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Using Your Financial Statements During an Economic Crisis

The economic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced business owners to reevaluate their operations and make difficult decisions. One place to look for the information you need to make rational, reasonable moves is your financial statements. Under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, these typically comprise a statement of cash flows, a balance sheet … Continued

CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program Loans

The Paycheck Protection Program loans of the CARES Act provide cash flow assistance to businesses impacted by the coronavirus. The program grants 100% federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain payroll during this peacetime emergency.

CARES Act Rebates and Considerations

This week, the Senate and House passed the CARES Act which will provide billions of dollars of relief to individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and the health care system – including rebate checks.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

CARES Act will provide billions of dollars of relief to individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and the health care system. While this is still pending approval in the House, it is expected to pass and the President has indicated he will sign the legislation.

Deciding Whether a Merger or Acquisition is the Right Move

Merging with, or acquiring, another company is one of the best ways to grow rapidly. You might be able to significantly boost revenue, literally overnight, by acquiring another business. In contrast, achieving a comparable rate of growth organically — by increasing sales of existing products and services or adding new product and service lines — can take years. There are, of course, multiple factors to consider before making such a move.

Income Tax Filing Deadline is Moved to July 15

U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the 2019 income tax filing deadline will be moved to July 15, 2020 from April 15, 2020, because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. At President Trump’s direction, Mnuchin announced on Twitter, “we are moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will … Continued

Corporate M&A: Is a Section 338 Election Right for Your Deal?

In corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A), taxes are a major consideration. How a deal is structured affects the amount of taxes the parties will owe. Here's a look at possible deal structures and their tax consequences, including several options that offer qualifying buyers significant tax savings.

Does your team know the profitability game plan?

For business owners, sports can highlight important lessons about profitability. One in particular is that you and your coaches must learn from your mistakes and adjust your game plan accordingly to have a winning year.

Stop the Cash Flow Rollercoaster: Best Practices for Your Franchise Business

Running a franchise business can be an all-consuming endeavor. Not only must you meet the needs of customers, you must also meet the operational, brand, and quality standards established by your franchisor. Depending on your franchise system, you might be supported by a robust team, or you might feel like you’re on your own. Regardless … Continued

MN Governor Tim Walz Executive Order Announcement

On March 16, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits. Governor Walz’s executive order also relieves taxpaying employers of benefit charges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that your UI tax rate will not increase if your workers … Continued

Getting help with a business interruption insurance claim

To guard against natural disasters and other calamities, many companies buy business interruption insurance. These policies provide cash flow to cover revenues lost and expenses incurred while normal operations are limited or suspended.

Bonus Depreciation for Your Business: Let’s Review Your Options

First-year bonus depreciation has been around for a while now. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) set forth more-generous, but temporary, rules for 2018 through 2026. Recent IRS guidance gives you additional flexibility to fine-tune the bonus depreciation break to suit your specific business and personal tax circumstances. Here's what you need to know.

New Tax Law Provides 10 Key Breaks for Individual Taxpayers

A recent spending package signed into law by President Trump on December 20 retroactively resurrects and/or extends several key tax breaks through 2020. It also provides tax relief for victims of federally declared disasters. Here are ten breaks that can benefit eligible individuals.

The SECURE Act likely to affect your retirement and estate plans

In late 2019, the first substantial legislation related to retirement savings since 2006 became law. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act brings numerous changes to the retirement and estate planning landscape, and some of them should prompt careful review of your existing plans to ensure they’ll accomplish the desired outcomes, including minimizing taxes.

The IRS Provides Guidance on Meal and Entertainment Deductions

The IRS has released proposed regulations addressing the deductibility of meal and entertainment expenses in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. Among other things, the proposed regs clear up lingering confusion regarding whether meals are considered entertainment and, therefore, generally nondeductible.

DS+B Earns 2020 Best of Accounting™ Award for Client Service Excellence | 5 Years in a Row!

For the fifth consecutive year, our team is honored to earn the "Best of Accounting" Award as industry leaders in service quality, based completely on the satisfaction ratings given to us by our clients. We are committed to being connected, proactive and accessible to our clients' business and personal needs - and continually work to provide the best service experience possible.

How Much Does a Business Valuation Cost?

To understand what a business is truly worth, we recommend a complete and comprehensive analysis that takes into account the specifics of the company and its industry. To help you better understand the process, here are a few responses to frequently asked questions.

Manufacturing, Trade and Growth in Minnesota: What is the Outlook for 2020?

Gears & Gadgets is an exclusive quarterly event hosted by Midwest Manufacturing Executives where attendees discuss manufacturing trends and develop synergistic connections to benefit our manufacturing. These events are specifically for manufacturing business owners and executives who are currently employed in a manufacturing company. Our 2020 kick-off event is on Tuesday, February 11th at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest from 4:00-6:30 pm.

2020 Spending Bill Extends Tax Breaks, Adds Retirement Account Provisions

Congress has reached an agreement on a massive spending package titled the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. The agreement also includes the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Together, the two laws could have substantial impact for tax, retirement and estate planning.

Your Most Valuable Resource: An Invested Team. Building Your Client Service Culture is the Best ROI.

A few things I've learned that have helped me be my best: (1) Be unapologetic in your approach to self-improvement, and take a personalized approach to team development. (2) You have time for what you prioritize. Block team development and coaching off on your calendar just like any other priority, and it’s non-negotiable. (3) The more knowledgeable and cohesive and empowered your team feels when they interact with your clients, the better. It's how great client service "just happens." Check out this write-up, featured in BKR.

Prepare for the Worst with a Business Turnaround Strategy

Many businesses have a life cycle that, as life cycles tend to do, concludes with a period of decline and failure. Often, the demise of a company is driven by internal factors — such as weak financial oversight, lack of management consensus or one-person rule.

At the Very Least, Update the Financials in Your Business Plan

Every new company should launch with a business plan and keep it updated. Generally, such a plan will comprise six sections: executive summary, business description, industry and marketing analysis, management team description, implementation plan, and financials.

Meal, Travel and Entertainment Expenses: Know What’s Deductible

When owners, managers and salespeople attend trade shows, call on customers or evaluate suppliers, they may incur meal, travel and entertainment expenses. Many of these expenses may be deductible if they’re properly substantiated, but some of the rules have changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Business Year-End Tax Planning in a TCJA World

The first tax-filing season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was a time of uncertainty for many businesses as they struggled with the implications of the law’s sweeping changes for their bottom lines. With the next filing season on the horizon, you can incorporate the lessons learned into your year-end tax planning. Several areas in particular are ripe with opportunities to reduce your 2019 federal tax liability.

Jumpstarting a 529 Plan

Section 529 plans provide another valuable tax-advantaged savings oppor­tunity. You can choose a prepaid tuition plan to secure current tuition rates or a tax-advantaged savings plan to fund college expenses.

Roth Options for Your Retirement Plan

Tax-advantaged retirement plans can help you build and preserve your nest egg — but only if you contribute as much as possible, carefully consider your traditional vs. Roth options, and are tax-smart when making withdrawals.

For Best Results, Start Your Strategic Planning Early

Time flies when you’re having fun — and running a business. Although it’s probably too early to start chilling a bottle of bubbly for New Year’s Eve, it’s certainly not too early for business owners to start doing some strategic planning for next year. Here are some ways to get started.

Excess Business Loss Rule May Be Unfavorable to You

Sole proprietorships and pass-through entity structures, which include partnerships, S corporations and certain limited liability companies (LLCs), provide owners with some valuable tax benefits, such as avoidance of double taxation and the potential ability to deduct losses from the business on their individual tax returns. But the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has placed some limitations on deducting business losses. Here’s a look at the changes in the rules and how they might affect you.

The Interest Expense Deduction Limit After the TCJA

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) introduced a variety of tax benefits for businesses. Among other things, it slashed corporate income tax rates, temporarily reduced individual rates and established a new 20% deduction for certain pass-through income. At the same time, the act placed limits on several tax breaks, including the amount of interest expense a business may deduct.

It’s Not Too Late to Trim Your 2019 Tax Bill

Fall is in the air and that means it’s time to turn your attention to year-end tax planning. While several clear strategies and tactics emerged during the first tax filing season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), 2019 and subsequent years bring potential twists that must be considered, too. Let’s take a closer look at year-end tax planning strategies that can reduce your 2019 income tax liability.

Year-End Strategies to Reduce AGI

Reducing your current-year adjusted gross income (AGI) is usually a tax-smart idea. Here are ten ways to reduce your AGI (and modified AGI) over the short and long run.

Factor 2020 Cost-Of-Living Adjustments into Your Year-End Tax Planning

The IRS recently issued its 2020 cost-of-living adjustments. With inflation remaining largely in check, many amounts increased slightly, and some stayed at 2019 levels. As you implement 2019 year-end tax planning strategies, be sure to take these 2020 adjustments into account in your planning.

FASB Votes to Delay Effective Dates on 3 Standards for Privately Held Companies, Including Leases

New deadlines were recently extended for private companies, not-for-profit organizations and certain small public companies. FASB issued the new standard to recognize leases on the balance sheet and provide more information about leasing arrangements so that users can assess the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows from leases. Learn more about its impact to your management team, and how we can help you form a plan.

IRS Issues Final QBI Real Estate Safe Harbor Rules

Earlier this year, the IRS published a proposed safe harbor giving owners of certain rental real estate interests the opportunity to take advantage of the qualified business income (QBI) deduction. The QBI write-off was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for pass-through entities. The IRS has now released final guidance (Revenue Procedure 2019-38) on the safe harbor that clearly lays out the requirements that taxpayers must satisfy to benefit.

The U.S. Department of Labor Finalizes the New Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released the finalized rule on overtime exemptions for white-collar workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule updates the standard salary levels for the first time since 2004. While it is expected to expand the pool of nonexempt workers by more than 1 million, it’s also more favorable to employers than a rule proposed by the Obama administration in 2016. That rule would have expanded the pool by more than 4 million but was blocked by a federal district court judge.

Tax Strategies for Seniors

Good things come to those who wait. Older taxpayers may be entitled to some age-based tax breaks. Here are the details.

