Jul 17 2018
Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) has been recognized for our wellness standards in the workplace and was presented the Gold WellBusiness award at a recent recognition luncheon, moving up from the Bronze level! The WellBusiness Advisory Council identifies companies in Catawba County who are committed to worksite wellness practices and policies that help prevent cancer. Companies meeting evidence-based worksite wellness standards in the areas of tobacco, physical activity, nut..
Jul 17 2018
Have you considered what social security strategy will best suit you in retirement? These important questions are related to social security planning: 1) when should I plan to begin drawing my social security, and, 2) should I delay my social security benefit past full retirement age?
To read more about these questions and answers, click here (https://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2018/jun/social-security-facts-201818539.html).
Source: Journal of Accountancy
Jul 17 2018
Congratulations to Erica Brown who was recently awarded the 2018 “Taking It to the Max” award at the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants' (NCACPA) annual business meeting held on June 21, 2018 in Raleigh, NC. This award recognizes a former Young CPA Cabinet member who characterizes engagement and continues to contribute to the profession and the NCACPA after completion of their cabinet service.
The “Taking It to the Max” award was initi..
Jul 3 2018
Our own Lorrie Eaton has been awarded the Accredited in Business Valuation Credential by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Click here (http://files.constantcontact.com/7274ac1e501/ea1cdc86-4095-4a01-a9d8-17f2a411fafb.pdf) to read more about this exciting and well-deserved accomplishment.
Source: Hickory Daily Record..
Jul 3 2018
On Jennie Cheek's 69th birthday, she wrote an email to her biological mother to share her excitement that her great-granddaughter had graduated college, with honors, 70 years after she had graduated from college. Her mother did not respond to her email.
Some of you may know Jennie as she is one of the Bookkeepers at our Hickory office. To read the entire story, you can click here (http://files.constantcontact.com/7274ac1e501/03b9f3d9-5665-4249-bea4-21b6c453ec2d.pdf).
Jul 3 2018
On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its much anticipated opinion in the landmark case of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., fundamentally changing the sales tax landscape in the United States. Due to the change in buying patterns to the internet and away from brick and mortar businesses over the last decade, there has been a growing discontent among the states that they are losing significant sales tax revenue. Thus, enters this recent decision. This case could and most likely will lead t..
Jun 19 2018
Paula Hodges has over 26 years of accounting experience. She has been with Martin Starnes and Associates, CPAs, P.A., since 1999 and became an Audit Partner in 2011; Paula specializes in governmental audits.
Paula has the following achievements:
Member of the Special Review Committee of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program; Speaker at the North Carolina Gover..
Jun 19 2018
On June 5, 2018, the IRS issued a draft Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. The new W-4 is a two-page condensed version that takes into account the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Under the TCJA, which was approved by Congress on December 22, 2017, personal exemptions were eliminated. The IRS has warned taxpayers that this a draft form and changes will be made, if needed, and a final form will be released later in the summer. Taxpayers not wishing to provide t..
Jun 6 2018
We would like to introduce our President, Vickie Martin, who has over 30 years of accounting and tax consulting experience serving closely-held companies, family businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals. Vickie founded Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) in 1987. As a result of her leadership abilities and her passion for the financial field, the firm has grown to become a leader in tax and audit services. MSA has offices in Hickory, Taylorsville and Stat..
Jun 6 2018
Did you find something on your tax return that needs to be updated after it had been filed? Maybe your number of dependents changed or your income wasn't reported with the correct amount? Click on the link below to read more about filing an amended tax return.
To Read Full Article Click Here (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tips-for-taxpayers-who-need-to-amend-a-return)..
May 24 2018
Congratulations to our own Chris Aronis who has successfully completed a Master of Business Administration degree, with a concentration in accounting at Fitchburg State University! He completed his undergraduate at North Carolina State University.
Chris has assisted with audit exams and two tax seasons while at Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. When he isn't working, you can find him exercising, playing sports, and spending time with family and friends.
May 24 2018
Did life get busy and you missed the April filing deadline for your 2017 income taxes? If you owe taxes, you should file your return as soon as possible as the late-filing penalty on unpaid taxes adds up quickly. If you are due a refund, there is no penalty for filing a late return.
Click on the link below to read tips on how you can complete this filing process.
Read Full Article Here (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tips-for-taxpayers-who-missed-the-april-fi..
