News

The Anderson ZurMuehlen newsroom includes current news, releases and industry updates. If you want to stay connected with us in other ways, follow our posts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

What Lies Ahead & Next Steps for Employers Given the Overtime Injunction

Many employers have been wrestling with plans to comply with new U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) overtime rules since last May. That’s when the rules were finalized, with a December 1 compliance deadline. Those new rules included raising the minimum salary overtime exemption to $913 per week from $455. A little more than a week before the deadline for the rules was to take effect, a federal court has issued an injunction, at least temporarily blocking implementation of the changes. 

In its decision, the court stated it believes the DOL exceeded its authority in promulgating the rule. In addition, the court said the DOL failed to follow Congress’s intent, which was to reexamine the duties test of the overtime rules, and not to focus solely on the salary level, as the final rules do.

The DOL’s initial response was to state that it “strongly disagrees” with the ruling, and is “currently considering all of our legal options.” A couple of short-term legal scenarios remain possible: The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which issued the ruling, could drop its temporary injunction.

Alternatively, the ruling could be kicked up to the local U.S. Court of Appeals, which could overrule or uphold the injunction. But the chances of the appeals court rendering a decision on the issue before December 1 are slim.

What Lies Ahead?

december1circled150In the longer term, the outlook is also unclear. It seems unlikely that the Labor Department under the Trump Administration would fight the ruling, though other parties might. Initial analysis of the district court’s decision by Judge Amos L. Mazzant suggests that holes could be poked into the logic that led to his conclusion. At issue is the fact that the National Labor Relations Act, which laid the groundwork for overtime pay, failed to address the need to periodically adjust the salary threshold. However, a provision for adjusting the threshold was incorporated into regulations way back in 1940.

Also, while Judge Mazzant took exception to the idea of periodic salary threshold adjustments in the context of exempt status, he didn’t declare that it was invalid with regard to all DOL rules.

In any case, employers have several issues to deal with immediately. Those issues vary according to what actions they’ve already taken. Employers that were waiting until December 1 to roll out their plans are in a better position simply to hold tight and act as if the regulations were never issued.

Disruption Issue

The benefits of a wait-and-see approach are that there’s no disruption to the status quo and, in most cases, there will be no spike in payroll costs. However, that approach may also bring risks, including having to scramble to make adjustments if the regulations ultimately are upheld. That scrambling might involve paying extra wages due to affected employees retroactive to December 1.

Another hazard is that employees who have kept abreast of the issue (independently of any statements made by their employers) who were expecting raises or eligibility for overtime pay could be angered that this benefit was snatched away from them.

Employers faced with this dilemma will need to weigh their appetite for regulatory risk, the level of financial pain that compliance with the overtime regulations would inflict, and the employee relations considerations.

Some employers have already made their implementation strategy clear to employees. For employers that have announced plans to reclassify some employees from exempt to nonexempt, options include:

  • Giving those employees the choice of whether to become hourly, or remain in salaried status, while cautioning them that they might need to be moved to hourly status in the future, depending on the outcome of the legal battle,
  • Move forward with their conversion to hourly status to avoid possible future disruption if the regulations are upheld, or
  • Drop the plan to switch them to hourly status.

Morale Considerations

If salaried employees had been promised raises to bring them up to the minimum salary threshold (in lieu of moving them to hourly status), dropping plans for those raises could give rise to problems, such as damaged employee morale. Legal issues could also arise, especially if the promised raises have already been granted. For example, employers could run afoul of notice requirements under state or local laws, and possibly violate common law doctrines governing implied contracts.

A compromise approach with respect to planned salary increases could be to phase in the increases instead of raising them immediately to the regulations’ threshold level.

If employees have already been moved to hourly wage status to comply with the regulations, before switching them back to salaried status, take a fresh look at the “job duties” test for exempt status. This test has always been in place and was not affected by the federal court’s temporary injunction. Businesses could find themselves in trouble regardless of the outcome of this legal battle if salaried employees have been misclassified for reasons other than failing to meet the minimum wage threshold.

How the issue will ultimately shake out is uncertain, at best. But observers in Washington, D.C., point out that although many members of Congress opposed the regulations as written, they agreed in principle that some increase in the overtime salary threshold was in order. That is, they didn’t reject the DOL’s legal authority to adjust the threshold, as it has done multiple times since the early days of the underlying statute.

Whatever actions, or non-actions employers take with regard to the rule, it’s essential to communicate as clearly as possible with employees about the issue. One basic message that would be reasonable would be for employers to explain that they are waiting for more clarity on the legal front before making any big decisions.

