All insights by: Kruggel Lawton CPAs

South Bend Regional Economic Gauge Rises to Highest Level in Nearly Three Years

The 3rd quarter 2017 Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), compiled by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, increased for the second straight quarter.  The overall Benchmark Index was 60.98 out of a maximum possible score of 100, up nearly four percent from the 2nd quarter. Kruggel Lawton conducts this confidential survey of Read More »

Lessons learned from my time as a Financial Manager/Controller

While I have worked in public accounting for most of my career, I spent a few years as a financial manager early in my career.  During this time as a financial manager, I learned a great deal, and that experience has continued to help me as I work with clients of Kruggel Lawton. Here are Read More »

Simplify, simplify, simplify – Increase in the de minimis safe harbor for tangible property helps small businesses

If your business regularly purchases products like personal computers, small equipment or mobile devices, you’ll be happy to learn that accounting for these transactions may now be easier. IRS Notice 2015-82, increased the de minimis safe harbor for deducting (rather than capitalizing) the amounts paid to acquire, produce or improve tangible property from $500 to Read More »

Helpful Hints for the Aspiring CPA

When it comes to taking the CPA tests, let’s just say that I never thought that I would be writing to share a personal success story.  These days, my favorite thing to tell someone studying for the CPA exam is, “if I passed, you can too.”  Here’s how I did it in my first year Read More »

Can Critical Thinking be taught at the Collegiate Level – Anyone?… Anyone?…

As a college educator who spent over 30 years in the business workplace, I commonly hear discussions about how to improve recent college graduates/new staff’s critical thinking skills. A Google search of “Employer Critical Thinking” yields well over a millions hits on this topic. A quick survey of the results yields two certainties: 1) Many Read More »

Outsourcing to a Payroll Provider

Often the most challenging aspect of running a business is keeping noncore, but critical, functions such as payroll, human resources and IT running smoothly. That’s where outsourcing can come in. The Business Accounting Services team of professionals at Kruggel Lawton are big fans of outsourced payroll for our clients. If a new client starts working Read More »

South Bend Regional Economy Shows Continued Strength in 2nd Quarter

The 2nd quarter 2017 Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), compiled by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, increased from the 1st quarter of this year. The overall Benchmark Index was 58.85 out of a maximum possible score of 100, up over two percent from the 1st quarter. Consistent with nearly all quarterly Read More »

What You Need to Know About Being a Household Employer

We hire people to help us around our homes or to care for our loved ones all the time. Does that mean they are considered our “employees” though? Let’s find out… If you have babysitters, nannies, health aides, caregivers, private nurses or gardeners, then you have household employees. Exceptions may include family members or self-employed Read More »

Avoid Being a Check Fraud Victim

Are your business checks in good hands? Maybe not. According to the 2015 American Bankers Association Deposit Account Fraud Survey Report, fraud against bank deposit accounts cost the industry $1.9 billion in losses in 2014. Debit card fraud accounted for 66 percent of industry loss, followed by check fraud at 32 percent, and online banking and Read More »

Eight Reasons to Outsource Your Accounting Functions

When I talk to clients about outsourcing their accounting functions, I often get a lot of questions. Won’t it be more expensive? Will someone outside our business really know the details of our finances? Won’t I have more liabilities and be at a higher risk to make mistakes? These are all valid concerns. Here are Read More »

Michiana-area CFOs’ Optimism Holds Steady in 1st Quarter

The 1st quarter 2017 Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), compiled by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, declined slightly from the 4th quarter of 2016 by just over one percent. The overall BBI for the 1st quarter was 57.59, out of a maximum possible score of 100, down slightly from 58.28 for Read More »

Small Businesses – Offset Payroll Taxes with Research Tax Credit

Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (“PATH”) Act of 2015, eligible small businesses may elect to utilize up to $250,000 of the Research Tax Credits (“RTCs”) they generate under Internal Revenue Code section 41 and after 2015 against their portion of payroll—i.e., Federal Insurance Contributions Act (“FICA”)—taxes. On March 28, 2017, the Internal Revenue Read More »

