Claiming the Employee Retention Tax Credit

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Has your business been receiving calls about your eligibility to receive large sums of money from the government because you qualify for the “ERTC” (Employee Retention Tax Credit)? Are you wondering if these calls are legit? They might sound plausible since the government has been handing out money like candy in connection with the COVID pandemic for the last two years. And, actually, the ERTC is a very real government assistance program that was part of the CARES Act of 2020. So, those calls you are getting do refer to a legitimate government program. But watch out. There probably is a scam in there somewhere.

What is the Scam?

A plethora of ERTC “shops” have sprung up across the country. They are offering their services to help businesses claim the ERTC – for which they will collect a hefty commission.  Those companies that are scamming businesses, are making the claims based on circumstances that DO NOT APPLY under the requirements of the Act. 

Note: The IRS does not vet claims when they are filed. So, if the IRS pays your claim, then audits you and finds the claim is fraudulent, you are in deep trouble and the ERTC shop has already pocketed its commission. 

How Do You File A Legitimate Claim?

As one of the top accounting firms in Franklin TN, we know that the requirements of the Act are nearly as complicated as the entire IRS tax code. This is partially true due to four subsequent Acts in 2021 that changed or expanded the requirements. Just as an example, there are different requirements for businesses that:

  • started up during the pandemic
  • have more than 100 full-time employees
  • received PPP loans 
  • have more than 500 full-time employees
  • received Shuttered Venue Operators Grants or Restaurant Revitalization Funds
  • have  gross receipts in the third quarter of 2021 that were less than 10% of the receipts in the 3rd quarter of 2020 or 2019.
  • and the list goes on!

So, making an ERTC claim is not a job for amateurs. If you think that your business might qualify for the ERTC, our advice is don’t trust one of these ERTC shops. Consult with your professional CPA. Please call PHB CPA’s if you have any questions about this or other questions about business tax filing in Franklin, TN.

New Rules for 1099-K Income that Might Surprise You

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The 2021 tax filing deadline is long past, but now it’s time to think about new tax ramifications for 2022. In this blog, we discuss the change made to the rules for reporting 1099-K income, and what that could mean for you.

Here’s What You Should Know about the 1099-K Tax Form

Form 1099-K dates back to 2011. Prior to January 1, 2022, for most of the states in the country, the reportable sales threshold was $20,000 for third-party network companies. But now, 1099-K’s must be issued for multiple transactions or individual transactions totaling $600 or more. 

What Are Third-Party Network Companies the Report 1099-K Income?

Third-party network companies are companies such as Venmo, Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Square, UberEATS, Cash App, etc. So, if your small business accepts Venmo payments, you will get a 1099-K from Venmo.

Here’s Where 1099-K Income It Gets Muddy

You could get a 1099-K even if you don’t owe anything. That’s because not all sales are taxable. As an example, imagine you sell your old bike on Craig’s List and accept an $800 Venmo payment. The bicycle cost you $1,500 new, so you actually lost money. Therefore, the $800 is not taxable, but you will still get a 1099-K from Venmo. So, when you file your taxes, you’ll have to prove to the IRS that you don’t actually owe any taxes on that sale. 

To make matters worse, the dollar amount of each transaction reported is determined on the date of the transaction. It cannot include any credits or refunds. So, the next day, if you refund $20 for a missing part on your bike, Venmo won’t subtract that from the $800 it reports on the 1099-K.

Turn to the Professionals for Complicated Accounting Work

Trust PHB CPA’s to sort this out for you. PHB CPA’s are well-known for their expertise in preparing business taxes in Greater Nashville

Tip: Be careful to keep good records of all your transactions and whether they are taxable or not. If your mother makes you a short-term loan until payday with a Venmo payment, you don’t want to have to pay taxes on it as income! 

The Accounting Industry Staffing Shortage

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We’ve all seen the “Help Wanted” signs posted in the windows of local businesses. You may have even felt the impact of short staffing at your own place of employment. Due to the Pandemic and many other complicated factors, our country is facing a nationwide shortage in the work force. This is a problem that accounting firms are facing too. 

PHB is working diligently to keep our array of services and our level of staffing at the highest level. We want to continue to provide the same quality for our clients, regardless of the challenges facing our industry. We are thankful for all of our clients who put their trust and confidence in us for their accounting needs. 

How Accounting Firms Are Dealing with the Staffing Shortage

The number of employees at accounting firms is shrinking through retirement and resignations due to fatigue and burnout. Hiring hasn’t kept pace with attrition, and hiring new employees is usually more expensive. So, clients may see an increase in price rates from their bookkeeper, tax preparer, auditor firms, and CPA’s. In an attempt to service clients with fewer employees, firms may also discontinue some of their services.

Additionally, as firms offer more work-from-home options, clients may not have as much access to a firm’s professional as they once did. In fact, firms may hire employees who live and work in a different geographic area or time zone from their home location. This could create added convenience for some clients.