Employment attorneys are monitoring the issue carefully, and are an essential resource to take advantage of before taking any irreversible action.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Click here for more recent news from Anderson ZurMuehlen

Visionary Employees 2016

The First Annual Anderson ZurMuehlen and Employee Benefit Resources

Visionary Employee Award,  Don Laine, CEO

VP with Border

The Visionary Employee Award program is one of the most successful outcomes of the firm’s Management Advisory Committee (MAC). The MAC highlighted the firm’s need to further recognize and celebrate our amazing staff, and from this desire, the nomination and recognition process was established.

Given this background, it is with great pleasure that the firm is able to announce our inaugural 2016 – 2017 Visionary Employee winners. It was honestly quite difficult to select a Visionary Employee from  the nine amazing candidates that we have shone the SharePoint spotlight on throughout the year.  Each of these individuals, recognized again below, are leaders for the firm and in the communities we service.

As we diligently reviewed all these finalists for the Visionary Award we realized that we had two candidates that truly embodied the forward looking, and forward reaching, vision we wished to celebrate this inaugural year. These employees are taking ownership of their careers, their clients, and moving the firm forward toward continuous success. These employees are Kapri Byrne (EBR, Helena) and Erin Stockwell (Tax, Great Falls).

KapricroppedKapri Byrne exemplifies a visionary employee in her approach to her career and her contributions to the firm. Her decision to “change course” in her career has helped build the bench strength in the ERISA niche area.  She diligently balanced the transition of her attest workload, focused on technical development in the ERISA area and relocated her family from Great Falls to Helena.  Kapri has dedicated countless hours to study and pass the exams through American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries (ASPPA) earning the right to two designations once she satisfies the two year experience requirement.  In addition, Kapri recently was awarded the Martin Rosenberg Academic Achievement Award by the ASPPA for her outstanding performance on the 2016 Spring DC-3 Examinations.  This award is designed to recognize top performing examination candidates based upon their total exam score as well as their overall exam performance.

erinsErin Stockwell has taken hold of the firm’s vision to develop and grow the international tax practice.  She wholeheartedly stepped up to the plate to lead the charge in the development of this specialty niche.  She has done an amazing job of assembling a team, communicating regularly with them and making sure they have the appropriate training to be successful in attracting, servicing and retaining quality clients. She is truly fearless in her marketing efforts and never fails to drop what she’s doing to answer questions and follow up on leads.  In leading by example Erin assists other employees to step out of their comfort zones, follow their passion, and demonstrate the ability for any employee to take ownership of their career with the firm.

As we move forward into 2017, and through, 2018 our Visionary Award program will include a focus toward firm wide innovation.  Besides the current criteria, we will look to focus nominations on employees who have come up with innovative ideas throughout the firm, including, but not limited to client service, marketing, niche development, employee training and more.

 

 

Click here for more recent news from Anderson ZurMuehlen

The President-Elect’s Tax Plan: What the Future Could Look Like

With Donald Trump as the president elect and Republicans holding a majority in the U.S. House and Senate, GOP tax reform appears likely in 2017. While campaigning, Mr. Trump promised big tax changes. Here’s a digest of his proposals, according to his website.

Individual Tax Rates and Capital Gains Taxes

For individuals, Mr. Trump proposes fewer tax brackets and lower top rates: 12%, 25% and 33% — versus the current rates of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%. The tax rates on long-term capital gains would be kept at the current 0%, 15% and 20%.

Proposed Rate Brackets for Married-Joint Filing Couples

Proposed Rate Tax Brackets for Married-Joint Filing Couples

Proposed Rate Brackets for Unmarried Individuals

Proposed Bracket for Individuals

The proposed plan would eliminate the head of household filing status, which could prove to be a controversial idea.

President-elect Trump would abolish the alternative minimum tax (AMT) on individual taxpayers.  

Itemized/ Standard Deductions and Personal/ Dependent Exemptions

The president-elect’s plan would cap itemized deductions at $200,000 for married joint-filing couples and $100,000 for unmarried individuals.

The standard deduction for joint filers would be increased to $30,000 (up from $12,700 for 2017 under current law). For unmarried individuals, the standard deduction would be increased to $15,000 (up from $6,350).

The personal and dependent exemption deductions would be eliminated.

