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Winston-Salem Expansion

LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC is excited to announce that we are expanding our firm’s presence into the Winston-Salem market.

Winston-Salem is a continually developing city in the heart of the Piedmont-Triad and is currently experiencing the largest renovations and development the city has seen in over 15 years. According to Journal Now, recent estimates show the growth in Winston will continue to rise over the next few years and is expected to hit a population of 250,000 by the next census in 2020. We are excited about this expansion and believe our firm will fit in well with the Winston-Salem community.

If you are an individual or business owner in the Winston-Salem region and would like to schedule a no-cost consultation with an established certified public accounting firm, contact us. Our team is ready to work with you.

Courtney Ageon

Courtney Ageon: Promoted To Principal

LBA Haynes Strand is pleased to announce that effective January 1st, 2019, Courtney Ageon has been promoted to Principal. As a result, Courtney joins the principal leadership team. Courtney will remain focused on serving the tax, accounting, and audit needs of our clients across the southeast.

Dave Recchion, Greensboro Office Managing Partner, states, “Courtney is a natural leader and doesn’t need permission to lead. She has broken an extremely male dominated leadership barrier and proven that a woman is able to successfully achieve a healthy work-life balance. Consistently doing the right thing for the Firm and our clients, she effortlessly leads our team to success. LBA Haynes Strand would not be the same without her talent.”

After 20 years of service, this promotion is a result of Courtney’s hard work, loyalty to the Firm, commitment to our team, and dedication to providing quality tax services to her clients. She transitioned from an intern to a full-time staff member while attending graduate school and studying for the CPA exam. This was a true test of her time management skills. When LBAHS made the transition to paperless, Courtney lead the team with the development of internal best practices and training procedures.

Please join us in congratulating Courtney Ageon on this exciting promotion! Connect with Courtney on LinkedIn.

Protect Yourself Against The New Tax Refund Scam

The IRS has reported that the number of potential victims impacted by a tax scam has increased from a few hundred to several thousand in just a few days. Putting a new twist on an old scam, criminals are taking taxpayer information, filing fraudulent returns, and depositing erroneous refunds into real taxpayers’ bank accounts. The criminals then contact the victim and use a variety of tactics to attempt to claim the refund.

The scam appears to have originated from tax preparers’ offices, where computers that have been infected with malware provided criminals with access to thousands of consumers’ return data.

“Speed is critical,” the agency said in its advisory. “If reported quickly, the IRS can take steps to block fraudulent returns in a preparer’s clients’ names.”

As tax preparers increase their security settings to protect client tax and financial files, it is important that consumers also protect themselves by knowing identity theft warning signs.

Top Indicators of Tax-Related Identity Theft
  • More than one tax return was filed using your Social Security Number 
  • IRS records indicate you received wages from an establishment at which you never worked
  • You owe additional tax, receive a refund offset notice, or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return
If you become a victim and notice an erroneous deposit in your account, take the following steps:
  • Contact your tax preparer immediately.
  • Contact the Automated Clearing House (ACH) department of the bank/financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS.
  • Call the IRS toll-free at 800-829-1040 (individual) or 800-829-4933 (business) to explain why the direct deposit is being returned.
  • Be aware that interest may accrue on the erroneous refund.
  • Communicate with your financial institution and be prepared to close your account, since the information has been accessed by criminals.

You can also access the steps for returning your erroneous refund directly on the IRS website.

Remember: The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text, or social media, or phone calls to discuss your account. If you receive a message, be suspicious!

LBA Haynes Strand is dedicated to alerting the public on any scam or fraudulous attempt to steal identities or gain access to important financial information. If you are interested in automatically receiving updates such as this, please subscribe to our blog.

The Tax Deadline Has Come and Gone – Are You Happy?

With April 18th in your rear view mirror it is time to review how your tax preparation went.  Was it a painless process for you?  Did you have constant communication with your accountant?  If you did, you should thank your accountant and start planning for next year!  If not, maybe it is time to start thinking about a change.  Over the years we (as a Firm) have noticed clients switching to CPA Firms of our size over the traditional sole practitioner.  While you may enjoy a personal relationship or believe that it would be inconvenient to make a change to a full service CPA Firm – think again….

When you make a switch to a public accounting firm, you gain resources, a team of CPAs with more robust professional backgrounds, and a one-stop shop for all your personal and business financial needs. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a full suite of services at your fingertips – other then just tax preparation? What happens if you want to outsource your accounting, or maybe buy or sell a business?    A CPA Firm handles the “here and now” AND “the here and far from now” process. With an overarching look into your personal or business situation a good CPA Firm can do so much more for you then you ever imagined.  Here’s a look into how they do it:

The Secret Behind A CPA Firm’s Success

A (good) CPA firm functions as a part of your leadership team.  That’s it – that’s the secret.  Before your anticipation dies down, allow us to ellaborate on that.

They Care About You

When you invest in a CPA Firm, they recognize the engagement as a relationship, not a contact.  CPA’s bind themselves to your business, taking a true interest in your financial past, and expressing genuine desire to improve your financial future.

