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What You Need to Know About Overtime!

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Monday, June 26, 2017
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OVERTIME

 

If your employees work more than 40 hours per 7-day workweek they may be entitled to overtime pay. New overtime rules were set to take effect late in 2016. These regulations would have expanded the number of employees eligible to receive overtime pay but they are currently tied up in federal court. It is vital that you observe the current regulations to avoid potential fines or litigation. If you have questions about state or federal overtime rules, contact your LegalShield provider law firm.

  • Current Rules - Federal overtime regulations are part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA entitles employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek to one and one-half times their regular pay rate. If your business has, “an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more” you are required to pay overtime. All schools, hospitals, medical facilities and public agencies are required to pay overtime. Click here to determine whether FLSA applies to your business.
     
  • State Regulations - Many states set additional rules for overtime pay. California, for example, requires overtime for those who work more than 8 hours in a day and double pay for those who work more than 12 hours in a day. Other states set specific thresholds for businesses that must comply with overtime rules. Arkansas requires employers with more than 4 employees to pay overtime. Click here to view a map highlighting current state overtime laws. It is important to understand both the federal and states regulations where you do business.
     
  • Exempt Employees – There are exemptions for some executive, administrative, computer professionals and other professional service employees.

From the Department of Labor:

A. Currently, to qualify for exemption, a white-collar employee generally must:

  1. be salaried, meaning that they are paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the "salary basis test");
  2. be paid at least a specific salary threshold, which is $455 per week (the equivalent of $23,660 annually for a full-year employee) in existing regulations (the "salary level test"); and
  3. primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as provided in the Department's regulations (the "duties test").

Certain employees are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, and lawyers).

  • New Rules from 2016 – Overtime exemption thresholds were set to nearly double in December of 2016; however, the new rule is currently tied up in court. There is a great deal of speculation about the fate of the new rule with many expecting a change in direction from the new administration. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow certain employers to offer comp time instead of overtime pay. The bill still must pass the Senate but it is yet another sign that changes are coming. It is important for all businesses to follow these changes carefully.  If you have any questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm or Kenyatta Turner at 602-367-1069 or kenyattaturner@legalshieldassociate.com.

Tags:  Accounting  business owners  business resources  business risk  business services  employees  Employers  Hiring  HR  human resources  labor  legal  legal services  management  small biz  small business  small business owner  startup  tax  wage hour lawsuits  women-owned business 

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MONEY ON THE TABLE

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MONEY ON THE TABLE

Today in issue IR 2017-50, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced they are holding over $1 billion for people who have not filed a 2013 Federal Income Tax Return.  The average refund is $763. There is a three year window for claiming the refund – the window will close on April 18 of this year. 

If you have not filed a 2014 or 2015 tax return the checks could be withheld pending filing the subsequent year tax returns.  Also if child support is owed, or state tax is due the refund could be withheld. 

In Arizona it is estimated 24,800 people that have not filed are owed $22,642,000 by the IRS.  Texas leads the nation in refunds pending with estimated 104,700 individuals owed $115,580,000, next is California with 97,200 people owed $93,406,000.

So if you haven’t filed a tax return since 2013 you may be owed some money by the IRS. But you need to file before April 18, when the window closes.   Chances are if you have not filed for 2014 or 2015 you might be owed more money by the IRS.

Tags:  Accounting  tax filing 

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HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Monday, July 18, 2016

 HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICCPA) this week suggested a letter to mail to all accounting firm clients with suggestions for protecting you and your family from identity theft.  The issue hits close to home since my daughter was a victim of identity theft last year.  We did not discover the theft until we tried to file her 2014 income tax return.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) promptly notified us that she had already filed her tax return.  What to do?  First, call the police department and report the theft.  File form 14039 (Identity Theft Affidavit) with the IRS. If you need specialized assistance, call the IRS at 800-908-4490. The IRS does not accept an electronic return when you are a victim of identity fraud.  Instead, the old-fashioned paper return is required.  My daughter has yet to receive her refund.  Per the IRS it might be as long as six months.   

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) estimates that for 2013 fraudulent tax returns obtained about $5.8 billion and affected 2.4 million US taxpayers.  That number is increasing.  In a recent seminar I attended on identity theft for professional tax practioners the moderator asked the audience how many had clients that were victims of identity theft.  The show of hands was unanimous.  All had clients that were victims.

The AICPA recommended the following safeguards:

·         Secure private personal information.  Safeguard family names and birthdays, account numbers, passwords, and especially Social Security Numbers. Carefully consider all requests to provide your Social Security number before giving it out.  Do not carry your social security card in your purse or wallet. Shred unneeded documents that contain personal information, including junk mail solicitations.

·          Monitor personal information shared on social media.  Cybercriminals methodically gather data from online sources, including commonly used identifiers such as birthdate, maiden name, pet names, hometown, significant other, and children’s information.  Be cautious with who you communicate with online and be selective before accepting electronic invitations from people you do not know or recognize.  Separate what you post publically and from what you post with your personal contacts.  Do not post personal and family data.     