May 22 2018
The Council on Adolescents of Catawba County recently hosted the 14th Annual “Wake-Up Call Breakfast” a fundraiser at the Catawba Country Club in Newton. The event featured a breakfast, an overview of programs offered and the winner of the Jo Ann Spees Youth Advocacy award. This year’s winner was Ms. Molly Rice, a Theatre Arts teacher at St. Stephens High School. The proceeds from the event will benefit Council on Adolescents’ prevention programs. Linda Lambert, fro..
May 8 2018
Thank you to everyone who brought by their items for shredding and enjoyed a some lunch! We were able to shred approximately 2,500 pounds of paper. Thanks again for making this a success and to Summit Credit Union, Enterprise Car Sales and Kit Cagle - Lincoln Financial for helping to sponsor this event!..
May 8 2018
This year's winners of Best Employers in North Carolina 2018 were just released and Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) is honored to be one of the only 27 named in the entire state in the category of small to medium-sized companies. MSA was chosen based on workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics, and selected by Best Companies Group. We are so proud to stand out from the crowd.
For full article from Business NC click here (http://r20.rs6..
Apr 24 2018
Are you confused as to what financial records to keep and how long you should retain them? Please click the link below for more guidance.
Click here for Business Recordkeeping Information (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/recordkeeping)..
Apr 24 2018
To shred or not to shred - a question we are often asked from our clients. Prior to the Shred Day event, hosted at Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A., Thursday May 3, here are some guidelines regarding document retention:
What to Keep
Taxpayers should keep records supporting items of income, deduction, or credit as shown on a tax return until the period of limitations for that tax return runs out – usually three to seven years.
Examples of reco..
Apr 10 2018
Why do you have a few extra days to file your 2017 return? You may have asked your tax professional and learned it was Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. What exactly is Emancipation Day?
Emancipation Day is a holiday marking the anniversary of an act of Congress that provided for the emancipation of people held as slaves in the District of Columbia. On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation that abolished slavery in the capital city of the United St..
Apr 10 2018
Are you drowning in paper clutter? Take some time to clean out those old tax returns and other confidential paperwork and bring it to our office to dispose of for free!
Open to the Public
Thursday - May 3
Apr 10 2018
The North Carolina Annual Reports filing process has changed effective January 1, 2018. The State of North Carolina now requires that all reports be filed directly with the Secretary of State. The annual reports can no longer be a part of the income tax filing process.
Annual reports are due no later than the 15th day of the fourth month following year-end. If your business operates on a calendar year-end, the annual report is due April 15, 2018. All Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) m..
Mar 27 2018
Wondering how the new tax laws might impact you and if you are withholding enough from your paycheck? Use the Internal Revenue Service's newly revised withholding calculator for a quick and easy way to make this determination.
Just click on this link - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/updated-withholding-calculator-form-w-4-released-calculator-helps-taxpayers-review-withholding-following-new-tax-law...
Mar 27 2018
On Thursday, March 22, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce held the Future of Catawba County Summit. The agenda of the half-day summit was filled with an abundance of information about the current state of Catawba County and what is to come in the future. The event was a great way to network with community leaders, politicians, educators, and business professionals and to share in one or two words their commitment to crafting the future of Catawba County.
Please click this link bel..
Mar 13 2018
The April 17th tax filing deadline is fast approaching. Instead of rushing to file your return by the first due date, you should consider the option to file for an automatic six-month extension. There are many reasons an extension can be helpful or necessary. Many taxpayers fear that extending their return will be a red flag for audits, but the truth is that millions are processed every year with no greater risk. In fact, there can actually be some important advantages for opting to extend ..
Mar 13 2018
Amber McGhinnis, Senior Audit Manager at Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA), recently became a graduate of the 43rd class of the Leadership Catawba program offered by the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. Leadership Catawba is a 6-month program designed to help individuals who have demonstrated leadership potential to become more effective and influential leaders and to get them more involved in the community.
This year's program kicked off in August 2017 with a full ..
Feb 27 2018
A group of Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. employees attended the Annual Shareholders and Investors Luncheon earlier this month hosted by the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President, Lindsay Keisler, spoke to the theme of this meeting, Return on Impact. She shared that "investing in the business community is investing in people." Eight speakers, all with diverse backgrounds and interests, spoke about their experiences and shared how they have benefitted from C..
Feb 14 2018
Martin Starnes & Associates CPAs, P.A. held their annual company-wide retreat on Friday, February 2. The day was filled with many activities, including a presentation from the world-renowned author and keynote speaker, Clifton Lambreth, and the afternoon with team building. Click on the link below to check out all of the fun pictures of the event.
To view photos of the event, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Martin.Starnes.Associates/photos/pcb.1961700307237308/196169918057075..
