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Savvy & Sensible

Savvy & Sensible

By Albin, Randall & Bennett

Albin, Randall & Bennett presents a series of savvy and sensible tax guidance, ready to assist businesses in making intelligent financial decisions to help their organizations thrive. Join our pragmatic and experienced CPAs for forward-looking ideas about topics critical to your organization's financial health, well-being, and growth.
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Strategic Planning: Best Practices for Business Owners
Strategic Planning: Best Practices for Business Owners
“[Strategic planning helps] you get more people engaged. You get people thinking about the future. You get people to look up from their desk or whatever role they play and see where the company could go.” What happens if some of their top people leave? What if there is a major change in the industry? And while it’s definitely a win if your business is growing beyond what you’ve ever imagined, what happens if that growth leads to systems, procedures, and resources that are no longer sustainable? In this episode of Savvy & Sensible, ARB principal, David Jean, and special guest and president of Nu-Yar Consulting, Michelle Neujahr, discuss some strategic planning best practices for business owners. Strategic planning can be intimidating for a lot of business owners. In terms of the deliverable, you want to think about the bigger picture and focus on a few key things. Performing a SWAT analysis can help you determine your strengths and weaknesses and, therefore, where to focus. It's not just about the retreat or the strategic plan deliverable itself. It’s more about the research and pre-work that is done to bring a really solid agenda to the strategic planning event. Involve your entire time. Find out what’s working and what isn’t. Create a list of the strategic priorities based on what's meaningful to the group. The most important piece in your strategic planning efforts is the implementation and communication. Listening circles can help your organization get everyone on board and keep the goals at the forefront. The standard should be set from the top, so leaders have to set the bar and address how to hold the team accountable. And keep in mind, there will be necessary diversions from your initial strategic plan, so flexibility is key. There’s never going to be a more opportune time than the present. You’re always busy! So the best time to start strategic planning is now. If you want to talk about your strategic planning needs, contact Michelle Neujahr. And if you have questions or other business advisory needs, contact David Jean today.
17:28
May 25, 2022
Using State-Level PTE Tax To Bypass TCJA’s SALT Limitation
Using State-Level PTE Tax To Bypass TCJA’s SALT Limitation
"[The PTE tax] really can get a little complicated. You really have to just draw it out, no matter what situation you're in, and put everything to paper and figure out [] how much of a benefit is this, and how much is it for each individual." The pass-through entity (PTE) tax has been a hot topic for many states, and it has evolved significantly over the 2021 tax year. In today's episode of Savvy & Sensible, ARBers discuss the progression of the PTE tax and what partnerships, their partners, S corporations, and their shareholders need to know. In 2017, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) limited the amount of state and local taxes (SALT) - including income tax, real estate tax, personal property tax, and excise tax - that individuals can deduct against their federal taxable income to $10,000. Since then, many states have developed creative methods to circumvent this limitation. Connecticut was the first state that introduced a workaround whereby the pass-through entity pays a PTE tax that's deductible at the business level; therefore, the partners or shareholders of these pass-through entities can bypass the TCJA's $10,000 limit. The IRS has since issued a notice that essentially states that this is a valid workaround applicable to partnerships and S corporations; however, the notice is not substantial authority, and future official regulations may change the way these workarounds apply. Originally, there were eight states with PTE tax, but by the end of 2021, there were more than 20. In the New England region, that includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the neighboring State of New York. Every state is implementing this differently, so each state's system differs slightly in terms of whether it's elective or required, how it's computed, and how it's potentially credited to the shareholders or partners. Pass-through entities need to look at it on a state-by-state level. Start by looking at the partner/shareholder states of residence to determine if the credit they get for tax paid to other jurisdictions is more valuable than the deduction for federal purposes and whether there is value in the credits for taxes paid to other states. Pass-through entities should also determine if the benefit of the credit outweighs the administrative headaches, as there may be issues related to ownership dynamics or S corporation distributions. And because the SALT limitation is one of many TCJA tax provisions set to sunset after 2025, the PTE deduction may not be an effective long-term solution. Contact Albin, Randall & Bennett To determine the best solution, you really have to put everything on paper and figure out how much it will benefit each individual. But it's a great conversation to have because it may be beneficial in your situation. Please feel free to reach out to John Hadwen or David Jean if you have any questions.
