Julie Ayers: The 2016 NAWBO Woman Business Owner of The Year!

Julie Ayers has been named the 2016 winner of NAWBO’s Woman Business Owner of the Year Award!  This award recognizes the NAWBO member who has most demonstrated strong leadership skills in growing and managing a successful business that is more than five years old.  Julie accepted the award at NAWBO’s 31st Annual Awards Gala on Tuesday May 17th.  Other finalists for the award included: Jennifer Maier, President & CEO of WDS, Inc. and Suzy Johnson, President and Owner of Employee Benefit Advisors of the Carolinas, LLC. 

Julie who is the Immediate Past President of the NAWBO Charlotte Board was blown away by the award and had this to say, “I am so honored and grateful to have received this award. In my time with NAWBO, I have learned and grown so much – from becoming a member, to being named Treasurer and then President, and now winning this award.  I think this speaks volumes for how important NAWBO has been to me and the way that I look at business now.  I have met so many great friends and developed such amazing relationships with other Charlotte women business owners, and I thank them for always being a resource to me and for helping me grow into what I have become today.  I also need to thank my fellow Members and my team at LBA Haynes Strand – we have developed a special Firm and one that holds a very exciting future.”

This marks Julie’s second exciting announcement this year, as she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Greater Charlotte area by The Mecklenburg Times in March.

What is NAWBO?

NAWBO stands for The National Association of Women Business Owners.  Since 1975, NAWBO has helped women grow their businesses by sharing resources and providing a single voice to shape economic and public policy.  NAWBO is the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of women entrepreneurs across all industries.

In 1999, the Charlotte-based women’s organization WBO joined the National Association of Women Business Owners to become NAWBO Charlotte.  There are chapters of NAWBO in almost every Metropolitan area, and NAWBO is represented in 33 countries across the world through its affiliation with Les Femmes Chefs d’ Enterprises Mondiales (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs).

Today, NAWBO Charlotte is the only organization specially designed to serve, support, and strengthen the 42,000 women-owned businesses in the greater Charlotte, NC metropolitan area.  To learn more visit www.NAWBOCharlotte.org.

Johnny Wood Receives Prestigious Board Position

Principal Member Johnny Wood, CPA has been named Chairman of the Board for the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. His experience, leadership skills, and outstanding moral character make him the perfect candidate for the job.

The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship

The Nussbaum Center, founded in 1987, is a private non-profit corporation whose mission is to attract, advise, and house start-up and early stage growth entrepreneurs. In just under 30 years, the Center has graduated over 290 businesses with an 80% success rate, compared to a National rate of 44%. Johnny has served on the Board of Directors at the Center for nearly 10 years.

As one of the founding members of LBA Haynes Strand, Johnny is a key leader of our accounting, auditing, and consulting departments. In addition to traditional accounting services, he assists a variety of closely held companies and their owners in tax planning and compliance matters. Johnny is also very passionate about serving the Greensboro community. He is currently active in several community organizations and will now serve as the Nussbaum Center Chairman of the Board, a group that he cares deeply about.

“I am honored by this nomination,” says Johnny. “I truly believe in what the Center stands for, and for some reason the other board members think I am suitable to be the Chairman. This Center is all about helping young entrepreneurs succeed. It gives them countless networking opportunities with tons of folks who have the same desires to make it in the business world, and we help make that happen. If you’re trying to make it on your own, it’s tough, really tough. We help to ease that process and we have tons of success stories. That’s what I enjoy the most. It’s just fun – stressful at times of course, but lots of fun.”

To schedule a meeting with Johnny Wood, contact us today!

Tax Design Challenge: Reimagine The Taxpayer Experience

The IRS has created a tax design challenge for the taxpayers. Taxpayers are encouraged to reimagine the entire taxpayer experience and design the experience of the future. The IRS is offering a $10,000 award for the Best Overall Design and a number of other prizes for those that are most useful and most financially capable. To see the full Challenge outline: CLICK HERE! Submissions must be made by May 10, 2016 at 11:59AM Eastern Time.

