IRS – Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico Relief

The IRS has announced Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, similar to the announcements previously made for Texas and Florida hurricane disasters.

From this week’s National Association of Tax Professionals e-newsletter:

The IRS is offering a recap of key tax relief provisions affecting taxpayers who suffered losses resulting from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

In general, the IRS is now providing relief to individuals and businesses anywhere in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as well as parts of Texas. Because this relief postpones various tax deadlines, individuals and businesses will have until January 31, 2018, to file any returns and pay any taxes due. Those eligible for the extra time include:

  • Individual filers whose tax-filing extension runs out on October 16, 2017. Because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.
  • Business filers, such as calendar-year partnerships, whose extensions ran out on September 15, 2017.
  • Quarterly estimated tax payments due on September 15, 2017, and Jan. 16, 2018.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on October 31, 2017.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on November 15, 2017.

A variety of other returns, payments and tax-related actions also qualify for additional time. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details on these and other relief provisions the IRS has offered since these hurricanes began hitting in August.

NSAC Cooperative Learning Network – Upcoming Webinars

The National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives offers some great online learning resources from time-to-time, and in today’s e-newsletter update, a few in particular were listed that caught my attention. In particular, George Benson and Teree Castanias are excellent, knowledgeable presenters, and Don Frederick — himself a legend in the co-op tax world — does a great job introducing the concept of co-op taxation.

Current Cooperative Tax Developments
Thursday, October 19, 2017
11:00 AM EST / 10:00 AM CST / 09:00 AM MST / 08:00 AM PST

George Benson, Attorney, McDermott Will & Emery, LLP
The program will include a review of Section 199 developments, including pending Court cases. If there is anything definite to discuss with respect to tax reform, it will address the potential impact on cooperatives and their members. In addition, the program will review areas where historically there has been controversy between the IRS and cooperatives and discuss their current status.

MORE INFO    REGISTER NOW 

Book vs Tax vs Hybrid Basis of Paying Patronage
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
02:00 PM EST / 01:00 PM CST / 12:00 PM MST / 11:00 AM PST

Teresa (Teree) Castanias, CPA
A cooperative must return the profits of its patronage operation s to the member/patrons based on the business done with the cooperative for the year. But how that income is computed (book, tax or hybrid) will create very different results. How the cooperative addresses this issue can have important financial and member relations implications.

MORE INFO    REGISTER NOW 

Basic Accounting & Auditing for Co-ops Seminar
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
11:00 AM EST / 10:00 AM CST / 09:00 AM MST / 08:00 AM PST

This 4-hour, 4-CPE credit course, is designed for new hires and other employees of cooperatives and firms serving cooperatives that can benefit from training in the unique nature of cooperatives.

Introduction to Cooperatives – Donald Frederick (11:00 am – 12:00 pm
During this presentation we explain the foundation for doing business on a cooperative basis, with special emphasis on the owner-customer role of a co-op’s members. We discuss the rich history of cooperatives in America, the many types of cooperatives in our communities, and conclude with an examination of the benefits of having businesses operate as cooperatives.

Equity Management & Inter-Cooperative Investments – Phil Miller (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
The course discusses the various types of Cooperative Equity and introduces the concepts of Equity Redemption. It discusses the Components of Inter-Cooperative Investments and why Co-ops so often invest in each other. It covers Balance Sheet and Income Statement Presentation, Timing and Recognition issues, Footnote Disclosures, and Impairment Questions related specifically to Inter-Cooperative Investments.

Lunch (1:00 pm – 1:30 pm
The audio portion of the CLN will be suspended during this time.

Basic Cooperative Taxation – Donald Frederick (1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
During this session we discuss the unique Federal income tax treatment of cooperatives. We focus on how tax law supports equity accumulation by cooperatives, particularly the patronage refund. We conclude by providing a set of tools to facilitate tax planning by cooperatives and their professional advisers.

Co-op GAAP – Phil Miller (2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
The course discusses how all GAAP is applicable to co-ops, but also how some GAAP applies specifically to only co-ops. We will discuss the two single pieces of GAAP that form the basis for Co-op GAAP, plus one piece of GAAP that applies to electric co-ops. We will discuss how NSAC has contributed to the body of Co-op GAAP over the years and will finish with a discussion of the new FASB Codification and how Co-op GAAP is contained within the Codification.

MORE INFO    REGISTER NOW 

The full list of online webinars can be found at the NSAC Cooperative Learning Network.

Troubleshooting: Is QuickBooks Online Down?

A common thread pops up on a few of the QB ProAdvisor groups when QBO is having issues and none of us can log in. Sometimes it happens to everyone, sometimes just to some of us, sometimes it’s an isolated incident. Knowing whether or not it’s happening to others can be handy in troubleshooting, so I wanted to share some default “what to do” advice —

  1. clear your cache and cookies — do this for each browser user you have (it’s common especially in Chrome to have multiple “users”);
  2. make sure not to use a bookmarked link to sign in, but rather type qbo.intuit.com in the URL line;
  3. if it still doesn’t work, check out this link to see if others are reporting the same issues: Quickbooks Online down? Current problems and outages

Yesterday the system pretty much went down for everyone for the whole day, but clearing the cache and cookies and typing out the address got most folks back in… by 3 pm the engineers had resolved whatever was wrong and it looks like everyone’s going strong today.

NCBA Co-Op Professionals Conference, Oct 5-6 2017

For the past three years I’ve been honored to participate in planning the NCBA Co-op Professionals Conference — a get-together for attorneys, accountants, developers and other professionals that work with cooperatives. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, network, and connect.