Feb 14 2018
The filing deadline to submit 2017 tax returns is April 17, 2018. April 15 falls on a Sunday in 2018, which would normally result in a move to the following Monday (April 16, 2018); however, Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 16 this year. Since this is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, the tax filing deadline will be pushed ahead for all individual taxpayers to Tuesday, April 17, 2018...
Jan 30 2018
We just completed our first year of First Fifteen, our corporate reading program. The stats are tallied, and we are delighted to share our results!
From late January through the end of December 2017, our employees completed 127 books and 18,550 pages - an amazing outcome on their part!
This reading program was designed to create a positive avenue for our employees to grow both professionally and personally, and wow, what an impact it has made! The books often spark numerous conv..
Jan 11 2018
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has extended the due date for distributing the 2017 health coverage information forms to employees until March 2nd, 2018. Employers and insurers are encouraged to provide the forms to individuals as soon as possible, but no later than March 2, 2018. Individuals who file their 2017 federal income tax returns before receiving their 1095-B and 1095-C forms will not be required to amend their income tax returns once they receive their forms; however, their..
Nov 30 2017
On November 17, 2017, employees of Martin Starnes & Associates CPAs, P.A. had the honor of joining the Fallen Heroes Ministry from Sandy Ridge Baptist Church in the Hickory Christmas Parade. The Fallen Heroes Ministry honors our men and women in all branches of service who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
During the parade, we carried 228 posters of North Carolina residents who have given their lives in war for the sake of our freedom. While walking in the parade, some ..
Oct 31 2017
For the third year in a row, Martin Starnes & Associates CPAs, P.A. employees and their family members participated in the Hickory Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This event is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide and took place on October 28, 2017, at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the largest event to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.
Sep 18 2017
T&E expenses are by far one of the largest expenses in a company's budget. Although most companies would like to adopt best-practice procedures, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Effectively managing these expenses will make it easier for employees to understand the expectations of what is acceptable, and will aid in streamlining the company's cash flow. Below, we have compiled a few tips on what to include in your process.
Simple Works - Everyone is more likely to remem..
Aug 14 2014
On January 30, 2017, Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) rolled out a reading program for employees called the First Fifteen. This program, which was researched and tested with accounting firms and other businesses throughout the country over the last five years, has shown to have made a huge impact on the participants both professionally and personally.
At MSA, the program works as follows: The firm provides a library of non-fictional books including; self-help o..
Aug 1 2017
Entrepreneurs generally have no problems when it comes to developing new ideas to get their business going. Unfortunately, studies show that about 90 percent of these start-ups fail within the first five years. As a small business, you may think you are safe from making big financial mistakes, but in fact, the smaller your business is, the more important your financials are to that success. We have put together a list of a few of the most common accounting mistakes entrepren..
Jul 18 2017
Last month, on June 30th, 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the budget bill along with several other tax bills. Some of the most notable changes affected corporate and individual income tax rates, franchise tax calculations, standard deduction amounts, as well as other items discussed below. Various corporate tax credit changes were also passed.
Corporate income tax rates have dropped from 5% to 3% over the last several years. The General Assembly continued this tr..
Jun 20 2017
Healthcare, transportation, banking institutions, retail and manufacturing firms, just to mention a few, are turning to outsourced bookkeeping and related services. The most commonly outsourced services within accounting are: payroll accounting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable; however, there are many more offerings available. See the list below:
Credit card processing
Sales and use tax reporting
Jun 19 2017
The Council on Adolescents of Catawba County recently hosted the 13th Annual “Wake-Up Call Breakfast”, a fundraiser at the Catawba Country Club in Newton. The event featured a breakfast, an overview of programs offered and the winner of this year’s JoAnn Spees Youth Advocacy Award, Mrs. Alice Averitt-Sanzone of Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School. The proceeds from the event will benefit Council on Adolescents’ prevention programs. Linda Lambert, from Martin..
May 15 2017
Late last month President Trump’s tax plan was released. Trump has stated his major goals for the Tax Reform are to grow the economy and create jobs. In short, provide relief to American families, specifically middle class, and to lower the business tax rate significantly.
How this will affect Individuals
The plan consists of lowering the current 7 tax brackets to only 3 at the following percentages: 10%, 25% and 35%. It has not yet been determined at what income levels those..
May 2 2017
Too often, business owners focus on running their businesses and pay little attention to managing the wealth those businesses represent. To ensure that your financial goals are met, whether it is funding a comfortable retirement, leaving a legacy for your children or employees, satisfying your philanthropic objectives, or all of the above, it is important to treat your business as an investment.