Judging Criteria:

The review panel will make selections based upon the following criteria:

  • Overall Appeal
  • Taxpayer Usefulness
  • Financial Capability
  • Visual Hierarchy
  • Information Density
  • Accessibility
Prize Information

A review panel will select winners based on defined criteria and an individual submission can win multiple awards:

  • Overall Design—$10,000 (1st), and $5,000 (2nd).
  • Best Taxpayer Usefulness—$2,000 (1st), and $1,000 (2nd).
  • Best Financial Capability—$2,000 (1st), and $1,000 (2nd)
Think You Have What It Takes?

If you have been frustrated with the tax paying process and experience, then this is your chance to offer a solution. With this opportunity, you have a chance to make the tax paying experience easier, simpler, and better! Throughout the competition, participants will have the chance to engage with policy experts and a network of mentors that include world-class strategists and designers from government and non-government organizations. The team at LBA Haynes Strand will be happy to assist you with this tax design challenge!

Does My HOA Have To File Tax Returns?

Does my association need to file the 1120-H or the 1120 federal income tax forms? What is the difference? Isn’t my association exempt from taxes? Is my association subject to franchise and income tax in North Carolina? These are questions that come up for community association board of directors.

Under North Carolina law, a homeowners or property owners association is exempt from state franchise and income tax as long as the association is comprised solely of residential property Associations organized for commercial property (such as office condominiums). However, they are not exempt under the law. This is a common misconception for board members. We sometimes see commercial property associations having to amend prior years’ tax returns and pay the franchise and income taxes for past years, plus penalties and interest.

If your association is comprised solely of residential property, income from member assessments is exempt from income taxes for both federal and state filings. What is defined as membership income? Essentially, it is income derived from members for the preservation, maintenance and management of the association. Some examples are the dues or assessments paid by members, late fees, interest charges on delinquent dues, and special assessments. Income generated from the clubhouse rentals, amenity rentals, as well as interest income generated from CDs and interest-bearing bank accounts is considered to be outside the purpose of the association.

Which tax form needs to be filed?

The standard form for a homeowners association is the federal form 1120-H. The “H” stands for homeowners association. This is a straightforward one-page form on which both exempt and non-exempt income is listed. The tax rate associated with this form is a flat 30 percent applied to the taxable net income only. Remember, this form is for homeowners associations specifically.

An association has the option to use form 1120, but this will subject the association to being treated as a for-profit corporation for tax purposes. This could expose the association to closer scrutiny by the IRS. The tax rate on the federal form 1120 is only 15 percent on the first $50,000 in taxable income. Many board members view this as a big savings on the association’s tax liability, but the board must weigh the increased risk for an IRS audit before choosing to use form 1120.

The fact that your association’s income may all be tax exempt does not eliminate the requirement to file tax returns. Failing to file can subject the association to additional or higher preparation fees for these unfiled returns, plus penalties and interest. In addition, the North Carolina Secretary of State will often suspend the corporation’s charter until all returns have been filed.

Let us know if you have questions about your association’s tax or audit needs. Reach out to the LBA Haynes Strand team for your no-cost consultation.

The Day After Tax Deadline Day… What To Do?

It’s the day after tax deadline day, months of hard work and stress have come to an end.  Now what should you do? We are sure that you can think of many exciting things, one of which is probably taking a break from worrying about your taxes!  Enjoy having the peace of mind that your taxes are completed and filed, and if you are receiving a refund – you can track it here.  But you can also begin thinking about how to improve the process for next year!

Maybe your tax season didn’t go as smoothly as you hoped….maybe you didn’t receive the type of care and attention you thought you would receive when you hired your CPA.  If that is the case – your next step could be to actively shop for a new CPA.  You should look for one that is proactive in nature, that believes in timely communication, and one that is knowledgeable in all facets of tax and accounting.  You want your accountant to become a yearly resource to you.  If you only spoke to your accountant from January – April this year, that is part of your problem.  If you think the tax preparation was done incorrectly…you can contact our team for a 2nd opinion on your tax situation.  This is something that happens quite frequently and can make a BIG difference in some situations.

How To Improve For Next Year

Tax planning is the #1 way to improve your experience.  You can begin tax planning…NOW.  It is never too early to start to look at next year’s tax season and have a plan laid out.  Also this is a pretty great time to get appointments with CPAs.  As tax season has come to an end – CPAs are now available for face to face meetings and have much more availability.

