News and Updates

News and Events

Nov 5 2018

MSA Participates in Walk to End Alzheimer's

The Alzheimer’s Association provides care and assistance to all those facing Alzheimer’s disease, including family members and caregivers. It drives research toward treatment, prevention, and ultimately, a cure; and works to ensure federal policy reflects the urgency of the Alzheimer’s epidemic. The Alzheimer’s Association website states the following facts about the disease: More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. ..
Oct 23 2018

Amber McGhinnis Selected as "40 Under 40" Honoree

Amber McGhinnis was recently selected as one of the 2018 "40 Under 40" by CPA Practice Advisor magazine. The accounting profession is as dynamic and vital to the success of America’s small businesses as ever, which is why MSA is excited to announce this award for Amber. The top 40 Under 40 honorees are among the best of the best in the accounting profession. Please join us in congratulating Amber among a diverse group of professionals. They are the voices of today shaping the..
Oct 23 2018

New Employer Tax Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave Announced

On September 24, 2018, the IRS announced that eligible employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees may qualify for a new business credit for tax years 2018 and 2019. In determining whether an employee is a qualifying employee in 2018, the employee must not have had compensation from the employer of more than $72,000 in 2017. Second, the policy must provide at least two weeks of annual paid family and medical leave for each full-time qualifying employee and at ..
Oct 9 2018

MSA Welcomes New Accounting Technician!

Amanda Linder is a native of Catawba County, where she and her family attend Crown Center Church. She received her Associates of Science in Accounting at Catawba Valley Community College. While in college, Amanda was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the Student Leadership Academy, and the Accounting Club, where she served as Secretary. She and her children are actively involved with the North Carolina 4-H program of Catawba County; Amanda is also the Vice President of the Catawba County Leader..
Oct 9 2018

Welcome to the MSA Team

Noelle Perry currently resides with her parents and two brothers in Hickory. She graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and received her Master of Accountancy from Western Carolina University, Asheville. Noelle is an active member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Hickory. In her spare time, she enjoys music, domestic travel, practicing the guitar, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets. Noelle is looking forward to advancing in her..
Oct 9 2018

The Children are ACCOUNTING on Us!

We are excited to share that the photo our firm submitted for the annual CPA Day of Service contest was once again chosen as the Most Creative Photo! Thank you to our team for their creative suggestion, all who participated in the winning photo, and the families who brought their adorable children in for that added touch of cuteness. Thanks to everyone who made this year's CPA Day of Service a success by donating money or items that will benefit the Children's Advocacy Protection Center of ..
Oct 9 2018

IRS Warns of Scams Related to Natural Disasters

Where there is a natural disaster, unfortunately, there are also scammers. Please be aware of these people, especially after the recent storm, Hurricane Florence. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants to caution you of these dishonest people who may be calling claiming to represent a charity that does not exist and requesting your money. For more information about what to be on the lookout for, click here (
Sep 25 2018

MSA Collects Items for Local Charity

The Martin Starnes and Associates, CPAs., P.A. team was excited to deliver items from the wish list of the Children’s Advocacy Protection Center of Catawba County on Friday, September 21, 2018. These items consisted of writing journals, coloring books along with crayons and colored pencils, puzzle books, and stickers; the protection center uses these items to help the children communicate their feelings without always having to verbally express themselves. We also brought in diape..
Sep 25 2018

Revised Government Auditing Standards Issued by the GAO

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) revised the standards created to provide a framework for high-quality governmental audits. To read more about changes to the Yellow Book, click here (
Sep 25 2018

Major Changes to Form W-4 Pushed Back Until 2020 Tax Year

On June 5, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a draft Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. This new form was to take into account the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) that was approved by Congress on December 22, 2017, eliminating personal exemptions. After much criticism regarding the complexity of this form, the Treasury Department announced on September 20, 2018, that the IRS will not be implementing the new Form W-4 until the 2020 tax year. Click ..
Sep 11 2018

CPA Day of Service - We Need Your Help

This year Martin Starnes and Associates, CPAs, P.A. is partnering with Children's Advocacy & Protection Center of Catawba County for our CPA Day of Service. We will be collecting donations at our office locations through the third week of September. Below is a wish list of items that are used. These items are essential in helping to put the families at ease when they come into the center for assistance during a difficult time in their lives. We also appreciate monetary donations, if you ..
Sep 11 2018

