Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015

Just before recessing for the holidays, the House and Senate passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act).  President Obama signed the Act and a FY 2016 omnibus on December 18.  The Act does considerably more than the typical tax extenders legislation seen in prior years.  

     It makes permanent over 20 key tax provisions, including the research tax credit, enhanced Code Sec. 179 expensing, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.  It also extends other provisions, including bonus depreciation, for five years; and revives many others for two years.  In addition, many extenders have been enhanced.  Further, the Act imposes a two-year moratorium on the ACA medical devise excise tax.  To read the details of the legislation and how it may impact you, please click here.    

     To discuss further, you can reach your Crosslin tax professional at (615) 320-5500.  We look forward to working with you.

Happy Holidays from the Crosslin Team

With the Holiday Season upon us,

we find ourselves reflecting on the past year,

and our thoughts turn gratefully to those

who have helped shape our business

and made our continued success possible.

We value our relationship with you,

and look forward to working with you in the year to come.

And so, in this spirit we say, simply but sincerely,

Crosslin Names Director of Marketing

Jordan Waldron 300x400

Crosslin has named Jordan Waldron as director of marketing.

Waldron brings nearly 10 years of marketing, public relations, and branding experience to the firm.  She most recently served as vice president of marketing and public relations for FirstBank, where she was responsible for the development and execution of the bank’s marketing and public relations efforts.  Waldron also worked as an account executive for Leading Edge Communications.

She is a member of the Junior League of Nashville, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and the Nashville American Marketing Association (NAMA).  She serves as president of the Young Leaders Council board of directors, an associate board member for Hospital Hospitality House, and a committee member for the American Cancer Society 2016 Nashville Gala.  She is a former board member for both the Nashville Junior Chamber of Commerce and Women in Numbers.

Waldron received her bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Auburn University.  She was named this year’s Young Leaders Council “Young Leader of the Year” and is a member of the Leadership Brentwood Class of 2016.

Has Your Company Expanded Operations Into Other States?

Has your company expanded operations and/or sales into multiple states over the years?    If your answer is yes, then there is another important question you need to answer.

Are you confident you are filing the appropriate state and local sales/use and income/franchise tax returns in the appropriate jurisdictions?

Some companies may think that the answer to the above question is obvious and others may not have given it much thought.  With the various complicated requirements and ever expanding reach for additional revenue by many state and local governments, the question may not be so easy to answer without some help from a state and local tax professional.    In many cases for those companies who chose to “assume everything is ok” or “ignore” these different requirements, there is more likely than not an unpleasant visit, and subsequent assessment for tax, penalty and interest, from a state auditor in your future.

What is Nexus?   The term “nexus” simply means a company has “sufficient presence or contact” in a jurisdiction that allows that jurisdiction to require the filing of tax returns and therefore impose that jurisdiction’s taxes.  Traditionally, sufficient presence or contact is usually caused by actual physical presence within the jurisdiction.  This would be having property like offices or warehouses and even resident employees working within the jurisdiction.  In this ever evolving digital age, states are continuing to push and expand the definition of nexus on many fronts including such concepts as “Economic Nexus,” “Affiliated Nexus,” and “Click Through & Web Nexus,” just to name a few.    These expansions extend the concept of nexus beyond the traditional physical presence in a jurisdiction to other activities and contact with a jurisdiction.   And, of course, there is little uniformity of these rules between the states and treatment can be different depending on the type of tax and what you are selling.   For example, for state income tax purposes there are federal mandated safe harbors that protect a company from having to file income tax returns under specific circumstances but those safe harbors do not extend to the sales tax.   So it is very likely for companies who sell (ship goods) into multiple states that it may not have a state income tax reporting responsibility in some states, but may very well still have a sales tax reporting responsibility.

