You probably have encountered section 179 and the accelerated depreciation benefits it provides. However, we have found the familiarity with section 179D to be greatly limited. This is discouraging considering the substantial benefits it can provide to those in the construction industry. Let’s take a brief look at 179D and highlight its advantages.
What is Section 179D?
It is a provision for energy efficient commercial buildings built or upgraded with energy efficient improvements after 12/31/2005. The maximum deduction available is $1.80 per square foot and acts as an accelerated depreciation deduction. The calculation for the deduction (up to the maximum) is based upon the interior lighting, HVAC, building envelope costs and efficiencies. This is certainly a nice benefit for building owners. However, the greatest tax savings are obtained by those in the construction industry, including engineers and architects.
Permanent tax benefit
As I eluded to earlier, the 179D deduction is inherently an acceleration of depreciation. Nevertheless, this deduction becomes more than an accelerated deduction for those in the construction industry. Why? The IRS realizes that governmental entities cannot benefit from this deduction due to their tax-exempt status and allows them to allocate (essentially transfer) the deduction to the responsible party for designing the property. This means that this deduction is a permanent benefit (once transferred) that would not otherwise be attainable by the designer. It is a method that reduces the tax burden on each governmental project and increases the after tax earnings for those firms that choose to take advantage of this opportunity.
Please contact your William Vaughan Company representative for further information and for guidance on the facilitation of this deduction.
By: Nate Bernath, CPA
Posted in Construction & Real Estate, Tax
Tagged 179d deduction, 179d energy tax deduction, 179d tax deduction, 179d tax deduction for energy efficiency, 2014 tax credits energy, accountant in toledo, accountants in Maumee, accounting blogs, construction accounting, construction taxes, cpas in maumee, cpas in toledo, energy saving tips, energy tax credit, federal energy tax credit, IRS, irs 179d tax deduction, irs energy tax credit, section 179d deduction, tax blog, tax incentives, william vaughan, william vaughan company
Do you manage your company’s retirement plan in your day-to-day activities? Managing a retirement plan such as controlling the plan assets or using discretion in managing the plan makes you the plan fiduciary. According to the IRS, a fiduciary is a person who owes a duty of care and trust to another and must act primarily for the benefit of the other in a particular activity. Fiduciary is not just a title, but the very functions performed for the plan.
Important fiduciary responsibilities include:
– Acting solely in the interest of the participants and their beneficiaries
– Acting exclusive purpose of providing benefits to workers participating in the plan and their beneficiaries, and defraying reasonable expenses of the plan
– Following the plan documents (unless inconsistent with ERISA)
– Diversifying plan investments
– Carrying out your duties as a fiduciary prudently, with care, and diligence
Who sets the standards for fiduciaries of retirement plans?
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, also known as ERISA, set standards of conduct for those who manage employee benefit plans and its assets. It is important for the fiduciary to follow through with their responsibilities because they act on behalf of the participants in the retirement plan and their beneficiaries. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the significance of being a fiduciary is acting solely in the interest of plan participants and their beneficiaries, with the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to them.
Carrying out duties prudently is one of a fiduciary’s central responsibilities under ERISA. In other words, a fiduciary should have knowledge and expertise in a variety of functions necessary to operate the plan. It is recommended to consult experts in accounting and investments to assist in carrying out your fiduciary responsibilities the best that you can.
It goes without saying, the responsibility of being a fiduciary should not be taken lightly. It is a big responsibility and often times businesses hire someone to act as their fiduciary to handle the responsibilities set forth above. Even if you hire a financial institution or retirement plan professional to manage your plan, you retain some fiduciary responsibility for the decision to select and keep the service provider. You should document your selection process and monitor the services provided to determine if you need to make a change.