·         Secure your computer.  Use current version of antivirus, malware protection, and firewalls and update these programs frequently.  Consider having this software updated automatically, as well as using separate computers for business and finances than you do for social media and personal matters. Use strong passwords and change them frequently.

·         Beware of impersonators.  Criminals use sophisticated computer technology, such as dialers and automated questions, to contact thousands of targets daily.  Do not provide personal information to callers you do not know.   Watch out if a caller requests you verify personal information. Ask questions; their telephone number, name of their supervisor, email address, mailing address, their website.  The IRS never initiates contact by telephone.  They contact you using USPS. 

·         Unsolicited emails and phishing swindles. Do not open attachments or electronic links unless you know the sender.  Internet sites should they are encrypted.  Always be aware of entering sensitive data.  Forward emails received from IRS impersonators to phishing@irs.gov  The IRS never initiates contact by email, text message, or social media channels. 

·         Monitor your personal information.  Review your bank and credit card statements often.

·         Electronic transmission of financial information.  Do not send sensitive tax or personal information via unsecured email, even information transmitted to CPAs, bankers, and/or financial advisors.  A secure portal, encrypted email or physical mailing of sensitive information is necessary. 

·         Order your free annual credit report.  Call 877-322-8228 or go to www.annualcreditreport.com to request your report and search for creditors you do not know.  Choose to use only the last four digits of your Social Security number on your report.  Consider placing a credit card freeze on your account so only approved creditors can access your file. 

Another swindle becoming quite popular is the "Grandparents scam”.  In the conference I attended, one person in the audience related her story of her parents being a victim.  A swindler called her parents, identified by name their Grandson, identified himself as their Grandson’s good friend.  The Grandparents   recognized the name of their Grandson’s friend.  The caller said they were traveling in Mexico and their Grandson is in jail and needs bail money.  "Please don’t call our parents, the friend pleads!”  The Grandparents wired $8,500 to the caller.  The person relating the story stated, "Why my parents didn’t call me I’ll never know!”  The money is lost and not recoverable.

 The reality is your personal data is already at risk everywhere.  However, following the above suggestions reduces the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim.  The main thing however, just be cognizant and aware, think about why someone wants your information. Maybe, disclosure not necessary.  

Tags:  accounting  fraud  identity theft  IRS  tax 

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Cost of Fraud

Posted By George (Clint) Frederick CPA PLLC, George Frederick CPA PLLC, Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 30, 2016, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, released its Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse.  Occupational fraud is defined as Employee Fraud through misuse of their position for personal enrichment.  It could involve embezzlement, fraudulent financial statements, and asset appropriation for personal use, collusion with vendors for kickbacks or any number of imaginative schemes.

With the report was a summary of the cost of fraud. Some highlights:

  • A typical organization loses 5% of its revenue
  • The median loss is $150,000
  • Total loss from fraud is $6.3 billion
  • Over 23% lost $1 million


Type of fraud:

  • Asset misappropriation loss    $125,000
  • Corruption loss                        $200,000
  • Financial statement fraud      $975,000


The people committing the fraud:

  • Employee fraud           $65,000
  • Manager                     $175,000
  • Executive or owner      $703,000

Number of people involved in fraud event:

  • One person                 $65,000
  • Two people                 $150,000
  • Three people               $294,000
  • Five or more              $633,000

 

Organizations that do not have fraud controls in place suffer twice as much fraud as those that have fraud controls.  Fraud amounts on companies with less than 100 employees had the same as that incurred by larger companies; however, the fraud loss on small business had a much greater impact on the organization.  Most fraud was uncovered through tips and companies with hotlines.  The longer a fraud lasts the greater the financial loss.  Fraud loss on privately owned companies is greater than on public companies. Most fraud loss is not recovered. 

 

Prevent fraud before it happens.

Tags:  Accounting  employees  fraud  management  small business 

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Susan Stein Kreagr Earns Nonprofit Accounting Designation

Posted By Susan Stein Kregar, Desert Lotus Group, LLC, Saturday, January 9, 2016

Susan Stein Kregar, principal of Desert Lotus Group, LLC earned her Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) designation.

 

The CNAP designation is designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance, and identify nonprofit professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to the practice of nonprofit accounting and financial management. It was created to reflect the professional acumen needed to manage the complex details of nonprofit accounting in today's challenging climate.


This designation recognizes practitioners, who have achieved the standards of the certification process and who are dedicated to advancing the standards of excellence in nonprofit accounting. The CNAP designation is a viable recognition for anyone managing or overseeing the finances of a nonprofit.

 

Stein Kregar has worked in association management since 2002 and currently serves as executive director for Arizona organizations: The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals Central & Southern Arizona Chapters, the Greater Phoenix Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the Association of the Wall & Ceiling Contractors of Arizona. She also serves on the board of directors for Arizona Society of Association Executives.


For more information regarding CNAP, please visit www.azcnap.com.

Tags:  Accounting  association management  nonprofit  non-profit 

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