Fine Point Consulting Newsletter - April 2021

Returning To Normal

April showers bring May flowers - and also extended tax deadlines, fully vaccinated individuals finally coming out of quarantine, and the latest updates on PPP funding opportunities.

As vaccinations are now available to most people and with nearly 40% of the US population fully vaccinated, people are starting to come out of quarantine and get somewhat back to normal. But what is “normal” going to look like going forward? At Fine Point, even though a good portion of our team is remote, those of us local to the Madison office have definitely missed celebrating birthdays with ice cream cake or celebrating all the holidays with festive snacks. While we are all anxious to get back together again, we do not want to rush it and want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable before doing so. Read on to see how we are combatting the post-COVID return to work.  

At least for those of us in WI, spring is finally here and we are able to get out and enjoy the nice weather! At least until next week, when chances are always good we’ll have another snowstorm coming our way.

President, Fine Point Consulting

The R&D Tax Credit: The Nicest Thing I've Ever Seen The IRS Do

By Louisa Else, Tax Practice Leader

There are a lot of negative feelings surrounding taxes, and much of them warranted. For individuals, many tax breaks are phased out as your income increases (which logically is when you need those deductions the most, one would think)! For businesses, certain deductions are limited or can only be taken if you have the income to offset them, and then carryforwards get created that you might not see the benefit of for years to come.

At Fine Point, we work with many businesses who are just getting started, using their own funds or funds raised from angel investors to develop products that are going to change our world. Doing this means a lot of money going out the door and probably no sales coming in yet to replace those funds! Because of this, one tax credit we see so many of our clients qualify for is the Research and Development credit. 

Tax Credit

Most tax credits are only useful if you have a profit, and therefore taxes due, to offset those credits against. In the case of those same clients I just mentioned, that would mean those credits did nothing to help them right now - because they haven't generated any income yet. However, the R&D credit is the one exception to that. I often say that this credit and this election are the most beneficial tax item I have ever seen - if the business is pre-revenue, or in the first 5 years of having sales, they can elect to take that R&D tax credit off of their income tax return and carry it over to their payroll taxes instead. This means that, as long as the company has payroll, they can see immediate refunds of their payroll taxes coming back to them quarterly until the credit is used up, rather than waiting years until the have started to be profitable and now have income tax to offset with credits (at which point, there will also be those years of net operating losses available to take against some of the taxable income as well). 

At Fine Point, our tax team is in constant communication with our controller teams for all the returns we prepare, making sure that we're taking advantage of this great credit whenever there is opportunity. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you think that you may qualify for this credit or if you have questions on what the requirements are.

Open For Business! Tips For The Next Phase Of Life After COVID

By Steph Breunig, HR Practice Leader

Open For Business

It is an exciting time and many of us are embracing the delightful changes that come with progress on the COVID front. However, some of us are still understandably apprehensive. As employers (and let’s face it, as humans), we want to take care of people, ease their worries, and keep them healthy.  People are your biggest, most important resource as a business, after all. As we return to a more normal, pre-COVID office life, there are several considerations that will make the return to the office process smoother and safer.

Take the pulse of your people.
Not literally of course. Find out how they are feeling about returning to the office. Survey them on things such as schedules, willingness to wear PPE, and something as simple as “are you looking forward to returning to the office?”. Based on their responses, make a plan to address those concerns that may differ from the standard safety precautions that are familiar to all of us.

Address Safety and Security.
A primary concern of your employees and any visitors will be safety. There are several processes to implement that can help:

  • Ventilation is key to reducing transmission indoors, so be sure to address filtration systems in your office. 
  • A rigorous and frequent cleaning schedule should be implemented to be sure high traffic areas used by multiple people are sanitary.
  • Make PPE readily available. If sanitizer and masks are easily accessible, they are much more likely to be used.

Allow for Flexibility
If there is one thing we’ve all learned through the pandemic, it’s got to be flexibility. Our lives and our businesses have all been completely disrupted, but for the most part, we’ve risen to the occasion. We’ve learned to be flexible and more patient as we’ve been dealt the COVID hand.  Employers should continue to come from a place of flexibility as we start to get back to “normal”- whatever that means! It is going to look different for every individual in your office. While Brad is ready to chat at the water cooler with only 3 feet of social distance, Chelsea isn’t comfortable enough to come to the office when others are working, so she prefers to work from home yet and do her in-office work at night and on weekends when she’s solo. Make sure that you are supporting all of your employees, wherever they are at this moment and in the coming weeks and months.

Whether you need a return-to-office plan or a new remote workforce policy, Fine Point Consulting HR is here for you! Contact us today at

How To Change The Universe (Or A Small Part Of It) With One Simple Answer

By Leroy Kolacinski, Controller

How do you answer the mundane question “How are you?”  Most will say “I’m OK.”  We’ll be very non-committal.  Heaven forbid you get someone who launches into telling you about every ache and pain they have. How do I answer it? Those who know me are already hearing me say it. “I’M FANTASTIC!”

Am I always fantastic?  Well, I am human and am no longer as young as most of my colleagues here, so I’ll let you answer that.  All the same, that’s my answer. Why?  

Well, first of all, I spent over 25 years of my life living across the street from a cemetery.  Any day I could wake up and complain, I was having a better day than the neighbors.  But there’s a more powerful reason for me to say it.

How Are you

I mentioned that those who know me were probably imagining me saying it.  I’d bet they also broke into a smile.  No matter how bad a day they were having, they probably smiled, at least a bit.  How awesome is it that I can have that power over the universe to make someone’s day just a little bit better?

In the “before times,” I would go to a health club every morning and there would be a gentleman there who would see me and ask me how I was doing.  Then he’d wait with obvious anticipation of my answer.

“I’M FANTASTIC, as always,” would be my answer.

The man would burst into a huge grin.  He looked forward to hearing me say that. It made HIS life better.  Being the kind of person I am, making his life better made mine better in reaction.  Even if I wasn’t fantastic before, I was a step or two closer to being that great just by seeing him beaming.

I’m not a positive mental value kind of guy. My job has always been to find the dark cloud surrounding every silver lining.  However, I still have infinitely more power every time I answer someone with “I’M FANTASTIC!”  I hope to continue having that power for a long time to come.

So tell me something.  How are YOU?

Mark Your Calendar!

  • 4/15/2021 (Today) – Corporate Income Tax Deadline
  • 4/15/2021 (Today) – 2021 Q1 Estimated Payment Deadline (Business and Personal)
  • 4/30/2021 – First Quarter Payroll Reporting Due
  • 5/17/2021 - Individual Tax Deadline (Pushed back from April 15th)

Fine Point Consulting is a boutique consulting firm offering expert-level professional accounting & human resources services customized to meet your budget. We help entrepreneurs who are trying to scale fast, get more done, and stay lean.

Call us today for your free consultation at 877-535-1183 or use the button below