“Manufacturers’ Deduction” Isn’t Just for Manufacturers

The Section 199 deduction is intended to encourage domestic manufacturing. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “manufacturers’ deduction.” But this potentially valuable tax break can be used by many other types of businesses besides manufacturing companies. Sec. 199 deduction 101 The Sec. 199 deduction, also called the “domestic production activities deduction,” is 9% Read More »

Connecting our “KLients” with National Firm Resources

BDO Capital Delivers Blueprint for Successful Deal Closing The ultimate compliment for a successful entrepreneur? An offer to buy their business. While the temptation to accept the first offer may be strong, it is in the owners’ best interest to consult a financial advisor to ensure they are getting the best deal for the years Read More »

What to do if Your Nonprofit Receives an IRS Audit Letter

In recent years, the IRS has increased its scrutiny — including actual audits — of nonprofits. Do you know what to do if your organization receives an audit letter? What is an audit? An audit begins with the initial contact from the IRS and continues until a closing letter is issued. Before closing an audit, Read More »

Valuation as Part of Succession Planning

What can a valuation expert do for your succession plan? Most business owners spend a lifetime building their business. And when it comes to succession, they face the difficult decision of whether to sell, dissolve or transfer the business to family members (or a nonfamily successor). Many complicated issues are involved, including how to divvy Read More »

Why We Love What We Do

Here at Kruggel Lawton CPAs, as we enter the month of March – well into the heart of “tax season” – our team is working at peak performance. This is both marvelous to behold and wonderful to be involved in. Two recent events reinforced in my mind why we in the accounting profession love what we Read More »

Testing with QuickBooks Sample Companies

Have you ever wanted to test out a new process or change a report in QuickBooks but didn’t want to risk doing harm to your existing data? Good news! The desktop version of QuickBooks (sorry QB Online users, this feature isn’t available for you yet) is loaded with several industry-based sample companies you can use Read More »

Know Your Retirement Plan Fiduciaries

Many companies offer their employees a retirement plan but can they identify all of their plan fiduciaries? From a risk management perspective, it’s critical for business owners to know who has fiduciary status — and the associated liability. Here are some common, though in some cases overlooked, plan fiduciaries: Named fiduciaries The Employee Retirement Income Read More »

Succession & Estate Planning – Better Together

Succession planning and estate planning must go hand in hand As the saying goes, nothing lasts forever — and that goes for most companies. Then again, with the right succession plan in place, you can do your part to ensure your business continues down a path of success for at least another generation. From there, Read More »

ACA Penalties Still Possible for Large Employers

Although President Trump has indicated that he will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, there are still provisions in place for prior years that apply. Even with his signing of the ACA Executive Order on January 20, it is unclear if the Order’s waiver and exemption provisions will result in the suspension of enforcement Read More »

The Fight to Protect Your Identity at Tax Time

Income tax fraud, identity theft, and data breaches place a burden on their victims and present a challenge to businesses, organizations, and government agencies. As a result, the IRS, states, and tax preparers, including Kruggel Lawton, are all working together to combat these crimes with aggressive security strategies that protect taxpayers. This year the IRS Read More »

Should You Take Bonus Depreciation for 2016?

Bonus depreciation allows businesses to recover the costs of depreciable property more quickly by claiming additional first-year depreciation for qualified assets. The PATH Act, signed into law a little over a year ago, extended 50% bonus depreciation through 2017. Claiming this break is generally beneficial, though in some cases a business might save more tax Read More »

Michiana-area CFOs’ Optimism Bounces Back in 4th Quarter

The Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), based on a survey by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, decreased in the fourth quarter of 2016 by 1.1% from the previous quarter. The overall BBI for the fourth quarter was 58.28, out of a maximum possible score of 100, down slightly from 58.93 for Read More »

