Financial statements help investors and lenders monitor a company’s performance. However, financial statements may not provide a full picture of financial health. What’s undisclosed could be just as significant as the disclosures. Here’s how a CPA can help stakeholders identify unrecorded items either through external auditing procedures or by conducting agreed upon procedures (AUPs) that target specific accounts. Start with assets Revealing undisclosed liabilities and risks begins with assets. For each asset, it’s important to evaluate what could cause the account to diminish. For example, accounts receivable may include bad debts, or inventory may include damaged goods. In addition, some fixed assets may be broken or in desperate need of repairs and maintenance. These items may signal financial distress and affect financial ratios just as much as unreported liabilities do. Some of these problems may be uncovered by touring the company’s facilities or reviewing asset schedules for slow-moving items. Benchmarking can also help. For example, if receivables are growing much faster than sales, it could be a sign of aging, uncollectible accounts. Evaluate liabilities Next, external accountants can assess liabilities to determine whether the amount reported for each item seems accurate and complete. For example, a company may forget to […] Read More
In this quarter’s issue of Auto Focus, the following be will discussed: Insurance: Do you have adequate coverage? Tax Credit could prompt more paid family and medical leave Hiring a CFO or controller Lease accounting Standard: Get Ready! Deadlines are fast approaching! Click Here for the Summer 2018 Auto Focus Newsletter Read More
Once upon a time, some parents and grandparents would attempt to save tax by putting investments in the names of their young children or grandchildren in lower income tax brackets. To discourage such strategies, Congress created the “kiddie” tax back in 1986. Since then, this tax has gradually become more far-reaching. Now, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the kiddie tax has become more dangerous than ever. A short history Years ago, the kiddie tax applied only to children under age 14 — which still provided families with ample opportunity to enjoy significant tax savings from income shifting. In 2006, the tax was expanded to children under age 18. And since 2008, the kiddie tax has generally applied to children under age 19 and to full-time students under age 24 (unless the students provide more than half of their own support from earned income). What about the kiddie tax rate? Before the TCJA, for children subject to the kiddie tax, any unearned income beyond a certain amount ($2,100 for 2017) was taxed at their parents’ marginal rate (assuming it was higher), rather than their own likely low rate. A fiercer kiddie tax The TCJA doesn’t further expand who’s […] Read More
One of the biggest concerns for family business owners is succession planning — transferring ownership and control of the company to the next generation. Often, the best time tax-wise to start transferring ownership is long before the owner is ready to give up control of the business. A family limited partnership (FLP) can help owners enjoy the tax benefits of gradually transferring ownership yet allow them to retain control of the business. How it works To establish an FLP, you transfer your ownership interests to a partnership in exchange for both general and limited partnership interests. You then transfer limited partnership interests to your children. You retain the general partnership interest, which may be as little as 1% of the assets. But as general partner, you can still run day-to-day operations and make business decisions. Tax benefits As you transfer the FLP interests, their value is removed from your taxable estate. What’s more, the future business income and asset appreciation associated with those interests move to the next generation. Because your children hold limited partnership interests, they have no control over the FLP, and thus no control over the business. They also can’t sell their interests without your consent or […] Read More
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees can no longer claim the home office deduction. If, however, you run a business from your home or are otherwise self-employed and use part of your home for business purposes, the home office deduction may still be available to you. Home-related expenses Homeowners know that they can claim itemized deductions for property tax and mortgage interest on their principal residences, subject to certain limits. Most other home-related expenses, such as utilities, insurance and repairs, aren’t deductible. But if you use part of your home for business purposes, you may be entitled to deduct a portion of these expenses, as well as depreciation. Or you might be able to claim the simplified home office deduction of $5 per square foot, up to 300 square feet ($1,500). Regular and exclusive use You might qualify for the home office deduction if part of your home is used as your principal place of business “regularly and exclusively,” defined as follows: 1. Regular use. You use a specific area of your home for business on a regular basis. Incidental or occasional business use is not regular use. 2. Exclusive use. You use the specific area of your […] Read More
Many employers sponsor 401(k) plans to help employees save for retirement, but sometimes those employees need access to plan funds well before they retire. In such cases, if the plan allows it, participants can make a hardship withdrawal. If your organization sponsors a 401(k) with this option, you should know that there are important changes on the way next year. What will be different Right now, 401(k) hardship withdrawals are limited to only funds an employee has contributed, and the employee must first take out a plan loan from the account. The employee also cannot participate in the plan for six months after a hardship withdrawal. However, important changes take effect in 2019 under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA). First, employees’ withdrawal limits will include not only their own contributed amounts, but also accumulated employer matching contributions plus earnings on contributions. If an employee has been participating in your 401(k) for several years, this could add substantially to the amount of funds available for withdrawal in the event of a legitimate hardship. In addition, the BBA eliminates the current six-month ban on employee participation in the 401(k) plan following a hardship withdrawal. This means employees can stay in […] Read More
Tyler, Simms & St. Sauveur, CPAs, P.C.
Phone: +1 (603) 653-0044