11:28
April 27, 2022
The IRS’s New BBA Audit Rules | Options for Partnerships
The IRS’s New BBA Audit Rules | Options for Partnerships
“It’s really important to have an annual conversation, discussion, with your tax advisor on what is the [] best, you know, route to proceed with [the BBA Rules] because it’s not a one-size-fits-all. [] Businesses are complicated and, certainly, opting out may seem great, but there could be reasons why it doesn’t make sense to do that.” The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) changed the IRS’s audit rules for partnerships for years beginning January 1, 2018. But with everything else going on in the world and in business, including the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) and other tax reform, these changes have flown a bit under the radar. And even though they may seem like subtle changes on the outside, the new BBA audit rules really have far reaching implications to members of partnerships. The IRS initiated the change in audit procedures for partnerships to streamline the audit and tax collect process. The new BBA rules create a default rule in which the IRS is going to come in and make an assessment, and the partnership is going to pay the tax at the highest marginal rate. The new procedure can be problematic for partnerships because taxes are paid at the highest marginal tax rate. And, when you get down to the individual returns, there are other income deductions and credits that could ultimately reduce that tax liability. One thing the IRS did when they passed these new BBA rules is provide some flexibility that allows partnerships to elect out of the new rules and continue to use the existing partnership audit rules. The election is made on an annual basis. In order to qualify to make the election you need to have fewer than 100 partners. Eligible partners include individuals, C corporations, S corporations, and tax exempt entities. So having partners that are other partnerships, LLCs, or trusts, even if you hold a trust as a revocable trust, disqualifies you from this election. If you do not opt out, it’s equally essential to review and update your operating agreement accordingly. Under the old rules, the tax is collected by the partners of that tax year. So it allows the partners to use other tax attributes at their own personal level to potentially reduce the tax. On the other hand, the default BBA rule is very penalizing, as you could have potential issues where the partnership gets audited and you may have a different set of partners that are paying for the tax. It also restricts your ability to amend returns, kind of old school style, you know, amend the partnership returns issue amended K-1s because you have to go through this new procedure. In a pushout election, there is really no substantial tax savings. The reason you may want to do the pushout election is if you had a different ownership in the year that the audit covers versus the tax year the IRS is auditing. One downside to the pushout election is that, when the partner does pay the tax on their personal return, there is a 2% interest charge with it. Contact Albin, Randall & Bennett Partnerships need to understand the pros and cons of electing out, using the preexisting IRS audit rules, or the pushout provision. The best route to proceed is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but ARB’s Business Tax Team is here to help. Contact John Hadwen for more information.
16:05
April 13, 2022
Next Level Management Development in Succession/Exit Planning
Next Level Management Development in Succession/Exit Planning
“Like a lot of different processes, [] sometimes the benefits aren't immediate… but, you know, you've seen it, and I've seen it… and [next level] management development plans can be cultural-shifting and can really add significant value to businesses.” In succession and exit planning, business owners often face unique challenges related to grooming, growing, and strengthening their next level management. In this episode of Savvy & Sensible, David Jean, principal at Albin, Randall & Bennett (ARB), and Art Boulay, CEO of Strategic Talent Management (STM), discuss how next level management development plans can help business owners meet these challenges, while increasing their business’s value. Most business problems or challenges are either process-oriented or people-oriented. Every business owner will face a handful of challenges as they create and implement a succession or exit plan for their business. While CPAs, financial advisors, and attorneys take care of many of the process-oriented issues, succession and exit planning problems can also be people-oriented, which is where talent management consultants can help. Just as ARB uses industry experience, technical knowledge, and particular tests and standards to evaluate data and processes, such as finances and accounting systems, STM uses world-class assessment systems to do the same for people, particularly those in a management or a leadership role. STM’s system can measure 97 unique data points, which they use to help business owners and leadership teams clarify their culture, management style, communication style, and the things that make them unique. By combining the assessment with the firm’s experience, knowledge, and data from prior assessments, STM can accurately measure and even