Robert O. Mayer in HIA-LI

Robert O. Mayer’s article about the Clarity Project was included in HIA-LI’s April Newspaper. Read “Are your Financial Statements Audited by a CPA?” and find out what the Clarity Project is and what it means for your business.

To view a presentation on the Clarity Project by MayerMeinberg please click here.

SBA extends Sandy Disaster Loan Deadline

The U. S. Small Business Administration has extended the deadline for Hurricane Sandy survivors in New York to return applications for physical damage to April 13, 2013.

The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 31, 2013.

Survivors are encouraged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY 800-462-7585 and return completed applications to the SBA before the deadline.  Homeowners and renters unable to obtain an SBA low-interest disaster loan may be referred to FEMA for grant consideration. 

For more information, please visit the SBA website.

Additional Medicare Tax

Beginning in 2013, a provision in the health care reform law increases the hospital insurance (HI) tax on high-wage individuals by 0.9 percent (to 2.35 percent). The Affordable Health Care for America Act raises the Medicare tax percentage on wages exceeding $200,000 per individual (or $250,000 for couples filing jointly) to 2.35 percent. The regular percentage remains at 1.45 percent for wages under $200,000. The Additional Medicare Tax applies to individuals’ wages, other compensation, and self-employment income over certain thresholds; employers are responsible for withholding the tax on wages and other compensation in certain circumstances.

This change is to the employee portion of Medicare only. You are only responsible to withhold the additional 0.9 percent on wages paid to your employees. You do not have to take into account spouses’ wages for determining the tax rate.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has communicated that the first quarter 2013 Form 941 will have the additional Medicare withholding reported on a separate line. The IRS has not yet released a draft of the new Form 941.

Please click here for more information on the IRS website.

The Clarity Project

MayerMeinberg hosts Presentation to Educate Bankers on the Clarity Project

Clarity Project Seminar WG

In response to the changes made by the AICPA Accounting Standards Board (ASB), MayerMeinberg invited bankers throughout the tri-state area to attend a presentation to learn about the new standards that will be implemented. The presentation was held at the Holiday Inn in Plainview on March 5th at 8:30am and presented by Woody Goldstein, CPA, Senior Manager.

“The Clarity Project” was implemented by the ASB to enhance the quality of the financial statements. The main focus of the project is to address concerns over length and of complexity standards, make standards easier to read, understand and apply, lead to enhancements in audit quality, and converge with International Standards on Auditing.

“Our goal is to help the banking community to learn about the changes and in particular how it will impact their evaluation of clients’ financial statements. Those who attended this presentation gained a key understanding of the changes and how they impact the reports,” said Robert O. Mayer and Mark L. Meinberg, Managing Partners of MayerMeinberg LLP.   

As a result of the ASB’s new codified auditing standards, various segments of the financial statements have been modified, including the Auditor’s Report and notes to the financial statements. Changes include a new look to reports, new terminology and other differences in presentation that impact the documents that bankers will be receiving for audited financials dated after December 25, 2012. Although the Auditor’s Report is unchanged in content, the new format is very different. The standard report is now six paragraphs instead of three, which can be an alarming change if you are not expecting it. 

Please click here to view the presentation. 

 

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013

Democratic and Republican lawmakers have once again introduced bills, in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives this year called the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (the “Act”). The Act grants states the authority to require online and catalog retailers (“remote sellers”), no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax at the time of a transaction the same way local retailers do based on where the good are delivered. Lawmakers appear to be in agreement that states should be permitted to collect sales and use taxes from these remote sellers.

The proposed bills provide a “Small Seller Exception” that would prohibit states from requiring remote sellers with less than $1 million in annual nationwide remote sales to collect taxes.

To exercise this authority, a state must either adopt legislation implementing the provisions of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which requires states to adhere to uniform definitions, filing requirements, and other rules regarding sales tax collection, or meet five sales tax simplification measures outlined in the act.

This bill will affect companies who sell goods online by eliminating the price advantage that on-line sellers have by not charging state and local sales tax. Going forward, many companies will need to re-examine their business model so that not charging sales tax is not the only reason that a customer would choose to buy from that particular company. Online businesses will need to price their merchandise competitively and not depend on not charging sales tax as their only advantage over the competition.

Superstorm Sandy Update

The IRS has postponed the deadline to make an election to deduct casualty losses attributable to Hurricane Sandy that were sustained in federally declared disaster areas in Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia in the preceding taxable year until October 15, 2013.

Taxpayers can choose to deduct their casualty losses to reduce 2011 income, by filing an amended 2011 tax return or to reduce their 2012 income on their 2012 tax return.

As a result of this recent IRS Notice taxpayers can make the choice to take the write-off on their 2011 tax return no later than October 15, 2013.

Filing an amended 2011 tax return might benefit someone whose income dropped drastically in the last two months of 2012 because of the storm, and to whom the deduction is thus more valuable against 2011 income.