Some firms may also begin to cull their client lists so they are able to service their clients without over-burdening their employees. Clientele that fall outside a firm’s ideal profile may be dropped. Firms will cull lower-value clients to create time for higher-value clients, which also will have the effect of improving firm morale.

Again, PHB is making every effort to meet this challenge head-on with as little impact to our clients as possible. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

When to Include Short-Term Rental Income in Net Earnings Self-Employment (NESE) Income1

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The short-term rental industry is booming. With rental services like AirBnB and VRBO, practically anyone can become a short-term rental landlord. So, if you are making some income on the side with short-term rentals, how do you report it to the IRS? There are  a couple of possibilities, but in this blog, we will answer the question, “Should short-term rental income be treated like business income or like traditional rental income?” 

Net Earnings from Self-Employment 

Sec. 1401(a) of the IRS code imposes a tax on an individual’s net earnings self-employment (NESE) income. Under this rule “net rental income,” generally isn’t included in NESE, unless

  1. The income is received by a “real estate dealer,” or
  2. The rent includes substantial services provided to the occupant for the occupants’ convenience.

Examples of rentals where substantial services are rendered for the occupants’ convenience include hotels, boarding houses, warehouses, and storage garages. (Reg. §1.1402(a)-4(c)(2))

Consider these Examples 

Example one: An individual, not a real estate dealer, owns a vacation property that he runs as a business. It’s a fully furnished property listed with various online vacation rental websites. The individual provides daily cleaning service, dedicated Wi-Fi, recreational equipment such as bicycles for renters’ use, and prepaid vouchers for local services. 

Because the property is rented, on average, for seven days, it is not considered a rental activity for purposes of the passive activity loss rules in Code Sec. 469. In this example, the services provided are clearly not required to maintain the property for occupancy but are of such a substantial nature that the compensation for those services constitutes a material portion of the rent.

Thus, the net rental income is included in NESE. Practically, this income would be reported on a Schedule C for an individual rather than a Schedule E.

Example two: An individual, not a real estate dealer, rents a fully furnished bedroom and bathroom in his home by listing it on various online vacation rental websites. Renters may use the bedroom, bathroom, and only other rooms that are designated as common areas of the home. After every rental, the taxpayer cleans the bedroom and bathroom.

As in example one, the property is rented, on average, for seven days, and therefore is not considered a rental activity for purposes of the passive activity loss rules in Code Sec. 469. In this example, the taxpayer’s net income from the rentals is excluded from NESE because the cleaning service is not actually rendered for the convenience of the rental occupants but to maintain the property for occupancy. 

Tax-Free Rental Income for Short-Term Rentals 

You can rent out all or part of your home or apartment for up to 14 days per year and all the rental income you receive is tax free, no matter how much you receive. In fact, you don’t even have to report the income to the IRS.

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1Chief Counsel Advice 202151005

Craig Ballentine Selected as “40 Under 40 Honoree” by the Nashville Business Journal

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We are so proud to announce that PHB’s Craig Ballentine, has been selected as a 2022 40 Under 40 Honoree by the Nashville Business Journal. In such a booming city and competitive business community, this is no small feat!

For those of you who know and work with Craig, you understand that this is a well-deserved honor. It is exciting for us to see one of our founding Partners be recognized publicly for the quality work he does and the impact he has in his profession. Craig has been a major force in growing PHB to the firm it is today! We are so proud and not at all surprised that he was selected. You can see the full coverage here:  https://bizj.us/1qdlcp

It’s not too late for 2021 Tax Planning, but don’t put it off any longer!

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If you thought it was too late for 2021 tax planning, think again. It’s not, but you do need to get things in gear now. The tax professionals at PHB CPAs can advise you on various ways to reduce your tax bill for 2021. 

There’s Still Time for 2021 Tax Planning

PHB can help you with tax savings strategies that you still have time to make before the end of the tax year. You can trust us to decipher changing tax laws, language, and strategies. 

Don’t Stress Out over New Tax Laws

Because of COVID-19, the U.S. government has made numerous changes in the tax laws. As if the tax code wasn’t confusing enough already, now it’s even more so! Tax law changes related to COVID-19 can have very specific requirements or time constraints. These are all things that the tax experts at PHB know how to handle. 

By using a professional to prepare your taxes, you stand a much better chance of getting a tax return, if one is due, on time. If you have mistakes in your return, you could be tied up in red tape with the IRS for months on end. This is due to the fact that the IRS is understaffed and underfunded. Additionally, due to the pandemic in 2020, the IRS has a backlog of over 8 million paper business tax returns.

PHB – The Nashville CPA Firm for All Your Accounting Needs

Do you have questions about withholdings, deductions, capital gains, retirement, college, investments, donations, more? We have the answers! PHB is your best choice for business taxes and planning. Call us today and set up your tax planning session.

Take Advantage of the Tennessee Sales Tax Holidays and Save Money

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PHB is one of the premier CPA firms Nashville residents and business owners look to for advice about saving money on taxes. Well, there is one simple way you can save money on taxes in Tennessee. And you don’t even need an appointment with us to file any kind of tax form! But, of course, we are always here for you when you do need tax advice. PHB is well known for doing  business taxes in Nashville and the surrounding areas.

