1. Featured Articles

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    1. National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2014 Annual Report Focuses On Erosion of Taxpayer Services

      National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2014 Annual Report Focuses On Erosion of Taxpayer Services

      As you’ve been reading the news over the past several months, you’ve probably noticed headlines such as IRS Cuts Taxpayer Service as Filing Returns Gets Harder,” IRS Service at ‘Unacceptably Low Levels’,” and IRS Customer Service: Why It’s Only Getting Worse.” In fact, both IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, and National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, have predicted that 2015 will be an extremely difficult filing season. We all know that budget woes have plagued governments at all levels, causing their employees to be expected to do the same amount of work, and usually more, with shrinking resources. Having ...

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    2. Healthcare Organizations Can Turn 2015 Challenges into Opportunities with the Right Planning and Preparation - Windham Brannon

      Healthcare Organizations Can Turn 2015 Challenges into Opportunities with the Right Planning and Preparation - Windham Brannon

       

      It’s the first full week of the New Year, and 2015 will most certainly present its challenges to healthcare organizations across the country. These challenges can either be seen as obstacles or opportunities, and how your leadership team handles these challenges may certainly impact the fate of your organization. As a leader in the healthcare advisory space, Windham Brannon has identified four key areas where all organizations should focus:

       

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    3. President Signs Tax Extenders Bill

      President Signs Tax Extenders Bill

      On December 19, President Obama signed a one-year tax extenders package into law. The bill, H.R. 5771, includes the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 which extends a package of more than 50 individual, business, and energy provisions through the end of 2014. The House and Senate passed this legislation on December 3 and December 16, respectively.

      The summary below lists some of the major provisions which have been extended.

      Individual extenders

      • The option to take an itemized deduction for state and local general sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes.
      • The increased contribution limits and carry ...
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    4. Make it Your GOAL to Take Action Before Year End

      Make it Your GOAL to Take Action Before Year End

      As the holidays are upon on us and the year comes to an end, individuals and businesses typically give back to the community and make contributions to their favorite charities.  In return for their donations, contributions to 501(c)(3) organizations provide an opportunity for a charitable tax deduction on their federal tax return.  While the charitable deduction reduces the overall net cost of the donation, taxpayers may want to consider an additional option.  A contribution to the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program provides taxpayers with a Georgia tax credit instead of the charitable deduction on the state tax level while ...

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    5. Could Georgia be the First State to Cap Income Taxes? Copy - Windham Brannon

      Could Georgia be the First State to Cap Income Taxes? Copy - Windham Brannon

      Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  While that saying rings loud in the ears of taxpayers, Georgia voters will be given the opportunity to at least avoid an increase in the state income tax rate.

      On November 4, Amendment A will ask the question, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum tax rate?”  The income tax rate currently imposed by the state of Georgia is 6% for all income over $7,000 and has been in effect since the ...

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    6. Louisiana Tax Amnesty Available Until November 14

      Louisiana Tax Amnesty Available Until November 14

      Has your company been conducting business in the state of Louisiana without filing tax returns?  A limited time opportunity exists for taxpayers to clear up these exposures. The Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2014 allows eligible taxpayers to apply for tax amnesty from October 15, 2014 through November 14, 2014 by voluntarily paying all of their delinquent taxes and applicable fees. The Department will waive all penalties and half of the interest owed on the delinquent taxes.

      The eligible taxpayers are business and individual taxpayers who owe:

      • Taxes that were due prior to January 1, 2014, for which the ...
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    7. Could Georgia be the First State to Cap Income Taxes? - Windham Brannon

      Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  While that saying rings loud in the ears of taxpayers, Georgia voters will be given the opportunity to at least avoid an increase in the state income tax rate.

      On November 4, Amendment A will ask the question, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum tax rate?”  The income tax rate currently imposed by the state of Georgia is 6% for all income over $7,000 and has been in effect since the ...

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    8. Windham Brannon’s Brad Dickson Gives His Take on the Georgia Tax Tribunal One Year Later

      This month marks one year since the Georgia Tax Tribunal  began its calendar of hearings for Georgians with tax disputes. Brad attended a recent Tribunal monthly calendar call that allowed him to see first-hand what many had visualized for the citizens of Georgia.

      The Georgia Tax Tribunal provides a low- or no-cost alternative for adjudicating tax disputes with the Georgia Department of Revenue.

      Brad’s recent attendance confirmed  that the Tribunal is fulfilling its mission. Here are some of his takeaways:

      • There are few hearings and many settlements.  Of the 50 cases on the calendar this day, there was only ...
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    9. Non-profit Tax Round-Up: Challenges, Trends and Business Opportunities for Charities - Windham Brannon

      Non-profits have faced business challenges as long as they’ve been part of our society. Although laser-focused on their missions, many have struggled to overcome the same obstacles from one year to the next, as they continually work with lean operating budgets and small staffs. While some challenges are recurring, there are new ones, along with different trends and business opportunities, that will make the current non-profit landscape very interesting for directors and their boards moving forward.