Sales Tax – Simple Thoughts on a Complex Tax

Although sales tax can be complex, there are a few simple tips that will help your business remain compliant with state regulations! Know Who Is Responsible The end-user of a product is the one responsible for paying sales tax on that item. For example, a retail store purchasing inventory for resale does not have to Read More »

COLA Amounts for 2017 Retirement Plans

The IRS has issued cost-of-living adjustments (or “COLAs”) for 2017. If, like most people, you’re funding a retirement plan, it’s a good idea to take a look at what’s changed and what hasn’t. Staying the Same Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1) plans will remain the same at $18,000. Likewise, contributions to SIMPLEs Read More »

The CFO’s Role in Business Succession Planning

Written by: Dr. Stacy Feiner, BDO USA, LLP I was invited to be a presenter at Kruggel Lawton’s 2016 CFO Summit on November 9 to talk about the role of the CFO in succession planning. And I was excited…because even though the topic of business succession planning is not new, financial professionals continue to feel Read More »

New Law Allows Stand-Alone HRAs for Small Employers

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law December 13, 2016, making it possible for small businesses to use health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) to fund employees purchasing individual health plans on the open market. More specifically, the legislation allows small employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees (or equivalents) that don’t sponsor a group Read More »

IRS Issues 2016 ACA Reporting Deadline Extension

Last January we told you about some deadline extensions for ACA reporting forms 1094 and 1095. Here we are, 11 months later, to tell you that new deadline extensions have been announced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This time there will be a delay in the date that forms are due to individuals. Extension of Reporting Read More »

Latest Developments in New Overtime Rules

New overtime rules have been blocked – at least temporarily At this year’s CFO Summit on November 11, 2016, attorney Michael Hays presented an employment law session, in part covering the topic of the new overtime rules that were set to go into effect on December 1 and would greatly impact employers. On Wednesday, November Read More »

Michiana Benchmark Business Index Declines in 3rd Quarter

The Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), based on a survey by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, decreased in the third quarter of 2016 by 2.14% from the previous quarter. The overall BBI for the third quarter was 58.93 out of a maximum possible score of 100, down from 60.22 for the Read More »

FAFSA Changes for 2016

There are two major changes related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that you should know about: As of October 1, 2016, FAFSA is now available for the 2017-2018 school year. This is a big change from prior years when the application wasn’t available until January. The earlier submission date will be a Read More »

IRS Simplifies Rules for Late Retirement Account Rollovers

Issued August 24, 2016, Rev. Proc. 2016-47 simplifies the process for correcting late rollovers from one tax-qualified retirement account to another. The guidance provides plan administrators and IRA trustees with an additional basis for accepting rollover contributions after the 60-day deadline. DETAILS When a distribution is made from a tax-qualified retirement account, such amount will Read More »

Your ITIN May Be Expiring

The newly released IRS Notice 2016-48 contains important compliance changes for foreign individuals applying for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (“ITIN”). Foreign individuals may have previously applied for an ITIN to satisfy U.S. tax requirements, however, based on the new law, ITINs that have not been utilized on a federal return at least once in Read More »

New Rules for Overtime Pay

On May 18, the U.S. Labor Department unveiled new rules that expand requirements for employers to provide overtime pay. Related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the new rules address eligibility for overtime pay and exemptions from overtime requirements for employees in executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer positions under the FLSA. Currently, Read More »

Proposal Could Impact Valuation Discounts for Family Controlled Businesses

Gift, estate and generation skipping taxes are imposed on the value of property transferred. Proposed regulations regarding estate planning and valuation discounts were released on August 2, 2016, and if they become final, would significantly impact the availability of minority or lack of control discounts for transfers of family controlled business interests among family members. Read More »

Major Changes Coming for Nonprofit Financial Statements

The FASB recently issued ASU 2016-14 to improve the presentation of financial statements of nonprofit entities such as charities, foundations, universities, and nonprofit health care providers, etc. This is the first major change to the nonprofit financial statement model in over 20 years, which is intended to provide more useful information to donors, grantors and Read More »