Voluntary Disclosure Agreements:  When a company determines where it has nexus and where it has prior exposures, there are ways to limit the exposure through approved processes in each state called voluntary disclosure agreements (VDAs).   These are provisions within each state’s law that allows taxpayers, usually through a third party, to come forward and agree to report and pay any back taxes.   The benefit to the taxpayer is that in exchange for a company coming forward, the state will generally agree to limit the look-back period (usually to 3 or 4 years) and will waive any penalty due on the liability.   This can be a huge benefit to a taxpayer because if the taxpayer has failed to file the required returns over a period of time and the state on audit finds the exposure, legally the statute of limitations has not run because no returns have been filed.   Therefore, the state could conceivably go back as far as the date the company started doing business in the state and collect unreported taxes from that time and add on significant penalties and interest charges.

How We Can Help:  The state and local tax group at Crosslin performs nexus studies for clients that will determine where nexus exists and ensure that the client is filing in the appropriate taxing jurisdictions.  If it is determined there is a past liability issue, we also can assist our clients with the quantification of the liability and the voluntary disclosure (VDA) process in each state, which can significantly limit the exposure.

As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so it can also be said of companies who may be unsure of where they are required to file the various types of state and local tax returns.    For more information on nexus studies and voluntary disclosure agreements, please contact Mark Loftis with Crosslin at (615) 320-5500 or email at mark.loftis@crosslinpc.com.

Crosslin Technologies Expands Technology Team

Crosslin Technologies has expanded its team and added Michael Thuma as senior network engineer and Ken Dixon as systems analyst.

Thuma brings more than 17 years of experience to the position, most recently having served as director of information technology for John W. McDougall Co.  He also has worked as a senior network engineer for Foundations Recovery Network and as an application security consultant for HP.    Thuma received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and holds the CompTIA A+, CompTIA Net+, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), and Global Information Assurance (GIAC-GISF) certifications.

Dixon most recently served as an emergency operations officer for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and brings more than 11 years of experience to the firm.  He also served as tech support for Verizon Wireless, where he was a device expert and Apple and Android developer.  Dixon is a veteran of the armed forces, having served in t the United States Army. Michael Thuma 300x400Ken Dixon 300x400

Crosslin Wins Big at the Corporate Philanthropy Awards

Crosslin was a big winner in last week’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards, sponsored by the Nashville Business Journal.  Crosslin came in 20th overall in corporate giving.  We are proud that giving is a cornerstone of our firm and love the fact that our team members get so involved.  Check out the article in this week’s Nashville Business Journal.  Go Team Crosslin!

Changes to Wage and Premium Report Filing

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development has issued notice of a change in its wage and premium report requirements.

Effective January 1, 2016, Tennessee law requires employers with ten (10) or more employees to file the portion of the wage and premium report that contains the name, social security number, and gross wages of each individual in employment electronically in a format prescribed by the commissioner.

Effective July 1, 2016, any employer subject to this provision that fails to file electronically as prescribed shall be assessed a penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) for each month, or portion of a month, the report is past due.  The total penalty shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00).

Acceptable means of submission can be found at this link on the Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Web site.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Crosslin tax team at 615.320.5500.

Crosslin Names Director of State and Local Tax

Mark Loftis 300 x 400

Crosslin has named Mark Loftis, CPA, as director of state and local tax.

Loftis brings nearly 35 years of state and local tax experience to the firm, which provides a new and exciting expansion in the area of state and local taxation for the tax practice at Crosslin.  He most recently served as senior manager of state and local tax for a regional accounting firm where he assisted clients from a variety of industries in meeting their state and local tax obligations and in minimizing their tax burden.  Additionally, he has served as senior state and local tax manager for Nortel Networks and, in that role, received numerous awards for his achievements including the Nortel Finance Award of Excellence.

He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA), the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA), and the Institute of Professionals in Taxation (IPT) and a former member of the Council on State and Local Taxation (COST).  With such a deep level of expertise, Loftis also is a frequent blogger on state and local tax subjects for several media outlets.

Loftis received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lipscomb University.