Putting Together the Succession Planning and Retirement Planning Puzzle

Everyone needs to plan for retirement. But as a business owner, you face a distinctive challenge in that you must save for your golden years while also creating, updating and eventually executing a succession plan. This is no easy task, but you can put the puzzle pieces together by answering some fundamental questions:

Gift Tax Case Reopens Tax-Affecting Debate

Most U.S. businesses operate as so-called "pass-through" entities, including partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and S corporations. Electing pass-through status allows these businesses to avoid entity-level taxes. Instead, taxes are paid at the level of the individual owners.

Making Smart Mergers and Acquisitions Under Today’s Tax Law

Many businesses will pay less federal income taxes in 2018 and beyond, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). And some will spend their tax savings on merging with or acquiring another business. Before you jump on the M&A bandwagon, it's important to understand how your transaction will be taxed under current tax law.

Best Practices When Filing a Business Interruption Claim

Many companies, especially those that operate in areas prone to natural disasters, should consider business interruption insurance. Unlike a commercial property policy, which may cover certain repairs of damaged property, this coverage generally provides the cash flow to cover revenues lost and expenses incurred while normal operations are suspended because of an applicable event.

Some Business Owners Can’t Participate in Their Own Companies’ HRAs

Many companies now offer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) in conjunction with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). HRAs offer some advantages over the perhaps better-known HDHP companion account, the Health Savings Account (HSA). If you’re considering adding an HRA, you might assume that, as a business owner, you can participate in the HRA. But this may not be the case.

Common Questions About Kids and Taxes

Does your son or daughter work during the summer or school year? A part-time job can be a great way for your child to learn about financial responsibility. It can also teach a valuable lesson about owing taxes. In addition to explaining why the government takes money from kids' paychecks, parents may need to help their children file their taxes by April 15.

Do You Need to File Gift Tax Returns?

For 2019, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption has reached a whopping $11.40 million ($22.80 million for married couples). As a result, few people will be subject to federal gift taxes. If your wealth is well within the exemption amount, does that mean there’s no need to file gift tax returns? Not necessarily. There are many situations in which it’s necessary (or desirable) to file Form 709, “United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return” — even if you’re not liable for any gift taxes.

Kiddie Tax: New Hazards, New Opportunities

Despite its name, the “kiddie tax” is far from child’s play. And a change made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) puts some adult teeth into the tax. Now, children with unearned income may find themselves in a tax bracket higher than that of their parents. At the same time, the TCJA creates new opportunities for family income shifting.

Is It Time to Hire a CFO or Controller?

Many business owners reach a point where managing the financial side of the enterprise becomes overwhelming - and is taking your focus away from running your business strategically. Usually, this is a good thing — the company has grown to a point where simple bookkeeping and basic financial reporting just don’t cut it anymore. If you can relate to the feeling, it may be time to add a CFO or controller.

Taking a Long-Term Approach to Certain Insurance Documentation

After insurance policies expire, many businesses just throw away the paper copies and delete the digital files. But you may need to produce evidence of certain kinds of insurance even after the coverage period has expired. For this reason, it’s best to take a long-term approach to certain types of policies.

Employers: Take Note of New Penalties and Visa Requirements

The payroll obligations of employers are much more extensive than withholding taxes from paychecks. There are myriad complex rules to navigate — and failing to comply with requirements may result in significant penalties. Recent action in three areas highlights the range of employer responsibilities.

Run Your Strategic-Planning Meetings like They Really Matter

Many businesses struggle to turn abstract strategic-planning ideas into concrete, actionable plans. One reason why is simple: ineffective meetings. The ideas are there, lurking in the minds of management and key employees, but the process for hashing them out just doesn’t work. Here are a few ways to run your strategic-planning meetings like they really matter — which, of course, they do.

DOL Expands Retirement Plan Options for Smaller Businesses

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released a final rule which should make it easier for smaller businesses to provide retirement plans to their employees. According to the DOL, the rule will enable more small and midsize unrelated businesses to join forces in multiple employer plans (MEPs) that provide their employees a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) plan or a SIMPLE IRA plan. Certain self-employed individuals also can participate in MEPs.

Tax Planning for Investments: Why Timing Matters

The key to long-term investment success is usually time, not timing. But timing can have a significant impact on the tax consequences of your investment activities. Here are a few strategies that you might want to consider for 2019 and beyond.

SIMPLE IRA vs. Solo 401(k): Which Is Right for Your Small Business?

Small business owners have several options for their retirement plans. Two tax-smart and flexible alternatives are SIMPLE IRAs and solo 401(k) plans. If you're eligible for these types of plans and you want to maximize your tax-deferred savings, which makes more sense? Here's a series of side-by-side comparisons to help you decide.

How Can Small Business Owners Reduce Social Security and Medicare Taxes?

If your small business is unincorporated, you may be fed up with paying the federal self-employment (SE) tax. This tax is how the federal government collects Social Security and Medicare taxes from self-employed individuals. However, you may be able to lower your exposure to these taxes if you structure your business as a subchapter S corporation for federal tax purposes. Here are the details on how this tax-saving strategy can work.

Responding to the Nightmare of a Data Breach

It’s every business owner’s nightmare. Should hackers gain access to your customers’ or employees’ sensitive data, the very reputation of your company could be compromised. And lawsuits might soon follow.

Put a Number on Your Midyear Performance with the Right KPIs

We’ve reached the middle of the calendar year. So how are things going for your business? Conversationally you might say, “Pretty good.” But, analytically, can you put a number on how well you’re doing — or several numbers for that matter? You can if you choose and calculate the right key performance indicators (KPIs).

Minnesota Enacts Retroactive Depreciation Changes That May Affect 2018 Tax Return

The Minnesota legislation has retroactively changed allowable Minnesota depreciation of fixed assets relating to federal bonus depreciation and Section 179 expensing. This change may affect 2018 business and individual returns retroactively. The following is a guide for our clients, as we continue to monitor the issue closely.

Refine Your Strategic Plan with SWOT

With the year underway, your business probably has a strategic plan in place for the months ahead. Or maybe you’ve created a general outline but haven’t quite put the finishing touches on it yet. In either case, there’s a time-tested approach to refining your strategic plan that you should consider: a SWOT analysis.

Should Your Health Care Plan Be More Future-Focused?

The pace of health care cost inflation has remained moderate over the past year or so, and employers are trying to keep it that way. In response, many businesses aren’t seeking immediate cost-cutting measures or asking employees to shoulder more of the burden. Rather, they’re looking to “future-focused” health care plan features to encourage healthful behaviors.

5 Financial Tips for New College Graduates

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2019! As soon as a new graduate switches his or her tassel to the other side of the cap, it's time to plan for the future — and there's more to do than finding a good-paying job.

IRS Updates Rules for Personal Use of Employer-Provided Vehicles

The IRS recently announced the inflation-adjusted maximum value of an employer-provided vehicle under the vehicle cents-per-mile rule and the fleet-average value rule. Employers can use the rules to value an employee’s personal use of such a vehicle for income and employment tax purposes.

4 Business Functions You Could Outsource Right Now

One thing in plentiful supply in today’s business world is help. Orbiting every industry are providers, consultancies and independent contractors offering a wide array of support services. Simply put, it’s never been easier to outsource certain business functions so you can better focus on fulfilling your company’s mission and growing its bottom line.

Be Vigilant About Your Business Credit Score

As an individual, you’ve no doubt been urged to regularly check your credit score. Most people nowadays know that, with a subpar personal credit score, they’ll have trouble buying a home or car, or just getting a reasonable-rate credit card.

Economic Damages: Recovering What Was Lost

A business can suffer economic damages arising from a variety of illegal conduct. Common examples include breach of contract, patent infringement and commercial negligence. If your company finds itself headed to court looking to recover lost profits, diminished business value or both, it’s important to know how the damages might be determined.

Make Sure the Price Is Right with Market Research

The promise of the new year lies ahead. One way to help ensure it’s a profitable one is to re-evaluate your company’s pricing strategy. You need to devise an approach that considers more than just what it cost you to produce a product or deliver a service; it also must factor in what customers want and value — and how much money they’re willing to spend. Then you need to evaluate how competitors price and position their offerings.

Financial Statements Tell Your Business’s Story, Inside and Out

Ask many entrepreneurs and small business owners to show you their financial statements and they’ll likely open a laptop and show you their bookkeeping software. Although tracking financial transactions is critical, spreadsheets aren’t financial statements.

Tax Issues to Consider When Small Business Owners Get Divorced

For many small business owners, their ownership interest is one of their biggest personal assets. What will happen to your ownership interest if you get divorced? In many cases, your marital estate will include all (or part) of your business interest.

Update on Deducting Personal Casualty Losses

Every year, millions of Americans are struck by sudden, unexpected disasters — including hurricanes, wildfires, floods, tornadoes, volcanoes, and even vandalism and terrorist attacks. These destructive events can cause injuries, death and property damage.

Could Medicare Premiums Lower Your Taxes?

Health care is a top concern for many Americans, especially people who are age 65 and older. While these individuals qualify for basic Medicare insurance, they may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage they desire.

Gears & Gadgets Event: Robotic Solutions to Manufacturing Challenges

Pew research tells us that even though there is a fast uptick in automation, over 70% of American's are still wary and concerned about robots in our workplace replacing American jobs. Join us at the next Gears & Gadgets Minnesota event, featuring a panel of manufacturing business owners and robotics experts who will discuss the role of robotics/automation and provide valuable insights from their own experiences.

The DOL proposes updated overtime rules for administrative salaried professionals

The regulations regarding the overtime exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees haven’t been updated since 2004. A change was scheduled to take effect in 2016, however, a district court judge granted a preliminary injunction stopping the implementation. The Trump administration has released its long-awaited proposed rule to update the overtime exemptions for so-called white-collar workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This article summarizes what employers should know, and follow closely as The DOL has solicited public comments on the proposed rule change, currently scheduled to take effect in 2020.

DS+B Earns 2019 Best of Accounting™ Award for Client Service Excellence

For the fourth consecutive year, our team is honored to earn the "Best of Accounting" Award as industry leaders in service quality, based completely on the satisfaction ratings given to us by our clients. We are committed to being connected, proactive and accessible to our clients' business and personal needs - and continually work to provide the best service experience possible.

