Private companies that follow U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) must comply with the landmark new revenue recognition standard in 2019. Many private company CFOs and controllers report that they still have significant work to do to meet the demands of the sweeping rules. If you haven’t started the implementation process, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Lessons from public company peers Affected private companies must start following Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606), the first time they issue financial statements in 2019. For private companies with a fiscal year end or issuing quarterly statements under U.S. GAAP, that could be within the next few months. Other private companies have until the end of the year or even early 2020. No matter what, it’s crunch time. Public companies, which had to begin following the standard in 2018, reported that, even if the new accounting didn’t radically change the number they reported in the top line of their income statements, it changed the method by which they had to calculate it. They had to comb through contracts and offer paper trails to back up their estimates to auditors. Public companies largely […] Details
Raffles are popular fundraisers for not-for-profits. But they’re subject to strict tax rules. State laws on nonprofit-sponsored raffles can vary significantly, but nonprofits must comply with federal income tax requirements linked to unrelated business income, reporting and withholding. Unrelated business income tax Nonprofits are required to pay income tax on unrelated business income (UBI), and funds raised by raffles often qualify as such. This is particularly true if you routinely hold raffles and they aren’t related to your exempt purpose. But raffle income can be exempted from UBI tax if the raffle is conducted with “substantially all” volunteer labor. The IRS’s unofficial guideline is that 85% or more of the labor should be volunteer. If relying on this exemption, make sure you keep records to demonstrate your level of volunteer support. Reporting obligations Raffle winnings must be reported when the amount is $600 or more and at least 300 times the raffle ticket price. You can deduct the amount of the ticket when determining if the $600 threshold is met. For example, you sell $2 tickets, and your winner receives $1,000. Because the winnings ($998) are more than $600 and more than 300 times $2, you’re required to report them […] Details
The flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has been great news for these entities and their owners. But some fundamental tax truths for C corporations largely remain the same: C corporations are subject to double taxation. Double taxation occurs when corporate income is taxed once at the corporate level and again at the shareholder level as dividends are paid out. The cost of double taxation, however, is now generally less because of the 21% corporate rate. And double taxation isn’t a problem when a C corporation needs to retain all its earnings to finance growth and capital investments. Because all the earnings stay “inside” the corporation, no dividends are paid to shareholders, and, therefore, there’s no double taxation. Double taxation also isn’t an issue when a C corporation’s taxable income levels are low. This can often be achieved by paying reasonable salaries and bonuses to shareholder-employees and providing them with tax-favored fringe benefits (deductible by the corporation and tax-free to the recipient shareholder-employees). C corporation status isn’t generally advisable for ventures with appreciating assets or certain depreciable assets. If assets such as real estate are eventually sold for substantial […] Details
Commercial buildings and improvements generally are depreciated over 39 years, which essentially means you can deduct a portion of the cost every year over the depreciation period. (Land isn’t depreciable.) But special tax breaks that allow deductions to be taken more quickly are available for certain real estate investments. Some of these were enhanced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and may provide a bigger benefit when you file your 2018 tax return. But there’s one break you might not be able to enjoy due to a drafting error in the TCJA. Section 179 expensing This allows you to deduct (rather than depreciate over a number of years) qualified improvement property — a definition expanded by the TCJA from qualified leasehold-improvement, restaurant and retail-improvement property. The TCJA also allows Sec. 179 expensing for certain depreciable tangible personal property used predominantly to furnish lodging and for the following improvements to nonresidential real property: roofs, HVAC equipment, fire protection and alarm systems, and security systems. Under the TCJA, for qualifying property placed in service in tax years starting in 2018, the expensing limit increases to $1 million (from $510,000 for 2017), subject to a phaseout if your qualified asset purchases […] Details
Many, if not most, employers today use some form of an “at-will” employment contract when hiring. The arrangement is theoretically simple: The employer can terminate the employee at any time, for any cause — with or without notice. But is that what at-will employment really means? Not necessarily. Common exceptions For every rule, there are exceptions. Those applicable to at-will employment include: Unlawful discrimination (that is, statutory considerations established under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including age, race, sex or sexual orientation discrimination, as well as other applicable laws), Public policy infringements (such as retaliation for having filed a workers’ compensation claim), and Violation of implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing (such as terminating long-term employees just before they’re due to receive an anticipated financial benefit). When considering whether to terminate an employee signed to an at-will contract, it’s important to review these exceptions and other mitigating factors with your employment attorney before acting. Progressive discipline Even when an employer doesn’t view a termination as being subject to an at-will exception, that doesn’t mean the terminated employee won’t view it as discriminatory, retaliatory or otherwise unlawful and file a wrongful termination claim. So, documented […] Details
Tyler, Simms & St. Sauveur, CPAs, P.C.
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