Could You Be A Victim Of Tax Identity Theft?

Recently, the IRS has investigated more vigorously identity theft schemes which steal taxpayers’ refunds. These acts of fraud can not only significantly delay an individual’s refund, but they can cause a great deal of time and stress to resolve. This article, authored by our partner BDO, describes how tax identity theft typically works, information on how to protect yourself and how to proceed if you become a victim of identity theft.

How Tax Identity Theft Works

A typical tax identity theft involves someone who uses another taxpayer’s identity and Social Security number to deceitfully file a tax return and receive a refund from the IRS. The victim is commonly apprised of the fraud only when he or she files a tax return and the IRS informs them that the return has been rejected because a tax return was already filed for the same year under that Social Security number. The refund is then delayed until the IRS can determine the validity of the taxpayer.

Steps to Take to Protect Yourself From Tax Identity Fraud

There are a number of ways thieves can obtain your Social Security number to file a tax return:  hacking business or personal computers, calling an individual under the guise of an official or business requesting confidential information or even stealing personal statements from a mailbox or trashcan. While there is no way to completely protect yourself from tax-related identity theft, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk:

  • Be proactive by visiting the IRS website. This site has valuable information under the tab Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft. It also reports the most current phishing and email schemes.
  • The IRS requests that you report suspicious online or emailed phishing scams to phishing@irs.gov. For phishing scams by phone, fax or mail, call 1-800-366-4484. You can also report IRS impersonation scams by filling out the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration form.
  • Remember that the IRS only uses the U.S. mail to contact taxpayers. It does not make contact by phone or use electronic communication or social media.
  • Shred any documents with personal identifying information.
  • Avoid divulging your personal information on the phone or through email.
  • Strengthen the security of your computers by using a variety of security programs.
  • Frequently change your online account passwords; every three months is the recommended frequency
  • Thwart refund fraud by filing your tax return as early as possible.
  • Only provide your Social Security number to a business or medical provider if it is required.
  • Your Social Security card should always be kept in a secure place such as a safe deposit box or home safe.
  • Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year for any suspicious activity.

What Actions to Take if Your Identity is Stolen

If you are a victim of tax refund fraud, the IRS will contact you BY MAIL after it is verified that your return has been previously filed. They will provide identity confirmation via the Identity Certification Service (IDVerify) on IRS.gov or at a toll-free number provided. It is also advisable to prepare and submit an Identity Theft Affidavit on IRS Form 14039. In addition, make a report on the IRS Tax Fraud Hotline at 1-800-829-0433. Once your account has been resolved, the IRS will issue and mail to you an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN). This number will verify that you are legitimate when you file future tax returns and it will prevent the processing of fraudulent returns.

If you are the victim of an identity theft crime, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Also, contact your local police. Closely monitor your credit card accounts and contact one of the credit report companies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to have a Fraud Alert placed on your account.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a member of the Crosslin tax team at (615) 320-5500.

Crosslin Expands Audit and Tax Teams

Crosslin has expanded its audit and tax teams.

Adam Buckheister joins the firm as audit advanced team member. He most recently served as an audit associate for Harper, Rains, Knight & Company in Washington, D.C., where he worked on several governmental accounts. Buckheister received both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in accounting from the University of Mississippi. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).

Joining as audit team members are Andrew Bach and Katherine Farris. Bach previously worked as an assurance associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Milwaukee, Wisc. He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama. Farris most recently served on the administrative team for Jackson Thornton & Co. She received her degree in accounting from Middle Tennessee State University.

Lauren Nolin joins as a tax team member. She most recently completed an internal audit internship for the Hospital Corporation of America. She received her master’s degree in accounting from Belmont University and her bachelor’s degree in business from Middle Tennessee State University.

