Fine Point Consulting Newsletter - May 2021

Adapting Our Culture

As our team is nearly fully vaccinated and the good weather is here to stay (hopefully), we have officially started putting our party planning committee back to work and are planning our first gathering as a company for the first time in over a year! 

While we all miss the fun things we used to do in the office, it seems as though most of us have gotten used to working from home, and would prefer to keep doing so. But what does that mean for our culture? When doing our monthly survey from the team we received feedback that since we are becoming more and more remote, we needed to find ways to incorporate that into our culture to continue to be the tight-knit group that we are. In the last few months we have focused more on “Cheers-ing” fellow employees, we publicly celebrate “WOW’s” when clients send positive messages over, and of course we have our normal slack banter which never goes un-answered by Leroy. 

With people more comfortable working from home, and hiring more remote folks, we are always looking for other things we can do to keep our team integrated and tight-knit. We’d love to hear what you’re doing!

President, Fine Point Consulting


Congratulations! You Filed (Extended) Your Taxes!

By Louisa Else, Tax Practice Leader

For another year, this was a tax season of uncertainty and ups and downs, of waiting on IRS and state guidance and wondering what the next relief bill will include. Many a return has been filed, many a return has been extended as these uncertainties caused delays. Either way, you made it!

My team and I are taking a deep breath (and maybe a day off) and I just want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to our entire FPC team - most importantly, my right hand, Angie Jones, who keeps me on track for all things tax related, trained all of our other tax preparers, and answers every random question I shoot her at all hours of the day. Many of our clients may not see her name, but she is the reason your return was prepared or extended. Also a huge thank you to all of our clients and to their FPC controller teams for their work preparing the tax request lists, hunting down additional details, and supporting us throughout the extension and preparation process.


Tax season isn't done yet, but we've passed another milestone! And, pretty please, let next year be "normal"!

Tax Returns

Understanding The COBRA Provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

By Steph Breunig, HR Practice Leader

HR

What is it?
Under the ARPA, “Assistance Eligible Individuals” may elect to continue employment-based group health plan coverage for up to 5 months – from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 – without paying COBRA premiums. Employers or plan issuers must pay premiums on behalf of such individuals and will be reimbursed through a COBRA premium assistance tax credit.

Who is Impacted?
To be an “Assistance Eligible Individual” under the ARPA, an individual must meet all of the following requirements:

  • MUST have a COBRA qualifying event that is a reduction of hours or an involuntary termination of employment (NOT including a voluntary termination or a termination for gross misconduct);
  • MUST elect COBRA continuation coverage;
  • MUST NOT be eligible for Medicare; and
  • MUST NOT be eligible for coverage under any other group health plans, such as a plan sponsored by a new employer or a spouse’s employer.

Important Dates
COBRA premium assistance is available for periods of coverage from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Assistance will end earlier if an individual:

  • Reaches the end of their maximum 18-month COBRA continuation period; OR  
  • Becomes eligible for Medicare or other group health plan coverage (including from a new employer).

Notice Requirements
Employers and other plan issuers must notify qualified beneficiaries about COBRA premium assistance and other rights as follows:

Additional Election Opportunities
The ARPA provides additional COBRA election opportunities under certain circumstances:

  • Group health plans may (but are not required to) offer Assistance Eligible Individuals the option to choose coverage different from that which they had at the time of the COBRA qualifying event, subject to certain restrictions and additional notice requirements.
  • If a family member of an Assistance Eligible Individual did not initially elect COBRA continuation at the time of a qualifying event, they have an additional opportunity to enroll with premium assistance. This will not extend the period of COBRA continuation coverage beyond the original maximum period.  

This summary of ARPA’s COBRA premium assistance provisions is not intended to provide an exhaustive analysis of the law, but Fine Point Consulting HR is ready to help you navigate the new requirements. Employers should also work closely with their group health plan providers to ensure complete compliance with COBRA notice and coverage provisions. Please contact us at hr@finepointconsulting.net for this and other HR needs.