Important Tax Figures for 2019

The following table provides some important federal tax information for 2019, as compared with 2018. Many of the dollar amounts are unchanged and some changed only slightly due to inflation.

Estate Tax Planning Tips for Married Couples

For married people with large estates, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) brings welcome relief from federal estate and gift taxes, as well as the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. Here's what you need to know and how to take advantage of the favorable changes.

3 Ways to Get More from Your Marketing Dollars

A strong economy leads some company owners to cut back on marketing. Why spend the money if business is so good? Others see it differently — a robust economy means more sales opportunities, so pouring dollars into marketing is the way to go.

Getting Ahead of the Curve on Emerging Technologies

Turn on your computer or mobile device, scroll through Facebook or Twitter, or skim a business-oriented website, and you’ll likely come across the term “emerging technologies.” It has become so ubiquitous that you might be tempted to ignore it and move on to something else. That would be a mistake.

Coping with Construction-Related Tariffs

In the current politically charged environment, construction owners must continue to meet financial challenges, including tariffs on products frequently used in their industry.

Family Businesses Need Succession Plans, Too

Those who run family-owned businesses often underestimate the need for a succession plan. After all, they say, we’re a family business — there will always be a family member here to keep the company going and no one will stand in the way.

IRS Ups the Ante on Retirement Contributions

Every year, the IRS releases cost-of-living adjustments to qualified retirement plan amounts. For tax year 2019, many of the limits applicable to pensions and other retirement plans will increase. But some will remain unchanged from 2018.

What Do the 2019 Cost-Of-Living Adjustments Mean for You?

The IRS has announced its 2019 cost-of-living adjustments to tax items that might affect you. Many of the amounts increased to account for inflation, but some remained at 2018 levels. As you implement 2018 year-end tax planning strategies, be sure to take these 2019 adjustments into account in your planning.

The Minnesota Economy in 2019: Are the Good Times Still Rolling?

Back by popular demand, King Banaian, Dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University and longtime economic forecaster is the keynote speaker at the Gears & Gadgets 2019 kick-off program. Prof. Banaian will offer a longer view of what made Minnesota and the Twin Cities what it is, how manufacturing developed around the state and the skills that are the competitive advantages of its workers. And what does this mean for the next 12-24 months? Manufacturing business owners and your Executive team - join us to hear Dr. Banaian's economic forecast while you develop strategies,…

Devote Some Time to Internal Leadership Development

Many factors go into the success of a company. You’ve got to offer high-quality products or services, provide outstanding customer service, and manage your inventory or supply chain. But there’s at least one other success factor that many business owners often overlook: internal leadership training and development.

Taking the Hybrid Approach to Cloud Computing

For several years now, cloud computing has been touted as the perfect way for companies large and small to meet their software and data storage needs. But, when it comes to choosing and deploying a solution, one size doesn’t fit all.

Estimates vs. Actuals: Create a Realistic Budget for 2019

As you begin a new year, business owners can be thankful for the gift of perspective (among other things, we hope). Assuming you created a budget for the calendar year, you should now be able to accurately assess that budget by comparing its estimates to actual results. Your objective is to determine whether your budget was reasonable, and, if not, how to adjust it to be more accurate for 2019.

It’s Time to Review Your Buy-Sell Agreement

Buy-sell agreements are commonly referred to as the "prenuptial agreements of the business world." Made by and between the owners of a privately held business, these legally binding agreements outline what happens if an owner were to leave the business, whether due to death or resignation. Perhaps most important, a buy-sell agreement stipulates what the newly available shares are worth—as well as who can buy them.

How Technology Can Help Your Construction Business Avoid Shrinking Margins

It's no secret that the past 18 months or so have been challenging for the construction industry. Tariffs have largely been in flux, which, in turn, have caused the cost of certain construction materials to jump. At least three major hurricanes have ravaged the U.S., leading to labor and materials shortages, particularly in the Midwest. And with murmurs of a slowdown on the horizon, many construction companies and contractors are worried about shrinking margins.

Prepare for Valuation Issues in Your Buy-Sell Agreement

Every business with more than one owner needs a buy-sell agreement to handle both expected and unexpected ownership changes. When creating or updating yours, be sure you’re prepared for the valuation issues that will come into play.

Keeping a King in the Castle with a Well-Maintained Cash Reserve

You’ve no doubt heard the old business cliché “cash is king.” And it’s true: A company in a strong cash position stands a much better chance of obtaining the financing it needs, attracting outside investors or simply executing its own strategic plans.

Tackling the Social Security Mismatch Problem

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has said it will restart its mismatch letter notification program to help reduce errors related to employees' Social Security Numbers (SSNs).

Should Your Business Make a Tax Accounting Method Change?

The many changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) have been largely beneficial for businesses across all industries. One change in regard to tax accounting methods is particularly advantageous for contractors and manufacturers: an increased annual gross receipt threshold of $25 million for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

Tax Reform Law: Topics of Special Interest for Individuals

As you've heard by now, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes a number of changes that will affect individual taxpayers in 2018 and beyond. Significant attention has been given to the reduced tax rates for most individuals and the new limit on deducting state and local taxes. But there is more to the story.

Update on Opportunity Zone Tax Incentives – IRS Proposes Regulations for TCJA Changes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes a provision that Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said should lead to $100 billion in capital investments in distressed areas. The provision allows taxpayers to defer tax on capital gains by investing in such Opportunity Zones. And now the IRS has released proposed regulations for this tax incentive.

HSA + HDHP Can Be a Winning Health Benefits Formula

If you’ve done any research into employee benefits for your business recently, you may have come across a bit of alphabet soup in the form of “HSA + HDHP.” Although perhaps initially confusing, this formula represents an increasingly popular model for health care benefits — that is, offering a Health Savings Account (HSA) coupled with, as required by law, a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).

Say, Just How Competitive Is Your Business Anyway?

Every business owner launches his or her company wanting to be successful. But once you get out there, it usually becomes apparent that you’re not alone. To reach any level of success, you’ve got to be competitive with other similar businesses in your market.

Use Benchmarking to Swim with the Big Fish

You may keep a wary eye on your competitors, but sometimes it helps to look just a little bit deeper. Even if you’re a big fish in your pond, someone a little bigger may be swimming up just beneath you. Being successful means not just being aware of these competitors, but also knowing their approaches and results.

Is There a Weak Link in Your Supply Chain?

In an increasingly global economy, keeping a close eye on your supply chain is imperative. Even if your company operates only locally or nationally, your suppliers could be affected by wider economic conditions and developments. So, make sure you’re regularly assessing where weak links in your supply chain may lie.

Retirement Planning: 4 Tips to Follow Today

Thinking about retirement can be overwhelming. But the fact is, that the financial decisions you make today—even if your retirement is years away—can significantly impact this chapter in your life. Taking steps to prepare can help to ensure your retirement is what it's meant to be: a time to enjoy all that life offers.

Claiming the New Employer Tax Credit for Family and Medical Leave

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) establishes a new federal income tax credit for employers that provide qualifying paid family and medical leave benefits to their employees. This credit is only available for two employer tax years — those beginning between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019 — unless Congress extends the deal. Here are some FAQs about this tax break.

Tax Reform: Which Changes Are Temporary vs. Permanent?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes a bevy of important tax changes for individuals and businesses. However, it's sometimes hard to keep track of which changes are permanent and which are scheduled to expire at the end of 2025 — unless Congress extends them.

Advisory Panel: What’s One Lesson for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Their Business?

Recently, Jon Cassens took part in an advisory panel for the Upsize Minnesota Growth Challenge, in partnership with Club Entrepreneur - Minneapolis. Question asked: "what's one lesson you've learned working with small businesses that you would share with other entrepreneurs looking to grow their business? Check out this video for the panelists' response. 

Jon Cassens Featured in Upsize Minnesota | Part of Advisory Panel for “Growth Challenge” Entrepreneurs

Jon Cassens, Princpal of DS+B, was again one of several panelists for the Upsize Growth Challenge on October 22nd at the Minneapolis Club. The Growth Challenge matches two business owners with expert advice they need to reach their business growth goals. Club E members in attendance also had an opportunity to ask the owners, and panelists, their questions. Below is the story of NoSweat, a fast growing privately held business, from the October 2018 issue of the Upsize Minnesota article that featured Jon.

IRS Clarifies Business Meals and Entertainment Deduction – Here’s How to Deduct Expenses in 2018

On October 3rd, 2018, the IRS issued additional guidance to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The previous omission in the TCJA related to food and beverage deduction (50%) for expenses created a lot of confusion in the business community. This article is a summary to help you better understand the latest IRS guidance on Sec. 274, and how it could be applied when planning your business activities that involve meals and entertainment.

Get SMART When It Comes to Setting Strategic Goals

Strategic planning is key to ensuring every company’s long-term viability, and goal setting is an indispensable step toward fulfilling those plans. Unfortunately, businesses often don’t accomplish their overall strategic plans because they’re unable to fully reach the various goals necessary to get there.

3 Keys to a Successful Accounting System Upgrade

Technology is tricky. Much of today’s software is engineered so well that it will perform adequately for years. But new and better features are being created all the time. And if you’re not getting as much out of your financial data as your competitors are, you could be at a disadvantage.

Finding a 401(K) That’s Right for Your Business

By and large, today’s employees expect employers to offer a tax-advantaged retirement plan. A 401(k) is an obvious choice to consider, but you may not be aware that there are a variety of types to choose from.

Supreme Court Opens Door to Taxation of Online Sales

In a much-anticipated ruling that confounded the expectations of many court watchers, the U.S. Supreme Court has given state and local governments the green light to impose sales taxes on out-of-state online sales. The 5-4 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. was met by cheers from brick-and-mortar retailers, who have long believed that the high court’s previous rulings on the issue disadvantaged them, as well as state governments that are eager to replenish their coffers.

How “Aggregating” Businesses Can Boost a Business Owner’s QBI Deduction

Recently proposed IRS regulations provide aggregation rules that allow eligible individuals to "aggregate" their businesses in order to maximize the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction. Specifically, they may be able to combine income, W-2 wages and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition (UBIA) of qualified assets from qualified businesses conducted as pass-through entities.