By: Aubrey Forche, Staff Accountant
Posted in Business Consulting, Estate Planning
Tagged accountants in Maumee, accountants in Toledo, accounting blog, accounting employee benefits, duties of a fiduciary, employee benefits security administration, fidicuary duty, fiduciary duties, fiduciary responsibilities, fiduciary responsibility, maumee cpa, maumee cpa firms, meeting your fiduciary responsibilities, plan fiduciaries, plan fiduciary, tax blog, toledo cpa, toledo cpas, what is fiduciary responsibility, william vaughan, william vaughan company
The fantasy football season is in full swing as we are approaching the middle of the NFL season. For some, the season is going great and you are eagerly awaiting the playoffs, while others are all but eliminated from contention after drafting a team full of underachieving duds. For those of you lucky enough to be in the thick of the playoff hunt, remember that Uncle Sam is cheering you on. That is, he wants a cut of your winnings.
Some of you may be thinking, “why would the government care about fantasy football? It’s just a fun hobby and gives me something to talk about at the water cooler.” The truth is, fantasy football is a major industry and the IRS is very aware of such notion. According to an article from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s website, nearly 37 million people play fantasy football. According to the article, fantasy football players will spend an average of $111 per year. At 37 million players, that’s a staggering total of $4.1 billion each year. You better believe that Uncle Sam wants in on the winnings!
If your fantasy football skills earn you a payout of $600 or more, you will likely receive a 1099-MISC in the mail come January, which reports your winnings to the IRS. The amount of your winnings that are taxable can be reduced by entry fees, transaction fees, research materials (such as magazines) and losses from other leagues where you weren’t quite as lucky. So be sure to keep records of all your expenditures to support the information reported on your 1040.
Once you come to the net of all your winnings less all expenses, this amount will be reported as “other income” on line 21 of your 1040. Since the amount reported will not match the 1099-MISC you received, you will need to attach a statement to the return reconciling the 1099-MISC to the amount reported. Note that if you were in several fantasy football leagues where you lost money and one where you won, you will not be able claim a loss on your return and will just report income of $0.
So I hope everyone’s season is going well, but remember, Uncle Sam has a rooting interest in your team as well.
By: Mark Sawyer, CPA
Posted in Tax
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Each year there are individuals who are targeted for IRS audits based on minor decisions they may have made during the year. One goal during tax season, besides being on time, should be to completely avoid the IRS in an ethical manner. There are multiple ways that individuals may intentionally or unintentionally raise red flags, which makes them susceptible to an IRS audit.
While there are a number actions that may call for an IRS audit, here are some of the more common red flags:
Charitable donations. Who would have thought being generous could land you in hot water? The truth is, usually, it won’t. However, people who are audited in regards to charitable donations are the ones who over exaggerate the value of their donations, generally when dealing with non-cash items. Avoid the headache of dealing with the IRS and be realistic when it comes to pricing your donations. Also, remember to keep all of your charity receipts just to be safe.
Reported income. Failing to report income seems like an obvious red flag to most people, but you would be surprised to find out how many people honestly forget to report certain income. If you are an individual with multiple brokerage statements, it may be a good idea to create a checklist to keep on hand, ensuring each form of income is reported. Being organized will keep you safe and less stressed come tax time.
Being a millionaire. While the red flags associated with charitable donations and reporting income are ones that you may be able to avoid, there is one red flag that may be waving regardless of your action. Once you become a millionaire, your chance of being audited increases exponentially. While the current audit rate is at 1% on average, the rate climbs all the way up to 9% if you make $1 million. Just to give you an idea of how much the risk of being audited grows in relation to what you earn, people who bring in more than $10 million have a 27% percent chance of an audit. Let’s hope these individuals are reporting all of their income as well, because this percent does not have a limit!
Overall, there are some red flags that individuals will be able to avoid and some that should be expected. The goal should be to eliminate as many red flags as possible while being remaining. Make sure you keep donation receipts, record realistic values on donations and report all of your income. Hopefully, you will be on your way to a headache free tax season!
By: Jason Wenner, Staff Accountant
Posted in Tax
Tagged accountants in Maumee, accountants in Toledo, cpa firms maumee, cpa firms toledo, irs audit, irs audit flags, irs audit help, irs audit tips, irs red flags for audit, irs tax audit, maumee accountants, red flags for tax audit, tax audits, tax help, tax question, tax questions, toledo accountants, william vaughan, william vaughan company
October 15, the deadline to file extended individual tax returns is fast approaching. This is a great time for a reminder that the extension applies to the filing due date, and it is not an extension of the due date to pay. Penalty and interest are still charged to an account if the resulting tax liability is not fully paid on April 15.
