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NC Sales and Use Collections on Remote Sales

The North Carolina Department of Revenue issued directive SD-18-6 on 8/7/18 to interpret the North Carolina sales and use tax law as a result of the United States Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v Wayfair.

Remote Sales Subject to Tax

The rules are effective prospectively to sales after October 31, 2018 by remote sellers that do not have a physical presence in North Carolina.  This prospective treatment does not apply to sellers that have a physical presence or other obligation to collect and remit North Carolina sales and use tax.

Remote sellers having gross sales in excess of $100,000 sourced to North Carolina or 200 or more separate transactions in the previous or current calendar year are required to register, collect, and remit sales and use tax effective the later of November 1, 2018 or 60 days after the remote seller meets the threshold.  Remote sellers that do not meet the threshold may voluntarily register with the NCDOR and collect and remit sales and use tax.  Remote sellers may voluntarily begin collecting and remitting sales and use tax any time prior to November 1, 2018.

Engaged in business is defined, in part, as making a remote sale if one of the conditions in G,S, 105-164.8(b) is met, basically if they advertise or solicit business in NC in any way through the media, internet, or distribution of catalogs.

Remote sale is defined as “(a) sale of tangible personal property or digital property ordered by mail, by telephone, via the internet, or by another similar method to a purchaser who is in the State at the time the order is remitted, from a retailer who receives the order in another state and delivers the property or causes it to be delivered to a person in this state.  It is presumed that a resident of this State who remits an order was in this State at the time the order was remitted.”

Remote sellers can register completing an online application through the Streamlined Sales Tax Registration System.

The Impact of Increased Take Home Pay on Your Tax Return

What could increased take-home pay mean for your 2018 tax return?

The recent tax reform has instituted a variety of changes in both individual taxes and business taxes starting in 2018. Many Americans can expect a decrease in tax, and with the new federal withholding tables released earlier this year, an increase in take home pay. Less tax and more pay, what’s not to like?

The goal of this change in federal withholding tables was to adjust for the new changes that will impact individual taxpayers. Some of the major changes include a decrease in tax rates, an increase in the standard deduction, and a repeal of personal exemptions.

However, we have found that the change in withholding may not be enough to cover tax liability in many cases. In the past, many relied on Form W-4 without much extra thought to get them close to the amount needed to pay their tax. This year, we suggest analyzing it a little further. Taxpayers may get less of a refund than they are used to or even owe tax in April 2019, even though their tax rate is lower.

Example: Vince is single, has no dependents, and earns $50,000 in wages in 2017. He is paid on a bi-weekly basis. The result is $296 in federal income tax being withheld from each paycheck or $7,707 withheld for the year. Vince’s actual tax liability, including the 2017 standard deduction of $6,350 and exemption of $4,050, is $5,645. This gives Vince a refund of $2,062.

Under the new tax law, assuming the same income, the 2018 standard deduction of $12,000 and no personal exemption, Vince’s tax liability will be $4,370. Due to the withholding changes implemented in February, Vince’s federal income tax being withheld for the year will be $6,247 (The above $296 for two pay periods and the new rate of $236 for twenty-four pay periods). This gives Vince a refund of $1,877.

As you can see above, although Vince’s tax liability decreased $1,275 from 2017 to 2018, he receives less of a refund. This example does not take into account any extraneous circumstances such as investment income, itemized deductions or dependents that many taxpayers have. If Vince has other sources of income and got a smaller refund for 2017, he could owe tax for 2018.

Luckily, the IRS has released a tax calculator to help check how much you should be withholding in 2018. If you are not familiar with how to use the calculator, this video will demonstrate how.

If you identify a needed change in your withholding, please contact your employer to fill out a new Form W-4. LBA Haynes Strand can also provide additional analysis and answer any other questions you might have about this subject.

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.

Bitcoin: What is it and How is it Reported for Tax Purposes?

Bitcoin has been all over the news recently. Although we hear a lot about it, we are left with numerous questions. What is it, how does it work, and how we deal with it from a tax reporting perspective? Now, other cryptocurrencies are hitting the mainstream. All of this makes us wonder, will these cryptocurrencies continue to shape our future or is all of this a fad that will die down within a year? Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase stated in October that “If you’re stupid enough to buy bitcoin, you’ll pay the price one day.” More recently, on December 12th, he stated: “Look, everyone has a personal opinion about Bitcoin. I remain highly skeptical of it. But as I’ve said previously, I’m open-minded to uses of cryptocurrencies if properly controlled and regulated.”

What are Cryptocurrencies?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is not issued by any central authority. For this reason, it is difficult for governments to manipulate or provide any kind of control or oversight. Bitcoin is by far the most popular cryptocurrency, but there are many other cryptocurrencies that are beginning to gain traction. These include Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, and Dash.

How about Bitcoin?

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. It was released in 2009 as an open-source software. It, along with other cryptocurrencies, leverage the use of blockchain, which is a digital ledger in which transactions me in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.

The market price of a bitcoin remained substantially low until 2013, where it shot up to over $1,000. Since then, market price fluctuated in the $200-$800 until this year, where it hit $10,000 as of a couple of weeks ago, and is trading at $16,000 as of the date of this article. The Winklevoss twins, who many may know from their famous lawsuit against Mark Zuckerburg, recently became the first “Bitcoin Billionaires.”

Tax Reporting for Bitcoin

The IRS has released some guidance for the tax implications of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (virtual currencies) with the release of Notice 2014-21. Within this notice, they state that virtual currencies are treated as property for federal tax purposes. Fair market value must be determined in U.S. dollars and capital gains rules apply if the taxpayer sells or exchanges virtual currency.

However, there has been some debate about the applicability of like-kind exchanges. The IRS has remained silent about 1031 (like-kind) exchanges for virtual currencies. One idea is that Bitcoin for Bitcoin exchanges might qualify, but a Bitcoin for Ethereum trade might not qualify. However, this question might be irrelevant if a new tax bill passes that limits like-kind exchanges to real-estate property.

The payment of virtual currency can also constitute wages if paid to an employee. If an independent contractor receives more than $600 of virtual currency, Form 1099-MISC will be required.

How about Bitcoin Mining?

The use of computer resources to validate transactions and maintain the public Bitcoin transaction ledger (mining), is classified as income at the fair market value of the virtual currency as of the date of receipt. Mining constitutes a trade or business. This can constitute self-employment income if the activity is not undertaken by the taxpayer as an employee.

Stay tuned for updates on this subject and if you have any questions, set up your no-cost consultation or give us a call 704-841-1120.

Tax Deductions to Keep in Mind When Traveling for Charity

It’s almost that time again… Tax Season! We want to make sure that you are taking advantage of all the tax deductions that are available to you when you are traveling for charity. There are a few things that you want to make sure you are doing to make sure the deductions qualify. 

A few tips to remember are:
  • Make sure the Charity qualifies by the IRS standards
  • Ask the Charity about their status before you donate
  • Know what Out-of-Pocket Expenses are deductible
  • Recognize the travel expenses that are deductible and not deductible – some types of travel are NOT deductible

To see specific tips from the IRS on this topic, CLICK HERE. If you have any additional questions about tax deductions when traveling for charity, contact us today!

NC Tax Law Updates – NCACPA in Action

In North Carolina, the NCACPA is working to modernize and improve our state tax code. LBA Haynes Strand is proud to be a member of the NCACPA. This year they have made a few changes and have recently announced those changes. Take a look at what the NCACPA has been working on by CLICKING HERE!

If you have any questions on the law changes and how they may affect you, click the button below for a no-cost consultation.

Recent Change For Small Business: Something You May Want To Do

The President signed the 21st Century Cures Act on December 13, 2016. This law allows small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees to use health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) after 2016. HRAs allow employers to pay or reimburse employees for qualified medical expenses. Employers can deduct the expense on their business tax returns but employees generally do not have to include the expense in their income.

Employers must offer the arrangement to all employees and distribute a written notice to all employees at least 90 days before the beginning of each tax year. For 2017, a notice must be distributed before March 13. The amount of the expense may not exceed $4,950 ($10,000 for family) per year.

No mention was made on how to treat 2% owners of S corporations.

Please click the button below for a no-cost consultation to discuss more detailed information on health reimbursement arrangements.

Individual North Carolina Tax Law Changes – This May Affect You!

Tax laws are constantly evolving. Below you can find the most recent tax law change that will affect individual taxpayers in North Carolina:

The North Carolina 2016 Appropriations Act (H1030) was signed into law by the governor on July 14, 2016. While the majority of the Act is the state budget for the year there was one provision included that may affect your 2016 and 2017 individual tax returns.  The standard deduction amounts for 2016 and 2017 were increased by $1,000 for married individuals filing joint returns, $500 for single individuals and married individuals filling separate returns, and $800 for individuals filing as head of household.  So, if the standard deduction of $16,500 for married joint, $13,200 for head of household, or $8,250 for single and married separate is more than your itemized deductions consisting of medical expenses, real estate taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions in 2016 your tax may be reduced.

If you have questions, contact the LBA Haynes Strand team today for a no-cost consultation!

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!

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.