What I know For Sure: Life Lessons Raising Boys

By Steph Breunig, HR Practice Leader

As parents, things happen constantly in our lives that remind us that we don’t know much about anything. Being the parent of teenagers, you are reminded of this verbally nearly every day. While I am far from an expert, there are a few things I do know for sure, (and many things I’ve yet to discover I know nothing about I am sure.)

What I know for sure is that nothing is certain.

We thought we’d get married and start having kids right away. There was no reason to think it would be a problem. But a problem it was. So, when we were finally blessed…and 16 months later, blessed again…and 15 months later, blessed again- all boys- we were equal parts overjoyed, completely stressed and sleep-deprived. Having three boys under 3 years was tough – but add to that working as a full-time teacher and completing my Masters at the same time, well, that is the definition of insanity. That was our first lesson in uncertainty-to be followed by many more. It’s a painful way to realize that nothing is certain, but also a great reminder to appreciate those little gifts when they are given. 

What I know for sure is that raising these boys has been about letting go.

 

If you know me, you may know I am a little bit intense at times and kind of a control freak. I’ve had to work really hard at relaxing what I think should be happening at all times. Worrying about oneself sometimes is hard enough – imagine trying to manage the lives of three boys. So I remind myself constantly to just take a breath and let it happen.

Sam, our middle guy, has taught me so much as a mom and a human. He has great musical talent, he’s smart and hilarious. He also challenges me at every turn and questions everything.  I may not always appreciate it when I am grounding him from video games, and he makes me provide a thesis on the behavioral psychology surrounding punitive punishments and the evidence of its value. But in reality, he helps me to figure out what is really important and to just relax. I pick my battles more wisely as a parent because of Sam.

What I know for sure is that the last kid should be heard even if they tend to be quiet.

 

 

 

I have this memory of our first born Max, 4 yrs old at the time, going on the bus to PreK. I had this pit in my stomach from the time he got on the bus until I called to find out how his day went. I must admit, I had it better than many moms. His awesome Aunt Nita was our daycare provider and the bus driver was Max’s Grandpa Marv – Max was always in great hands, literally with family, yet it was my first born letting go and going out into the world and his independence was so hard for me. 

That letting go happens over and over again. And that pit is ferociously forming at the moment – this time because I ‘m really  letting him go again. This time it’s HS graduation and out to Virginia Military Academy to major in International Studies and play lacrosse. He’s also commissioning Army ROTC. We are so proud of him- maybe that’s part of that pit in my stomach too.

What I know for sure is that raising these boys has taught me to relax my expectations.

 

It was unintentional but fitting that this last point is regarding my last born, Ben – the caboose of this Breunig train, sensitive dude that he is. Ben is a kind, empathetic, smart kid-super into all things tech-y.

He’s always been very easy going – I often think about how he would just sit so happily in his countertop swing, so different from the other two who were much more demanding at that age. Why the counter you may be asking? That was the safest place for him with 16 month old and 2 ½ yr old brothers around. That nature continued – like when he started putting his own lost teeth in baggies and labeling them. He knew I was the Tooth Fairy and that I have sort of a teeth phobia, and I think, didn’t want to bother me. That’s Ben for ‘ya! 

Because he is so easy going, it’s easy to lose him in the shuffle. He doesn’t have the demands of the scholar athlete in terms of travel, equipment, etc. as Max. He’s not as communicative as Sam. Those last kids need extra attention to not be glossed over. When we do get the chance to have real conversations, they are amazing and really give insight into his character.

What I know for sure is that these 3 teenage boys go through 9 gallons of milk and 3 dozen eggs a week.  That the smallest men’s shoes in my house are size 11s and they are not done growing. I know for sure that COVID has given us amazing amounts of family time this past year that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. And what I also know for sure is that while parenting is raising these boys to become the awesome young men the world needs them to be, they are really raising me – And I wouldn’t trade my grocery bill, or these wonderful young men, for anything.


Mark Your Calendar!

  • 5/31/2021 – Memorial Day (Bank Holiday)
  • 6/15/2021 – Q2 Estimated Tax Payments Due
  • 6/30/2021 – End of Q2
  • 7/31/2021 – Q2 Payroll Tax Filings 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.

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