So if you want to be an active participant in preparing for a better tax year, click the button below.  Our team of CPAs offer no-cost consultations and are excited for the chance to meet you and help you see the results you expect with your personal and business tax situations.

5 Tips To Protect Your Financial Future

With the ever-changing tax laws, our principal members and staff work diligently to stay up-to-date and keep you informed of strategies that can help save and protect your financial future. As you’re gathering your tax documents, consider some of the tips below that can significantly help in protecting your future!

1. Determine which type of IRA is best for you.

If you’re fairly young, expect to be in a similar tax bracket when you retire, or are concerned about cash flow during retirement, the Roth IRA might be best for you. If you’re older and expect to be in a lower tax bracket, you may be a candidate for a deductible IRA.

For a side-by-side comparison of Traditional and Roth IRAs, click here.

2. Think about the best ways to gradually transfer your estate tax-free.

Consider establishing a gifting program under which you and your spouse can transfer a combined $28,000 each year to any number of recipients.

3. Contribute the maximum amount allowable to a tax-deferred retirement plan.

This includes “catch-up” contributions if you are 50 or older.

4. Create a business succession plan.

On average, only one in three closely held businesses successfully passes on to the next generation.

Click here for succession planning ideas and ways that you can help protect your company’s future.

5. Set up a trust to meet your long-term financial goals.

To get started, view these commonly used trusts.

For other tips and ways to protect your financial future, contact us today for your no-cost consultation!

Julie Ayers Honored as a 2016 Most Influential Woman by The Mecklenburg Times

Principal Member Julie Ayers, CPA has been named as one of the honorees for The Mecklenburg Times’ 2016 50 Most Influential Women.  Julie’s leadership and professionalism made her stand out among scores of nominees.

At LBA Haynes Strand, Julie has helped lead the firm through a number of mergers and acquisitions, that have turned LBA Haynes Strand into one of the fastest growing privately held businesses in the Charlotte region.  In addition, Julie is head of the tax and charter school accounting departments at the Firm.

“To be mentioned as one of The 50 Most Influential Women is an enormous achievement for me,” says Ayers. “I am proud of the work I have done at LBA Haynes Strand, proud of the work the team has done at LBA Haynes Strand, and proud of my involvement with the women business community over the past 8 years – where I have learned so much and made such amazing connections.”

The 50 Most Influential Women will be honored during an awards reception on Friday, May 20th at the Hilton Charlotte Center City.  Also during the event, the Woman of the Year honoree will be announced.  This special award will be kept top secret until the announcement and will be selected from the 2016 class of honorees.

Non-Profit Tax Guide: Getting To Know The Form 990

The Form 990 is a tax document that tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are required to file each year with the IRS. The 990 discloses potential conflicts of interest, regulatory details, governance, compensation of board members and staff, and other details that relate to financial accountability. Filing the 990 correctly and in a timely matter, allows your nonprofit organization to maintain its tax exempt status. Once the 990 is filed, it is posted for the public to see. Websites such as Guidestar.com allow anyone to look at any organization’s Form 990, in order to get a better understanding of the structure and success of the nonprofit organization.

What’s the purpose of the Form 990?
  • Increased transparency and to provide a realistic view of the organization for the IRS and the public
  • Promote tax compliance by accurately reflecting the organization’s operations
  • Allow efficiency in the assessment of risk of noncompliance

The Form 990 has caused dramatic increases in the cost of compliance for nonprofits. At first, this only impacted the larger nonprofits. However, the smaller nonprofits are now feeling the increased cost of the 990.

Who is required to file a Form 990?

Tax-exempt organizations that have gross receipts totaling at least $200,000 or assets worth at least $500,000 must file the Form 990 on an annual basis.

When is the Form 990 Due?

You must file your organization’s 990 by the 15th day of the 5th month after your accounting period ends. For example, say your fiscal year ends on December 31st, then the 990 is due on May 15th the following year.

What are the penalties for not filing a Form 990?

There are many penalties for failing to file the Form 990 properly.  The list of penalties below can help you be prepared in order to avoid them.