How Tax Reform Affects Tax Planning for C Corporations

One of the biggest changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is the permanent installation of a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations for tax years beginning after 2017. The new 21% rate applies equally to personal service corporations (PSCs). (Under prior law, PSCs were taxed more heavily than other C corporations.)

IRS Sheds Light on New Limit on Business Interest Expense Deductions

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) imposes a limit on deductions for business interest for taxable years beginning in 2018. The limit, like other aspects of the law, has raised some questions for taxpayers. In response, the IRS has issued temporary guidance in Notice 2018-28 that taxpayers can rely on until it releases regulations. While the guidance provides some valuable information, it also leaves some questions unanswered.

Ask the Right Questions About Your IT Strategy

Most businesses approach technology as an evolving challenge. You don’t want to overspend on bells and whistles you’ll never fully use, but you also don’t want to get left behind as competitors use the latest tech tools to operate more nimbly.

3 Bills Form Tax Reform 2.0

On September 13, the House Ways and Means Committee passed three separate bills that will be the cornerstone of what is being referred to as Tax Reform 2.0.

Business Tips for Back-To-School Time

Late summer and early fall, when so many families have members returning to educational facilities of all shapes and sizes, is also a good time for businesses to creatively step up their business development efforts, whether it’s launching new marketing initiatives, developing future employees or simply generating goodwill in the community. Here are a few examples that might inspire you.

Many Taxpayers Will Pay No Tax on Long-Term Gains and Dividends

Do you have long-term capital gains or qualified dividends? If so, there's good news: After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), you might still qualify for the 0% federal income tax rate on these types of income. The rate is only available for those with relatively low income. But, if your income is too high to benefit, your children, grandchildren or other loved ones may still be eligible for the tax savings. Here are the details.

IRS Issues Guidance on New Bonus Depreciation Rules

The IRS recently released highly anticipated regulations addressing the deduction for up to 20% of qualified business income (QBI) from pass-through entities. The deduction was a major component of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which became law late last year. It has also been referred to as the pass-through deduction, the QBI deduction or the Section 199A deduction.

A Midyear Review Should Go Beyond Financials

Every year is a journey for a business. You begin with a set of objectives for the months ahead, probably encounter a few bumps along the way and, hopefully, reach your destination with some success and a few lessons learned.

Blockchain May Soon Drive Business Worldwide

“Blockchain” may sound like something that goes on a vehicle’s tires in icy weather or that perhaps is part of that vehicle’s engine. Indeed it is a type of technology that may help drive business worldwide at some point soon — but digitally, not physically. No matter what your industry, now’s a good time to start learning about blockchain.

Cost Control Takes a Total Team Effort

“That’s just the cost of doing business.” You’ve probably heard this expression many times. It’s true that, to invoke another cliché, you’ve got to spend money to make money. But that doesn’t mean you have to take rising operational costs sitting down.

Is More Tax Reform on the Horizon?

President Trump and Republican lawmakers currently are considering a second round of tax reform legislation as a follow-up to last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). As of this writing, there’s been no actual bill drafted. However, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) just released a broad outline or framework of what the tax package may contain.

Effects of the Tax Law Vary Based on Major Life Events

Change is part of life. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has brought sweeping changes to the federal income tax rules for individuals. But how will you and your family be affected? That depends on your specific circumstances. Major life changes — from marriage and birth to divorce and death — can provide opportunities and pitfalls under the tax law. Here's an overview of some TCJA provisions that may be relevant during different life events.

How Tax Reform Has Changed Tax Planning for Homeowners

It's no surprise that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has made sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code. In doing so, it's also altered deductions and other tax breaks for individuals, particularly for homeowners. If you own a home or property, the ways in which you usually time your income and deductions may no longer give you a tax advantage.

Did Tax Reform Leave Franchises Out in the Cold?

With generous corporate tax write-offs and rates, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been well received by nearly every industry. Unfortunately, a simple error has prevented franchisees from reaping many of its benefits.

Could a Long-Term Deal Ease Your Succession Planning Woes?

Some business owners — particularly those who founded their companies — may find it hard to give up control to a successor. Maybe you just can’t identify the right person internally to fill your shoes. While retirement isn’t in your immediate future, you know you must eventually step down.

Watch out for Tax-Related Identity Theft Scams All Year Long

With the filing date for 2017 in the rearview mirror for most businesses and individuals, the last thing they probably want to think about is income taxes. Unfortunately, though, criminals who commit tax-related identity theft don’t work seasonally — they’re constantly devising and unleashing new schemes.

U.S. Supreme Court Sales Tax Ruling Affects More Than Just E-Commerce Businesses

On June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling overturning a 1992 precedent that had barred states from requiring online retailers without a "physical presence" there to collect sales taxes. Going forward, this decision will present numerous challenges to businesses of all sizes that have out-of-state sales, not solely those that sell products online. Talk with your tax advisor, there may be more you need to know - even if you aren't an e-commerce business.

Revenue Recognition Rules Have Changed | DS+B Hosts Finance Leaders Alliance Group

On July 18th, DS+B welcomes the Finance Leaders Alliance Group for an educational presentation on how to prepare your business and leadership team. Topic: The accounting rules for revenue recognition and leases have changed. The new standard will take effect January 1, 2019 for privately held companies - that's right around the corner! Now is the time to dig in and start getting up to speed.

4th Annual Gears & Gadgets – Brews & BBQ

DS+B is proud to be a sponsoring partner of Gears and Gadgets, hosted by Minnesota Manufacturing Executives, which provides business owners and executives with informative presentations on latest trends, networking and peer collaboration for a strong manufacturing presence in Minnesota. Join us on July 17th for the 4th annual summer social event "Brews & BBQ" at Bauhaus in Minneapolis.

Timing and Taxes: Two Critical Issues when Buying or Selling a Home

You might be in a rush to buy or sell a home before summer starts or interest rates increase even more. But, first, it's important to review the tax rules related to home sales and deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes and work-related moving expenses. Beware: Some rules have changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Business Owners: Understand the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty

The IRS is strict about collecting payroll taxes and tough on "responsible persons" who don't pay them. A recent court case shows that a person may not be able to escape the penalty even if someone else is primarily responsible for handling payroll taxes.

7 Steps to Choosing a Successor for Your Family Business

There’s an old saying regarding family-owned businesses: “Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” It means the first-generation owner started in shirtsleeves and built the company up from nothing but, by the third generation, the would-be owner is back in shirtsleeves with nothing because the business failed or was sold.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at New Business Tax Reforms

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provides businesses with more than just lower income tax rates and other provisions you may have heard about. Here's an overview of some lesser-known, business-friendly changes under the new law, along with a few changes that could affect some businesses adversely.

Home Equity Borrowers Get Good News from the IRS

Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in December 2017 has led to confusion over some of the changes to longstanding deductions, including the deduction for interest on home equity loans. In response, the IRS has issued a statement clarifying that the interest on home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and second mortgages will, in many cases, remain deductible under the TCJA — regardless of how the loan is labeled.

How the New Limit on SALT Deductions Affects Homeowners

The ability to deduct state and local taxes (SALT) has historically been a valuable tax break for taxpayers who itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns. Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limits SALT deductions for 2018 through 2025. Here's important information that homeowners should know about the new limitation.

New Law Revamps the Kiddie Tax

Congress enacted the so-called "kiddie tax" rules to prevent parents and grandparents in high tax brackets from shifting income (especially from investments) to children in lower tax brackets. Congress recently revamped this tax under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

7 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Sale

For some business owners, succession planning is a complex and delicate matter involving family members and a long, gradual transition out of the company. Others simply sell the business and move on. There are many variations in between, of course, but if you’re leaning toward a business sale, here are seven ways to prepare:

DS+B Earns 2018 Best of Accounting™ Award for Client Service Excellence

For the third consecutive year, our team is honored to earn the "Best of Accounting" Award as industry leaders in service quality, based completely on the satisfaction ratings given to us by our clients. We are committed to being connected, proactive and accessible to our clients' business and personal needs - and continually work to provide the best service experience possible.

Education Event: The Accounting Rules Have Changed – Is Your Business Ready?

The accounting rules for revenue recognition and leases have changed. Is your business ready for its impact on the financials, bank covenants and lease contracts? The new revenue recognition standard will take effect January 1, 2019 for privately held companies - that's right around the corner! Now is the time to dig in and start getting up to speed. On May 2nd, join DS+B for an educational presentation for business owners on how to effectively prepare your business and leadership team.

Untangling the Pass-Through Provisions of the TCJA

Crunching numbers is what accountants live for. Lucky for us, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) contains some valuable goodies for businesses that operate as pass-through entities, including partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations and sole proprietorships. These businesses stand to see their tax liabilities fall significantly, but determining just how much they will benefit can be complicated.

2018 Tax Calendar

To help you make sure you don’t miss any important 2018 deadlines, here is a summary of when various tax-related forms, payments and other actions are due.

Tax Reform: IRS Issues 2018 Withholding Tables

The revised IRS withholding tables reflect the TCJA’s increase in the standard deduction, suspension of personal exemptions and changes in tax rates and brackets. Employers must move to incorporate the new tables into their payroll systems as soon as possible — and no later than February 15, 2018. Read more on the changes, and actions required, for businesses.

Beyond Federal Tax Reform: A Guide for Minnesota Estate Tax Planning

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased the federal exemption from estate tax to $11M per taxpayer, the requirements regarding Minnesota Estate Tax were changed in 2017 for the years 2017-2020. In this article, we take a closer look at the Minnesota changes, non-resident estate tax that has far-reaching implications, and gift tax details that can help you with effective wealth planning decisions.

Tax Reform: New Deduction for Pass-Through Business Income

For tax years beginning in 2018, the TCJA establishes a new deduction based on a noncorporate owner’s qualified business income (QBI). This new tax break is available to individuals, estates and trusts that own interests in pass-through business entities. This article includes an analysis of how the new law may impact business owners.