Child and Dependent Careunited-statesProposed new deduction: The Trump plan would create a new “above-the-line” deduction (meaning you don’t have to itemize to benefit) for expenses on up to four children under age 13. In addition, it would cover eldercare expenses for dependents. The deduction wouldn’t be allowed to a married couple with total income above $500,000 or a single taxpayer with income above $250,000. The childcare deduction would be available to paid caregivers and families who use stay-at-home parents or grandparents to provide care. The deduction for eldercare would be capped at $5,000 annually, with inflation adjustments.

Rebates for child care expenses: The proposed Trump Plan would offer new rebates for childcare expenses to certain low-income taxpayers through the Earned Income Tax Credit. The rebate would equal 7.65% of eligible childcare expenses, subject to a cap equal to half of the federal employment taxes withheld from a taxpayer’s paychecks. The rebate would be available to married joint filers earning $62,400 or less and singles earning $31,200 or less. These ceilings would be adjusted for inflation annually.

Dependent care savings accounts: Under the proposed plan, taxpayers could establish new Dependent Care Savings Accounts for the benefit of specific individuals, including unborn children. Annual contributions to one of these accounts would be limited to $2,000. When established for a child, funds remaining in the account when the child reaches age 18 could be used for education expenses, but additional contributions couldn’t be made. To encourage lower-income families to establish these accounts for their children, the government would provide a 50% match for parental contributions of up to $1,000 per year. Dependent Care Savings Account earnings would be exempt from federal income tax.

Affordable Care Act Taxes

President-elect Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the tax increases and employer penalties that it imposes — including the 3.8% Medicare surtax on net investment income and the 0.9% Medicare surtax on wages and self-employment income.

Estate Tax

His plan would also abolish the federal estate tax. But it would hit accrued capital gains that are outstanding at death with a capital gains tax, subject to a $10 million exemption.

Business Tax Changes

The president-elect proposes major changes to the taxes paid by businesses. Trump would cut the corporate tax rate from the current 35% to 15%, but eliminate tax deferral on overseas profits.

Under the proposed plan, a one-time 10% tax rate would be allowed for repatriated corporate cash that has been held overseas where it’s not subject to U.S. income tax under current rules.

The plan would also allow the same 15% tax rate for business income from sole proprietorships and business income passed through to individuals from S corporations, LLCs, and partnerships, which could cause a significant decrease in tax revenues.

Without getting very specific, the proposed plan proposes the elimination of “most” corporate tax breaks other than the Research and Development (R&D) credit. At-risk tax breaks could include unlimited deductions for interest expense and a bevy of other write-offs and credits.

On the other hand, the proposed Trump plan would allow manufacturing firms to immediately write off their capital investments in lieu of deducting interest expense.

What about Congress?

In addition to President-elect Trump’s proposed plan, House Republicans released the “Better Way Tax Reform Blueprint” earlier this year and Republicans in the Senate proposed their own tax plans. These proposals — which in some cases, differ from Trump’s — would make numerous changes to cut taxes and simplify filing. Despite some differences, members of Congress have expressed support for Trump’s plans and have vowed to act quickly.

When Might Changes Happen?

Democrats in Washington are likely to oppose any meaningful tax cuts, and they can attempt to stall things in the Senate where the Republicans won’t have a filibuster-proof majority. However, the Republicans can use the same procedural tactics that the Democrats used in 2010 to enact the Affordable Care Act. It’s possible that Trump’s tax plan (or parts of it) may pass in the first 100 days of his new presidency. If that happens, we could see major tax changes taking effect as early as next year. Stay tuned.

Click here for more recent news from Anderson ZurMuehlen

NAMI Montana 2016 Hero Winner is Tiffany Hanson

Anderson ZurMuehlen is proud to announce Tiffany Hanson, shareholder, has been named on of NAMI Montana 2016 Heroes.

The NAMI Montana Hero Award recognizes five individuals who have exceeded in the fight against mental illness here in Montana.  The awards will be presented at the 2016 Montana Conference on Mentail Illness.

Tiffany has been a long-time advocate for not only improving mental illness awareness but for better treatment programs for Montana’s youth.

For more information on NAMI Montana and to learn about the recipients of this award, click here.

Click here for more recent news from Anderson ZurMuehlen

Visionary Award Level II Winner is Grace McKoy

The firm’s Office Vice Presidents and Business Unit Directors are pleased to announce that the Visionary Award Level 2 Winner for the fourth quarter is Grace McKoy (MSL, Attest)!

Grace stepped into the leadership role, recently vacated, with the Insurance Specialty Team.  Grace saw the need and took immediate steps to tackle any “work in progress” as well as following up with clients as needed to ensure they knew whom to contact and that our firm was ready and willing to assist in any capacity necessary.

