The CBD Blog

Find peer advice, partner insights, and industry updates – all here in the CBD blog, ‘At The Helm’! With contributions from our entire team, we blog about the things that interest you.

Proposed DOL Rule May Make Millions More Eligible for Overtime Pay

On June 30, The U.S. Department of Labor issued long-awaited proposed changes to overtime pay rules. If implemented, the proposed rule would increase the minimum salary for exempt status and make millions more workers eligible for overtime. This article explains the current requirements, as well as the path the proposed rule needs to take in order to become a final rule that could go into effect in 2016 or later.

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Recent Supreme Court Cases That May Affect Your Business

As the U.S. Supreme Court adjourns for its summer recess, the cases about same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act premium tax credits have garnered most of the publicity. However, you should also be aware of some lesser-known Supreme Court decisions regarding royalties on expired patents, religious dress code and human resources policies for pregnant workers that may affect your business.

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Disaster Planning: Expect the Unexpected

Along with warm temperatures, summer can bring natural disasters, including hurricanes, severe storms, floods and wildfires. Here are some reminders to help individuals and businesses mitigate their losses when disasters strike. Plus, a sidebar outlines how the IRS lends a hand to help affected taxpayers recover from disasters and provides a list of federally declared disaster areas for the first half of 2015.

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Summer Construction: Are You Ready for the Housing Market to Heat Up?

Summer is historically the season for building, remodeling and selling homes. But this year, housing starts and permit applications are at their highest levels since the housing market crashed, thanks to low interest rates and strong consumer confidence. Here’s the latest on residential housing market trends, including a list of the hottest residential property markets for buyers and sellers.

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Rules on Deducting Business Start-Up Expenses

Taxpayers struggle with the question of when to deduct costs related to starting a business. A case demonstrates how it can be difficult to differentiate between Section 162 expenses that are deductible in the current year and Section 195 start-up costs that are deductible after the start-up commences business operations. Here’s some guidance on deducting start-up expenses with confidence.

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Update on Medicare Insurance Premiums and Related Tax Deductions

President Obama recently signed the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act. Known as the “Doc Fix Law,” this law made changes to how physicians are paid for treating Medicare patients. However, it also made changes that will result in some higher-income Medicare beneficiaries paying more in premiums starting in 2018. This article explains who will face higher costs, as well as the tax treatment and 2015 premium amounts.

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Supreme Court Removes Double Tax for Maryland Residents

In a new case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that some Maryland residents have been double taxed on income earned in other states. Although the case deals only with Maryland, it is creating questions about the way some other states and localities tax their residents. This article provides details about the case, as well as the states and jurisdictions that might be affected by the ruling.

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Minimizing Your Risk of Cyber Breach

Proactive business owners worry about the risk of cyber breaches. And for good reason: Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White just named cyber threats as the biggest systematic risk facing the financial markets and U.S. economy. Here’s some advice to help businesses lower their risk of future cyber breaches.

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B Corps: To Be or Not to Be?

If your company wants to be seen as a leader in corporate responsibility, consider applying to become a certified “B Corp.” It’s a prestigious rating awarded by B Lab, a not-for-profit organization. So far, more than 1,000 companies from 33 countries in over 60 industries have met B Lab’s rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

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Warning: Many Consumers Think Targeted Online Ads Are Creepy

Have you ever visited an e-commerce or social media site and been surprised that the ads sometimes mirror your recent Internet searches and purchases? Some online retailers data mine consumers’ online research and shopping habits. Then, they customize their ads to meet consumers’ potential real-time needs. But a recent study shows that this type of marketing strategy can sometimes backfire. Here’s why.

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Tax Deadline Reminder: FBARs Due by June 30

June 30, 2015, is the deadline for filing a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) if you meet certain requirements. Failing to comply can result in penalties under the Bank Secrecy Act. Here are the details, as well as recent recommendations by the National Taxpayer Advocate for simplified reporting of foreign accounts.

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Do You Keep Adequate Records for Charitable Contributions?

Charitable contributions of used property provide more than the satisfaction of de-cluttering your home and the warm feeling that accompanies giving to a worthy cause. They can also lower your tax bill, if you follow the strict substantiation rules set forth by the IRS. A recent U.S. Tax Court cases shows how failure to retain detailed records for donations can be a costly mistake.

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Test Your Small Business Finance IQ

The federal government has named April “National Financial Capability Month” in an effort to make Americans more financially literate. Although 40 percent of U.S. small business owners consider themselves to be financially illiterate, 81 percent still handle their own business finances, according to a 2014 Intuit study. Test your financial literacy with this nine-question quiz — some of the answers might surprise you.

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Tax Paperwork and Other Records: What to Keep, What to Toss

Over the years, tax and other paper records can begin to mount. Many individuals and companies keep records longer than necessary, just in case the IRS, state tax authorities or another regulatory body inquires about a course of action. Here are some record retention guidelines to prevent your home or office from looking as if it belongs on an episode of one of those TV shows about hoarding.

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How to Tap into the Millennial Market

What does it take to get “Millennials” to buy your company’s products and services? The Millennial generation — which includes people born from approximately 1980 to 2000 — tends to be self-expressive, open-minded, educated, technology-savvy and budget conscious. It’s also the most ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history. Here’s how business owners can get in the Millennial mindset.

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Safeguard Your Personal Information Against Online Surveillance

The Internet has revolutionized our lives. It facilitates transactions and the transmission of information. But with opportunities come risks. In today’s Web-based world, it’s critical to know the contents of your “digital dossier” and take steps to minimize the risks that various forms of online surveillance pose to your personal and financial security.

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Welcome Aboard!

CBD would like to officially welcome you to our new blog, CBD at the Helm! It will be a collaborative effort between everyone at our firm and we’d love to hear feedback from you, our clients and friends, at any time! We’ll be posting everything from periodic tax/audit updates to significant changes in Washington to …

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S Corps and Partnerships: Beware of Failure-to-File Penalties

The S corporation is a popular business structure that’s available only to privately held businesses. A recent Tax Court case reminds taxpayers that there’s a steep penalty for S corps (and partnerships) that fail to file timely federal tax returns, even if there’s no taxable income to report. A sidebar also reviews the qualifications for switching from C to S corporation status.

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The IRS Simplifies Repair Regulations for Small Businesses

Good news! It recently became easier for small businesses to take advantage of the final repair regulations. Here’s some background on what the repair regs address and how the IRS has reduced some of the red tape for qualifying small businesses. Before you file your 2014 business return, review your company’s fixed asset capitalization policies for potential tax savings opportunities.

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Small Business Reprieve on Health Premium Reimbursement Plans

Good news from the IRS: Small businesses have been granted a temporary reprieve if they’ve been paying employees the cost of buying their own health coverage. A few months ago that arrangement was deemed unacceptable and, therefore, subject to hefty penalties. Here’s what you must do by June 30 to avoid penalties, as well as information about recent changes to the small business health care tax credit.

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