Tax Reform: Meals and Entertainment Changes for Businesses in 2018

Businesses and employers need to take note of the new rules as they plan their 2018 meals and entertainment budgets. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) places stricter limits on what businesses can deduct meals and entertainment expenses for clients, or its employees.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Contains Favorable Tax Breaks for Businesses

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) offers many tax breaks for businesses. Overall, most companies and business owners will come out ahead under the new tax law, but there are a number of tax breaks that were eliminated or reduced. Here are the most important changes in the new law that will affect businesses and their owners.

TCJA Provides More Generous Depreciation-Related Tax Breaks

If your business is buying new assets in 2018 or undertaking a qualified remodeling project for the interior of a nonresidential building, you may be able to benefit in several ways under the new tax reform law, commonly referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA). You even may be able to take advantage of some of the enhancements on your 2017 tax return.

Estate Plans: What Changed with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?

Effective January 1, 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) reduces individual and corporate tax rates, eliminates a host of deductions and credits, enhances other breaks and makes numerous additional changes. One thing the TCJA doesn’t do is repeal the federal gift and estate tax, as originally contemplated by the House of Representative’s version … Continued

Tax Reform Passed: Last-Minute Year-End Tax Planning Tips

Congress is enacting the biggest tax reform law in thirty years. Since most of the changes will go into effect next year, there’s still a narrow window of time before year-end to act. Here’s a quick rundown of last-minute moves you should think about making.

Minnesota Manufacturing Executives Panel | Gears & Gadgets 10-16-2017

The next event on October 16th features a panel discussion made up of the winners and finalists of the Minnesota Business Magazine's "2017 Manufacturing Awards." The panel, moderated and hosted by Bill Wermager, will feature these prominent business leaders and innovators in the manufacturing industry sharing their success stories

Avoid Penalties When Taking Planned Rollovers from your Retirement Plan

Participating in a retirement plan has many advantages. However, there are specific rules that may cause plan participants to inadvertently trigger current taxation when funds are intended to be rolled over. This article offers some of the more common pitfalls you should be aware of when moving, withdrawing or transferring funds in your IRA or Qualified Plan.

6 Ways Online Bill Payment Could Make Your Business Run Faster, Better

Running a business isn't all about bringing money in the door. It's also about paying the bills. Here's how an online bill payment solution, when coupled with CPA expertise, could make your business run faster, reduce costs and give you real-time access to financial information ahead of important decisions.

3 Ways Bad Bookkeeping Disrupts Your Business

Business owners rarely have time to eat lunch, let alone balance their books. But bookkeeping should never be left on the back burner. Here's how sub-par bookkeeping could disrupt your business.

Sean Boland Takes Part in Expert Panel of Family Business Advisors at Club Entrepreneur, Minneapolis

All businesses face problems and enjoy successes, but family-owned companies bring unique challenges, including dealing with that overlap. Sean Boland was part of an expert panel of family-owned business advisors at the Minneapolis Club hosted by Rick Brimacomb’s Club Entrepreneur (Club E) and Upsize magazine. Here is a summary of their advice and tips for a successful family business transition.

Manufacturers: 6 Strategic Steps to Help Spur Growth

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch was famous for asking his constituents, "How am I doing?" Similarly, leaders in the manufacturing industry like to take the pulse of the sector from time to time, especially after the economic struggles of the last decade and a lull stretching over the past two years.

DS+B Sponsors the 2017 Ronald McDonald House Charities Golf Classic

DS+B and Rock Island Wealth Management are proud to be a sponsor of the RMHC Upper Midwest Golf Classic once again in 2017. Great to see clients, friends and associates out for a great cause. Sean Boland and Mitch Stolba were in full swing as charity competitors. Jon Cassens, Max Judd and Noah Vannevel provided food and beverages to golfers at our sponsored snack stop.

4 Invaluable Benefits of Benchmarking

Defined in the simplest terms, benchmarking is the process of identifying your company's strengths and weaknesses by comparing its performance metrics to those of similar companies. Here are a few of the ways it could change your business.

New Retainage Law | What It Means for Minnesota Subcontractors

Last year was a busy year for lawmakers at the Minnesota Legislature in regard to the construction industry. Going forward, both prime (general) contractors as well as subcontractors need to be aware of the law changes in the statute, as they can affect everything from contracts and scheduling to accounting and project timelines.

New Partnership Audit Rules: Should You Stay In or Elect Out?

The present law partnership audit rules, also known as TEFRA, have been replaced with new procedures that may require adjustment of all items of income, gain, loss, deduction or credit at the partnership level rather than at the partner level. This puts the partnership liable for any resulting underpayment of tax. It's time to explore your options.

Vetting Potential Franchises: 4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy In

When you buy into a franchise, you get more than a business—you also get a business partner. As a franchisee, this should be a good fit for you personally. And, the franchisor should add as much value as you do. But how will you know this before you sign a contract? Use the following vetting questions to choose the right franchise.

Revenue Recognition Is Changing—Are You Prepared?

The rumor is true: revenue recognition as we know it will soon undergo a major makeover. Although these changes won't officially take place until 2018, now is the time to prepare. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you're ready.

Planning to Remodel? Don’t Miss These Tax Savings

Thinking of remodeling or improving the interior of non-residential property this year? A recent change in the PATH Act lifts many restrictions to "qualified improvement property" and could provide your business with a significant tax-savings opportunity.

Transferring Family Wealth? Consider a Family Limited Partnership

Check out our team article featured in Minnesota Business Magazine. Summary: A family limited partnership offers many perks, including the ability to transfer wealth at substantial discounts from the fair market value of underlying assets. But without a valuation, this perk easily could become a liability.

4 Fast Facts About Minnesota Estate Tax

Minnesota is one of 18 states that have an estate or inheritance tax. With a relatively low exemption value, this tax could affect you more significantly than you think—even if you don't reside in the state.

Why Employee Benefit Plan Audits Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

It may be tempting to brush aside an audit of your employee benefit plan financial statements as "just another to-do item," but such nonchalance could prove exceptionally risky. After studies uncovered a relatively high level of deficiencies in these audits, the U.S. Department of Labor is cracking down—not necessarily on the auditors, but on those responsible for hiring them: the plan administrators.

Avoiding the Avoidable – Mistakes That Derail Successful Businesses

Patrick Maloney, Director of Operations at DS+B, was recently part of a panel discussion sponsored by Club Entrepreneur and covered by Upsize Minnesota. The topic was business best practices - or rather, what mistakes business owners can avoid. The panel was made of professionals services providers with related expertise in business management, IT, finance, strategy and accounting.

4 Tips for Establishing an Advisory Board

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of running a successful business. But it's important to take a step back every now and then. From afar, you can better assess where you are and where you're headed. Sharing this view with an advisory board can help to keep your business on the right track.

How to Address Fair Value Issues with an Auditor During an Acquisition

After your company makes, or is in the process of making an acquisition, it is important to understand the purchase accounting. You know about fair value, and you have studied ASC 805 – Business Combinations in detail, but what’s next? Let us help answer a few questions to help save you time and cost.

Tax Reform Likely in 2017? Strategies You Should Consider for Year-end Tax Planning

Tax reform will likely be a priority for President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 by consolidating the individual tax rates into three brackets, eliminating the 3.8% surtax on upper-earners, and potentially reducing the tax-savings impact of current deductions. With all this in mind, here are some important strategies for taxpayers to consider this year.

Federal Judge Blocks New Overtime Rule Set to Take Effect on December 1st

On Tuesday November 22nd, U.S. District Judge agreed with 21 states and a coalition of business groups and granted a preliminary injunction to the Obama administration's new overtime rules. The rule, issued by the Labor Department, was to take effect on December 1st and would have doubled the minimum salary exemption to $47,500.

Jen Verly Will Join an Expert Panel for Club Entrepreneur, Minneapolis on November 14th

At November’s Club Entrepreneur workshop, Jen Verly will once again join a panel of business advisors to discuss common mistakes that derail successful companies. The workshop, co-presented by Upsize Minnesota Magazine will help companies with all facets of the growth challenge, and introduce specialists and experts who can serve as trusted resources.

Timely Tax Planning for Your Investments and Capital Gains

When determining whether to buy or sell a security, several factors may affect your decision: your goals, time frame, and risk tolerance, to name a few. One factor that should never be dismissed, however, is the tax consequence(s) of your purchase or sale. With proper tax planning, it’s possible to recognize a certain amount of capital gains tax-free. Here are a few tips to get started...

Five Tax-Reducing Tips Every Small Business Owner Should Know

One minute you’re making a sale. The next, you’re making a personnel decision. Later in the day, you’re on to payroll. If you’re an entrepreneur or have a growing small business, your to-do list never ends. And to top it off, you’ve got to keep your business in the black. Running a profitable business can … Continued

Four Smart Moves for Choosing (or Changing) Your Business Structure

Choosing a business structure is a decision that should never be taken lightly. While income taxation and owner liability are the primary differences between a C corporation, S corporation, or limited liability company (LLC), there are other lesser-known variations that could significantly impact your business. The good news is business structures aren’t set in stone; … Continued

Recap: Gears & Gadgets | Panel Discussion with Minnesota Business Magazine’s 2016 Manufacturing Awards Winners

October’s Gears and Gadget event was both inspiring and educational! The event featured an expert panel of executives and leaders who were recently recognized at the 2016 Manufacturing Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine.  One of the main themes of the discussion were leadership and management techniques that have proven successful for these manufacturing businesses. The panelists commented that periodically … Continued

Machinery and Equipment Valuations for Purchase Price Allocations

Assets typically found within the fixed asset category include machinery, equipment, and leasehold improvements. There are two choices for determining the fair value to be assigned to the fixed assets: (1) Hire a third party that specializes in the valuation of fixed assets; or (2) Provide your own estimation of fair value. Which option is best depends on a number of important factors.

Minnesota Manufacturing Executives Panel | Gears and Gadgets 10-12-16

October 12 | The next Gears and Gadgets event, hosted by Minnesota Manufacturing Executives, will feature a panel discussion made up of the winners and finalists of the Minnesota Business Magazine's "2016 Manufacturing Awards." Business leaders and innovators in the manufacturing industry will share their stories.

How Much Financial Due Diligence is Right for Buying a Business?

If you're looking to buy or acquire a business, chances are you know about due diligence. Or at least have heard it is a good idea. But there lies the challenge - how do you know that you have done enough to feel confident that a business you are buying is a good investment or will provide you the earning potential you think it will?