Grace worked with Paula Jacques (HLN, Attest) and Gordy Thompson (HVR, Attest) to develop a strategy for our attendance at the MCIA conference, a critical networking opportunity for this niche.  She set up dinners and meetings with current clients, one of which we are hopeful will develop into 10 or more new audits in 2016.  Grace continued forward and met with referrals that we had been previously unsuccessful in attracting.    She was successful in all of these meetings and truly took significant strides to earn the respect of our clients and potential new clients.  The firm left the MCIA conference with a consensus of success.

Separate from the conference, Grace has also had very positive interactions with a potential client, picking up where the previous client manager had left off…the client quickly provided the firm feedback that Grace was “already providing value” even before being engaged.  We are confident that her technical expertise will continue to grow as the firm encounters new situations, and that she will use this to the firm’s advantage.

Finally, Grace has a great understanding and appreciation of the need to have a firm-wide team of individuals trained to do this type of insurance work.  For the group of audits she managed this year, she provided a “model engagement binder template” to serve as the basis for new staff working on these jobs for the first time.  Grace is also working on a plan to identify and train staff to serve these clients.

As the insurance team leader, Grace is a strong proponent of our goal to have sufficient staff trained and available to manage audits and prepare tax returns to enable us to serve what we expect to be a growing service area for the firm, without limiting the ability of specialty team members to participate in other practice areas as well.

Click here for more recent news from Anderson ZurMuehlen

Anderson ZurMuehlen Announces Promotions

Anderson ZurMuehlen is pleased to announce the following promotions:

Jill Galle, CPA, to shareholder.  Galle’s experience includes accounting, review of internal controls and financial statement preparation and analysis. She also performs audits for nonprofits, employee benefit plans, financial institutions, government entities, and for-profit companies.  She has a Master of Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting from the University of Montana and joined the firm in 2008.

Sarah Stanger, CPA, has been promoted to shareholder.  Stanger specializes in auditing governmental, nonprofit entities, and credit unions, as well as financial statement preparation and analysis.  She also does tax preparation for corporations, partnerships and individuals.  She has a Master in Professional Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business with an Accounting Option from Montana State University.  She joined the firm in 2011 through a merger with Hamilton Misfeldt & Co. and had worked for that firm since 2001.

Jessica Van Voast, CPA, has been promoted to shareholder.  Van Voast specializes in employee benefit plans and serves clients in manufacturing, retail, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. She earned a Masters of Professional Accountancy and Bachelor of Science in Business, Accounting Option from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2005.

Kapri Byrne, CPA, to senior manager. For Employee Benefit Resources, her experience includes defined contribution plan design and administration. Byrne has a Master of Professional Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Montana State University. She has been with the firm since 2005 and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Dana Cade, CPA, has been promoted to senior manager.  Cade’s experience includes annual compliance work for U.S. citizens living abroad, compliance with the procedures for non-resident, non-filer U.S. taxpayers and consulting work for cross-border income tax preparation for individuals, and businesses, as well as, estate and gift planning.  She also consults and prepares tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, nonprofit and other areas for clients located within the U.S. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting with a minor in Business Administration from Carroll College and joined the firm in 2006.

Vickie Caldwell, CPA, has been promoted to senior manager.  Caldwell’s experience includes payroll, bookkeeping, financial preparation and individual tax returns. She is a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from MacMurray College in Illinois and joined the firm in 2001.

Megan Connors, CPA, CFE, has been promoted to senior manager.  Connors has experience in auditing work including audit examinations, systems design and implementation, evaluation of internal accounting control systems, and financial statement preparation and analysis.  She works with nonprofits, healthcare providers and airport authorities.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Montana.  She has been in public accounting since 2008 and joined the firm in 2013.

Lyndsey Geering, CPA, has been promoted to senior manager.  Geering’s areas of expertise include financial statement and compliance audits for nonprofits and local governments and tax services for individuals and businesses.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2011.

Luke Muszkiewicz has been promoted to senior manager.  Muszkiewicz oversees business intelligence consulting services and development of ClarifyBI, a business intelligence platform for professional service firms.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Carroll College and joined the firm in 2003.

Randy Parmer, MCP, VCA-DCV, has been promoted to senior manager. Parmer provides engineering and administration of enterprise network, server and virtualization infrastructures. This includes configurations, automation, performance tuning, and security of servers, storage and firewalls. Parmer has an Applied Science in Computer Technology/Network Administration from Helena College–University of Montana and joined the firm in 2005.

