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Thursday, 07 July 2016 00:00

We Have Moved!

We moved into our new location in Hawthorne Professional Park, 400 Hawthorne Lane, Suite A; Athens, GA 30606 !  Our new space offers plenty of parking, easy access, and convenience to the Athens perimeter.  Our professional park lies on Hawthorne Avenue, at the red light between Athens YMCA and Bell’s supermarket.  The map below should guide you right to us.  We look forward to seeing you at our new location!

 

 

Thursday, 16 June 2016 00:00

Health Insurance and Divorce

Spouse A’s employer. If you are Spouse A, you should notify the appropriate person at your company when divorce proceedings are initiated. Removing Spouse B from the coverage may save you money by lowering the insurance premiums, even if you continue to carry the children on the policy. Your spouse may ask you to continue his or her coverage but that’s probably not feasible. After a divorce, your ex-spouse generally won’t qualify for family coverage on your plan.

 

Going through a divorce can be a stressful experience, and some items may be overlooked. Nevertheless, if you are in this situation, you should be sure to pay some attention to future health insurance. Medical bills and health insurance premiums can be extremely expensive; any lapse in coverage might lead to a financial crisis. The fine points of paying for health insurance after a divorce will vary by your specific circumstances, including the terms of current coverage and state law. That said, here are some general thoughts to help you in this area.

Disconnected from family coverage, Spouse B might request that you pay the premiums for ongoing health insurance, as part of the divorce negotiation. If possible, see if that amount can be included in an alimony agreement because alimony you pay will be tax deductible.

 

For covered spouses On the other hand, you might be Spouse B, covered by health insurance from Spouse A’s workplace. After a divorce, you likely will lose that coverage, so you won’t have health insurance. If you’re employed and work for a company with a health plan, you can go onto that plan. However, without such an opportunity, your best choice might be to rely on the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, known as COBRA.

 

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What’s more, PATH was not a simple “extenders” act, continuing certain tax breaks for a year or two. On the contrary, PATH converted many tax code provisions from temporary to permanent, retroactive to the beginning of 2015. Therefore, you can have much more confidence in future tax plans regarding these provisions. (Other tax code provisions that had expired, or were scheduled to expire, were extended for two or five years, retroactive to 2015.) This issue of the CPA Client Bulletin covers some of the main tax rules that have been affected. If you have questions about these and other tax code items that were set to expire in 2015 or later years, contact our office for details.

 

Last December, President Obama signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 into law. The new law contains several tax benefits for individuals and companies.

 

Deducting Sales Taxes

 

Taxpayers who itemize deductions on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040 can deduct some state and local tax payments from their income. Among the formerly impermanent tax deductions that are now permanent is the option to deduct sales instead of income taxes. Example: Marge and Nick Palmer always itemize deductions on their joint tax return. Generally, the Palmers deduct the state income tax they pay. In 2015, though, their income fell, and so did the state income tax they paid. The Palmers also have made some large purchases, paying steep amounts of sales tax. For 2015 and future years, the Palmers can deduct the sales tax they paid instead of the state income tax they paid, if the amount of sales tax exceeded their income tax.

 

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Thursday, 16 June 2016 00:00

Should You Pay Summer Interns?

Each year, many companies—large and small—offer summer internships. The interns are frequently college students between academic years, and they usually are unpaid. Recently, such arrangements have come under fire from those contending interns should be put on the payroll. The advantages of unpaid internships are clear: Companies probably have relatively low financial obligations for the services of their interns. Especially in the summer, when many employees are on vacation, it may be helpful to have extra individuals around. If interns make a favorable impression, they might provide employers with a stream of productive, paid employees in the future. Alternatively, various advocates assert that interns are truly employees, who should be paid for the work they do. The federal Department of Labor (DOL) apparently takes this view, at least in many circumstances. The DOL has published a six-part test, all parts of which must be met, in order for a forprofit firm to justify not paying interns. The key point is that an internship must be training that benefits the intern, without any current benefit to the employer. Failing to pass the six-point test, an employer must compensate interns according to the law for the services performed, by this standard.

 

stated that the question of required pay revolves around which party was the primary beneficiary of the arrangement, and sent the case back to the district court. Given this background, how should business owners proceed if they offer or are thinking about offering internships? An astute first step is to consult an attorney. Get an opinion about the status of local law and legal advice about how to structure your internship program. In any case, business owners should carefully consider whether they want to offer unpaid internships. How much will you truly save by not paying interns?

Does that savings outweigh the potential future recruiting benefits of paying your interns and the reduced exposure to future legal challenges? Both sides may have valid points, but you should take a clear view of the issue before making decisions.


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