  • The Penalty for not filing is: $20 per day, up to a maximum of $10,000 or 5% of revenue.
  • If revenue is greater than $1 million the penalty for not filing is: $100 per day with a maximum fine of $50,000
  • For failure to include information concerning liquidation, dissolution, termination, or substantial contraction: $10 per day, with maximum of $5,000.
  • Your “tax-exempt” status will be revoked if you don’t file for 3 years.
  • Once you receive an IRS notice and don’t respond: $10 per day on the responsible individual, up to a maximum of $5,000.
  • Failure to comply with public disclosure requirements: $20 per day in penalties, up to a maximum of $10,000.
  • There is no maximum penalty for failure to disclose the organization’s exemption application.
How to be prepared for the Form 990?

Being prepared is the best way to handle any tax situation.  Being proactive and having a tax plan minimizes the risk of any last minute tax surprises and allows you to be a little more stress-free when it comes time to file your Form 990 on an annual basis.  Below is a list of suggestions to help you be prepared when filing your Form 990.

  • Make sure you document as much as possible throughout the year for internal purposes.
  • Track as much information as possible from contributors, including amount, name, location, how they contributed, etc.
  • Track the revenue and expense by each event or by function.
  • Tip: Unrelated business tax income is a big issue!  If it’s not part of the core function, it is probably taxable.
  • Consult your CPA for specifics to your organization.  Every nonprofit organization is different and has different issues.

LBA Haynes Strand has handled the Form 990 for many North Carolina based nonprofit organizations, and our team is well versed in the nonprofit industry. Our nonprofit accounting team is ready to help your organization maintain its tax-exempt status and provide the accounting advice you need throughout the year to run a successful nonprofit. Contact us today!

Preparation: The Key to March Madness and Tax Season Success

The NCAA college basketball tournament is always an exciting and often maddening time for all of us.  While these teams are looking to play the part of bracket buster, your accountants are working hard to see to it that tax season is not a maddening time of year for you.  CPAs thrive on this time of year, and leave it all on the court..I mean…office, to make sure that their clients receive the best possible results.

Last second shots and unexpected upsets may be common in the NCAA tournament but are not common in our world.  Tax planning is the reason for this.  Tax season isn’t something that is done over the period of a couple months time, this is something that is worked on continuously throughout the year.  Accountants and clients alike must be equally prepared come tax season.  The quote of basketball coaching legend John Wooden sums it up best, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” So let’s take a look at some steps that you can take to prepare yourself against the stressful affects of the April tax deadline:

Don’t Procrastinate … Be Proactive

Tax planning is not one single task, designated to one single month. Usually, when people finish their taxes, they breathe a big sigh of relief. Whew, glad that’s over. But it’s not over, in fact, tax planning for the next year should begin shortly after your taxes are filed for this year.

See what do we mean by adopting a proactive mindset? If you’re thinking ahead, and keeping your finances in order through the entire year (and not waiting for March to prepare them all) you’re avoiding unnecessary stress during tax season.

Collaborate With Your CPA

Most people attempt to prepare their taxes on their own. And most people miss out on golden financial gains. The average taxpayer does not have the expansive financial knowledge and insight of a professional accountant, nor should they, but that’s what makes do-it-yourself tax planning such a risky idea – you’re gambling with possible financial gains.

When you contact a CPA firm, not only do you receive the professional guidance needed to navigate complicated tax territory, you receive financial consultation catered specifically towards your company’s future.

Consider Wealth Management

Part of tax planning is considering your investment options. Most people shy away from investments because they strongly dislike the idea of possibly losing money. Investing is not a gamble, it is a calculated risk when consulting with a wealth management advisor.  The advisor takes in to account whether you are risk adverse and builds a plan that fits your needs and your desires. A wealth management service, along with your CPA and financial advisor, guide you in making the right decisions for building a sustainable financial future.

Discussion Before Decision

Even after you’ve learned a thing or two from your CPA firm, it’s still always a good idea to consult with them on significant financial circumstances. For example, if you’re thinking about selling your business, a CPA firm can give you the tax logistics, implications, and benefits behind all your possible options.

There are a number of financial factors that go into tax planning, and cramming them all into a one-month timeframe creates a chaotic mess of last-minute desperation. Being pro-active in your tax planning and consulting with professionals will help you avoid the stress and headache that are often associated with the April tax filing deadline.