Let's create a visual example to explain: Ralph, a 55-year-old business owner has $3 mi..
Apr 17 2017
When companies sell properties, they must pay taxes on any gain they receive. Like-kind exchanges, qualified transactions in which companies trade properties, may be carried out without any immediate tax consequences. However, they must satisfy Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, which include the following:
The properties must have the same “nature or character,” as set forth in IRS guidance.
The exchanges can be business or investment properties put t..
Apr 4 2017
In January, the White House announced a temporary freeze on new regulations, including proposed Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations clarifying new partnership audit rules that were enacted in 2015 and take effect next year. How does this affect partnerships? Although the proposed regulations are on hold, and it’s uncertain how the new administration’s review will affect them, the freeze doesn’t change the fact that the new audit rules are set to take effect on Januar..
Apr 4 2014
On Wednesday, March 22nd, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce held the Future of Catawba County Summit. The agenda of the half-day summit was filled with a plethora of information about the current state of Catawba County and what is to come in the future. Each speaker shared a different perspective of the County’s growth and plans to move forward. The event, was a great way to join community leaders, politicians, educators, and business professionals. The room was full of optim..
Mar 21 2017
The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce along with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) hosted a Young Professionals Roundtable Luncheon on March 1st in Hickory, North Carolina. The goal of the day was to gain young professionals’ viewpoints of the economy to be used in a comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) process, a study being performed by the WPCOG along with County leaders.
Taylor Dellinger, Data Analyst for WPCOG, presented slides showing ..
Mar 7 2017
MSA employees attended the first “Inside the Metro” event of 2017 on Thursday, February 24th at the Chamber of Commerce. The event was hosted by the Hickory Young Professionals organization. There was a panel discussion which consisted of Mayor Shawn Brown from the City of Claremont, Mayor Pro Tempore Kyle Hayman from the City of Conover, Mayor Robert Smyre from the Town of Maiden, Mayor Anne Stedman from the City of Newton, and Mayor Rudy Wright from the City of Hickory..
Feb 21 2017
With the rise of these incidents, comes the demand to understand how these attackers are getting your information, and furthermore, how to avoid it from happening to you. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other tax agencies have seen a recent uptick in W-2 theft and other cybercrimes committed in an effort to steal tax refunds. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we have seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data th..
Feb 7 2017
The United States uses a progressive tax system, which means different portions of your income are taxed at different rates. In most cases you pay a higher overall tax rate if you have a higher taxable income.
Tax brackets are the physical representation of this system and show how much you have to pay at various income levels. Since tax brackets and rates periodically change, make sure you are using accurate tables when filing your taxes.
Every year, the Internal Revenue Servic..
Jan 23 2014
The federal research tax credit (R & D credit) has been available for 35 years unfortunately, many companies fail to take advantage of its significant cash-flow benefits. Some companies may believe that the credit doesn't apply to them. Furthermore some still believe that it is only available to biotech companies or those that conduct laboratory research. In fact, it is potentially available to any business that invests in developing new products, improving processes or techniques, crea..
Jan 10 2017
In working with younger or new employees, a mentor can support and help the firm grow while helping guide a mentee’s career. This can be achieved by allowing mentees to talk about what is on their mind, and by helping them become more involved with the operations and goals of the company. Implicit in this process is the compatibility of the mentor and mentee in terms of their roles, experiences, and skills. The process should help and should be divided into stages, not a one-time event..
Jan 10 2017
With the New Year underway, we are on the brink of beginning the fifth season of the year, known to most as “tax season”. With tax season, looming change is in the air. During the summer of 2016, Congress passed legislation that changed the due dates for some of the most popular tax returns. In addition, there were changes enacted that affected the extension periods for some returns.
Traditionally, all calendar year-end corporate tax returns have been due by March 15th ..
Dec 27 2016
Imagine after sending in your annual tax return, you receive a notice from the Internal Revenue Service. The notice says that another return has already been filed using your name and Social Security number claiming a refund. Sound impossible? It can happen if you become one of a growing number of victims of tax return identity theft. According to one estimate, tax-related identity theft cases have soared more than 650% since 2008.
Know the warning signs: Be alert to possible tax-related i..
Dec 13 2016
Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A.’s employees, Sabrina Cook and Jennifer Queen, along with their husbands, attended the 10th Annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction on November 19, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza in Hickory. This fundraiser showcases the culinary excellence of the Carolina Foothills’ finest chefs and brings an opportunity for attendees to take part in a silent auction or in live auction packages.
Several local chefs participated by preparing their..