Things to Remember if You Filed an Extention

October 15 is right around the corner for those of you that filed an extension for your 2017 1040 Income Tax Return. Click here (
Aug 28 2018

Meet Our Partners - Maurice Capps

Maurice Capps brought over 40 years of experience in assisting organizations in the areas of accounting, auditing, taxation and management consulting when his firm joined Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. through a merger in 2014. He worked at Thomas V. Bumbarger & Company in Hickory for six years before founding Capps, Foster & Company in 1972. Maurice has experience with a variety of organizations from start-up businesses to large privately-held companies. His areas of ex..
Aug 28 2018

Another Successful Peer Review in the Books!

Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A. is proud to announce the completion of another successful peer review! The firm received a rating of pass for their system of quality control for the accounting and auditing practice in effect for the year ended December 31, 2017. The review team concluded that the firm complies with the stringent quality control standards set by the AICPA, the national professional organization of Certified Public Accountants. This peer review was conducted ..
Aug 14 2018

MSA Welcomes Accounting Technicians!

Jessica Franklin was born in Virginia Beach, VA, but relocated to Granite Falls 12 years ago. She has an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from CVCC and will be continuing towards her Bachelor’s in the fall through Fayetteville State University’s online degree completion program. When Jessica is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Keith, and two Labradors. She is excited to be joining our firm and hopes her on-the-job training will aid her in her edu..
Aug 14 2018

Welcome to the MSA Team!

Our new Senior Accountant, Justin Allen, hails from Hickory, NC but over the last ten years he has been around the state living in Boone, Wilmington and Greensboro. He is excited to be back home! Justin received his BSBA in Accounting while attending Appalachian State University and his MS – Accountancy at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. He has worked in public accounting for the past five years specializing in not-for-profit, employee benefits plan, construction a..
Aug 14 2018

IRS Issues Proposed Regulation on New 20 Percent Deduction for Passthrough Businesses

You may be eligible for a new deduction when filing your 2018 tax return as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Section 199A of this legislation provides a 20% deduction for qualified business income from a proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, trust or estate. Some limitations will apply. Read more here ( to find out if you qualify...
Aug 2 2018

Welcome to the MSA Team

Courtney Scott moved to Mooresville from her hometown Youngsville, North Carolina. She recently graduated from Western Carolina University with a BSBA in Accounting. While attending the university, Courtney received multiple scholarships. As an avid animal lover, Courtney worked for a Veterinarian and is an advocate for animal rights. She has spent numerous hours volunteering for rescue missions and is looking for new missions to serve in the Charlotte area. At home, Courtney has a lab..
Aug 2 2018

Meet Our Partners

Brian F. Gantt received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2000. At that time, he established his professional career with Martin Starnes & Associates, CPAs, P.A., spending approximately six years working in the areas of tax and governmental audits. During 2007, Brian accepted a position at a firm located in his hometown of Statesville and since that date he has worked primarily in the areas of corporate and individual tax, ..
Aug 2 2018

Facts About How the IRS Communicates with Taxpayers

Are you one of the many people who have received a phone call from someone telling you that you owe taxes, and you need to pay them now or else? These types of calls have caused a panic with many individuals over the last couple of years. The link below has updated information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that may answer some of your questions about these scams and will educate you in case you are one of the unfortunate taxpayers to receive one of these unpleasant calls. Learn..
Jul 17 2018

MSA Gets the Gold!!!

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

What Social Security Strategy is Best for Your Retirement?

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 ( Source: Journal of Accountancy ..
Jul 17 2018

Erica Brown is the Recipient of "Taking it to the Max" Award!

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

Lorrie Eaton is Awarded Business Valuation Credential

Our own Lorrie Eaton has been awarded the Accredited in Business Valuation Credential by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Click here ( to read more about this exciting and well-deserved accomplishment. Source: Hickory Daily Record..
Jul 3 2018

MSA Employee Find Her Biological Family

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 ( Source:..
Jul 3 2018

Tax Implications of South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.