Recommended Reading: “All Boards Need a Technology Expert”

Crosslin Technologies Principal Shane Clancy recently came across an article in the Harvard Business Review that discusses today’s corporate environment and the absence of technology expertise at the executive level. “All Boards Need a Technology Expert” points out that executive leadership typically has broad leadership and management experience rather than a specialized expert focus, such as information technology. With that in mind, the article suggests that corporations look to its board for direction regarding its information technology updates, refreshes and/or complete overhauls. Click here to read this excellent article, which provides specific recommendations to ensure that corporate governance includes a sufficient oversight of technology. And, the team at Crosslin Technologies is always on hand to help your corporation with its IT needs. From analyzing your organization’s technology needs to helping you fully understand the cyber threats out there, Crosslin Technologies can provide the expertise you need to get your organization moving in the right direction.

Sides Authors Patient-Centered Medical Home Report

Rhonda W. Sides, Principal for Healthcare Services, has co-authored a recent study on “The Cost of Sustaining a Patient-Centered Medical Home: Experience From 2 States.” This study’s objective was to assess direct personnel costs to practices associated with the staffing necessary to deliver patient-centered medical home (PCMH) functions as outlined in the National Committee for Quality Assurance Standards.

The group’s report has been published and will hopefully serve as a learning model as the healthcare industry explores patient-centered medical home functionality. To view the report in full, please visit PCMH Study.

Congratulations, Rhonda, on your hard work!

Start Your Year-End Tax Planning Now!

As we begin to usher in fall, year-end tax planning will become a hot topic for many individuals.  Whether it’s the closely held business owner or a high net worth individual, income taxes represent a significant outflow for our clients. With top rates of 39.6% on ordinary income, 20% for long term capital gains plus a 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT), our tax environment requires us to find favorable opportunities that generate tax savings for clients.

If not already addressed on a regular basis, year-end planning is the last chance to evaluate opportunities before the year comes to a close. As conversations begin to shift towards year-end planning, click here to read more suggestions to assist in your planning.  Also, make sure to touch base with your Crosslin tax professional to put your plan into action.  We look forward to working with you! 

Nonprofit Newsletter Released

Crosslin has released the latest edition of the Nonprofit Standard, its newsletter specifically related to the business of running a nonprofit organization.  Topics in this quarter’s issue include successfully communicating success, the overhead myth conversation, and why nonprofits need to measure and monitor program impact and outcomes.  To read about these topics and more, click here.  

Changes to Tax Return Filing Due Dates

President Obama recently signed into law the “Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015.” Although this new law was primarily designed as a three-month stopgap extension of the Highway Trust Fund and related measures, it includes a number of important tax provisions, including revised due dates for partnership and C corporation returns and revised extended due dates for some returns. Though the new changes will not take place until 2016, below is an overview of these provisions:

Revised Due Dates for Partnership and C Corporation Returns
Domestic corporations (including S corporations) currently must file their returns by the 15th day of the third month after the end of their tax year. Thus, corporations using the calendar year must file their returns by March 15 of the following year. The partnership return is due on the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the partnership’s tax year. Thus, partnerships using a calendar year must file their returns by April 15 of the following year. Since the due date of the partnership return is the same date as the due date for an individual tax return, individuals holding partnership interests often must file for an extension to file their returns because their Schedule K-1s may not arrive until the last minute.

Under the new law, in a major restructuring of entity return due dates, effective generally for returns for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015:

• Partnerships and S corporations will have to file their returns by the 15th day of the third month after the end of the tax year. Thus, entities using a calendar year will have to file by Mar. 15 of the following year. In other words, the filing deadline for partnerships will be accelerated by one month; the filing deadline for S corporations stays the same. By having most partnership returns due one month before individual returns are due, taxpayers and practitioners will generally not have to extend, or scurry around at the last minute to file, the returns of individuals who are partners in partnerships.

• C corporations will have to file by the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the tax year. Thus, C corporations using a calendar year will have to file by Apr. 15 of the following year. In other words, the filing deadline for C corporations will be deferred for one month.