Why is a passionate CPA so important to your financial future?  Because without a genuine desire to grow, your accounting department is simply going through the motions, paying no mind to long-term effects or future goal fulfillment – that doesn’t exactly increase your bottom line.

They Plan With You

Your current financial team always seems too busy with other tasks to focus on the future.  You want daily deadlines to be met, but you also want to plan for next week, next month, and next year. You know how important planning is, but your team doesn’t seem to view it with the same urgency.

Whether it’s because they lack the time, or they’re just too focused on tasks at hand, your team’s priorities are out of place in your opinion. You need a firm that takes the time (any time and every time) to consult with you, give you valuable feedback, or simply provide financial reassurance. A CPA firm sees past daily duties, making your future their main priority and taking the time to plan for a prosperous one.

They Seek Success For You

A CPA firm is going to share your goals, as well as your motivation for reaching them. Even after your organization has reached its financial goals, your CPA keeps at it – they want to see your success accumulate and reach a firm, unwavering stability. A CPA creates opportunities that lead to constant financial growth and a robust bottom line.

Your current accounting department might be deemed your financial team, but do they really function as your teammates? Are they as invested in your financial future as you are? If not, it’s time to start thinking about investing in a real team – one that cares about you, functions with you, and helps you secure a steady and successful financial future.

Ready to get proactive and reach beyond standard tax preparation?  Click below to learn how a CPA firm can provide insight beyond taxes.

Exciting News: Chad Stafford Has Been Promoted To Principal

LBA Haynes Strand is pleased to announce that effective January 1st, Chad Stafford has been promoted to Principal. Chad joins the principal team, where he will remain focused on providing tax planning, tax preparation, and tax research for clients of LBA Haynes Strand.

John Bly, Principal and CEO of the firm, had this to say, “Chad is a long term member of our team in Mt. Airy.  As a firm we are excited to have him become a principal with the firm.  It’s an exciting step for both Chad in his career path and for the firm’s continued focus on developing our people.”

Having been with the Firm for over 20 years this promotion is a result of Chad’s hard work, loyalty to the Firm, commitment to our team, and dedication to providing top-notch tax services to his clients.

Please join us in congratulating Chad Stafford on this exciting promotion! To arrange a meeting with Chad, contact us!

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!

3 Tips For Successful Tax Planning

Tax planning can be the single most important thing you do for your financial stability when entering into a new year. The tax planning process is an intricate one that involves gathering information, organizing numbers and data, creating a comprehensive financial picture and charting the best course forward.

With tax season almost among us, take a look at the tips below. Use these tips as a guideline to help protect your financial interests and ensure a smooth, successful tax year.

Tip #1: Know The Basics

Before you begin your tax planning process, there are a few things to keep in mind. These may seem like no-brainers, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who sometimes overlook the obvious!

  • Your income – a key determinant of the tax rate you are facing
  • Your location – tax laws and guidelines differ from state to state
  • Your expenditures – how much are you spending and where?
  • Keeping a budget can help tremendously with this!
Tip #2: Work Closely With a CPA Firm

Maintaining a close relationship with your CPA is vital! Your CPA is there to help find approaches that work best for YOU. Some techniques are better suited for businesses, while others align better with educational institutions or nonprofits. Your accountant can help you identify specific financial areas that incur higher tax rates and form preventative strategies to avoid possible tax increases. With a professional accounting service, you lower the risk of making mistakes. Remember to communicate with your firm all year long, not just right before tax season.

Quarterly financial updates – Think about sending your CPA firm financial updates on a quarterly basis. When they evaluate your numbers regularly, your firm develops more accurate tax saving estimates.

Best practices – Inform your firm of all business decisions you’ve made throughout the year. If your CPA firm has all the correct information, they are able to provide you with the very best advice for the upcoming year.

Regulation changes – Tax laws change every year, sometimes several times within a year. Tax laws shouldn’t be a huge concern when filling out your tax forms, but they should be one of the first things you research before starting a new tax year. Your CPA can help keep you up-to-date with all regulation changes in order to better your financial plan.

Tip #3: Don’t Forget Retirement Plans

Everyone loves a tax decrease, but most folks overlook the fact that a retirement plan can be used as a tax-savings vehicle. Although your income is reduced when you contribute to your retirement plan, your taxes are reduced as well. Working with your CPA and wealth management advisor is a key factor in ensuring that you have the best plan in place. Don’t have a wealth management advisor? Don’t worry – your CPA can point you in the right direction.

Depending on your current standing with these factors, there are several tax planning strategies you and your CPA Firm might want to consider.

Standard and itemized deductions – You may want to consider itemizing your deductions if you pay a significantly high mortgage on an owned home.

Contribute funds to your retirement plan – The more money you make, the more taxes you pay. And the less money you make, the less taxes you pay. One of the best ways to lower your taxes is to decrease your income by contributing to your retirement plan. Your contribution reduces your income, which lowers your tax bill.

Want to learn more about securing tax-planning success? Contact us to start the conversation about your financial future with our firm – accountants who truly care about becoming a partner in your success.