Proactive Measures to Protect Your POS Data

Oracle confirmed a malware attack on its MICROS point-of-sale business via its customer support portal. Hackers with ties to the Carbanak Gang, a Russian cybercrime syndicate, used malicious code to steal MICROS customer login credentials when customers accessed the support web portal. While investigators are still assessing the precise origin and extent of the data Read More »

Time to Start Thinking About Itemized Deductions

Year end may seem far away. But now’s a good time to start looking ahead to what itemized deductions you may be able to claim for the 2016 tax year. Following is a list of selected deduction and exclusion items to consider. Don’t use the list as a tax planning worksheet. Rather, think of it as Read More »

Michiana Benchmark Business Index Climbs Again in 2nd Quarter

The Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), based on a survey by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, increased in the second quarter of 2016 by 3.5 percent from the previous quarter. The overall BBI for the second quarter was 60.2, out of a maximum possible score of 100, up from 58.2 for Read More »

Cybersecurity Concerns for Employee Benefit Plans

In recent months, the Department of Labor (DOL) has raised concerns about cybersecurity and employee benefit plans. Employee benefit plans may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and thus exposed to risks relating to privacy, security, and fraud. Plan administrators, or those charged with governance, have an ERISA fiduciary duty with respect to the management of the Read More »

Brexit – The United Kingdom Votes to Withdraw from the European Union

On June 23, 2016, the public of the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to decide whether the country should remain in the European Union or whether it should leave. In a result now known as “Brexit” that was surprising to many and that has caused shock waves across global financial markets, the UK has Read More »

Michigan Eliminates Flow-Through Entity Withholding Requirement

On June 8, 2016, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed into law H.B. 5131, 98th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Mich. 2016), which eliminates the requirement for an entity classified as a partnership or S corporation for federal income tax purposes (“FTE”) to withhold income tax on an owner’s distributive share of Michigan income. Elimination of this Read More »

Give Your Kids (and taxes) a Break at Summer Camp

The coming and going of Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer in the minds of many Americans. Although the kids might still be in school for another week or two, summer day camp is rapidly approaching for many families. If yours is among them, did you know that sending your child to day camp Read More »

Benchmark Business Index Rebounds in 1st Quarter

The Michiana Benchmark Business Index, based on a survey by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, increased in the 1st quarter of 2016 by 5% from the previous quarter. The overall Benchmark Business Index for the 1st quarter was 58.20 out of a maximum possible score of 100, up from 55.59 for Read More »

Real Estate Review for Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan

FM Stone and Bradley Company have published their most recent real estate market studies for the northern Indiana and southwest Michigan region. Kruggel Lawton is proud to partner with both of these organizations. Following are highlights from each publication for construction, office, retail and industrial real estate. Links to download the full reports are below. Construction In 2015, Elkhart Read More »

30 Biggest Tax Problems for Married Couples

Preparing taxes can be complicated, and with two people involved it becomes more complex. It’s not enough just to add your respective amounts together. There are limits and restrictions that you have to be aware of in order to comply and get the best outcome. As married filers, you have a lot of options for Read More »

The Value of Gauging Competitive Pay Levels

I’ve been in dialogue quite a bit in recent weeks regarding compensation levels related to hiring needs. When an employer seeks external candidates for an open position, having a realistic feel for pay levels in the relevant talent market is helpful. For example, I recently spoke with the director of human resources at a local Read More »

Lease Accounting Changes Coming Soon

On February 25, 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued its highly-anticipated leasing standard for both lessees and lessors. Under its core principle, a lessee will recognize lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for all arrangements with terms longer than 12 months. Lessor accounting remains largely consistent with existing U.S. GAAP. The new standard takes effect in Read More »

IRS Warns of Continued E-mail Schemes

Half way through tax season, the IRS continues to see increases in the number of tax fraud incidents this year. Following is a communication we received from John Linstead, Senior Stakeholder Liaison with the IRS. IR-2016-28, Feb. 18, 2016 WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service renewed a consumer alert for e-mail schemes after seeing an approximate Read More »