Fine Point Consulting Newsletter - January 2021

New Year, Updated Reporting Requirements

Often going into the New Year, we hear either “New year, New me!”, or about how everyone is setting resolutions of healthier lifestyles or improvements they want to make for the coming year. While some participate, others roll their eyes. This year, I think a common theme was the excitement that 2020 was finally over and being filled with hope for the coming year when we can get back to a happy and healthy normal that includes handshakes, hugs, and in-person interactions.

Generally, the New Year for accountants means BUSY! Whether it is closing the books for the prior year, finalizing budgets for the coming year, or juggling all the reporting and tax deadlines and keeping up with the changing reporting (looking at you 1099-NEC) ... we are busy doing it all. As one of our staff members called it, the ”January Scaries”!

If you have been following Fine Point, then one thing you might know is that our culture and our people are incredibly important parts of who we are. With COVID-19, we have had to find ways to keep our group tight-knit while working remotely - even more so as our team (still working remotely) continues to grow. For January, since we know we require a lot from our team, one thing we did was surprise everyone with a Bright Box that included a little note along with some yummy snacks. I stumbled upon these fun gifts in a newsletter from one of my mentors and they are honestly the best little surprise you can get in the mail! It was a nice little treat to let every know how much they are appreciated and boost morale during these busy times!

President, Fine Point Consulting

2021 Is Upon Us - Thank Goodness!

With any new year, there are a multitude of little changes that can have big impacts on your business. Because of the pandemic, there are even more than in other years.

Here are a few changes to consider as we roll into 2021:

Tax Updates

The IRS has updated the W4 form for 2021. Please make sure you work with your payroll provider to have the most recent and up-to-date tax form information.

W2s are required to be mailed out by January 31, 2021. Please make sure that your employees have updated their demographic information (such as an address change) from 2020. Even if their paychecks are directly deposited into a bank account, you’ll want to make sure their W2s are sent to the right place and that the correct information is on their W2.

Labor Law Posters

There are more than 75 state and federal employment law posting changes (mandatory and minor) each year. If you have any employees (even just one), you are required by law to post the mandatory Federal, State, and OSHA postings.

Contact us to inquire about ordering State, Federal, and Local 2021 required posters.

2021 Minimum Wage Changes 

There are several states and local municipalities instituting minimum wage increases in 2021.  It’s time to review your payroll to determine if your business and employees are affected by these changes. Failure to comply with minimum wage laws may result in substantial penalties.

Also of note: Many states have established exemptions from state minimum wage and/or overtime requirements under state law where employees are paid a certain minimum weekly salary or certain minimum hourly amount and perform certain duties. Email for a complete list of these changes.

FSA and HSA Updates  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS and Treasury Department have instituted new guidelines and allowances that apply to FSAs for just 2020.

Employers can extend their 2019 FSA grace period to December 31, 2020 (if their plan year follows the traditional calendar year), and June 30, 2021 if they have a split-year schedule. Employees can rollover up to $550 of their 2020 FSA funds to 2021.

For 2021 there are also changes to HSA plans. The individual coverage contribution limit has been raised an additional $50 for a total of $3,600 and the family coverage limit is $7,200. If you're 55 or older, you can put an extra $1,000 in your HSA.

How a Remote Work Culture Led to a Huge Transition in Life

By Lenise Rosado, Staff Accountant

Have you ever wanted to make a change in your life, but there were some things holding you back? I have always wanted to move to another state, but work was always a concern for me when considering relocation. I lived in South Florida for most of my life, and although the majority of people would probably think I was crazy for wanting to move, I was ready for a change of pace. It was always busy, the cost of living was creeping up, and any road trip I desired to take was super far away. Do not get me wrong  - South Florida is beautiful, but so are many other places in the United States that I have been longing to see.

I started working at Fine Point Consulting in November of 2019. I was new to the work-from-home thing and the ‘remote life’ culture. It did not take me long to fall in love with this company and the freedom given to employees! It started me thinking - Could I finally make my dream of moving out of state come true? As my husband and I got comfy as newlyweds, we started throwing the idea of relocating around more and more. Finally, at the end of 2020, we took a leap of faith! We prepared ourselves to move to North Carolina right next to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Not only did working at Fine Point make it possible for me to switch states, but our work model also helped me keep my sanity for the long to-do list that comes with a big move. If I were working a traditional 9-5 type of schedule, packing would have been a nightmare! Here, we work in teams and are given the flexibility to be a results-only work environment. I was able to work for an hour, then pack for an hour, and it allowed me to make sure that I was meeting both my work obligations to my clients and my team, while also continuing to make progress towards our move. This was my personal schedule up until we made the big drive. I would like to give a special thanks to my team for being extraordinary in their support while I needed to take a few days off to make the trip and settle in. It is such a blessing to know that I was not a burden to my team or our clients because the system we have in place ensures that all needs are met.

As we are settling into our new home at this very moment, I am completely grateful for the opportunity given by Fine Point. When you have happy employees, they are more than happy to work!

