Business Consultants & Certified Public Accountants

PBGW’s Fourth Annual Halloween Bash

On October 25th PBGW hosted the Fourth Annual Halloween Bash. The Bash was a marvelous success with over forty booths and vendors from all over our community. Over 200 excited trick-or-treaters and their families from near and far joined us for the spooktacular event filled with candy and non-candy treats. We were all blown away by the turn out from our community. This was the biggest Bash yet and we were so grateful to host this well attended event. The Halloween Bash is an annual event created for those in our community with special needs and their families to experience a relaxed and enjoyable environment. It is a safe space to dress up, trick-or-treat, eat tasty food, and meet their favorite costumed movie characters.

This year Disney princesses, Batman, Spiderman, and characters from Star Wars joined us, as well as former Philadelphia Phillies Tommy Greene and Mickey Morandini, to take photos with the trick-or-treaters. Everyone certainly went the extra mile to bring smiles to everyone’s faces! It was definitely heartwarming to see faces light up as they stood next to a Storm Trooper or hugged Cinderella. The booths, hosted by local businesses, organizations, and school groups in our community, were each so creatively decorated. A few that stood out were filled with characters from Alice in Wonderland (Horsham Rotary), Lumberjacks at the Sawmill (Living Hope Community Church), The Chick-fil-A cow (Montgomeryville Chick-fil-A), Sluggersville, and the Montgomery County Police K-9 unit.

While benefiting those in our community with a safe, understanding, and not frightening Halloween event, the Bash also benefits the Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley with a donation of the proceeds from the event. For more information about what the Miracle League is doing to benefit our community head over to their website.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Halloween Bash a roaring success, we could not have done it without you. A special thank you to our booth hosts, event sponsors, and volunteers. Your willingness to share your time and treats with our community is greatly appreciated.

We can’t wait for next year! See you in October 2019!

A New Way of Comparing Financing Without Hurting Your Credit Score

Credit Karma has rolled out a new service that allows members to compare credit cards and
loans without going through the three credit bureaus.

As you may be aware, when one applies for credit, the lender will request information about
the lender’s creditworthiness from the credit bureaus. This “hard inquiry” impacts your new
credit portion of your credit score. A hard inquiry will impact those with a short credit history
more than it does those with a long credit history.

Credit Karma’s “Marketplace” service utilizes their partnership with lenders and by-passes the
hard inquiry process with the credit bureaus thereby not impacting your credit score. Credit
Karma does the work of comparing the credit cards and other loan products for which a
particular borrower would have a high likelihood of being qualified. In other words, the service
saves you time and a ding to your credit score.

More information can be found at www.creditkarma.com.

Complimentary Lunch and Learn for PBGW Clients

Thursday, November 15, 2018
12:00 – 1:00 (Lunch provided)

PA Unemployment Comp

  • Basics of the law
  • How to prevent your company from having claims against it
  • Tips for the appeals and hearing process

This is event is free to CASI clients, but a reservation is required. Email [email protected] or call 215-997-7270.

Arrive at 11:45 to get your lunch, materials, and to find a seat. Program will end promptly at 1:00.

Have You Checked your 2018 Federal Tax Withholding?

By Ted Landis, CPA, CFP®

A government report was recently issued estimating 30 million people (over 21% of taxpayers) will find they have had too little federal tax withheld and will owe money when they file their 2018 income tax returns.  As you may recall, the federal withholding tables were updated in March 2018 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017.  Employers should have had all employees complete a new W-4 in March, but the responsibility falls to each taxpayer to make sure they’re withholding the proper amount.  Request a copy of your W-4 from your employer to ensure you’re using the 2018 version.

Due to the major tax law and the withholding table changes the IRS is urging everyone do a “paycheck checkup” as soon as possible.  This paycheck checkup the IRS has recommend would involve working through the 2018 Form W-4 or working though the IRS’s Withholding Calculator that can be accessed through the IRS website at https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/.

So now that we’re well into the dog days of summer (although it seems more like monsoon season) and you’re probably stuck inside with air conditioning anyway, what could possibly be more fun than to think about your tax situation?  Take one of your missed opportunities to sit poolside or under the beach umbrella to do a paycheck checkup by visiting the IRS website and make sure you’re having the proper amount of federal income tax withheld from your paycheck.  If you have concerns or questions about your 2018 tax situation, please contact your PBGW accountant at 215-997-6700.

Health Insurance Options

Are you a sole proprietor or small-business employer? Is your health insurance too expensive or completely unaffordable? Keep your eyes open for more information on new entities known as association health plans. The President signed an executive order last year and the Department of Labor issued its ruling. The changes may provide opportunities for lower-cost group health insurance. Different states may also have different rules that you should become familiar with. You should certainly do your own analysis of your specific situation, and your insurance provider may be able to advise you in this area. As always, you may contact our firm for additional consultation.

July 2018 starts the penalty phase of new PA 1099-MISC rules

Earlier this year we announced the changes that the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue was making with Form 1099-MISC reporting through our newsletter and our website (see February blog post below).  This change applies to businesses operating in PA who pay non-employee compensation or business income to individuals or entities outside PA or to disregarded entities (such as LLCs) who have a non-PA resident member.   (Think about those to whom you issue a 1099-MISC with Box 7 payments.)  This change also applies to lease payments made in the course of a trade or business to a non-PA resident lessor who is an individual, trust, or an estate by a lessee of PA real estate.  (Think about those to whom you issue a 1099-MISC with Box 1 payments.)