Deb Sjostrom, CPC, QPA, has been promoted to senior manager.  For Employee Benefit Resources, Sjostrom is responsible for compliance and technical services related to all aspects of defined contribution plan administration, including plan design and consulting. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.  She has been with the firm since 1997 and a member of the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries since 1993.

Linsay Carlson, CPA, has been promoted to manager.  Carlson’s experience includes audit examinations, evaluation of internal accounting control systems, and internal audits of financial institutions. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Communication, and a Post-Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate from Linfield College and joined the firm in 2011.

Ryan Duffy, CPA, CVA, was promoted to manager.  Duffy’s area of expertise includes business valuations and tax consulting and services for individuals and businesses.  He has a Master of Professional Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business-Accounting from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2011.

Amber Dushin, CPA, has been promoted to manager.  Dushin provides business consulting services and performs audits for government agencies, nonprofits, and corporate clients.  She also consults and prepares tax returns for individuals and businesses.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Consumer Science from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2012.

Jane Schultz, CPA, was promoted to manager.  Schultz’s experience includes income tax preparation for individuals, corporations, LLCs, partnerships, trusts, estates, private foundations and nonprofits, and working with U.S. citizens living abroad including international tax and foreign business reporting.  She has a Master of Professional Accountancy, and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2012.

Callie Blanton, CPA, has been promoted to supervisor. Blanton specializes in financial statement preparation and audits of nonprofits, governments, financial institutions, manufacturing companies, and construction companies.  In addition, she has experience in compliance and internal audits of financial institutions. She has a Master of Professional Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business with an Accounting option from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2010.

Anna Horne, CPA, has been promoted to supervisor.  Horne’s experience includes accounting, financial statement analysis, tax consultation and preparation, and succession planning for corporations, partnerships and individuals, specializing in agriculture and guiding/outfitting based clients.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Carroll College and joined the firm in 2010.

David Model, CPA, has been promoted to supervisor.  Model has experience with financial statements, audits, and tax preparation for individuals and businesses.  He has a Master of Professional Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Accounting Option from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2012.

Laura Gittens, CPA, has been promoted to senior.  Gittens’ experience includes accounting and audit examinations for government agencies, nonprofits, and employee benefit clients.  She also evaluates internal accounting control systems and tax preparation for individuals and small businesses. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Carroll College and has been with the firm since 2010.

Tyler Reichhoff, CPA, has been promoted to senior. Reichhoff’s experience includes employee benefit plan audits and financial statement audits of for profit, nonprofit and government organizations. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Accounting option from Montana State University and joined the firm in 2014.

Cassandra Zuelke, has been promoted to senior.  Zuelke’s experience includes a wide variety of specialty controller services for a broad base of industries including QuickBooks and payroll expertise. She has an Associates in Accounting from Great Falls College of Technology of Montana State University and joined the firm in 2011.

Megan Adams, CPA, has been promoted to staff II.  Adams’ experience includes accounting, financial statement analysis, tax consultation and preparation for corporations, partnerships and individuals, specializing in captive insurance clients.  She has a Master of Accountancy and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Montana and joined the firm in 2015.

Jerraca Allhands has been promoted to staff II.  Allhands does auditing for governmental and nonprofit agencies, as well as, tax preparation for corporations, partnerships and individuals.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Business Administration with Concentrations in Finance and Management from Carroll College and joined the firm in 2015.

Cayley Fish has been promoted to staff II.  Fish specializes in auditing governmental and nonprofit entities.  She also does tax preparation for corporations, partnerships, individuals, estates and trusts.  She has a Bachelor of Science from Montana State University-Billings and joined the firm in 2015.

Mandy Smith, CPA, has been promoted to staff II.  Smith’s experience includes payroll, bookkeeping, financial preparation and individual tax returns.  She has a Master of Professional Accountancy and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Accounting option from Montana State University.  Smith joined the firm in 2014.

Sherry Smith, CPA, has been promoted to staff II.  Smith’s experience includes business consulting services including audits for government agencies, nonprofits and corporate clients.  She also prepares tax returns for individuals, businesses, and nonprofits.  Smith has a Bachelor of Science in Business with a focus in Accounting and Business Management from Montana Tech of the University of Montana and joined the firm in 2015.

Jay Olsen, has been promoted to support tech II.  Olsen is part of the Information Systems Services team that provides maintenance of computer hardware, software and other systems.  He has an Associate’s Degree in Computer Technology from Helena College of the University of Montana and joined the firm in 2015.

