21
Jun

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Accountants trusted more than bankers and lawyers http://bit.ly/2tOZsQU

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21
Jun

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IRS reopens PTIN registration system http://bit.ly/2sQW2zQ

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21
Jun

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Seasonal business? Optimize your operating cycle

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Every business has some degree of ups and downs during the year. But cash flow fluctuations are much more intense for seasonal businesses. So, if your company defines itself as such, it’s important to optimize your operating cycle to anticipate and minimize shortfalls.

A high-growth example

To illustrate: Consider a manufacturer and distributor of lawn-and-garden products such as topsoil, potting soil and ground cover. Its customers are lawn-and-garden retailers, hardware stores and mass merchants.

The company’s operating cycle starts when customers place orders in the fall — nine months ahead of its peak selling season. So the business begins amassing product in the fall, but curtails operations in the winter. In late February, product accumulation continues, with most shipments going out in April.

At this point, a lot of cash has flowed out of the company to pay operating expenses, such as utilities, salaries, raw materials costs and shipping expenses. But cash doesn’t start flowing into the company until customers pay their bills around June. Then, the company counts inventory, pays remaining expenses and starts preparing for the next year. Its strategic selling window — which will determine whether the business succeeds or fails — lasts a mere eight weeks.

The power of projections

Sound familiar? Ideally, a seasonal business such as this should stockpile cash received at the end of its operating cycle, and then use those cash reserves to finance the next operating cycle. But cash reserves may not be enough — especially for high-growth companies.

So, like many seasonal businesses, you might want to apply for a line of credit to avert potential shortfalls. To increase the chances of loan approval, compile a comprehensive loan package, including historical financial statements and tax returns, as well as marketing materials and supplier affidavits (if available).

More important, draft a formal business plan that includes financial projections for next year. Some companies even project financial results for three to five years into the future. Seasonal business owners can’t rely on gut instinct. You need to develop budgets, systems, processes and procedures ahead of the peak season to effectively manage your operating cycle.

Distinctive challenges

Seasonal businesses face many distinctive challenges. Please contact our firm for assistance overcoming these obstacles and strengthening your bottom line.

© 2017

20
Jun

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How to Get Through to Non-CPAs on the Job http://bit.ly/2tKWQnc

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20
Jun

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Are income taxes taking a bite out of your trusts?

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If your estate plan includes one or more trusts, review them in light of income taxes. For trusts, the income threshold is very low for triggering the:

  • Top income tax rate of 39.6%,
  • Top long-term capital gains rate of 20%, and
  •  Net investment income tax (NIIT) of 3.8%.

The threshold is only $12,500 for 2017.

3 ways to soften the blow

Three strategies can help you soften the blow of higher taxes on trust income:

1. Use grantor trusts. An intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT) is designed so that you, the grantor, are treated as the trust’s owner for income tax purposes — even though your contributions to the trust are considered “completed gifts” for estate- and gift-tax purposes.

IDGTs offer significant advantages. The trust’s income is taxed to you, so the trust itself avoids taxation. This allows trust assets to grow tax-free, leaving more for your beneficiaries. And it reduces the size of your estate. Further, as the owner, you can sell assets to the trust or engage in other transactions without tax consequences.

Keep in mind that, if your personal income exceeds the applicable thresholds for your filing status, using an IDGT won’t avoid the tax rates described above. Still, the other benefits of these trusts make them attractive.

2. Change your investment strategy. Despite the advantages of grantor trusts, nongrantor trusts are sometimes desirable or necessary. At some point, for example, you may decide to convert a grantor trust to a nongrantor trust to relieve yourself of the burden of paying the trust’s taxes. Also, grantor trusts become nongrantor trusts after the grantor’s death.

One strategy for easing the tax burden on nongrantor trusts is for the trustee to shift investments into tax-exempt or tax-deferred investments.  

3. Distribute income. Generally, nongrantor trusts are subject to tax only to the extent they accumulate taxable income. When a trust makes distributions to a beneficiary, it passes along ordinary income (and, in some cases, capital gains), which are taxed at the beneficiary’s marginal rate.

Thus, one strategy for minimizing taxes on trust income is to distribute the income to beneficiaries in lower tax brackets. The trustee might also consider distributing appreciated assets, rather than cash, to take advantage of a beneficiary’s lower capital gains rate.

Of course, this strategy may conflict with a trust’s purposes, such as providing incentives to beneficiaries, preserving assets for future generations and shielding assets from beneficiaries’ creditors.

If you’re concerned about income taxes on your trusts, contact us. We can review your estate plan to uncover opportunities to reduce your family’s tax burden.

© 2017

19
Jun

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New Liquidity Disclosures for Not-for Profits: Are You Ready? http://bit.ly/2sIFxpz

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19
Jun

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How to Prepare for Your Organization’s Single Audit http://bit.ly/2rJ5WEu

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19
Jun

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Beyond Bad Jokes: What We Learned from Our Dads http://bit.ly/2sIAXYp

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19
Jun

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2017 Q3 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

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Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the second quarter of 2017. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

July 31

  • Report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for second quarter 2017 (Form 941), and pay any tax due. (See exception below.)
  • File a 2016 calendar-year retirement plan report (Form 5500 or Form 5500-EZ) or request an extension.

August 10

  • Report income tax withholding and FICA taxes for second quarter 2017 (Form 941), if you deposited on time and in full all of the associated taxes due.

September 15

  • If a calendar-year C corporation, pay the third installment of 2017 estimated income taxes.
  • If a calendar-year S corporation or partnership that filed an automatic six-month extension:
  • File a 2016 income tax return (Form 1120S, Form 1065 or Form 1065-B) and pay any tax, interest and penalties due.
  • Make contributions for 2016 to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans.

© 2017

15
Jun

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Social impact bonds can fund nonprofit social services and offer other benefits

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Social impact bonds provide a relatively new method of funding social programs. Several U.S. cities already pay some not-for-profit social service providers through such programs. Might your organization benefit?

In a nutshell

Traditionally, government agencies extend funding to nonprofit social service providers to pay for specific activities or delivery models. But what if the nonprofit lacks the upfront money to pursue the required outcomes? Few organizations have the deep pockets necessary to fully finance programs themselves.

That’s where outside investors — including philanthropists and foundations — may come in. They supply the necessary capital and operating funds by investing in social impact or “pay for performance” bonds issued by the nonprofit or its intermediary. In exchange, they’ll receive a share of the government payments made for successful outcome-based performance.

The advantages

Investors generally assume the risk of social impact bonds because there’s a chance they won’t earn income or receive a return on their capital. Not surprisingly, government agencies are attracted to the idea of transferring risk away from taxpayers. But social impact bonds may provide additional benefits.

For example, the bonds can help fund preventive services (such as medical screenings that facilitate early intervention) that could save more government funds down the road. Social impact bonds also can eliminate wasteful spending on programs that don’t work but have continued to receive funds because they undergo little evaluation.

What’s more, traditional funding frequently comes with tight restrictions that stifle novel but as-yet-unproven approaches. Social impact bonds are believed to foster creativity.

Still novel and uncertain

Social impact bonds won’t work for every social service nonprofit. They’re still novel and the extent of a capital market for social programs is uncertain. But if your nonprofit has measurable outcomes that are highly correlated with social net benefits, social impact bonds could be in your future. Contact us for more information.

© 2017