We wanted to take this time to remind you that if the above scenario applies to you, you should be withholding 3.07% PA tax on payments to these individuals or entities.  Although PA had not been assessing penalties for failure to file for the first two quarters of this year*, PA will start assessing penalties beginning with the third quarter.  If you need help better understanding the impact on your company/entity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your PBGW accountant or go the PA Department of Revenue website.  (*If the 3.07% tax was withheld in the first or second quarter, you were/are required to make timely deposits and reporting.)

It’s important to note that although the due date for Form 1099-MISC filing isn’t until January 31, 2019, you need to take action on this immediately if you haven’t already.  Our blog post from February gives some helpful reminders on how to stay on top of these vendor payments throughout the year.  You can find the official guidance on Act 43 here.

 

 

Philadelphia Wage Tax

The Philadelphia wage tax rate changes each year on July 1st.  Every paycheck dated after June 30th must be taxed at the new wage tax rate.  The new reduced tax rate for Philadelphia residents is 3.8809%; non-residents subject to Philadelphia wage tax will now be taxed at the rate of 3.4567%.  Although a wage tax reduction may be exciting to hear there will be no noticeable change in your paycheck.

New Jersey Employers Should Prepare Now for July 1, 2018

Jill Scheetz, PHR, SHRM-CP

On July 1, 2018 the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act (new EPA) becomes effective.  At first blush, you might think your company has nothing to worry about.  However, when the prize for plaintiffs who win a jury’s (or the NJ Division of Civil Rights’) opinion is treble damages, employers should be doing their due diligence to ensure their pay practices comply before the law goes into effect.

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD), making discrimination in wages on the basis of any protected class (not just gender) an unlawful employment practice.  Under the NJ LAD, employers are prohibited from discriminating in the rate or method of wages against an individual based on race, creed, color national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, sex, gender identity or gender expression, disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait of any individual, or liability for service in the armed forces.  The new EPA looks not only at wages but includes benefits as well when considering “compensation.”

If you haven’t already, business owners should be working with your HR and/or payroll staff to analyze current pay rates and benefits for all employees.  Ensure job descriptions and the company’s tracking system for education, training, certifications, and experience are up to date.  In addition, the company should be using a tracking system for production quantity and/or quality levels if these could be used in determining pay rates.  Once you determine which employees are performing “substantially similar work,” you need to look at pay rates and benefits and ensure that these employees are compensated at the same rate, unless there is a legitimate business necessity that warrants the differential.  Further, the company should review their employee handbook and company policies to ensure future compensation rates are calculated equitably for employees performing substantially similar work and that any differences are well documented.  The employee handbook and company policies also need to make clear that retaliation against employees who request, discuss, or disclose compensation or compensation differentials to coworkers, an attorney, or government officials is subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.  This is because treble damages may be awarded to an employee who wins a claim of employer retaliation for such disclosures.

A final note on the new EPA is that the law allows for a statute of limitations of six years (versus two years for the NJ LAD), and that an unlawful employment practice occurs each time the employee experiences compensation discrimination; i.e., each paycheck paid to an employee is a separate act.  Therefore, employers should take reasonable action to comply with the new EPA now to help limit your liability.

Tax Scam Alert

Scammers’ tactics are always evolving to try to stay ahead of the news in an attempt to catch individuals off guard. This is especially true during tax season. We hear the warnings on the evening news and in news articles. PBGW wants to remind all our clients to be aware of the tactics that have been used and to be wary of anyone—no matter how convincing or how threatening they may be—who may be trying to gain access to your personal information or bank account information.

The IRS will not contact taxpayers by way of email, text messages, or social media to request personal or financial information, and they generally won’t rely on phone contact unless they’ve already sent several notices via the United States Postal Service. When the IRS does request payment, the IRS representatives will always ask that payments be made to the United States Treasury and they will give you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. The IRS will NOT call to demand payment via a prepaid debit card, gift card, credit or debit card, or wire transfer. Nor will they threaten to send the police or other law-enforcement officials to arrest you, or threaten deportation or the suspension of your business or your driver’s license. If a caller uses any of these tactics or becomes hostile or insulting, it should tip you off that he/she is trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

Regardless of what your caller ID shows and the personal information the caller may have about you, which might lead you to believe that he/she is the official they say they are, don’t let your guard down. The Internet has more details about you than you care to know, all accessible with a few clicks of a mouse, and scammers can use caller ID spoofing to make the number appear as “IRS” on your phone. The top area codes from which these scams are currently coming are 202 (Washington, DC), 206 (Seattle), 314 (St Louis), 315 (New York), 415 (San Francisco), 470 (Atlanta), 631 (Long Island, NY), 646 (NY City), and 786 (Miami). To report IRS phone scams, you may call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 and/or contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTCcomplaintassistant.gov.

Now that some taxpayers may be expecting a refund, scammers may be sending emails posing as the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) concerning your refund. Do not respond or click the links embedded in the email. TAP does not deal with individual taxpayer’s refunds, nor will they request individual taxpayer’s information. If you receive such an email, you can make the IRS aware of it by forwarding it to [email protected].

Of course, if you have concerns about an issue with the IRS or receive an IRS notice, we encourage you to contact your accountant and let them help you resolve the issue.