predict how somebody will do in a particular role in a particular firm, and, perhaps more importantly, the risk factors when you're expecting to depend on that individual to lead the next generation of your firm, handle the exit, or whatever the challenge may be. Buyers want to see a strong management team in place; it’s actually the number one driver of business value. Whether a business owner is going into a third-party sale, an internal transfer, an ESOP, or any other exit path, the depth and strength of management is really critical to enhance the business’s value. Like a lot of different processes, the benefits aren't always immediate, but business owners shouldn’t sell next level management development plans short. The assessment works because it pinpoints exactly what the individuals (and therefore the team) are good at and where they need development. It removes the guesswork for business owners and leadership, so they can make logistical decisions and take the appropriate actions. David and Art have witnessed these plans in action, both from the process-side and the people-side, and can attest to their ability to add significant business value.  Contact Albin, Randall & Bennett Since no one person can be a specialist in all areas of succession and exit planning, business owners really need a collaborative team. As a CPA firm, ARB brings the technical knowledge and tax experience in the process-side of succession and exit planning. As talent management consultants, the team at STM specializes in the people-side of the equation. And, as a certified exit planner (CExP), David Jean helps business owners reach a successful exit by bringing together and leading a team that includes all of their professional advisors. Reach out to Art Boulay to learn more about STM’s next level management assessments or discuss your talent management needs. And if you have questions or would like to discuss your succession and exit planning strategy, contact David Jean today.
14:37
March 31, 2022
Stalled 2021 Tax Legislation: Where Do Things Stand Now?
Stalled 2021 Tax Legislation: Where Do Things Stand Now?
“There was a lot to fear about what might happen on the estate and gift side early on in this process. A lot of proposals that were really quite drastic and sort of scared a lot of people that do estate and gift planning. And most notably, and sort of as a sigh of relief to a lot of people, just about all of these provisions have just fallen out and are no longer on the table.” Things really continue to be far from settled in Congress regarding what sort of income tax changes are going to be enacted. But, while a proposed tax bill remains stalled in Congress, it is not the same as the 2021 tax legislation proposed last fall. In today’s episode of Savvy & Sensible, ARB partners Holly Ferguson and Dan Doiron discuss where things stand for several previously proposed provisions. The latest proposal drops off several provisions previously proposed in the 2021 tax legislation: While previous proposals mentioned increasing the ordinary income tax rates to 39.6%, under the latest proposal, they would remain at 37%. There was also a lot of talk about increasing the highest long term capital gains and qualified dividend rate up to 25%. However, under the current proposal, that would remain at its current highest rate of 20%. The latest proposal changes some provisions previously proposed in the 2021 tax legislation: There was talk about imposing a 3% surtax when AGI exceeded $5 million dollars. Under the current proposal, individuals would face a 5% surtax when their AGI exceeds $10 million. When an individual’s AGI exceeds $25 million, an additional 3% surtax would be assessed. The problem is that they've instituted similar surtaxes on trusts at income levels that are way lower than those amounts. When a trust hits $250,000 of AGI it would face the 5 % surtax When a trust hits $500,000 of AGI, it would face the additional 3% Under the latest proposal, the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT) would be expanded to include income derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business. The latest proposal adds some new, more obscure provisions, and there are some efforts underway to try to increase the $10,000 itemized deduction limitation for state and local taxes. The House bill has increased the limit up to $80,000; however, the Senate has been silent on this from a negotiation standpoint. There is talk of trying to increase that itemized deduction cap that came into existence back in 2018. On the estate and gift tax side of things, there was a lot to fear about what might happen early on in this process. A lot of proposals were really quite drastic and scared a lot of people that do estate and gift planning. However, there has been a notable sigh of relief for many, since just about all of these provisions are no longer on the table, as the latest proposal would NOT: decrease the lifetime exemption; eliminate certain gift and estate tax reduction techniques; eliminate the step up in basis and date of death to fair market; or make death an income recognition event. We’re Here To Help ARB’s tax professionals are dedicated to helping individuals and businesses understand and comply with new and evolving legislation. If you have any questions, contact Dan Doiron or Holly Ferguson today.