Click the button below to begin your conversation with a coach..err…certified public accountant with LBA Haynes Strand and begin seeing the results of being prepared.

Condominium Association Audit Guide

We understand that condominium association board members are volunteers who often do not have time to devote to a lengthy audit engagement process. In addition, they do not want to be constantly concerned about the “meter-running” or the resulting financial surprise of billable hours beyond their initial quote. LBA Haynes Strand offers a streamlined process to reduce time and create efficiencies for board members and their respective management company.

Condo Association By-Laws often require an annual Audit, Review or Compilation by an independent Certified Public Accountant. When complying with these by-laws, Board members fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to the Association.

What is the difference between an Audit, a Review, and a Compilation?
Audit

A Condo Association audit provides the highest level of assurance from an independent certified public accountant. Selecting an independent CPA that specializes in Condo Associations allows the Board and management to work with a professional that is in tune with the intricacies of their Association. An audit is much more in-depth in terms of scope than a compilation or a review type of engagement. The independent CPA is going to opine on the financials, that are the responsibility of the Association, provided to the independent auditor by either the Board or the management company.

Review

A financial review is less in scope than an independent audit, but more involved than a compilation. It provides you with limited assurances from the independent CPA over the financial statements as a whole. Review procedures involve inquiry and analytical procedures to determine if there is a material modification.

Compilation

In comparison, a compilation is far less in scope than a review. It provides no assurance or opinion on the financial statements.

Which of the three levels of service is right for my Condo Association?

Some Condo Associations require an audit while others require a review or a compilation, and in most cases, this is spelled out in the by-laws.

How much do these services cost?

The fees of each engagement are dependent on the controls and the processes of each management company. To receive an accurate and fair quote from LBA Haynes Strand, contact us for a no-cost consultation. Our team is happy to discuss your condominium association audit needs.

LBA Haynes Strand Named a 2016 Charlotte Future 50 Award Winner

LBA Haynes Strand is pleased to announce that we have been named a 2016 Future 50 Award winner by SmartCEO. The program recognizes Charlotte’s 50 fastest-growing mid-sized companies that have experienced outsized growth based on a combined three-year average of revenue and employee growth.  These companies will be honored on April 27, 2016 at the Hilton Charlotte Center City.

“I’m honored for the Firm to be included in the Future 50 Awards this year.  It recognizes current and future CEO’s that are having an impact not only on their businesses, but on the city of Charlotte,” says John Bly, Co-Managing Member of LBA Haynes Strand, “To be included with this tremendous group of companies is a great honor for everyone here at LBA Haynes Strand.”

“Ask any CEO and they’ll tell you that leading a fast growing company is one of the most challenging and fun things an entrepreneur can do.  Whether they’re just starting out or rapidly trying to scale an established operation, this year’s Future 50 winners have executed their growth visions year after year, created job opportunities and made our region a better place to work and live,” says Jaime Nespor-Zawmon, President of SmartCEO Events.

Full List of Winners:

  • Alan Simonini Homes LLC
  • Anointed Flooring, Inc.
  • Armstrong Transport Group
  • Artisan Signs and Graphics
  • Avant Garde Technologies
  • Barton Contracting Corporation
  • Boxman Studios, LLC
  • Carolina’s Home Medical Equipment, Inc.
  • CCS Construction Staffing
  • CDI Southeast
  • Command Partners
  • Costner Law Office, PLLC
  • ettain group, Inc.
  • Fab Fours, Inc.
  • The Greene Group
  • ImagineSoftware
  • In-Flight Crew Connections
  • Independent Advisor Alliance
  • InfoSense, Inc.
  • InnerVision Inc.
  • Intelligent Buildings, LLC
  • Jackrabbit Technologies, Inc.
  • Lakeside Project Solutions
  • LandDesign, Inc.
  • LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC
  • LogoNation, Inc.
  • Lwin Family Co.
  • modPALEO
  • Movement Mortgage
  • NoDa Brewing Company
  • OrthoCarolina
  • Party Reflections
  • Peak 10, Inc.
  • Red Moon Marketing
  • Remi
  • Rhythm Systems
  • Search Solution Group
  • Seedspark
  • SMD
  • Something Classic Catering & Cafes
  • SPAN Enterprises
  • Spangler Restoration
  • Strategic Power Systems, Inc.
  • T1V
  • TalentBridge
  • Tattoo Projects
  • Teguar
  • Titan Electric
  • Verigent, LLC
  • WDS, Inc.