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

Meet Partners - Paula Hodges

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

IRS Issues Draft Form W-4 for 2019

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

Meet Our Partners - Vickie Martin

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

Do You Need to Amend Your Tax Return?

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 (
May 24 2018

In the Spotlight

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. Chri..
May 24 2018

Did You Miss the April Tax Filing Deadline?

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 (
May 22 2018

MSA Attends the 14th Annual "Wake-Up Call Breakfast"

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 For Stopping By!

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

We Made The List!

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

How Long Should I Keep Financial Records

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 (
Apr 24 2018

Free Shred Day!

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

What is Emancipation Day?

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

Free Shred Day!

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

Changes to the North Carolina Annual Report Filing Process

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

Updated Withholding Calculator Now Available

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 -
Mar 27 2018

2018 Catawba County Summit Recap

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

Filing an Extension Might be Good for You

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 Graduates from Catawba County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program

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

MSA Employees Attend Annual Catawba County Chamber of Commerce Shareholder and Investor Luncheon

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

MSA Employees Attend Annual Winter Retreat

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
Feb 14 2018

Tax Return Due Dates

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

First Fifteen Results

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

ACA Deadline Extended

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

Hickory Christmas Parade 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

MSA Participates in Walk to End Alzheimer’s

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. The Alzheimer..
Sep 18 2017

Travel & Entertainment Expense Tips

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

First Fifteen

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

Don't Make These Entrepreneur Accounting Mistakes!

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

Tax Updates

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

Now Is The Time To Outsource!

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: AP/AR management Credit card processing Expense reimbursement Sales and use tax reporting Payroll processi..
Jun 19 2017

MSA Attends The 13th Annual “Wake-Up Call Breakfast"

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

Tax Reform Priorities

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

Are You Managing the Wealth in Your Business?

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

Is a Like-Kind Exchange a Good Option for Your Business?

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

Partnership Tax Audits: An Uncertain Future

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

2017 Catawba County Summit Recap

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

HYP Roundtable Discussion Recap

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

Mayors of Catawba County Hold Panel Discussion

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

Could You Become a Victim of Cybercrime?

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

2017 Tax Bracket Breakdown

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

Is it Time to Revisit the R&D Tax Credit?

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

What Does a Mentor's Role Look Like?

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

New Tax Return Due Dates

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

Stop Tax Identity Theft in Its Tracks

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

March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction

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

Delayed Deadline for Employers

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

A Time for More Than Thanks

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

Do You Qualify for the Health Care Premium Tax Credit?

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

MSA Participates in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s

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

Changes in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

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

Reduce Your Taxable Income by Donating From Your Retirement Account

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

Scam Alert Warning!

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

2016 Women to Watch Awards

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

Are Windows Updates That Important?

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

Continuing Professional Education Standards Updated

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

A Day with the Humane Society of Catawba County

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

Back to School Tax Credits

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

Tax Breaks for Buying a Car! Who knew?

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

Tax Talk: Tax Filing Deadline Changes

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

Uniform Guidance and Additional Noteworthy Changes

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

Are You Prepared to Handle an Employee’s Wage Garnishments?

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

Summer Jobs are in Full Swing: We have Student Tax Tips to Help!

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

Playing FETCH at Clyde Campbell Elementary

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

MSA Annual Retreat

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

Benefiting from the First-Time Penalty Abatement

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

Understanding Self-Employment Tax

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

MSA 2nd Annual Golf Tournament

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

Senate Challenges IRS to Strengthen Cybersecurity

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

IRS extends the due date for estate basis reporting.

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

Filing an extension might be good for you

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

OMB raising threshold that triggers compliance audits.

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

Changes on Sales Tax Imposed on Repair, Maintenance and Installation

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

MSA Promotions

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

Is it Time to Evaluate Your Overall Financial Standing?

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: Monthly Recurr..

Contact Us

730 13th Avenue Drive, SE
Hickory, NC 28602
Tel: 828.327.2727
Fax: 828.328.2324
13 South Center Street
Taylorsville, NC 28681
Tel: 828.632.9025
Fax: 828.632.9085
PO Box 5729,
Statesville, NC 28687
1710 Wilkesboro Highway,
Statesville, NC 28625
Tel: 704.872.8923
Fax: 704.872.4982

Toll Free: 800.948.0585