The terms “penalty and interest” sound gruesome enough on their own. Now throw in the fact that they’re showing up on an IRS notice, and it might be enough to make some taxpayers’ bones quiver.
But what if you don’t have the cash to pay the entire bill at once? The IRS will allow individuals to set up an installment plan, but that cost you too. Penalty and interest are still due, and on top of that there is a one time set up fee that can cost over $100. As scary as a large tax liability can be, surely one wouldn’t want to make it worse by adding to it. Well don’t fret, we have a viable solution: pay it down with a credit card and owe the bank instead of the IRS.
By: Anthony Mifsud, Staff Accountant
Posted in Tax
Tagged accountants in Toledo, accountants maumee, cpa toledo, deadline to file tax return, filing taxes tips, internal revenue service, IRS, irs news, irs taxes, maumee accountants, maumee cpa, Maumee CPA firm, tax deadline, tax filing extention, toledo accountants, toledo cpas, william vaughan, william vaughan company Edit
The IRS has released its annual update of special per diem rates for use in substantiating certain business expenses taxpayers incur when traveling away from home in 2014 and 2015. IRS Notice 2014-57 includes rates for incidental-expenses-only deduction, special meals and incidental expenses in the transportation industry, and high-low substantiation method.
Rates for special meals and incidental expenses in the transportation industry are $59 for travel anywhere in the continental United States and $65 for travel outside of the continental United States. Regardless of whether you are traveling inside or outside of the continental United States, the per diem rate for incidental expense-only deduction will be $5 per day. The per diem rates for the high-low substantiation method have increased from $251 to $259 for travel to any high-cost locality and $172 for travel to any other locality in the continental United States. Out of the $259 high rate and $172 low rate, the amounts treated as paid for meals is $65 for travel to any high-cost locality and $52 to any other locality within the continental United States. A list of high-cost localities with a per diem rate of $216 can also be found in Notice 2014-57.
These new per diem rates went into effect on October 1, 2014 and are intended for any employee traveling away from home on or after that date.
By: Rachel Mossing, Accountant
Posted in Business Consulting
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Most businesses have insurance policies that cover their employees, but is it enough? Does your business have employee dishonesty insurance? This insurance protects the employer from financial loss due to the fraudulent activities of an employee or group of employees. The loss can be the result of the employee’s theft of money, securities (which includes checks) or other property of the insured. Of course, policy coverage may differ between insurance companies. The employer, the named insured on the policy, is the main entity insured. The “who” of coverage may also include all current or former employees, partners, members, directors, volunteers, trustees, seasonal employees and temporary workers at your direction or control. Employee dishonesty coverage is really a fidelity bond. The normal form of coverage is
a blanket policy which will cover fraud committed by any employee.
If the company has access to other customer’s money, securities or property, the policy can be endorsed to include third party coverage. With the third party endorsement coverage is extended to a customer or client with whom you are under contract to perform services. As an example, employees often have access to patients credit card numbers. Does your insurance cover you if an employee steals that credit card information and uses it? Employee dishonesty coverage can typically be added to another insurance policy, such as the property or the fiduciary liability policy. The coverage may be extended to include forgery or alteration, funds transfer fraud, computer fraud, credit card fraud, money order and counterfeit fraud.
With fraud and identity theft at an all-time high, you may want to review your policies and make sure you are covered!
By: Jenny Furey, CPA
Posted in Business Consulting, Fraud & Forensics
Tagged accountant in toledo, accountants in Maumee, cpa firms maumee, cpa firms toledo, cpas in maumee, cpas in toledo, dental blog, employee dishonesty, employee dishonesty bond, employee dishonesty coverage, employee dishonesty insurance, employers liability, fidelity bond, fiduciary liability insurance, fiduciary liability policy, fraud and internal control, fraud prevention, fraud solutions, types of business insurance, what is a fidelity bond, william vaughan, william vaughan company