Do You Know What “PCORI” Is?

Do You Know What "PCORI" Is? by Howard Lipset, CPAWell, you had better. It is the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and it is a new fee under the Affordable Care Act.

And it is a nit-picking little fee filed on IRS Form 720 for any employer with a self-funded plan. Form 720 is a 6-page form that was originally intended to be an excise tax on gasoline and other gasoline type products. It is filed quarterly, but for PCORI it is filed annually in the second quarter.

You need to count up the number of covered persons (including dependents), and if your plan year ended on or before 10/1/13 you owe $1.00 per person, and $2.00 per person for years ending on or before 10/1/14. However, a plan ending March 31, 2015 does not have to file until July 2016. Yes, 16 months later. And the definition in the official instructions does not easily interpret this. We had to get it in writing from the insurance company. Continue reading

Martial Arts vs. Business Development

 MARTIAL ARTS vs. BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT by Howard Lipset, CPADuring May 2014, I was asked to give a presentation about Business Development to networking group, IBO.

In order to keep everyone’s attention I decided to go off-beat. The first thing I produced was a piece of wood, 9 inches by 12 inches and asked them to guess as to what its primary use was. And inside of one minute, someone called out that it looked like a board one breaks with their fist. The right answer.

I then asked what the correlation could be between this board and business development. That answer is quite abstract, as well as practical.

Continue reading

IRS Impersonators

IRS Impersonators by Howard Lipset, CPAHopefully, most of you are aware that I write a blog, and that one of my favorite topics is how scams operate.

Recently, I have written about scams that involve the Internal Revenue Service.

Well, recently they tried it on my office. When I got back after a breakfast meeting, there was a message that a Mr. DM had called from the IRS and left his phone number. He was a “Case Consulting Officer” and needed to discuss discrepancies in my own tax return. The individual who called demanded that I return the call immediately. Continue reading

The Inherent Inefficiency of Government Bureaucracy

The Inherent Inefficiency of  Government Bureaucracy - Howard Lipset, CPAThere are few who will disagree with the fact that, in recent years, the governmental bureaucracy has grown dramatically while its efficiency has deteriorated in an equally dramatic manner.

From 1952 to 1972, the cost of the public payroll multiplied more than fourfold, from $35 billion to $150 billion. The 330% increase over that period exceeds the 247% growth of employee compensation in private industries ($161 billion to $557 billion). In 1952, the average worker in private employment earned 5% more than his counterpart in government. By 1972, he had fallen 10% behind. Continue reading

Social Security is a Matter of Timing

By Harriet Hoffman, Make the Right Choice

Social Security is a Matter of Timing - Howard Lipset, CPADeciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits can be a major life decision. It can impact your long-term financial security, your retirement prospects and your federal tax burden, or it can provide an immediate and welcome lifeline.

On the surface, when to take your benefits looks like a no-brainer. You can begin collecting any time between age 62 and 70.  Full Social Security age is 66. So if you want or need those monthly payments, many people would advise you to grab the money as soon as possible. If you don’t need the money the common wisdom says wait until you are full Social Security age (for baby boomers that age is 66) and then you will collect for more years than if you wait until the maximum age of 70. If you don’t have other assets, wait until 70 to get more guaranteed-annuity income. This over-simplified guide leaves out the myriad of factors that need to be considered if you are to make the most of the benefit that you have earned and that for many will play a significant role in your future financial security.

Continue reading

Are You Sure You Can Trust that Most Trusted Deposit?

Are You Sure You Can Trust that Most Trusted Deposit? Howard Lipset, CPAWhat you do not understand can make you poorer.

I have a client who delivered to me a series of transactions and documents in one email.

The first concerned the deposit of a cashier’s check on a bank in Ohio. The second, an email from the agent who sent the check, requesting their commission payment by wire transfer immediately. The agent explained to my client that since the cashier’s check would be available immediately, that there was no problem sending the wire immediately, as well.

Continue reading

Do You Qualify for a Health Insurance Coverage Exemption?

Do You Qualify for a Health Insurance Coverage Exemption? By Howard LipsetThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for individuals to have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, have an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment (this is the penalty tax) when filing his or her federal income tax return.

You may be exempt from the requirement to maintain qualifying health insurance coverage, called minimum essential coverage, and may not have to make a shared responsibility payment when you file your next federal income tax return.

Continue reading

FTC Warns Small Business: Don’t Open Emails with This Subject Line

FTC Warns Small Business: Don’t Open Emails with This Subject Line By Howard LipsetThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a new email scam targeting small businesses.

The FTC is warning small businesses not to open emails with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” claiming to be from the government agency. The email falsely states that a complaint has been filed with the FTC.

The FTC does not contact anyone via email.

Continue reading

What is Your Time Worth?

What is Your Time Worth? By Howard LipsetThe difference between a small business simply getting by or forging forward may be that they should be increasing their overhead in the right places.

If a business owner is spending more than five hours a month on any particular function, they must consider outsourcing the work. In today’s world, many functions performed by specialized departments in large corporations are available to small business from small companies.  Continue reading

Your iPhone is Tracking You

Your iPhone is Tracking You By Howard LipsetAnd it is doing it in ways you never imagined.

Yes, we want to be able to use our GPS functions and get directions, but are you aware that some of your apps are tracking you as well?

Apps like Evernote and Dictation are logged into your GPS. Why do you need that? Every bank app I have is logged into my GPS. I don’t need to know where the nearest ATM is. I can search by zip code if I have to.

Continue reading