Nov 29 2016
Be aware of the new filing deadline of January 31st for W-2, W-3, and some 1099-MISC forms for the 2016 tax year. The only 1099-MISC forms affected are those which report amounts in box 7 for non-employee compensation. Previously, employers were required to distribute the appropriate forms to employees by January 31st and to the corresponding governmental agencies by February 28th (or March 31st if filed electronically). Beginning with the 2017 filing season, the deadline for submission o..
Nov 29 2016
Holidays are a time for family, food, and sharing. Among the many stories in our community, we have a very special one this season that we hope warms your heart.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Amanda Holland, one of our Staff Accountants, served on the Leadership Committee of The Community Thanksgiving Dinner. The dinner began on Thanksgiving Day eighteen years ago, and Amanda has been involved ever since. This year, The Community Thanksgiving Dinner, which is coordinated out of the ..
Nov 15 2016
Individuals and families can buy private health insurance through affordable insurance exchanges, which are marketplaces where individuals can shop for private health insurance. Individuals making purchases through an exchange, may be eligible for a tax credit.
The credit is aimed at middle-income individuals and families. A larger credit is available for older individuals whose coverage costs may be higher. The credit will be refundable, which means it can be used by people who p..
Nov 15 2016
Employees of Martin Starnes and Associates CPA's, P.A. (MSA) employees and their family members participated in the Hickory Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This event is held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, and The Hickory Walk took place at L.P. Frans Stadium in late October. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the largest event to raise awareness and funding for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
The Alzheimer’s Associa..
Nov 1 2016
Anyone with college students knows the importance of early tax return completion. However, it is still sometimes stressful wondering whether all of the tax documents have been received in order to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). There is good news for parents and students alike because the 2017- 2018 FAFSA® has been available since October 1, 2016 instead of January 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change. No more scramb..
Oct 17 2016
With only a couple of months left in the year, many retirees who are older than 70 and ½ years of age are required by the Internal Revenue Code to take distributions from their Individual Retirement Accounts, often referred to as Required Minimum Distributions. Each year, these same individuals are also heavily relied on to assist with funding efforts by non-profit entities within our communities.
Prior to 2006, these individuals were required to receive income from their retire..
Oct 4 2016
If you believe that you would not be subject to a tax scheme, think again! Scammers continue to change their tactics in order to trick, lie, and scare their way to your money. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has seen an increase in the amount of “robo-calls” with messages urging taxpayers to return calls before legal actions are taken. The slew of calls may come in disguise with different agendas, but one thing holds true: The IRS is not going to call you to demand immediate p..
Sep 17 2016
NCACPA, in partnership with the AICPA and its Women’s Initiatives Committee, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Women to Watch Awards. These awards recognize women who have made significant contributions to the accounting profession, to their organizations, and to the development of women CPAs as leaders.
NCACPA would like to thank you for nominating your candidate. This year, we received 18 nominations, nominating 5 emerging and 13 experienced women. The caliber of the..
Sep 16 2016
I will start with this statement from Ervk Voelker “at a professional/enterprise level, the risks are too great to go unpatched.”
In reading a recent article on the pros and cons of Windows updates. There were a lot of statements made that we need to take a second look at. The writer crafted an argument that stated: “They are not as important as other good computing practices”, such as downloading from trusted sources, good anti-virus and maintenance. Yes, all go..
Sep 16 2016
Part of our responsibilities as CPA’s include continued professional education. It is required of us, not only to maintain our competence, but to be able to provide more quality professional services. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) changed the standards for CPE providers as well as NASBA’s Fields of Study document. Under new standards that took effect September 1, 2016, CPAs will now be able to receive ..
Sep 07 2016
Several employees here at Martin Starnes and Associates, CPAs, PA (MSA) recently volunteered at the Humane Society of Catawba County. Upon our arrival, we were met by the friendly staff and explained just a few of the wonderful volunteer opportunities available – such as cat cuddling, dog walking, cleaning, and various administrative tasks. We thoroughly enjoyed our day assisting at the shelter. The highlights for us were many and included walking and playing with the awesome dogs i..
Aug 20 2016
Is your child or someone you know going to college this Fall? If so, you may receive some tax savings on your federal tax return. There are two tax credits that you may qualify for on your 2016 individual income tax return: the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) or the Lifetime Learning Credit. Both credits can reduce the tax you owe, and the AOTC may be partially refundable. To learn about the specifics for each of these credits please see link below.
American Opportunity Tax Cre..