DS+B Earns 2016 BEST OF ACCOUNTING™ Award For Client Service Excellence

The Best of Accounting Award winners are proven industry leaders in service quality based completely on the ratings given to them by their clients. Fewer than 1% of all accounting firms in the United States and Canada have earned the 2016 Best of Accounting Award for providing remarkable service quality.

Congratulations to Kowalski’s Markets | 2016 Entrepreneurs of the Year, Upper Midwest

From everyone at DS+B, congratulations to Kowalski's Markets, winner of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year, Upper Midwest in the retail and consumer products category. Owner Mary Anne Kowalski and COO Kris Kowalski Christiansen were profiled in the August 2016 edition of the Twin Cities Business Magazine, which co-produces the award and event held in Minneapolis / St. Paul Minnesota.

MNABC | 33rd Annual Golf Event | CPA Chip Challenge Winners Announced Here

DS+B is proud to support the Associated Builders and Contractors | Minnesota and North Dakota Chapter. We hope everyone had a good time at the 33rd annual T.E. Ibberson Classic on Monday July 18th at the Burl Oaks Golf Club in Minnetrista. Our snack stop team of Heidi Greeley and Elizabeth Imm enjoyed meeting other MNABC members … Continued

Manufacturing Executives Event | DS+B Sponsors Gears and Gadgets | July 19th

DS+B is proud to be a sponsoring partner of Gears and Gadgets, hosted by Minnesota Manufacturing Executives, which provides business owners and executives with informative presentations on latest trends, networking and peer collaboration for a strong manufacturing presence in Minnesota. Registration for the July 19th event is now open!

R&D Credit More Likely to Reduce Taxes for Small and Midsized Businesses in 2016

Tax legislation at the end of 2015 (The PATH Act) made significant changes to the Research and Development (R&D) tax credit. This new legislation makes the R&D credit available to many small and midsized companies that had previously believed the credit out of reach to them. The credit was made permanent back to January 1, 2015 so U.S. companies can budget with confidence that the credit will be there in future years rather than periodically expiring as in the past.

What is Fair Value?

Fair value, is the standard of value used in over forty Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) topics. Some of the more commonly encountered topics that rely upon fair value are: ASC 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other ASC 360, Property, Plant and Equipment ASC 805, Business Combinations ASC 815, Derivatives and Hedging ASC 825, Financial Instruments[1] … Continued

2016 R&D Tax Credit Can Now Benefit Start-up Businesses, Too.

Beginning in 2016, qualified small business startups can allocate up to $250,000 of R&D tax credits generated after January 1, 2016 to offset the employer OASDI portion of their payroll taxes. For small startup companies, a payroll tax offset may also result in a significant cash savings.

Impairment Testing of Long-Lived Assets

This article discusses the testing of long-lived assets for impairment under ASC 360-10. It should be noted that there are significant differences between the tests required for indefinite lived assets under ASC 350-30, long-lived assets under ASC 360-10, and goodwill under ASC 350-20. Performing these tests in the proper order is critical to concluding the correct amounts of impairment (if any).

How to Value Inventory Under ASC 805

For purposes of ASC 805, items within inventory need to be stated at fair value. Fair value is often greater than their book value as book value only includes historical costs and ignores the required return accruing to inventory as it progress through the value creation process. The process of stepping up inventory to fair value often results in a greater amount of COGS in the first post transaction period and can drastically lower the expected profit of the business on a GAAP basis. Management should be aware of this and its possible effects on earn…

Should I Adopt the New Accounting Alternatives?

In 2014 the Private Company Council and FASB approved new accounting alternatives for goodwill and intangible assets that can be elected by most private companies. The accounting alternatives were designed to lower the complexity and cost associated with meeting the current standards.

The Six Inputs to a Black-Scholes Valuation

This article assumes use of the Black-Scholes formula (a closed-form model); as this is the method most private companies use.[2] We will explain where the typical inputs for each of these six factors are found and in certain cases, how they can be modified to fit the facts and circumstances of a specific situation.

Purchase Price Allocations: Can We Do This In-house?

Early in my career I was often asked to assist auditors with reviewing in-house valuations of intangible assets acquired in business combinations. I often responded to these requests with a large sigh. Having been through this process before I knew many CFOs and controllers believed they could put together an intangible valuation. After all, many CFOs … Continued

DS+B Sponsors the 2016 Ronald McDonald House Charities Golf Classic

Great to see clients, friends and associates out for a great cause at the RMHC Upper Midwest Golf Classic again this year. Sean Boland and Mitch Stolba were in full swing as charity competitors. Jon Cassens, Max Judd and Joe Jensen provided food and beverages to golfers at our sponsored snack stop. All tallied, RMHC Upper Midwest generated over $190,000 for families in need! An amazing outcome....and a 40% increase above 2015!

Construction Business Owners – How to Overcome Tax Return Obstacles

Small construction firm owners and contractors can find it especially difficult to comply with the strict letter of the law when it comes to filing their income tax returns. The IRS recognizes the potential problems and wants to lend a helping hand. The tax agency periodically updates several publications geared to contractors, most notably Publication 3780, … Continued

When Does a Business with Multiple Owners Need a Buy-Sell Agreement?

Unfortunately, death, divorce and disagreements happen in life. But when they happen in a business with multiple owners, the complexity can create unintended consequences for the remaining owners, families and employees. An important protection in these cases is a properly drafted and executed buy-sell agreement to assist owners, an estate and the company for an … Continued

How Business Owners Can Avoid Mistakes That Derail Successful Companies

At a recent panel discussion with other Twin Cities business advisors, Jen Verly, CPA, was asked about the top business mistakes that business owners should learn from others, and avoid. The workshop was titled "Avoid the Avoidable" and was sponsored by UPSIZE Magazine with Club Entrepreneurship and held at the Minneapolis Club.

Good News for Employers: IRS Extends ACA Filing Deadlines

Businesses large and small got some good news recently from the IRS. Some employers and other entities, which are required to file information returns for 2015 on Forms 1094 and 1095, now have an extension on the deadlines. This gives employers extra time to complete two tasks: Provide the forms to recipients; and File the forms … Continued

Congress Enhances and Makes Research & Development Tax Credit Permanent

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 makes the Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D) permanent for costs related to qualified activity incurred after December 31, 2014.  No more waiting at year-end to see if the credit will be extended! Hooray!   For small and medium sized businesses, the new rules significantly … Continued

How to Plan Ahead to Avoid Minnesota Residency Tax Surprises

Moving to Another State but Keeping a Second Home in Minnesota? For many Minnesota residents and retirees, there may come a time when they decide to move to warmer climates or to states with low or no individual income tax. However, they also want a place to come back to throughout the year and decide … Continued

New PATH for Extended and Permanent Tax Breaks Is Open for Businesses

At the end of last year, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 was signed into law. Known as the PATH Act, it does more than just extend expired and expiring tax provisions for another year. The new law makes many temporary tax breaks permanent. This provides some stability in planning. When it comes … Continued

DS+B is a Silver Sponsor of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association

About MPMA For over 50 years, the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association has been a source of information, education and support for those in the precision manufacturing industry. Their mission is to drive success in Minnesota precision manufacturing and help Minnesota become the recognized world leader in precision manufacturing and related technologies. In addition to networking opportunities, MPMA … Continued

Numerous Tax Break Extenders and Savings Opportunities for Individuals

At the end of last year, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 was signed into law. Known as the PATH Act, it does more than just extend expired and expiring tax provisions for another year. The new law makes many temporary tax breaks permanent. This provides some stability in planning. When it comes … Continued

2015 Individual and Business Tax Extenders in the PATH Act

In December, the House and Senate approved the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes” (PATH) Act of 2015. The President signed this legislation referred to by tax professionals as “The Tax Extenders Provision”, which extends or modifies many extensions/changes that tax payers should discuss with their CPA.

Tips to Avoid Tax Refund Fraud in 2016

As we wind down 2015, it’s important to remember that identity thieves may be looking ahead to the upcoming 2016 tax season.  Krebs on Security, an in-depth security news and investigation blog, presents a good article on the latest battle between the IRS and the criminals looking to file bogus tax refunds. And while the … Continued

DS+B Proud Sponsor of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest

Sean Boland / DS+B have been supporters of the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest for many years. We are proud to be involved with great people for a great cause. A big part of what makes this group exceptional is the caliber of business professionals, franchisee owner operators and their staff who attend each event.  Jon … Continued

Larry Gamst Joins Advisory Board of Eight Twin Cities Business Leaders

Larry Gamst was recently featured in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal as part of a newly-formed advisory board. Larry joins a distinguished list of metro business leaders to bring local perspectives and business connections to help the financial services group build its Twin Cities presence.

Selecting an Auditor for Your Employee Benefit Plan

If your employee benefit plan is required to have an audit, one of the most important duties of the plan administrator is to hire an independent certified public accountant. Employee benefit plan audits have unique audit and reporting requirements and are different from other financial audits.

DS+B is a Member of the Minnesota Grocers Association

About the Minnesota Grocers Association MGA is a non-profit trade association founded to advance the common interests of all those involved in the food industry-supermarkets, superstores, convenience stores, food wholesalers, and food manufacturers and brokers. Over 300 businesses representing 1200 retail food stores as well as nearly 150 related businesses representing wholesalers, food manufacturers and … Continued

Identity Theft / Tax Scam Update

Defending yourself against identity theft is, unfortunately, a part of modern life. Increasingly we have clients contacting us regarding aggressive telephone calls or have received emails from parties identifying themselves as from the Internal Revenue Service. These scam artists are hard at work calling from sophisticated call centers threatening bank accounts levy or imprisonment and demanding immediate payment.   … Continued

Minneapolis Working Families Agenda Delayed For Study Until 2016

Minneapolis Working Families Agenda Delayed for Study Until 2016. Proposed Earned Sick Time and Scheduling Restriction Ordinances May Impact Employers. For employers in the city of Minneapolis, the Working Families Agenda could have a potential impact on businesses that staff and operate flexible scheduling patterns for varying customer activity. As cited in numerous media reports recently, … Continued

Accounting for Goodwill and Intangible Assets Just Got Easier

FASB approved new accounting alternatives for goodwill and intangible assets that can be elected by most privately held businesses. This article highlights (1) some of the changes allowed under the accounting alternatives, (2) areas in which companies may find cost savings, and (3) some of the potential issues with electing the alternatives.

