benefits the insider is approved.

Make reasonable payments

Of course, the rules don’t prohibit all payments, such as salaries and wages, to an insider. You simply need to make sure that any payment is reasonable relative to the services or goods provided. In other words, the payment must be made with your nonprofit’s tax-exempt purpose in mind.

To ensure you can later prove that any transaction was reasonable and made for a valid exempt purpose, formally document all payments made to insiders. Also ensure that board members understand their duty of care. This refers to a board member’s responsibility to act in good faith, in your organization’s best interest, and with such care that proper inquiry, skill and diligence has been exercised in the performance of duties.

Avoid negative consequences

To ensure your nonprofit doesn’t participate in an excess benefit transaction, educate staffers and board members about the types of activities and transactions they must avoid. Stress that individuals involved could face significant excise tax penalties. For more information, please contact us.

© 2019