09:30
March 16, 2022
Last In First Out (LIFO): Accounting for Dealership Inventory
Last In First Out (LIFO): Accounting for Dealership Inventory
“A vast majority of our dealership clients use LIFO because they are matching inventory costs to revenue. Newer vehicles often carry a higher price tag than older models. So dealerships use the LIFO method to show a higher cost of goods sold and reduce their taxable income.” The last in first out (LIFO) method of accounting for dealership inventory is a hot topic these days. In this episode of Savvy & Sensible, Holly Ferguson and Matt Pore provide auto dealers with details about the LIFO method, including issues related to today's environment, possible solutions, and the auto industry’s response. Using the LIFO method of accounting for inventory allows auto dealers to match inventory costs to revenue. Newer vehicles often carry a higher price tag than older models, so dealerships use the LIFO method to show a higher cost of goods sold and reduce their taxable income. As client inventories grow year over year, they create LIFO layers. And at the end of every year, there would be an analysis of their LIFO inventory to determine if there's either an increment or a decrement to their LIFO reserve, which takes into account current inventory levels, product mix, and inflationary index. The issue in today’s environment is that, in the current market, auto dealers have seen a significant decline in their inventories due to strong sales years and, now, hard-to-access new inventory from the manufacturers. A decline in the inventory levels will have an impact on the LIFO reserve and likely cause phantom taxable income. Section 199(a) of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 created a pass-through deduction in which any income recognized from a decline in the LIFO reserve will be taxed at the highest federal tax rate of 29.6%, which is 80% of the highest rate of 37%. So, from a tax perspective, it may not be a bad year to pay taxes. In previous years, when clients were increasing their inventory and creating their LIFO layers, they were getting deductions at the highest rate of 39.6%. Now, they're recognizing income at lower tax rates. Filing a change of accounting method to elect off of LIFO could provide some relief to dealerships with significant declines in inventory levels this year. The dealership will be required to recognize their LIFO reserve as taxable income through a section 481(a) adjustment. If the unfavorable adjustment is greater than $50,000, the dealer will be required to recognize the income over four years, which means you could be deferring the income into a year with a higher tax rate. Once the election has been made, a dealership may not elect back on LIFO for five years. The Treasury has historically provided LIFO relief to other industries (pursuant to Section 473), under which businesses that had an interruption in their ability to obtain replacement inventory to a trade embargo or other international event were granted three additional years to replenish the liquidated inventory. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has been meeting with The Treasury in an effort to persuade them to grant similar relief to dealers with LIFO problems. But we won’t see any movement with NADA and The Treasury before April, so dealers need to discuss how they're gonna handle the issue now. We’re Here To Help ARB’s Auto Dealership Tax & Advisory Services Team is well versed in the issue. We are happy to walk you through the issue and help you consider all of your options. If you have any questions, contact Matt Pore today.
06:01
March 02, 2022
New Leasing Standards: What Business Owners Need to Know
New Leasing Standards: What Business Owners Need to Know
The new leasing standards came out in 2016, so the topic has been on the table for several years now. But implementation is finally here. In this episode of Savvy & Sensible, Albin, Randall & Bennett (ARB) principal, David Jean, and ARB senior audit manager, Gisele Couturier, discuss the new standards, the implementation timeline, and how business owners can prepare for a smooth transition. For non-public companies, the new leasing standards are effective for fiscal year ends beginning after December 15, 2021. For calendar year companies, that means the new standards became effective on January 1, 2022. Under the new standards, operating leases, which were previously only disclosed in the footnotes, move to the balance sheet as a right-of-use asset with an offsetting lease liability. The new standards extend to related-party leases. However, short-term leases, which (for this purpose) are those with terms of 12 months or less and no renewal options, do not have to be capitalized on the balance sheet. Implementing the new leasing standards can be complex. Determining what constitutes an actual lease isn’t always straight forward. And because evaluating leases and determining the associated assets and liabilities is performed on a lease-by-lease basis, it requires a significant time commitment. For businesses with significant leases, the new leasing standards can lead to significant administrative burdens and have a tremendous impact on both their financial statements and their debt covenants. Business owners need to understand the standards and get organized, sooner rather than later, to facilitate a smooth transition. We're here to help. ARB can help you evaluate your leases, determine the associated assets and liabilities, and record your leases in compliance with the new standards. Contact David Jean or Gisele Couturier today if you have any questions or concerns about these new leasing standards.