Brew Love Sponsor 2015 | Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Midwest

From the event website: Join us on Thursday, August 13 at the Depot Shed in Minneapolis for the 6th Annual Brew Love. All event proceeds will enable the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Upper Midwest, to provide a comfortable and caring home-away-from-home that supports keeping families together and reduces stress during a child’s serious illness. The … Continued

DS+B Team Mentioned in MSP Business Journal “People on the Move.”

DS+B is growing and adding professionals with expertise in accounting, analysis, tax and business valuation services for its privately held business clients. We are excited to introduce several team members who were recently mentioned in the MSP Business Journal's "People on the Move"

How Should Your Business Be Organized?

Given the constant media attention regarding tax law changes and tax reform, it’s an important question to examine. The way your business is structured generally affects the extent to which you and any other owners of the business are personally protected from liabilities of the business as well as how your business is taxed.

DS+B is an Allied Member of the Minnesota Restaurant Association

About the Minnesota Restaurant Association The Minnesota Restaurant Association helps the industry thrive by providing advocacy, insight, education, networking and access to services and resources. The Minnesota Restaurant Association has served the needs of the restaurant and foodservice industry since 1933. In 1958, the MRA decided there was much to gain by joining forces and working collectively with … Continued

DS+B is a Member of the Minnesota Retailers Association

About the Minnesota Retailers Association The mission of the Minnesota Retailers Association is to promote, preserve and enhance the retail industry in Minnesota by taking a significant leadership position in development of public policy and regulatory measures that impact Members. MnRA will also work to enhance the public image of the retail industry by providing information, … Continued

Retail Could Be a Winner in Corporate Tax Reform

Tax reform, especially corporate income tax reform, has been in the news significantly in recent months. In summary, the broadening of the tax base would come by elimination of tax incentives (called “tax expenditures”) that have been added to our tax system over the past half-century.

Mergers + Acquisitions Best Practices | A Recent Panel Discussion Featured In Upsize Minnesota

On March 26th, I was part of an expert panel organized by Club Entrepreneur and Upsize Minnesota Magazine. The event was held at the Minneapolis Club where business owners and various professionals could ask the panel questions as well as participate in the discussion. The panel featured accounting, legal, broker and merger specialists as well as a business owner who shared his recent experience going through the process.

DS+B Receives Top Rating in 2015 Peer Review

In 2015, DS+B completed its latest Peer Review as required to be in compliance with the AICPA. The results were no Matters for Further Consideration (MFC), and no Findings for Further Consideration (FFC), the highest rating a firm can receive.

IRS Update: Taxpayers Receiving Identity Verification Letter Should Use

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers who receive requests from the IRS to verify their identities that the Identity Verification Service website,, offers the fastest, easiest way to complete the task. Taxpayers may receive a letter when the IRS stops suspicious tax returns that have indications of being identity theft but contains a real taxpayer’s name and/or Social Security number. Only those taxpayers receiving Letter 5071C should access

Sean Boland Will Be a Panelist for Mergers and Acquisitions Luncheon in Minneapolis on March 26

Sean Boland will be one of the panelists during the next UPSIZE Magazine / Club Entrepreneur luncheon on March 26 at the Minneapolis Club. Topic: What small to mid sized business owners need to know about mergers and acquisitions, best practices to maximize your business value when it’s time sell, and how to engage effective buyer side due diligence to get the best deal possible.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Extended to April 30 2015

Recently, the IRS announced that it was extending the time for employers to file for the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) that hired eligible workers in 2014. The WOTC is a federal tax credit that reduces the federal tax liability based on wages paid to new hires for targeted groups that are employed by privately-held businesses.

DS+B Named to the “Top 25” Accounting Firms List

A few more awards or plaques on the wall never hurts, but more important to us is the consistency in which we serve our clients’ interests. As a connected member of the Twin Cities business community, we work to create, grow and preserve wealth for many businesses and individuals. In this way, our firm and people have grown with our clients since 1950.

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion – Not for the Faint of Heart

Before you accept an assignment to work and earn income abroad, understand what needs to happen in order to achieve tax benefits that are available. In one such case, an individual was working in Russia for a number of years and was audited by the IRS.

Construction Business: Keep Your Cash Flow From Going Down the Drain

There are many times when I have a client call and say “I have a strong bottom line, but I don’t have the cash to pay taxes on it, or where is all my cash then?” Bottom line isn’t equivalent to cash flow, and there are a number of preventable deficiencies that you can address which can help stop your cash flow from going down the drain.

DS+B is a Member of the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association

DS+B is a long-standing member of the Minnesota Petroleum Marketers Association. The MPMA provides its members up-to-date regulatory and business insights on alternative energy, c-store business management, finance, government affairs and PAC, environmental and transportation safety.

Never Too Early for Gift and Estate Planning

Last year, taxpayers scrambled to make last-minute asset transfers in case the historically generous gift and estate tax exemptions expired or rates skyrocketed. This year, taxpayers face a calmer estate planning landscape because Congress passed a relatively generous federal gift and estate tax regime.

DS+B Sponsored “Introduction to Growing Your Business” Event on October 11

This free SCORE introductory workshop to “Simple Steps for Growing Your Business” is designed for small business owners already in business and wanting to learn what it takes to grow further. It provides small business owners and managers the knowledge and tools they need to analyze, assess and grow their venture.

DS+B Presents to Construction and Contracting Business Leaders at MNABC

The DS+B team of Patrick Maloney (presenting), Kathy Kirkeby and Jerry Riegel were co-sponsors of the MNABC Breakfast and Education – “How to Entice, Retain and Motivate Employees.” In partnership with Mid American Financial Group, the presenters outlined some out-of-the-box methods to give construction and contracting business leaders some additional strategies to retain/hire employees in this competitive construction labor market.

Tips for Identifying Telephone Tax Scams

Increasingly we have clients contacting us regarding aggressive telephone calls received from parties identifying themselves as from the Internal Revenue Service. Telephone scam artists are hard at work calling from sophisticated call centers threatening bank accounts levy or imprisonment and demanding immediate payment.

4.5 Billion Reasons Not to Delay Payment for IRS Payroll Taxes

In a cash flow crunch and thinking about delaying paying the IRS payroll taxes? There are 4.5 billion reasons not to do this. In the recently published “2013 Internal Revenue Service Data Book” it was revealed that the IRS issued 6.8 million penalties totaling $4.5 billion related to payroll taxes for the YEAR...

Buy or Defer? 2014 Status of Section 179 Expensing Amounts

Small business owners have become accustomed to the ability to deduct significant amounts of purchased business assets in the year of acquisition. But the future status of this deduction remains unclear and has an impact on decisions, such as buying equipment for the business.

Variable Interest Entity (VIE) Rules Are Changing Yet Again

Variable Interest Entity (VIE) rules are changing yet again, but for private companies it may actually reduce your reporting requirements! One of the largest impacts of Enron scandal, in 2001, on all entities, was the adoption of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) FIN 46 (now part of ASC 810).

S Corporation Officer Must Take a Salary

Do you operate your business as an S corporation? If you work for the corporation, you generally must take a salary. An officer who performs more than minor services for a corporation, and who receives remuneration in any form, is considered an employee and is subject to employment taxes.

Deferring Taxes Through an Installment Sale

All things being equal, taxpayers generally would prefer to pay taxes later rather than sooner – particularly if they are in a high tax bracket. The installment method allows taxpayers to defer taxes by recognizing profit from certain sales over several years rather than all at once.

Understanding Cost Basis

When you sell securities in a taxable investment account, you have to know your “basis” in the securities to determine whether you have a gain or a loss on the sale – and the amount. Generally, your basis is the price you paid for your shares of stock or a mutual fund, adjusted for any reinvested dividends or capital gain distributions, as well as for any costs of the purchase.

Material Participation, Basis, and Losses

In order to deduct losses associated with an S corporation, partnership, LLC, or even a sole proprietorship, there are a number of tests to pass. In one U.S. Tax Court case, the taxpayers ran into the two most frequently encountered issues: basis and material participation.

IRS Mistakenly Sends Penalty Notices for Form 5500

Have you received a notice for late filing of the 5500, but you believe you filed timely? If so, it is possible you are part of a group that the IRS has admitted to mistakenly assessing penalties and sending notices to.

Contractor versus Employee – How Are You Classifying?

As CPAs, we receive numerous industry magazines, email newsletters, tax articles, etc.  One of the most common on-going topics that we have cross our desk is in regards to worker classification of independent contractor vs employee.  In July, we posted an article on the Federal Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP), which was a way for employers to gain Federal … Continued

Plan Ahead As If You Will Be Audited

While your chances of being audited may be relatively low, planning as if you will hear from the IRS could help you survive a challenge. A recent U.S. Tax Court case illustrates why keeping meticulous records and operating in a business-like fashion can be critical.

‘Tis (Almost) the Season for Gift and Estate Planning

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many people are thinking about estate planning and making year-end gifts to family members. Last year, taxpayers scrambled to make last-minute asset transfers in case the historically generous gift and estate tax exemptions expired or rates skyrocketed.

Valuation is Key as the M&A Market Slowly Heats Up

After a lackluster 2012, domestic M&A activity is on the rise. Small business deal volume was up 62% in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period for 2012, according to Insight Report, which analyzes private business transactions in more than 70 major U.S. markets.

Keeping Good Tax Records: A Case Study of What NOT to Do

The importance of keeping thorough and accurate records can’t be emphasized enough. If you have incomplete or no records and get audited by the IRS, it can cost you valuable deductions. A recent Tax Court case illustrates what happens when adequate records are not kept throughout the year and a taxpayer takes deductions for expenses … Continued

IRS Debuts Final Repair Regs

In the past, tax preparers and business owners criticized the IRS capitalization guidelines for being ambiguous, complex, and subjective. There were few quantitative brightline rules. Instead, the appropriate tax treatment was governed by qualitative “betterment” tests and Tax Court cases.