“This year has been an interesting one! With Fine Point
on board, we were able to get our books cleaned up, and
oddly enough, it looks like 2020 is going to be a really
great year for us.”

Christy Johnson
CEO, Artemis Connection

Looking Ahead: Upcoming Considerations for Income Taxes

By Louisa Else, Tax Practice Leader

While many people use some time in January to take a breath, recover from the holidays, and hide inside from the month's often bitter cold (at least here in Wisconsin), many business owners know that every new year also kicks off a rush of deadlines that will be upon us before we know it.

First comes the mad scramble to close the books for the year and make any adjustments, gathering last minute expense reports and documentation. Then the focus switches immediately to those January reporting requirements for things like your employees' W-2s and Form 1099s for your vendors.

Once that is past, we might feel like the worst is over, but of course, the income tax deadlines come crashing in. This year, in addition to normal tax items like the R&D credit and fixed assets, there are also the implications of many COVID-19 relief options to consider. Some items we have thankfully gotten more clarity on in the past few weeks, like the deductibility of expenses that were paid by the Paycheck Protection Program funds – and what a sigh of relief we heard when that was passed! However, there are still many unknowns and potential opportunities to consider like:

  • How exactly will we report the two stimulus payments that were received?
  • For those individuals who took advantage of the expanded IRA distributions and want to take advantage of the 3-year repayment option, how will that be handled?
  • How will states approach all of these relief items? Will some states split with how the IRS is treating things?

With the recent runoff election results in Georgia, there is one more uncertainty that is going to be looming over us as we work through the upcoming tax season, and that is the potential for additional tax reform from the Biden administration. The specifics of what this would bring are still unknown, and we can only piece together ideas based on the words said on the campaign trail, but these potential changes should be kept in consideration as we make tax decisions for 2021. How can we make smart tax planning decisions now that will also remain in the company's best interests if new changes come down the line? Will there be retroactive tax legislation passed for 2021, or will any new laws be effective for future years?

Many of these questions I can't tell you the answer to, but I can tell you that CPAs and firms all across the country are watching, analyzing, and making (then adjusting) plans each day to help navigate all of these interwoven pieces. We are reading articles, watching webcasts, and even having heated discussions with each other as we continue to learn and formulate the best approach on behalf of our clients.

Executive Profile: Jason Stansell, Milwaukee Practice Lead

Jason Stansell is the Milwaukee Practice Lead and has been with the company since 2018. He has a dual role, not only overseeing the general operations of the Milwaukee office, but he also works as a controller helping clients with their day-to-day accounting and administrative management as well. In a typical day, he performs functions that fall under both categories, such as preparing financial reports for clients and helping them with budgeting and forecasting; and for Fine Point, heading up the sales effort, overall management duties, some virtual networking, and preparing proposals.

Getting to learn a lot and helping clients who are startups working on really interesting projects are two of Jason’s favorite parts of working at Fine Point. These new companies are looking for advice, and going through an exciting time in their business with many new developments and challenges, which differentiates the work Jason does from typical accounting jobs that are more routine and repetitious.

Jason learned of Fine Point when he was in public accounting. He decided to venture into consulting and reached out to Luella to see if she was still doing similar work. As fate would have it, Fine Point was looking for someone at that time, and Jason joined the team first as company representation at networking events and assisting clients, then moved more into client services. His career started in public accounting performing audits at both public and private companies, specifically for the investors and investment concerns.

For others who might be interested in a similar occupation, Jason believes liking the work and realizing the clients are really the actual employers is important. COVID-19 has brought another interesting point to the forefront, which is working remotely. “You can work from home and be productive in this job, and certainly during a time like the pandemic, I appreciate that,” shared Jason, “And it’s been nice to have that flexibility, especially for someone who came from public accounting. You still enjoy all the perks of accounting work, and get to meet and work with a variety of clients and learn so much, and help them, but not have to work the crazy hours of a public accountant.”

We Are Hiring: Tax Senior/Assistant Controller

We are looking for a Tax Senior/Assistant Controller to join our fun and high energy team. If you are a detail-oriented, results-focused, problem solver and want to work with fantastic clients and a wonderful team contact us today! 

Mark Your Calendar!

  • 2/1/21 - Q4 Payroll Tax / W2 / 1099 Reporting Deadline
  • 3/1/21 – WI Business Personal Property Tax Reporting Due
  • 3/1/21 – Annual DE Corporation Franchise Tax Reporting Due
  • 3/2/21 – Form 1095-B and 1095-C Due to Employees (for employers with 50+ employees)
  • 3/16/21 – LLC and S Corporation Tax Filing Deadline (Forms 1065 and 1120S)
  • 3/31/21 – Annual WDFI Franchise Tax Reporting Due
  • 3/31/21 – WI QNBV Reporting Deadline
  • 4/15/21 – Individual and Corporate Tax Filing Deadline (Forms 1040 and 1120)
  • 4/15/21 – First Quarter 2021 Estimated Tax Payments Due

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