Keep in mind that these important changes to the filing deadlines generally won’t go into effect until the 2016 returns have to be filed. Under a special rule for C corporations with fiscal years ending on June 30, the change is deferred for ten years – it won’t apply until tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2025.

Revised Extended Due Dates for Various Returns
Taxpayers who cannot file a tax form on time can ask the IRS for an extension to file the form. Effective for tax returns for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015, the new law directs the IRS to modify its regulations to provide for a longer extension to file a number of forms, including the following:

• Form 1065 (U.S. Return of Partnership Income) will have a maximum extension of six-months (currently, a 5-month extension applies). The extension will end on Sept. 15 for calendar year taxpayers.

• Form 1041 (U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts) will have a maximum extension of five and a half months (currently, a 5-month extension applies). The extension will end on Sept. 30 for calendar year taxpayers.

• The Form 5500 series (Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan) will have a maximum automatic extension of three and a half months (under currently law, a 2½ month period applies). The extension will end on Nov. 15 for calendar year filers.

FinCEN Report Due Date Revised
Taxpayers with a financial interest in or signature authority over certain foreign financial accounts must file FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Currently, this form must be filed by June 30 of the year immediately following the calendar year being reported, and no extensions are allowed.

Under the new law, for returns for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015, the due date of FinCEN Report 114 will be Apr. 15 with a maximum extension for a 6-month period ending on Oct. 15. The IRS may also waive the penalty for failure to timely request an extension for filing the Report, for any taxpayer required to file FinCEN Form 114 for the first time.

Crosslin Announces Tax Promotions

Crosslin has promoted several team members in its tax division.

Ashley Culpepper has been promoted to tax supervisor. Culpepper has worked diligently to fully serve customers while increasing her knowledge of the industry and the profession. With a strong work ethic and commitment to accountability, she serves as a valuable asset to customers.

Tiffany Beckham and Christina Manis have been promoted to advanced tax team members. With these additional and leadership responsibilities, Beckham and Manis continue to become better advisors to customers as they further develop their skills.

Nonprofit Summer Newsletter Released

Crosslin has released the summer edition of the Nonprofit Standard, its newsletter specifically related to the business of running a nonprofit organization.  Topics in this quarter’s issue include successfully communicating success, the overhead myth conversation, and why nonprofits need to measure and monitor program impact and outcomes.  To read about these topics and more, click here.  

As always, thank you for your business.  If you have any questions or need additional information, please give us a call at (615) 320-5500 or visit www.crosslinpc.com. 

Sides to Speak at the Tennessee MGMA 2015 Annual Legislative-Payer Conference

Rhonda W. Sides, Principal for Healthcare Services, Forensic/Valuation and Litigation Support Services at Crosslin, will speak at the upcoming Tennessee MGMA 2015 Annual Legislative-Payer Conference in Memphis. The session entitled, “Value Based Reimbursements” will be part of the August 20th agenda.

To learn more about the conference or to register, please click here.

ICD-10 Transition: Are You Where You Need To Be?

The transition to ICD-10 is right around the corner and there is one question everyone is facing – are you where you need to be?

If you are feeling a bit nervous, let STAT Solutions help. On Wednesday, August 5, STAT’s Director of Operations Kathi Carney, will offer a brief and informative training on the ICD-10 transition and what to expect. Details include:

Topics Covered: What areas of your practice will be affected, how ICD-10 differs from ICD-9, and tips for a successful ICD-10 transition

Time: 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Location: Conference Room at STAT Solutions, 3803 Bedford Avenue, Suite 103, Nashville 37215 (parking in the back)

For those of you unable to attend in person, STAT also will provide a webinar option. When submitting your RSVP, please indicate whether you will attend in person or via webinar. To register, please e-mail info@statsolutionsusa.com. We look forward to helping you prepare for ICD-10.