Please join us in examining “The Regulated Cooperative” at the 2017 Cooperative Professionals conference, October 5-6, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia. The first day’s professional development program is devoted to the many ways in which federal regulation affects and controls cooperative enterprise, including regulation of financing, immigration, tax and labor. All four sessions have continuing professional education credit for CPAs and attorneys — the schedule is here (scroll down to Thursday & Friday — Wednesday is IMPACT- and Purchasing-only).

We are especially excited to present our luncheon speaker, Nathan Schneider, a thought leader in the new realm of Platform Cooperativism. He is Co-editor of the new book, Ours to Hack and to Own: The Rise of Platform Cooperativism, A New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet, which explores how the cooperative model can thrive in the Internet economy and inquires into the effects of antitrust enforcement, or its absence, in that highly consolidated landscape.

In the evening we will join the NCBA plenary session with mayors and city leaders who are taking different approaches to supporting the co-op ecosystem so that people can use cooperatives to create economic opportunity and address challenges within their cities.

On the second morning, we will be considering and framing a formal organization for this to-date informal grouping, a Cooperative Professionals Guild. After four years of successful conferences, is it time to create a permanent organizational home for planning the conference and other year-round professional development activities? In the spirit of cooperation, the ad hoc CPC planning committee invites you to participate in this effort.

This year’s conference is held in conjunction with Cooperative IMPACT convened by NCBA on October 4-6. We look forward to seeing you there!

Linda Phillips
Nancy McClelland
Thomas Beckett
Therese Tuttle
Sushil Jacob
Camille Kerr
Roland Hall
Elizabeth Van Der Wiede
Jason Wiener
Sara Stephens

Reconstructing Records After a Natural Disaster

In the wake of recent hurricanes, the IRS has issued a new Fact Sheet — FS-2017-11. It walks through the process of how to calculate Casualty and Disaster Tax Losses, as well as how to reconstruct records after a natural disaster, such as:

  • Tax records
  • Homes and other real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Personal property
  • Business records

AccountingWeb wrote up a nice summary of the fact sheet, but for the details, see the original at the IRS website: Reconstructing Records After a Natural Disaster or Casualty Loss; IRS Provides Tips to Help Taxpayers | Internal Revenue Service.

Free Socially Responsible Investing Seminar 9/23

A colleague of mine, Khloe Karova of Modern Capital Concepts, is offering a free seminar on Socially Responsible Investing this Saturday, September 23 at 10 am, at the Logan Square Chicago Public Library — details at the facebook event page here: Socially Responsible Investing.

She stays after each seminar to answer questions from attendees on financial planning, identity theft, and related topics.

Ultimate Annual vCon Sept 21-22, 2017

For QuickBooks bookkeepers and accountants interested in growing their businesses, the upcoming 2-day virtual conference put on by Michelle Long and Sandi Smith Leyva — two of the QB world’s thought leaders and trainers — is a great opportunity for learning and networking.

Intuitive Accountant made a good point a few years back about the value of this v-conference: for the price ($199), the content (educational sessions) and exposure to potential vendors (networking with reps) can’t be beat, not to mention the fact that it’s all accessible from your computer, wherever you and the internet are found.

The theme this year is “Accelerate Your Success”, and is much more oriented toward marketing/ pricing/ business development topics than usual, including:

  • How to price both old and new services
  • How to find new revenue stream ideas
  • How to get clients
  • How to learn how to introduce clients to new technologies
  • How to transition clients to new technologies without losing your revenue

The schedule is here, the vendor list is here, and registration is here.

Source: Join us for the Ultimate Annual vCon next week – Long for Success, LLC

IRS Finally Offers Secure Messaging

This. Is. Amazing. In a Herculean effort to drag itself into the 21st Century, the IRS has finally implemented a “secure messaging” service. This means that instead of calling to discuss matters and playing phone tag — or snail mailing and faxing files to them — we can finally send messages and files via a new secure IRS e-mail system!

Now, lest you get too excited — from what I can tell so far, there are some serious limitations:

  • You must be INVITED to participate. Your IRS representative must invite you (the client) and you must register. As long as the accountant has a Power of Attorney on-file for that client, he/she (me!) may use it as well. Under “Tax Preparer Options” there is a “Request Access” button.
  • It will be down for maintenance every Friday from 8-11 pm EST.
  • It does not seem to be an actual portal or shared “space”, so we still have what is my biggest issue: I like to submit audit files in an organized format, whereby there is a folder that corresponds to each of the listed requests on the IRS letter — with documents in each folder that provide the various types of support being requested. (For example, a folder for “Revenue” that has copies of sales receipts, POS end-of-day scans, invoices, etc.; and a folder for “Fixed Assets” that has copies of packing slips, vendor invoices, depreciation schedules, etc.) It doesn’t look like this system will allow you to upload an entire folder structure, the way a portal or document-sharing system does. But I haven’t confirmed this yet.

Check it out for yourselves! This is real!
Welcome to Secure Messaging | Internal Revenue Service

IRS – Hurricane Irma Relief

From today’s National Association of Tax Professionals TaxPro e-newsletter, and Accounting Today‘s Tax Practice e-newsletter, some important announcements from the IRS:

NATP – Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Irma
Extended filing and payment deadlines

Hurricane Irma victims in parts of Florida have until January 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, the IRS announced in IR-2017-150.

This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions to October 16, and businesses with extensions to September 15. This includes the September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018, deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments. The IRS noted, however, that because individual tax payments related to 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the October 31deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year partnerships whose 2016 extensions run out on September 15, 2017 and calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on November 15, 2017. The disaster relief page has details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions qualifying for the additional time.

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866.562.5227. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Individuals and businesses who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2017 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2016). See Publication 547 for details.