October 2018 Article Archives

If You Think What You Do On Your Work Computer Is Private, Think Again

Published on October 22, 2018

It's possible you could be kissing that bonus goodbye.

Just as your digital imprint can snarl up your job hunt, what you do at work can impact your professional persona.

Most employees know they shouldn't be spending much time at work sending personal emails or shopping on Amazon.

Those who think of it may take the trouble to clear their browsing history, according to a survey by Simply Hired, a job-search site. But that may not do as much to protect privacy as employees think.

Some two-thirds of companies monitor employees for e-mail infractions, and half have fired workers for those infractions, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

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The Potential of Blockchain: What Accounting Execs Need to Know

Published on October 22, 2018

In its 2017 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, Gartner estimates it will take five to 10 years before there's mainstream adoption of blockchain. However, major players in the financial services industry are already seeing benefits from the technology, using blockchain as a game-changing “trust protocol” for financial transactions and keep pace with regulatory processes.

In addition, many companies are starting to work with blockchain technology along their supply chain to control sourcing together with their OEM partners. Regulatory agencies are tapping into the prospective use of blockchain to better understand revenue and cost streams of taxpaying companies. This increase in adoption has pushed accounting and finance executives to look at blockchain as a potential technology disruptor in their space, recognizing that there are several key business benefits to leveraging the technology.

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New Relief for Drought-Stricken Farmers, Ranchers: IRS

Published on October 22, 2018

Farmers and ranchers who were forced to sell livestock due to drought may get extra time to replace the livestock and defer tax on gains from the sales, according to the Internal Revenue Service. 

The one-year extension gives eligible farmers and ranchers until the end of the tax year after the first drought-free year to replace the sold livestock. The farmer or rancher must be in an applicable region -- a county designated as eligible for federal assistance, or a county contiguous to an eligible county. 

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IRS Pushes Back Major W-4 Changes Until 2020

Published on October 22, 2018

The Treasury Department said the Internal Revenue Service would push back implementation of a redesigned Form W-4 to tax year 2020, allowing the agency to keep working on a new approach to the employee withholding form. 

The IRS released a draft version of a new Form W-4, "Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate," earlier this year in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but it received heavy criticism from groups like the American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of Enrolled Agents, which said it raised privacy concerns, created a substantial risk of under withholding, and would require taxpayers to forecast a number of tax-related items that are traditionally difficult to predict. 

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IRS Updates Per Diem Rates for Business Travel Expenses

Published on October 22, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service issued its annual notice describing the daily rates that taxpayers can use for lodging, meals and incidental expenses when traveling for business. 

Notice 2018-77 announces the special per diem rates, effective Oct. 1, 2018, that taxpayers may use to substantiate the amount of expenses for lodging, meals and incidental expenses when traveling away from home. The notice also provides the special transportation industry rate, the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method. 

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Tax Strategy: The Details on Tax Reform 2.0

Published on October 22, 2018

The House Ways and Means Committee finally released the three tax bills that they hope the House will pass prior to the midterm elections, constituting what they are calling Tax Reform 2.0. 

We have long known that one of the bills would focus on making permanent many of the temporary individual provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018. House Bill 6760 provides the details on making those provisions permanent. 

We had very little detail on the other two areas of focus: retirement and education enhancements and promoting new business innovation. House Bill 6757, titled “The Family Savings Act of 2018,” provides the details on the retirement and education proposals. House Bill 6756, “The American Innovation Act of 2018,” provides the details on enhancing entrepreneurship. 

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IRS Offers Guidance on Meals and Entertainment Deduction after Tax Reform

Published on October 22, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service released guidance Wednesday on the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was supposed to eliminate deductions for expenses pertaining to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation. 

The IRS said taxpayers can still deduct 50 percent of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer (or an employee of the business) is present at the meal, and the food or beverages aren’t considered to be “lavish or extravagant.” The meals can involve a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or a similar business contact. Food and beverages provided during entertainment events won’t be considered entertainment if they’re bought separately from the event. 

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