10:12
February 15, 2022
Retirement: Strategies Using Both Qualified Plans and IRAs
Retirement: Strategies Using Both Qualified Plans and IRAs
David Jean and Dan Doiron wrap up their three part retirement series by examining strategies utilizing both qualified retirement plans and individual retirement accounts.
20:52
July 01, 2021
Retirement: Individual Retirement Accounts
Retirement: Individual Retirement Accounts
Listen as host David Jean and ARB Principal Dan Doiron dive into the second episode of our retirement series, discussing the ins and outs of individual retirement accounts.
17:36
June 17, 2021
Retirement: Qualified Retirement Plans
Retirement: Qualified Retirement Plans
Join host David Jean and ARB Principal Dan Doiron as they discuss the pros and cons of various types of retirement plans in the first episode of a three part retirement series.
15:23
June 03, 2021
Maximizing Use of Form 990
Maximizing Use of Form 990
ARB Director Sam Pedersen moderates the conversation between Principal Jason LeBlanc and Director Robin Cyr as they advise on how best to use Form 990 to benefit your non-profit organization. 
15:12
May 20, 2021
Financial and Tax Considerations for Purchasing a Home
Financial and Tax Considerations for Purchasing a Home
David Jean and Dan Doiron discuss the many facets to consider before purchasing a first time home.  They also provide advice on how to make the most financial and savvy decisions for individuals' various circumstances. 
14:53
May 06, 2021
Maine Educational Tax Credit
Maine Educational Tax Credit
ARB host Dan Doiron interviews David Jean on the benefits and stipulations of the Maine Educational Tax Credit.  Tune in to learn about how this tax credit can help Maine residents pay their student debt. 
21:54
April 22, 2021
Remote Safety and Tech Tips
Remote Safety and Tech Tips
ARB Host David Jean interviews Steve Boissonneault to establish best practices for keeping your technology and data safe while working remotely. 
16:06
April 08, 2021
Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition
Jason LeBlanc, ARB Principal and Nonprofit Advisory Services Group Leader, hosts this week's episode of Savvy & Sensible!  Join Jason as he discusses revenue recognition for Non-Profit organizations with Albin Randall & Bennett Managers Gisele Couturier and Alyssa Hemingway. 
19:58
March 25, 2021
Recent Tax Changes for Individuals
Recent Tax Changes for Individuals
Tune in to hear host David Jean interview Dan Doiron on recent tax updates regarding individuals.  This is the second episode in a two-part segment on 2021 tax changes. 
12:20
March 11, 2021
Recent Tax Changes for Businesses
Recent Tax Changes for Businesses
This is the first episode in a two part series discussing tax legislature changes affecting both businesses and individuals. Host David Jean speaks with ARB Principal Dan Doiron about what these recent tax changes affecting businesses look like, and how companies can take advantage of these new opportunities. 
13:25
March 03, 2021
Employee Retention Credit
Employee Retention Credit
Join in as Host David Jean interviews ARB Principal Holly Ferguson on the ever-changing Employee Retention Credit.  Since our recording date, the IRS has clarified the interaction of PPP and ERC.  For updated information, visit our blog. 
09:44
March 02, 2021
Making the Most of Remote Engagements
Making the Most of Remote Engagements
Join the ARB Not for Profit team as they outline how you can make the most of your remote engagements.
11:18
February 11, 2021
PPP 2
PPP 2
Join Albin, Randall & Bennett CPA's David Jean and Holly Ferguson as they discuss essential facts and guidelines for getting to know PPP 2.
12:26
January 28, 2021