Aug 9 2016
Are you in the market for a new car? Is that jalopy you are driving giving you pause as to whether or not it will make it through another winter? There is good news, if you are in the market for a new car there are provisions now that allow you to purchase a car and get a tax break. Below are details about the program and how it works. I will even give you a resource for a comprehensive list of makes and models with the qualifying tax breaks.
Each of us has heard time and again tha..
Jul 25 2014
Why are we talking taxes? Tax season is over, right? Well, some of you will have a different filing deadline next year. Legislation, signed into law in July 2015, changed the due date for some filers. These changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2015. For most, that means 2016 tax returns, prepared in 2017.
Partnerships will now be due the 15th day of the third month (for calendar year partnerships, March 15). Previously, these had to be filed by the 1..
Jul 25 2014
The Office of Management Budget, under federal agencies’ guidance, has released its “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” known as the Uniform Guidance (UG). The former Office of Management Budget circulars were combined to form the Uniform Guidance. The date it became effective was December 26, 2014. New grants, that were awarded by the federal government, and additional funding of existing awards after this dat..
Jul 11 2016
A wage garnishment is any legal procedure where a portion of a person’s earnings are withheld by an employer for payment of alimony, child support, the default of a student loan, or unpaid taxes.
For most garnishments, the amount of pay garnished should be based on an employee’s disposable earnings, the amount remaining after legally mandated deductions. The amount of wages that can be garnished vary depending on the originating cause. Maximum amounts have been seen at a ra..
Jun 24 2016
With another school year coming to an end, many students will be starting summer jobs which provide a great opportunity to improve their work ethic and time management skills as well as gain more responsibility financially. As with any job; however, students working over the summer are not exempt from paying their fair share to Uncle Sam. Below is a list of tips to assist you and your teenager in planning for tax time as they begin their summer job: Understand the Rules for Claiming Depende..
Jun 23 2016
End of Grade testing (EOGs) may be over for the 5th graders at Clyde Campbell Elementary School but that doesn’t mean learning has to end. Employees of Martin Starnes and Associates, CPA’s, P.A. (MSA) recently led a game of FETCH! in several classes, including Ms. Ollis’ class. FETCH!, which stands for Financial Education Teaches Children Healthy Habits, is a game developed by The Ohio CPA Foundation and The Ohio Society of CPAs to teach children the importance of money man..
Jun 3 2016
On Friday, June 3rd the staff of MSA gathered for staff retreat. Staff retreat is held semi-annually and serves as a great opportunity for everyone who is a part of the MSA organization to spend some time together discussing current happenings within the firm, as well as taking part in continuing education. This 2016 Summer Retreat featured continuing education on Leadership Training for All Generations conducted by Patricia Hatley. Ms. Hatley’s experience includes over 40 years in ..
Jun 8 2016
Many taxpayers are unaware of the First-Time Penalty Abatement (FTA) options that are available both with the Internal Revenue Service and the North Carolina Department of Revenue. These programs are not well publicized, but can be a source of significant savings for normally compliant taxpayers. The waiver is available to both individuals and businesses for failure-to-file, failure-to-pay, and failure-to-deposit penalties. Unfortunately this particular relief is not available for the es..
May 24 2016
Income tax, self-employment tax, social security tax, net investment income tax and the list goes on; it is often difficult to understand the various taxes imposed by the Federal, State, and Local governments. It would take a novel to describe them all, but we will dig deeper into one, often confusing tax, known as self-employment tax.
Self-employment tax consists of Social Security and Medicare taxes for self-employed individuals. The terms are often used interchangeably when consult..
May 17 2016
Employees of Martin Starnes and Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) participated in the Second Annual MSA Golf Tournament on Saturday, May 7nd at Ole Still Golf Club in Hickory. Twelve staff members signed up to play, and other employees went along to cheer them on.
It was a delightful day in the sun, and the round began with eight balls sailing out of bounds from the first tee! The skins format with rotating partners was used to generate friendly competition for the occasion, and all but..
Apr 25 2016
On Tuesday, April 12, the Senate's Finance Committee convened to examine the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) current and future cybersecurity plans. The Committee, made up of 24 Senators from 22 states, discussed what improvements might be utilized to further protect sensitive taxpayer information from cybercriminals.
The Committee chairman was quoted saying "… We have [seen] unprecedented growth in the scope and scale of cyberattacks aimed at stealing personal information and b..
Apr 13 2016
Effective March 23, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published Notice 2016-27, once again extending the deadline for executors and other persons to complete and file Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent. The IRS now grants a further delay to June 30, 2016.