10 Audit Tips For Non-Profit Organizations

When that time of year comes around for your annual audit, you need to make sure you are ready.  Being prepared is the key when it comes to handling any audit.  You want to be sure that your policies and procedures are being adhered to, internal controls are operating effectively and your financial statements are in line with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).  Prepping for an audit can be a grueling process, but it’s a necessary one.  Go over these 10 non-profit audit tips to ensure your next external audit is quick and painless.

1. Have A Plan

As with any complicated process, it is always better to have a plan in place ahead of time. When we say ahead of time, we mean three to four months ahead of time. Audit season occurs traditionally within 3 to 8 weeks following the close of the fiscal year, so your plan should begin to form well in advance. This might sound like a stretch, but there is no such thing as being too prepared when it’s your organization’s financial well being on the line.

2. Monthly Reconciliation

Reconciliation should be a regular practice within your non-profit organization. As long as your organization is running, it means you’re spending and making money. It is your job to account for that money. If you let your records pile up, two things are going to happen:

You are going to have a huge pile of records to deal with in a short amount of time

You are going to be scrambling to reconcile those records before your auditors arrive, leaving plenty of room for unintentional and careless errors and/or omissions

This is why a MONTHLY reconciliation process is absolutely necessary if you expect to be approved by your auditors.

3. Go Over The List

Most auditors give organizations a list prior to the audit, so they know what is expected. This list indicates everything that your organization should have ready when the auditors arrive. Make copies of this list and pass it around to all personnel, honing in on your finance department. Make sure all members of the organization are thoroughly prepared.

4. Create A Calendar

Once you’ve got that list, go ahead and put it in calendar form with the help of your audit team and personnel. You want to make sure you’re including all deadlines for all deliverables on this calendar, so everyone is attuned to what is going to be required from them.

5. “Pro-Forma”

Pro-forma documents are projected financial statements. Be sure to discuss with your audit team any and all information that you know is excluded from your Pro-forma or may be in the near future, like reconstruction of the non-profit.

6. Book Adjustments

This is simply another precaution to ensure your organization is in line with GAAP. Any and all adjustments should be booked before finalizing the trial balance. Entries have every chance to slip through the cracks in a yearly financial statement view.

7. Ledger Changes

Make sure your auditors are aware of any new accounts in your general ledger. It’s not the worst thing to surprise an auditor with a new account, but your goal should be to keep them in the loop with every single aspect of your organization’s records.

8. Financial Contingencies

This should go without saying, but your audit teams need FULL disclosure on all financial conditions that may be considered liabilities. For example, you may not want to explain a nasty lawsuit from the previous year, but your auditors need to know this kind of information. They are not there to judge your organization. Their responsibility is to ensure YOUR financials adhere to GAAP and are not misleading to its readers.

9. Old Assets/Uncollectable Receivables

Write off old assets/uncollectable receivables and write them off immediately. Having an auditor determine assets/receivables are uncollectable will most likely mean the most conservative answer. Your management team is more attune to the records and are responsible for developing these estimates. Keeping this analysis in house will result in a better approach to dealing with these assets and allows the auditor to simply review management’s estimate.

10. Prior Year

With each annual audit, your organization should become more familiar with the procedure. You know the auditors are going to review and record adjustments from the prior year, so why not get a head start and have them booked before the auditors arrive? If nothing else, your auditor is going to be incredibly grateful for the saved time.

Bonus Tip:

Analyze your final results compared to your budgeted results and be prepared to explain the differences.  Things that don’t add up are going to draw the auditor’s attention and could incur additional un-budgeted time, so make sure you have a reason for any variations in your budgets.

If you remember one thing about this blog post – remember “Be Prepared.”  We can’t stress that enough.  Make review part of your weekly schedule.  When you’re on top of your records and keep everything up to date – you will have no reason to dread those annual audits!  Want to learn more – click the button below: