4Thought Blog

4thought graphic - blog 2020

The Top 8 Resolutions for Business Owners for 2022

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Dec 30, 2021

Have you compiled a list of New Year's resolutions for your small business in 2022?

Resolutions don't have to be limited to your personal life. Consider how you can improve in the upcoming year in your role as a small business owner.

Of course, everyone's list will be different. But here are eight common aspirations that usually make good business sense.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Minimum Wage Increases: The New Rates to Know for 2022

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Dec 21, 2021

In today's tight labor market, many employers have been raising wages substantially to maintain operations. That's most evident in the leisure and hospitality sector, where average hourly wages rose 12% for the year ending October 2021.

For many organizations, getting by with paying minimum wage is generally a distant memory. That's particularly true where the state's minimum wage is the same rate — $7.25 — as the federal rate that's been in place since 2009.

In other states with minimums as high as double the federal rate, it can be a different story. Even a small minimum wage increase can have significant financial consequences for a business or nonprofit organization.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Offering New Benefits to Attract Employees? Watch for Tax Consequences

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Oct 14, 2021

Although some companies that sent workers home during the pandemic have returned them to the office, many businesses continue to rely on remote workers. At the same time, companies in a range of industries are struggling to find and keep employees.

This unusual business environment has spawned some innovative fringe benefits — or expanded traditional offerings — from counseling to pizza deliveries to birthday gifts. What are the tax consequences of offering them? It depends.

"Fringe benefit" typically is used to describe services, property or some other item of value an employer provides its employees. Normally, a fringe benefit constitutes taxable income to the recipient unless a statutory exclusion applies. For some employees, the special tax-exempt perks are the real fringe benefits.

The list of statutory exclusions in the tax code includes common benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plan matching contributions. But other less-known benefits may fit your company's current needs. Here are eight to consider — and their potential tax treatment:

Read More

Topics: Business tax planning, Business consulting

Post-PPP Financing Options to Grow Your Business

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Sep 16, 2021

Business activity ground to a halt in many areas during the pandemic. Fortunately, the Paycheck Protection Plan program and other relief programs rescued many small enterprises from financial crisis. If certain requirements are met, all or part of PPP loan proceeds may be forgivable — similar to a grant from the federal government.

The PPP loan program ended on May 31, 2021. Now, struggling businesses might be applying for affordable conventional loans — or negotiating more favorable terms for their existing debt. Doing so can help reduce interest expense and working capital requirements. Don't wait for lenders to make the first move. Here's how to get the optimal terms from your lender.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Should You Have the Same Office Post-COVID? Maybe Consider a New Approach

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Sep 2, 2021

Where your business is located, and how you use the commercial space that you have, can mean the difference between thriving and just limping along — or worse.

That fact was brought home for many business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic, when lease payments became a big financial strain, and dust was accumulating on the desks of employees working remotely.

Even with the economy bouncing back in many sectors, returning to previous uses of commercial real estate could be a big mistake. Here are some reasons why:

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Federal Overtime Rules: Often Overlooked Requirements Businesses Should Know

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jul 29, 2021

Employers' legal obligations regarding overtime pay aren't always as straightforward as one might think. Sometimes even well-intentioned employers might be oblivious to some fine points of the law.

When the U.S. Department of Labor publicizes financial penalties it has levied against employers for overtime pay violations, it's not hoping to shame them. The treatment and calculation of this pay can be confusing. So the DOL's goal is to make the most of "teachable moments." Three recent cases involving OT pay rules come under that heading.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

A Warning to Employers: Teleworking May Cause State Tax Withholding Issues

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jul 27, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers shut down their regular workplaces, either partially or wholly, as a safety precaution and instructed their employees to work from home. While some employees have returned to work, many are still working from home.

Some employers have found that using remote workers is a sound strategy going forward. As a result, the state in which an employee lives may not necessarily be the same as the state where he or she works. How does this affect state income tax withholding?

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Latest ACA Supreme Court Ruling: What it Means for Businesses

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jun 29, 2021

In a highly anticipated decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 ruled by a 7-2 vote that the plaintiffs in the latest challenge to the Affordable Care Act lacked standing to bring the lawsuit. The decision marks the third failed attempt to repeal the ACA since it became law on March 23, 2010.

In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s action, many taxpayers filed protective refund claims asking the IRS to refund either or both the 0.9% additional Medicare tax or 3.8% net Investment Income tax enacted as part of the ACA. The Court’s decision means that those protective refund claims will not be approved by the IRS.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

How Employers Can Fight Fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claims

Posted by Concannon Miller on Tue, Jun 22, 2021

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration reports "unprecedented increases in unemployment insurance claims amid the pandemic and related surges in fraudulent filing in states' systems by sophisticated criminal rings." This has caused widespread problems for states, employers and employees alike.

Innocent employees have had claims filed in their names, employers are winding up with higher UI premiums, and some state UI systems have been unable to keep up with the increased work necessary to fight the fraud. In response, the ETA has issued guidance to state UI departments on stricter standards for verifying the legitimacy of claims before paying benefits.

The explosion in sophisticated criminal activity is in addition to lower-level fraud perpetrated by former employees. Some laid-off workers who receive UI benefits may not report their new working status when they become reemployed. Or laid-off employees may claim they're meeting eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits, such as actively looking for work, when they aren't doing so.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Unemployment: Which States Opted Out and How to Reboard Returning Employees

Posted by Concannon Miller on Thu, Jun 17, 2021

In recent weeks, many employers have complained about how difficult it is to fill job openings.

The country is returning to normalcy, with COVID-19 cases drastically falling, yet some businesses can't get all their workers to come back. Maryland recently joined 24 other states in ending the $300 per week federal unemployment benefits in a bid to encourage people to return to the workforce.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program was established under the CARES Act back in March 2020. Subsequently, it has been extended, most recently through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Federal unemployment benefits are scheduled to expire on September 6, 2021.

Read More

Topics: Business consulting

Subscribe for more Timely Tips for Businesses

Recent Posts