The Notice comes on the heels of the proposed regulations, issued by the IRS on March 4, 2016, that clarified and expanded upon the new basis reporting requirements imposed under Se..
Apr 5 2016
The April 18th tax filing deadline is fast approaching. Instead of rushing to file your return by the first due date, you should consider the option to file for an automatic six month extension. There are many reasons an extension can be helpful or necessary. Many taxpayers fear that extending their return will be a red flag for audits, but the truth is that millions are processed every year with no greater risk. In fact, there can actually be some important advantages for opting to extend ..
Mar 09 2016
In an effort to streamline its guidance on grants management, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has raised the threshold for OMB A-133 compliance audits (Federal Single Audits). The threshold was set at $500,000 for federal awards and now has been raised to $750,000 per fiscal year. This will eliminate the burden of some smaller entities that are receiving only a small portion of federal funding by increasing the threshold that triggers compliance audits.
When determining major ..
Mar 1st 2016
On January 11, 2016, North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) issued an important notice regarding the repeal of installation charges exemption from sales tax.
Subsequent to that notice on February 5, 2016, the NCDOR issued Directive SD-16-1 and Directive SD-16-2 to direct taxpayers on how to comply with these new regulations.
As of March 1, 2016, businesses may be required to collect sales tax on repair, maintenance, and installation services depending on the taxpayer type (i.e..
Feb 2 2016
Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. is proud to announce the promotions of Susan Bruce to Payroll Manager, Tracie Dagenhart to Audit Services Coordinator, and Debbie Wike to Senior Administrative Assistant.
Susan Bruce has been promoted from Executive Administrative Assistant to Payroll Manager. She joined the firm in February 1999 and has held various positions. Susan lives in Taylorsville with her daughter, Amelia.
Tracie Dagenhart has be..
Mar 10 2015
Now that the new year is well underway and everyone is settling into a normal routine, it may be a good time to evaluate your overall financial standing to search for areas of improvement. Too often we get ourselves into a rut thinking that everything is working, and nothing needs to be changed. A simple check-up of your finances could save you a substantial amount of money in the following year. Below are some areas you can visit, as part of your annual financial evaluation:
Mar 10 2015
On Monday, March 2 the Council on Adolescents hosted Smart Girls Night Out which was held in the media center of River Bend Middle School. The event, decorated perfectly in pink, was a night where middle school girls, ages 10 - 13 and a female parent, guardian, or other mentor enjoyed a night of dinner, pampering and fun. This event was planned to celebrate 18 middle school girls who successfully completed the Smart Girls Program coordinated by the Council on Adolescents.
The event began wi..
Mar 3 2015
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued ASU 2015-01, "Simplifying Income Statement Presentation by Eliminating the Concept of Extraordinary Items", which is intended to "identify, evaluate, and improve areas of [U.S.] GAAP for which cost and complexity can be reduced while maintaining or improving the usefulness of the information provided to users of financial statements." Eliminating extraordinary items from the Income Statement will allow the entity the option to forgo from..
Mar 3 2015
Contract labor or employee? Many business owners find themselves asking this question. To help clarify, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) came up with Common Law Rules to help characterize the degree of control and independence of hired workers. These two factors are critical in distinguishing between the two. Listed below are the Common Law Rules from the IRS website:
1. Behavioral: Does the company control or have the right to control what the worker does and how the worker does his or ..
Feb 24 2015
The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce held their annual membership luncheon on February 18, 2015 at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. Several employees from Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. attended this annual meeting, along with many other chamber members from across the Catawba County region.
The 2015 luncheon included a welcome and recognition of board members by John Teeter (Immediate Past Chairman of the Board), an invocation by Rev. Matt Hearn, and remarks from Dann..
Feb 24 2015
For years, the Boston Marathon has held such a prestigious honor for runners from around the world. It was for some, a once in a lifetime chance and for others, a life long passion. April 15, 2013 marked the 117th Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual running event. The day was beautiful – sunny, without a cloud in sight; that is until approximately 2:49 pm when two bombs went off near the finish line. The blasts instantly created a day of horror and fear as people scrambled for their..
Feb 17 2015
Twice a year, Martin Starnes & Associates CPAs, P.A. (MSA) holds a firm retreat for all staff. Retreats have varied from team building at a ropes course to breaking barriers karate-style with wooden boards. Although the activity may change, the purpose is always the same: how can MSA be the best that we can be? On February 5th, MSA held its first retreat for 2015 featuring Denise Ryan of Firestar Speaking.
A self-described "motivational pyromaniac," Denise is an award winning North Car..