      Currently, the biggest issues and problems impacting non-profit organizations are:

      • Fundraising is becoming increasingly harder. With big donors, it’s not as easy ...
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    10. Windham Brannon acquires Latitude Growth Partners

      Windham Brannon acquires Latitude Growth Partners

      Windham Brannon bought an Atlanta boutique consulting and advisory firm and launched a new practice. Atlanta-based Windham Brannon announced Sept. 18 Tom Leahey, a founding partner of Atlanta-based Latitude Growth Partners, will lead its new Strategic Growth Advisory Practice. The new practice aims to help companies that don’t have the internal resources required to navigate through periods of strategic inflection points, which typically involve high growth.

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    11. LONGEVITY ANNUITIES NOW PERMITTED INSIDE 401(K)s and IRAs - Windham Brannon

      If you’re worried about outliving your retirement savings and have a large part of your net worth inside 401(k) plans or IRAs, you might now feel some relief. As of July 2, 2014, the Treasury Department changed its rules to allow participants in these retirement plans to invest in longevity annuities which start paying out at an advanced age, say 85, and continue throughout the participant’s life.

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    12. Insight from AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Conference Part I: DOL Emerging Issues - Windham Brannon

      Insight from AICPA Employee Benefit Plans Conference Part I: DOL Emerging Issues - Windham Brannon

      In May 2014, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) held its Employee Benefit Plans Conference in Las Vegas.  Leading industry experts, including those from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL), led discussions on the latest trends, topics and updates related to employee benefit plans community.

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    13. Changes Are Coming to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

      Sweeping changes to revenue recognition are coming to US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) under one of the most consequential parts of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) convergence project with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). While some companies will feel no impact from this change in accounting principles, some industries and companies will experience greater impact than others.

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    14. Corporate Tax Round-UP: Sticky Issues, 2014 Changes and Impact on CFOs

      Perhaps the greatest tax issue impacting CFOs is uncertainty, which tremendously affects the ability to project corporate profits, effective tax rates, cash flows, and borrowing needs. This uncertainty is aggravated by Congress’s inaction, widely differing approaches to tax reform and legislation in the House and the Senate, and the retirement or resignation of key leaders of Congressional committees.

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    15. IRS CUTS PENALTIES AND STREAMLINES ITS OFFSHORE DISCLOSURE PROGRAM

      The IRS has announced sweeping changes to its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (Program) for U.S. taxpayers who have previously been noncompliant.  In its 2014 Program effective July 1, 2014, the IRS reduced penalties to 5%, and in some cases to 0%, in the case of taxpayers whose conduct was not willful.  Non-willful conduct includes a failure to disclose due to negligence, inadvertence, a mistake, or a misunderstanding of the law.

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    16. SOC 2 “Plus” – More Opportunities to Demonstrate Your Compliance Efforts | Windham Brannon

      Today’s heavily regulated business environment often requires service organizations to achieve compliance with different security standards and frameworks that may vary across industries. While many businesses have their own IT departments, they may not have the in-house expertise to develop sound business practices and controls to demonstrate the proper corporate governance and compliance, much less for multiple regulations or standards.  While some regulations may afford service organizations the option to self-certify compliance, often times audit firms are engaged to render an independent opinion of the design and operating effectiveness of an IT system’s internal control for a Type ...

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    17. Georgia Restaurant Association - Accounting Corner

      It is that familiar time again in Washington. It is time for Congress, yet again, to consider “tax extender” legislation that would extend and expand certain expired income tax benefits for another year or two. Included within the list of potential tax extenders that expired at the end of 2013 are items that could have a significant impact on restaurant owners, such as 50% bonus depreciation, increased Section 179 expensing, 15-year depreciation on qualified restaurant improvements, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), among others.

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    18. Good Law, Now Bad Policy? Comments on the Senate Tax Hearings | Windham Brannon

      The on-going Senate hearings on “Offshore Profit Shifting” have publicized and politicized long-standing tax laws used by American businesses with international trade.  The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, under the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is in the midst of a multi-year study to spotlight how U.S. multinational corporations – including stalwarts Apple, Microsoft, HP and Caterpillar — are shifting profits outside the U.S. tax base.   The hearings are intended to expose how taxpayers are using provisions of international tax law to drive results contrary to the policymakers’ objectives.

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    19. It May Be a Question of When, But It’s Not a Question of If. The Time is Now to Put ICD-10 Plans In Place.

      Let’s face it, we all have a little doubt that ICD-10 will actually move forward in October of 2015.  The government has created this doubt by continually delaying the go-live date.  All this doubt, and the cost of moving forward, has really created a situation where providers are unsure of what to do next.  Here are some recommendations:

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