How to Protect Against Tax Identity Theft

Tax identity theft is a growing epidemic. Identity thieves typically engage two tax fraud scams: Refund fraud. The thief files a fraudulent tax return, reporting fictitious wages and withholdings, usually early in the year before companies are required to issue 1099s and W-2s.

Want Tax-Free Income? There Are Still Ways to Receive It.

You may think you have to pay tax on all income you receive but it’s not true. There are still ways to earn income that is free from federal income tax. With the various tax increases that took effect at the beginning of this year, tax-free income opportunities are more valuable than ever.

Update on the Section 179 Deduction Tax Break

The Section 179 deduction is valuable because it allows businesses to deduct as depreciation up to 100 percent of the cost of qualifying asset additions in Year 1 instead of depreciating the cost over a number of years. The Fiscal Cliff Law included several taxpayer-friendly changes to the Section 179 rules.

Quick Write-Offs for Capital Assets Set to Expire December 31, 2013

Special “bonus depreciation” provisions have been available as incentives to help stimulate the U.S. economy since 2008. Recently, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) extended 50% bonus depreciation availability to new asset additions placed in service prior to January 1, 2014 (certain specialized property may have a pre-January 1, 2015 in-service date requirement).

New Financial Reporting Framework for Small and Mid-sized Businesses

AICPA has issued a new Financial Reporting Framework for Small-and Medium-Sized Entities that is designed to deliver financial statements that provide useful, relevant information to owners of private companies and other stakeholders in a simplified, consistent, cost-effective way. If GAAP is becoming too complex for your entity, this is something for you to consider.

Tax Implications in the Supreme Court DOMA Case

A recent Supreme Court decision now allows same-sex couples in states with same-sex marriage statutes to be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ruling has important federal tax implications for same-sex couples who are legally married under applicable state law.

Cloud Based Computer System Backup

If you have been thinking about a better way to handle you system backup you should consider cloud based backup. Cloud based backup services are a smart choice for many small businesses because they offer an easy, secure way to get backup data off site. This is a key part of any disaster recovery plan.

How Can I Prevent Fraud? Some Ways To Protect Your Business

In my previous post Fraud? Not At My Company! I discussed some of the surprising statistics and rationale behind even a trusted employees motivations for committing fraud. So, how can I prevent fraud? Nothing can be a 100% guarantee against fraud happening but the following are some ways...

Collecting Sales Tax on Internet Sales

If you sell over the internet you may soon have to collect sales tax. Congress is considering legislation authorizing states to require out-of-state business selling to collect sales tax. This would require remote businesses to collect and remit sales tax according to local tax law.

Great Day at the 2013 MPMA Open Golf Classic

Clint Seehusen, Principal at DS&B, making the rounds at this year’s Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association Open Golf Classic at Tartan Park. Great day out with fellow manufacturing industry owners, professionals, business associates and friends of MPMA.

Delay in ACA Employer Mandate: Opportunity to Regroup

The bombshell July 2 announcement came in the form of a blog post on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website, accompanied by a statement from the White House. The employer “shared responsibility” or “pay or play” provision is being delayed one year, until 2015.

DOMA Ruling – Income and Estate Tax Planning in Minnesota

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in the Windsor case a critical section of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), thereby enabling married* same-sex couples to enjoy the same legal rights as opposite-sex married couples. These include income tax benefits, taxpayer friendly employee benefits, estate and gift tax benefits, and more.

Employee or Independent Contractor? How Do I Tell?

Have you misclassified an employee as an independent contractor? Relief under Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) may be available to you. There are generally 7 factors that are considered by the IRS in determining whether an individual is a common law employee or an independent contractor...

Ignore Credit Card Security Compliance at Your Peril

Credit cards are an easy and convenient way for your customers to pay you. If you are a web merchant then it is virtually the only way. However, there are serious pitfalls you need to be aware of. Securing your customers’ credit card data is one of these issues. There are well defined industry goals … Continued

Work ON Your Business, Not Just IN Your Business – Why I Believe In Peer Groups

Being a trusted business advisor is more than having all the answers (or thinking you do) – it’s about connecting with other leaders and continually expanding your own knowledge base with outside perspectives. I’ve found that peer groups offer a great opportunity to make the connections that can help you grow your business.

Minnesota Awarded 2nd Place in Gift Tax!

In many competitive situations the desire is to often finish in first, second or even third place. To be recognized by all persons present that an achievement has been made. Through hard work, knowledge, use of skills or maybe luck, a standing above all others is worthy.

IRS Cracks Down on Tax ID Theft: Could You Be a Victim?

As taxpayers were filing their returns in 2013, the IRS announced a national crackdown on identity theft schemes aimed at stealing taxpayers’ refunds. The tax agency expanded a program designed to help law enforcement obtain tax return information about victims, which is critical to efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of tax identity theft.

Small Physician Practice HIPAA $100,000 Settlement

I recently attended the 2013 Health Law Institute Minnesota Continuing Legal Education two-day seminar. One of the topics covered was “Significant New HIPAA Developments – A Report from the U.S. HHS Office of the General Counsel.” Jerome Meites from the Chicago HHS office of the General Counsel spoke on this topic.

Built-In-Gains Recognition Period : 10, 7 or 5 Years?

Recent discussions with a local attorney reinforced my belief that there is quite a bit of confusion as it relates to the Built-In-Gain Tax recognition period. As a bit of background, when a Subchapter C Corporation is converted to a pass-through S Corporation by its shareholders...

Minnesota Estate and Gift Tax

The Bill signed by Governor Dayton also included changes to estate and gift taxes for the State of Minnesota. It modified the filing requirements for the estate tax to provide that taxable gifts (in excess of the annual exclusion amount) made within three years of death had to be added to the value of the estate to determine if the estate exceeded the $1 Million filing requirement.

Minnesota Tax Law Changes – Sales and Use Tax

Effective for sales or purchases made after June 30, 2013, Minnesota now adopts the “Amazon Rule,” stating that an out-of-state business making retail sales (that has no other Minnesota presence) is presumed to have a Minnesota sales tax collection requirement. As a result, after June 30, 2013 Minnesota residents and businesses who purchase online from vendors such as Amazon should expect to find sales tax imposed by the vendor on those orders.

Minnesota Tax Law Changes – Income Tax

The omnibus tax bill passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Dayton on May 23, 2013 made sweeping changes that affected Minnesota taxpayers as well as entities and individuals doing business in Minnesota. The tax bill is projected to raise approximately $2.1 billion in additional revenue and would eliminate the state budget deficit.

The Digital Estate

“…and I leave my jewelry, china and iPhone to…” Wait, what? Why would you need to list your iPhone in your will? Wills have been in existence since the recording of the written word and can be traced to ancient Roman and Greek law. The “Last Will and Testament” is a legal declaration by which a person names one or more person to manage his/her estate...

TwinWest Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the Year Announced

Congratulations to Nicole Middendorf of Prosperwell Financial as winner of Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 TwinWest Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards Luncheon. Also recognized was Noah Rouen of The Rouen Group as Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Fraud? Not at My Company!

Think your Company is safe from fraud? Think again. Do you trust your employees? Unfortunately, trust is not an internal control that will protect you from situations you aren’t personally attending to. Consider these statistics from the 2012 Report to the Nations done by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc (ACFE).

New Limits on Flexible Spending Accounts for 2013

Until this year, there was no tax-law limit on contributions to an employer’s healthcare flexible spending account (FSA) plan (although many plans impose their own limits). But the FSA situation has changed beginning in 2013.

Say Goodbye to Windows XP

It is time to start replacing your old Windows XP PCs. Microsoft will drop support for the XP operating system on April 8, 2014. While this does not mean that your XP PCs will stop working, it does mean that Microsoft will no longer provide security patches or updates for the operating system.

Tax Reform – Are Capital Gains Up First?

Driving home from work recently, I happened to be flipping radio channels and ran across the CSPAN XM channel and the discussion was “tax reform”. Having just finished our April 15 tax rush as a Firm, I was interested in this but then common sense kicked in – yea right. Tax reform? Given our dysfunctional Congress, powerful special interest groups – get real!

Momentum Builds for New Manufacturing Initiatives

In his latest State of the Union address, President Obama called for new manufacturing initiatives as a way to “bring jobs back home.” The president outlined, in general terms, the use of manufacturing hubs to coordinate efforts based on technological advances.

A New Option for Deducting Home Office Expenses

The IRS announced a simplified option that many owners of home-based businesses, and some home-based workers, can use to figure their deductions for the business use of their homes. (IRS Revenue Procedure 2013-13)

Tax Changes for Individuals in the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Law

After months of arguing about the “fiscal cliff,” Congress finally passed a law averting some of the tax increases that were set to take effect on January 1, 2013. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, also known as the “fiscal cliff legislation,” was signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 2, 2013.

Tax Court: Bad Loans to Corporations Treated as Non-Business Bad Debt Losses

The IRS is always skeptical when individual taxpayers claim deductions for bad debt losses. The reason: losses from purported loan transactions are often from some other type of deal that went south. For example, the taxpayer might have actually made a contribution to the capital of a business entity that turned out to be a loser.

Business Interruption Claims May Require Financial and Legal Assistance

Business interruption insurance typically pays for income that is lost while operations are suspended after a natural or man-made disaster. However, these claims can be difficult and even contentious if there are differences of interpretation about the calculations, projections or the meaning of policy provisions.

IRA Rollovers: Not as Simple as They May Seem

Rolling over a company retirement plan distribution into an IRA is usually a good idea. It allows you to defer taxes on the rolled-over balance, and the future income earned on that balance, for as long as the money stays in the IRA.

Avoid Taxmageddon: Year-End Planning for Real Estate Owners

Real estate sellers and investors may be facing higher taxes next year as a result of a new surtax and a bunch of tax breaks that are scheduled to expire. The “Bush tax cuts” are scheduled to expire at the end of this year (see right-hand box). If that happens, tax rates will go up for everyone next year.

WebTaxGuide – Tax Planning Begins Here

As we have done for our clients since 1950, we can help you understand these important changes and make the right decisions. DS&B employs the right strategy with the right people for your business, individual and financial situation – whether you operate locally, regionally or internationally.