Busy Season Resources for All

The IRS is underfunded and under-resourced, operating on the equivalent of 2009 dollars. Congress again delayed approving federal tax extenders, and tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act are now in play. Add to all this the IRS repair regulations. The 2015 busy season is shaping up to be one of the most challenging in years. To help navigate the changes and challenges that will be faced over the next several months, the PICPA has numerous resources for both members and consumers.

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Download and print this list of “Top 10 Reasons a CPA Should Prepare Your Tax Return” to share with friends, family, and clients.

For members, the PICPA website resources including discounts on CCH and Quickfinder publications, on-demand continuing education programs on hot topics such as repair regulations, breaking news on tax topics, and the TaxAware Center, a 24-hour news aggregate of federal and state tax topics. There is also a Per Diem Directory for members looking to add resources, and brochures available to distribute to clients, including both federal and state tax tips, protecting investments from fraud, Pennsylvania inheritance tax, and top 10 reasons a CPA should prepare your tax return. Continue reading

Is Form 1040EZ Still “EZ” after the Affordable Care Act?

By Guest Blogger, Barry Williams, CPA

Barry-Williams

Barry Williams, JD, CPA is Dean of the McGowan School of Business at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Tax filing season is upon us, and many taxpayers who traditionally file the Form 1040EZ with the IRS will find a new line they need to respond to. Depending on how they answer it, taxpayers may find they need to file a Form 1040 or 1040A this year. Tax year 2014 is the first year in which individual taxpayers are being asked on line 11 of the Form 1040EZ about “Health Care: Individual Responsibility.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, beginning in 2014, individuals must have met one of the following three requirements related to their health insurance coverage: have minimum essential health care coverage, qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment with their tax return. This affects not only how to obtain health insurance, but also the tax returns for all taxpayers. In some cases it may increase refunds, in others it may decrease them.

So, how do taxpayers know if they have minimum essential health care coverage, and what happens if they do? Continue reading

Resolve to Demonstrate that CPAs Care

Five Ways to Participate in PICPA’s Week of Service

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Join fellow CPAs across the state for PICPA’s Week of Service from May 17-23!

If you are like most, many of those well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions have already been broken. Since we’re still in January, I’d like to suggest a “Better-Late-than-Never New Year’s Resolution” that is guaranteed to make you feel good about yourself and the CPA profession. Make a new 2015 resolution to participate in PICPA’s Week of Service May 17-23, 2015! Schedule your community service today and ensure that you are a participant in this important PICPA initiative in the spring. You’ll accomplish your new goal and get a really cool T-shirt! Continue reading

New Year. New You.

Three simple goals to renew each year, which don’t involve the generic weight loss or getting organized themes.

New Year’s Day brings a renewed sense of purpose to many of us. As we turn the page of our calendars to a new year, we also try to turn a page in our lives. We set goals with the hope of ultimately becoming better people.

There are various studies on how successful we are at completing our goals. According to this study, the top resolutions for 2014 were to lose weight, get organized, and spend less/save more. The same study also shows that 75 percent of us will maintain our resolutions through the first week of the year; however, only 46 percent of us keep our resolution past six months.

How is it that some people can make resolutions stick, while less than half of us can’t maintain our goals past June? Continue reading

Top Ten CPA Now Blog Posts from 2014

Top 10As 2014 comes to a close, I thought I would share a lists of the most popular blog posts on CPA Now over the past 12 months. There were more than 13,000 views combined for these posts, which offer insights and best practices on key professional topics. Check out the list, and make sure you didn’t miss any!

  1. Tax Ambush from Harrisburg

    Peter Calcara discusses procedural changes by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue related to unreimbursed business expenses.

  2. A Revolution in CPE Is Coming: Is the 50-Minute CPE Hour Dead?

    Mike Colgan reveals findings from The Future of Learning Task Force and the changing paradigm of CPE as the focus shifts from compliance to competency.

  3. The 10 Steps of a CPA during Tax Season

    Jenna Bonner takes a humorous approach to the various stages of “busy season” encountered by our members.

  4. Surviving Your First Tax Season: Tips for New Associates

    Clare Porreca provides practical advice on incorporating personal management techniques to thrive during tax season. Continue reading

Paper or Electronic, Make Your Holiday Cards Meaningful

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“A successful holiday card, paper or electronic, should be personal, original, and thoughtful.”

I love to get mail. This time of the year my home mailbox is overflowing with retail catalogs and holiday cards. I can’t wait to get home and see what my mail carrier delivered. But I can’t say the same about my office mail.  While I appreciate the sentiment, I find most corporate holiday cards to be impersonal and generic. I’m not alone. According to a recent article in Fast Company, James Hirschfeld, co-founder of Paperless Post, says, “This is going to sound funny coming from a guy who’s in the business of selling greeting cards, but the most important question to ask yourself is why you are sending a card in the first place. There is absolutely nothing worse than receiving a perfunctory greeting from a business.”

Hirschfeld goes on to say that a successful holiday card, paper or electronic, should be personal, original, and thoughtful. He recommends selecting a paper or electronic option based on what your brand stands for and what you value as an organization.

The PICPA switched to a holiday e-card several years ago. It’s a unique opportunity to send a video message to all 22,000 members. Take a look at our past e-cards in the gallery below. Continue reading

How Can You Rate the PICPA’s Communications Plan?

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How many members does it take for the PICPA to achieve its communications goals? The easy answer is “a lot,” but for our December Council Meeting I had to come up with a more quantitative answer. By my calculations, it took 2,402 member contributions to reach 311,540 consumers, based on our data from May 1 – Nov. 15, 2014. Trust me, these numbers would not meet any audit standards, but by the end of the story, I think you’ll agree that the easy answer of “a lot” is fairly accurate.

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Before I get into my calculations, I need to set the stage. The PICPA’s overall communications plan is to promote CPAs as trusted financial advisors and to position CPAs as thought leaders in the community. Now, you’re ready to check my math. Continue reading