Carney to Speak at KAMGMA Meeting

Kathi Carney, Director of Operations for STAT Solutions, will be speaking at the July meeting of the Knoxville Area Medical Group Management Association (KAMGMA) on Thursday, July 16 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Bearden Banquet Hall about the ICD-10 transition and what to expect. To register, visit www.kamgma.com. We hope you can attend and get up-to-speed on this very important change to healthcare.

Nonprofit Tax-Free Renewal Certificates

The tax and audit teams at Crosslin & wanted to make all of its not-for-profit customers and colleagues aware of a recent memo released by the Tennessee Department of Revenue regarding nonprofit tax-free renewal certificates. You can read the memo below in its entirety. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (615) 320-5500. Thanks and we appreciate your business!

The Department of Revenue has completed a periodic review of all registered nonprofit organizations eligible to purchase tangible personal property and taxable services tax-free. These entities have been issued new exemption certificates with an effective date of July 1, 2015. This new certificate is valid through June 30, 2019.

Effective July 1, 2015, exemption certificates issued with an effective date prior to July 1, 2015 are no longer valid for tax-exempt purchases.

A copy of the new nonprofit tax-exempt certificate must be placed on file as verification of tax-free sales on or after July 1, 2015. For audit purposes, copies of previously issued certificates must be retained as documentation of purchases made prior to July 1, 2015.

Out-of-state organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service need only present a copy of their 501(c)(3) exemption to purchase goods and services tax-free. In-state 501(c)(3) organizations must present a Tennessee non-profit exemption certificate when making purchases.

Rhonda Sides Named HealthCare Hero by Nashville Business Journal

Rhonda Sides Healthcare HeroRhonda W. Sides, Principal for Healthcare Services, Forensic/Valuation and Litigation Support Services at Crosslin, has been named to the 2015 HealthCare Heroes in the HealthCare Professional Services category. The Nashville Business Journal made the announcement at a recent luncheon, where Rhonda was joined by colleagues and customers, and the article appears in this week’s edition of the NBJ. This is the second time Rhonda has received this accolade. The Crosslin team is extremely proud of Rhonda and all she does for our customers. Way to go, Rhonda!

Crosslin Announces Promotions and New Hire

Crosslin has promoted several team members and hired one in its tax, audit, and entrepreneurial business services divisions.

Kristopher Miller, CPA, has been promoted to tax director. Since joining the firm, Miller has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and strong leadership capabilities. In this role, he will continue to advise tax customers as well as develop new business for the growing tax practice.

Jennifer Manternach, Ben Nichols, and Erica Saeger have been promoted to audit senior managers. Each has contributed significantly to the growth of the firm’s audit department over the last several years and has displayed a strong commitment to mentoring younger staff members.

Colin Neff has been promoted to supervisor in the firm’s entrepreneurial business services division. Joining the entrepreneurial group at its inception, he has been instrumental in the expansion of this line of services and the development of the division’s management, policies, and procedures.

Kathleen Galloway and Daniel Smith have been promoted to audit seniors. Both have worked diligently to fully serve our customers while increasing their knowledge of the industry and the profession.

David Middlebrook joins the firm as a tax team member. He most recently worked as a senior staff accountant for Scripps Networks Interactive in Knoxville. Middlebrook received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the University of Tennessee and his master of business administration degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

Crosslin Acquires Local Tax Firm

Crosslin has expanded its tax and accounting services base by acquiring Hickman & Associates, CPAs, P.C., an accounting and consulting firm located in Nashville. With the combination of companies, Crosslin is now able to offer family office services providing families with their own CFO to care for their financial well-being in addition to its staple tax compliance, tax planning, entrepreneurial business, and bookkeeping services.

“In looking toward the future, Crosslin was ready to expand its base of tax and accounting services,” said J. Dell Crosslin, managing principal. “By acquiring Hickman & Associates, we will be able to add services and expertise while continuing to embody the same commitment to excellence and high quality service that both companies have delivered since inception.”

Continue reading “Crosslin Acquires Local Tax Firm”