Obviously, if you read the title of this blog, you know that we are talking about the Tennessee Sales Tax Holidays. There are three of them:

Clothing, School Supplies, and Computers – Starts one minute after midnight on Friday, July 30, 2021 and ends one minute before midnight on Sunday, August 1, 2021.

Food, Food Ingredients & Prepared Food – Starts one minute after midnight on Friday, July 30, 2021 and ends one minute before midnight on Monday, August 5, 2021.

Gun Safes & Safety Equipment – Started on July 1, 2021 and continues for 12 months until one minute before midnight on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Some Restrictions Apply for the Tennessee Sales Tax Holidays

Items purchased from retailers in Tennessee or from online sources that deliver the items to Tennessee are eligible. However, they must be for personal use, not for business or trade. There is no limit to the quantity of items that may be purchased. But the purchase price of each of those items must be below the threshold provided in the law.

Items that Are Eligible for Tax-Free Purchase During the Tennessee Sales Tax Holidays

Below we list both the tax-exempt items and items that are not tax-exempt for each of the three tax holidays.

Clothing, School Supplies, and Computers – July 30 – August 1, 2021

Clothing

  • Exempt: General apparel that costs $100 or less per item, such as shirts, pants, socks, shoes, dresses, etc.
  • Not exempt: Apparel items priced at more than $100; Items sold together, such as shoes, cannot be split up to stay beneath the $100 maximum; Items such as jewelry, handbags, or sports and recreational equipment

School Supplies

  • Exempt: School and art supplies with a purchase price of $100 or less per item, such as binders, backpacks, crayons, paper, pens, pencils, and rulers, and art supplies such as glazes, clay, paints, drawing pads, and artist paintbrushes
  • Not exempt: School and art supplies individually priced at more than $100; Items that are normally sold together cannot be split up to stay beneath the $100 maximum

Computers

  • Exempt: Computers for personal use with a purchase price of $1,500 or less; Laptop computers, if priced at $1,500 or less, also qualify as well as tablet computers
  • Not exempt: Storage media, like flash drives and compact discs; Individually purchased software; Printer supplies; Household appliances

Food, Food Ingredients & Prepared Food – July 30 – August 5, 2021

Food and Food Ingredients

  • Exempt: Liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated food or beverages for human consumption
  • Not exempt: Alcoholic beverages, tobacco, candy, dietary supplements

Prepared Food

  • Exempt: Food that is sold in a heated state or heated by the seller. Food that contains two or more food ingredients mixed together by the seller for sale as a single item. Food that is sold with eating utensils, such as plates, knives, forks, spoons, glasses, cups, napkins, or straws provided by the vendor.
  • Not Exempt: Food that is only cut, repackaged, or pasteurized by the seller

Gun Safes and Safety Equipment – July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

Gun Safes

  • Exempt: A locking container or other enclosure equipped with a padlock, key lock, combination lock, or other locking device that is designed and intended for the secure storage of one or more firearms.

Safety Equipment

  • Exempt: any integral device to be equipped or installed on a firearm that permits the user to program the firearm to operate only for specified persons designated by the user through computerized locking devices or other means integral to and permanently part of the firearm.

 

 

It’s Not Too Late for Tax Planning for 2021 Even Though Half the Year Is Almost Gone

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Whether you are filing as a corporation, partnership, LLC, or individual, you can benefit from doing some tax planning now. You must do some tax savings strategies for businesses, like timing income and expenses, before the end of the tax year. But you can do others any time before you file your return. So, you still have time. The tax professionals at PHB CPAs can advise you on various ways to reduce your tax bill for 2021.

6 Tax-Saving Tips for Businesses

The following tips are not intended to be tax advice. They are suggested topics you can discuss with your tax expert at PHB. Remember, for expert advice on business taxes Nashville turn to PHB.

    1. Apply for PPP forgiveness. Read more about this in our blog Applying for Forgiveness for PPP First Draw.
    2. Set up and fund a retirement plan. This can be for yourself or for your employees. Make sure it’s a qualified plan the IRS recognizes (IRA, 401(k), 403 (b), etc.). This will allow you to defer taxes on earnings until you withdraw the earnings.
    3. Take tax credits to lower income. This includes credits for hiring employees, going green, providing access for the disabled, and providing health coverage for employees.
    4. Take 100% Deduction for Business Meals. See our blog PHB Explains the 100% Deduction for Business Meals for details on this.
    5. Buy equipment/vehicles for depreciation deductions. For certain assets that you purchase, you can take an immediate deduction for the cost when you put it in service. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also allows for a 100% tax break for assets placed in service from September 27, 2017 through January 1, 2023.
    6. Time your business income and expenses: This involves prepaying some expenses to reduce your income for the year. For example, you could stock up on supplies that you know you will use in the next tax year.

The Benefit of a Year-end Tax Planning Meeting

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