Feb 10 2015
Everyone looks for ways to make their work life simpler and more efficient. One way we can do this is by use of applications "apps" for our smartphones and tablets. There are many apps available that meet different needs of accountants and business professionals. Here are a few apps to consider for making your work life better:
Dropbox is an app used for document sharing. When a document is saved to Dropbox on your desktop, then the document can be accessed, viewed and updat..
Jan 27 2014
Zachary Triplett recently joined the Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) Tax team. He graduated from Appalachian State University (ASU) in December, 2014 with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. He plans to enroll in an MBA program at ASU in the near future and hopes to obtain his CPA certification shortly afterward.
While attending ASU, Zachary worked at Samaritan's Purse and also worked full-time at Walmart. He is very excited to learn new things and..
Jan 13 2015
The Catawba Valley Chapter of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) recently held its annual Holiday Social, at Market on Main in Hickory, NC. In conjunction with the event, the Chapter hosted a fundraiser event to accept donations for the Burke United Christian Ministries (BUCM) in Morganton, NC. Members in attendance were asked to bring food donations to support the local charity. Employees of Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) attended the ..
Jan 13 2015
Every year, business owners who use an automobile for business driving, deduct the actual expenses attributable to their business use. In doing so, a business owner must choose between writing off automobile expenses by either taking the actual expenses incurred or taking a standard mileage rate. Either option requires the business owner to keep track of particular data, in order to claim the expense on their tax return. With the recent decrease in gas prices, it might be ad..
Jan 6 2015
Innovate Catawba, which was created through the vision of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, was designed to foster economic transformation through innovation. It is a collaboration of 6 different workgroups: inspiring, reinventing, building, entrepreneurs, workforce, and leading. Evidence of several of the Innovate Catawba building projects are visible around the area, but there is also a lot of work being done behind the scenes.
Under the Leadership Development Focus Area, there ..
Dec 30 2014
On Friday, December 12th, employees and guests from Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) participated in an annual Christmas luncheon to celebrate the Holiday!
The luncheon was held at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover. The feast included hors d'oeuvres followed by delicious entrees and a wide variety of desserts. Following lunch, MSA employees and guests played "Dirty Santa". The gifts were purchased and wrapped by MSA's Christmas Committee prior to the event so that only..
Dec 30 2014
Employees from Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) spread Christmas cheer on Thursday, December 18th at Walmart in Hickory by collecting donations for The Salvation Army. Michael Edwards, Cindy Henline, Mia Snipes, Jeremy Fortner, and Susan Bruce worked the event and represented MSA well. Proceeds from this campaign put gifts of food and clothing under trees and hot food on the tables of those less fortunate in our local area.
The Salvation Army began using a red ket..
Dec 17 2014
The Senate passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which revives more than 50 expired tax breaks. President Obama is expected to sign the bill. Included is a new type of savings program designed to help disabled individuals. Here is a brief overview of the tax breaks that have been extended, as well as details about the new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. Click here to read the article. (http://www.bizactions.com/index.cfm/ba/e130/ra/54150081G2007J6961895)..
Dec 8 2014
Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. is thrilled to announce being named as one of the 2014 Accounting Today's Best Accounting Firms to Work for, ranking 9th among medium sized firms. Accounting Today has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify companies that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees.
This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in the accounting industry, benefiting the industry's economy,..
Dec 8 2014
Lake Hickory Country Club
The United Arts Council of Catawba County recently held the 2014 Jingle Bell BASH (Benefitting Arts, Science, and History) at the Lake Hickory Country Club, and several Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) employees were in attendance. More than 20 restaurants and caterers donated a variety of delicious food to enjoy at the event. By purchasing a ticket, participants had the opportunity to win cash prizes starting from $500 up to the grand prize of $15,000! A silent auction was ..
Dec 7 2014
Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. (MSA) and the City of Hickory recently co-sponsored the 2014 Hickory Young Professionals' Top 10 Under 40 banquet at Rock Barn Golf & Spa. Nominees were required to be under the age of 40 and to be employed or reside in Catawba, Caldwell, Burke, or Alexander counties. Additionally, community involvement and making positive impacts in the greater Hickory area as well as focusing on career advancement were also areas of consideration. All nominat..
Dec 7 2014
Employer Payment Plans are defined as reimbursements from an employer for an employee's substantiated premiums for non-employer sponsored medical insurance. The definition also includes payments made directly to the insurance company on behalf of the employee for an individual medical insurance policy. These Employer Payments Plans are in violation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unless the employer also provides a qualifying ACA medical plan along with the payment plan. The penalty for suc..