Since 1957, Anderson ZurMuehlen & Co., P.C. has provided quality financial solutions that create better communities.  As the largest Montana-owned CPA firm, we serve clients throughout the United States and have seven Montana office locations.  We are also an independent member of BDO Alliance USA, a national alliance of CPA firms. Our Helena office is located at 828 Great Northern Blvd, 4th Floor.  For more information, call 442-1040 or visit azworld.com.

Win Two Movie Passes to The Accountant Movie!

Want to win two passes to the new thriller The Accountant starring Ben Affleck?  Sign up for one of our newsletters for a chance to win two tickets to the movie which opens October 14th!

Winners will be randomly drawn October 14th and notified via the email provided through the newsletter sign-up.*

Disclaimer: As CPAs we think our work is as exciting as a Ben Affleck movie, however, we have not audited or reviewed this movie and cannot provide any assurance as to its entertainment value, the quality of the acting, or any other guarantee regarding this movie.

“Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Using a small-town CPA office as a cover, he makes his living as a freelance accountant for dangerous criminal organizations. With a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons) hot on his heels, Christian takes on a state-of-the-art robotics company as a legitimate client. As Wolff gets closer to the truth about a discrepancy that involves millions of dollars, the body count starts to rise.”

*Winners of the random drawing will be contacted via email for information regarding the movie theater of their choice.  Two tickets will be sent either by mail or by email.

IRS Warns Taxpayers and Practitioners of Fraudulent CP2000 Notices

In a recent news release, the IRS alerted taxpayers and tax practitioners to an email scam involving fraudulent CP2000 notices for the 2015 tax year. The notices, which are attached to the email and appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas address, relate to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and request that checks be made out to “I.R.S.” ( Editor’s Note: A real CP2000 notice is sent through the U.S. Postal Service and directs taxpayers to make out checks to “United States Treasury.”) The IRS reminds taxpayers that it doesn’t initiate contact by email or through social media platforms. Individuals receiving this scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and delete it from their account. News Release IR 2016-123 .

Grace McKoy is our Visionary Award winner for August

Grace McKoyThe firm is excited to announce Grace McKoy (MSL, Attest) for the Visionary Award for August.  Grace stepped into the leadership role, recently vacated, with the Insurance Specialty Team.  Grace saw the need and took immediate steps to tackle any “work in progress” as well as following up with clients as needed to ensure they knew whom to contact and that our firm was ready and willing to assist in any capacity necessary.

Grace worked with Paula Jacques (HLN, Attest) and Gordy Thompson (HVR, Attest) to develop a strategy for our attendance at the MCIA conference, a critical networking opportunity for this niche.  She set up dinners and meetings with current clients, one of which we are hopeful will develop into 10 new audits in 2016.  Grace continued forward and met with referrals that we had been previously unsuccessful in attracting.    She was successful in all of these meetings and truly took significant strides to earn the respect of our clients and potential new clients.  The firm left the MCIA conference with a consensus of success.

Separate from the conference, Grace has also had very positive interactions with a potential client, picking up where the previous client manager had left off…the client quickly provided the firm feedback that Grace was “already providing value” even before being engaged.  We are confident that her technical expertise will continue to grow as the firm encounters new situations, and that she will use this to the firm’s advantage.

Finally, Grace has a great understanding and appreciation of the need to have a firm-wide team of individuals trained to do this type of insurance work.  For the group of audits she managed this year, she provided a “model engagement binder template” to serve as the basis for new staff working on these jobs for the first time.  Grace is also working on a plan to identify and train staff to serve these clients.

 

As the insurance team leader, Grace is a strong proponent of our goal to have sufficient staff trained and available to manage audits and prepare tax returns to enable us to serve what we expect to be a growing service area for the firm, without limiting the ability of specialty team members to participate in other practice areas as well.  Click here for more recent news.

Jan Schweitzer Will Chair the Missoula Area Chamber

Jan Schweitzer, OVP for the Missoula office, was recently highlighted in the Missoulian as Monday’s Montanan.  Jan is the new chair for the Missoula area Chamber of Commerce.

“Working collaboratively” is a phrase Jan Schweitzer is fond of when describing her new role as chair of the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.

That’s because she has to work with a diverse array of 820 Chamber members and other business organizations to find common ground on a wide range of issues, from workforce shortages to a lack of affordable housing.

“I think we can work together with all these organizations and help solidify what the common goals should be based on community needs and community feedback,” she explained.

Click here for the full article from the Missoulian

Click here for more recent news.