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Memphis, TN Press Releases

ATA NAMES NEW PARTNER – MEMPHIS, TN

ATA NAMES NEW PARTNER

MEMPHIS, TN. – ATA, a regional accounting firm, names Diane Sparks, CPA as the newest partner effective January 1, 2024. With more than 15 years of experience, Diane will help lead the assurance practice in the Memphis, TN office.

As a certified public accountant specializing in  attest work, Diane brings a wealth of expertise to her new leadership role. As a partner, Diane will have several important responsibilities such as client relationship management, guidance for client success, and mentoring others on the ATA team.

“Diane’s promotion to partner signifies her dedication, expertise, and commitment to ATA’s success,” said Managing Partner John Whybrew. “It’s a significant achievement in her career, and her contributions will further strengthen ATA’s position in the industry.”

“This marks an important milestone in my professional life and am thankful for the support and guidance I have received from ATA leadership and staff throughout my career,” said Diane. “I look forward to the ongoing opportunity to work with our clients to help them meet their requirements.”

Diane received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis in 2005. She sat for the CPA exam and obtained her license in 2010. Apart from her professional life, Diane spends quality time with her husband and two children. Her interests are cake decorating and drawing, and she has a passion for traveling to the mountains. Additionally, Diane enjoys singing and actively participates in her church’s worship team.

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 About ATA

ATA is an advisory firm that works with clients on all aspects of their business needs. ATA guides its clients towards success by providing consulting services that are not traditionally associated with the accounting industry. For example, Revolution Partners, ATA’s wealth management entity provides financial planning expertise; ATA Technologies provides trustworthy IT solutions; ATA Digital focuses on growth through the design and development of marketing and digital products as well as offers video, social media, and digital content for small businesses; and ATA Employment Solutions is a comprehensive human resource management agency.

ATA has 16 office locations in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. Recognized as an IPA Top 150 regional accounting firm, it provides a wide array of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services for clients ranging from small family-owned businesses to publicly traded companies and international corporations. ATA is also an alliance member of BDO USA LLP, a top five global accounting firm, which provides additional resources and expertise for clients.

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Memphis, TN Merger News Press Releases TN

MERGER UNITES MEMPHIS ACCOUNTING FIRM WITH ATA CPAs + ADVISORS PLLC

ATA CPAs + Advisors PLLC

227 Oil Well Rd.

Jackson, TN 38305

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

MERGER UNITES MEMPHIS ACCOUNTING FIRM WITH ATA CPAs + ADVISORS PLLC

Memphis, TN. — Regional accounting firm ATA CPAs + Advisors PLLC (ATA) is adding to its West Tennessee presence through a merger with Whitehorn Tankersley & Davis, PLLC (WTD), effective January 1, 2024.

The merger with WTD adds 18 professionals to the ATA team, including Partners Lee Hood and Jeff Hunter as well as Principal Steve Davis. With this merger, ATA will be comprised of 240 employees and 16 locations across four states.

“As a firm our primary focus remains on our clients and our people. We believe that expanding our presence in the Memphis area through the addition of WTD is in line with that focus. With this merger we are adding valuable team members who can help us further expand the opportunities to better serve clients of both firms,” said Managing Partner John Whybrew. “ATA has been built on the principle of always looking for ways to improve and evolve. We believe that expanding our presence in the growing Memphis market and Covington area are another step in that evolution.”

WTD’s 47 years of expertise ranges from tax preparation and accounting services to more in-depth services such as audits, financial statements, and financial planning. It is a premier firm for trust and estate tax reporting.

“We chose to combine practices with ATA because of our common emphasis on serving clients and our core values,” Partner Lee Hood expressed. “As we integrate with ATA, this merger will enhance our capacity to expand our team and strengthen our commitment to addressing clients’ needs. This empowers us to offer customized business strategies that benefit their personal and professional objectives.”

 

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About ATA CPAs + Advisors PLLC (ATA)

ATA is a long-term business advisor to its clients and provides other services that are not traditionally associated with accounting. The ATA Family of Firms consists of a team of experts that can benefit every area of your business. Adelsberger Marketing offers video, social media, and digital content for small businesses; ATAES is a comprehensive human resource management agency; ATA Secure provides cybersecurity services; ATA Technologies provides trustworthy IT solutions; Revolution Partners provides financial planning expertise; and Sodium Halogen focuses on growth through the design and development of marketing and digital products.

ATA has 16 office locations in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. Recognized as an IPA Top 150 regional accounting firm, it provides a wide array of accounting, auditing, tax and advisory services for clients ranging from small family-owned businesses to publicly traded companies and international corporations. ATA is also an alliance member of BDO USA LLP, a top five global accounting firm, which provides additional resources and expertise for clients.

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Memphis, TN News

ATA Ranks 7th in Memphis Area

Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA) moves from eighth to seventh on Memphis Business Journal’s (MBJ) Accounting Book of Lists. The MBJ’s Book of Lists is an annual ranking of more than 1,000 of the finest area companies in the accounting profession in Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette counties in Tenn.; DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica counties in Miss. and Crittenden County, Ark.

“We are proud of ATA’s continued growth and commitment to serving clients well in the Memphis area. Our goal over the past year was to expand offerings in the Memphis market,” said Terryl Viner, managing partner of the Memphis location. “We are honored to be recognized with the other firms as part of the Book of Lists and will continue working with clients to provide the quality service they deserve,” said Viner.

ATA continues to grow and expand its business advisory services in the accounting industry. Over the past few years, ATA has increased its advisory offerings to amplify every area of a business through its ancillary services and strategic partnerships with ATA’s Family of Firms.

It is the firm’s goal to continue growing with its business partners and work alongside clients to give trusted business advice. ATA challenges itself as a firm to stride forward on MBJ’s Book of Lists.

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About Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA)

ATA is a long-term business advisor to its clients and provides other services that are not traditionally associated with accounting. For example, Revolution Partners, ATA’s wealth management entity provides financial planning expertise; ATA Technologies provides trustworthy IT solutions; Sodium Halogen focuses on growth through the design and development of marketing and digital products; Adelsberger Marketing offers video, social media, and digital content for small businesses; and newly added ATAES a comprehensive human resource management agency. 

ATA has 15 office locations in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. Recognized as an IPA Top 200 regional accounting firm, it provides a wide array of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services for clients ranging from small family-owned businesses to publicly traded companies and international corporations. ATA is also an alliance member of BDO USA LLP, a top five global accounting firm, which provides additional resources and expertise for clients.

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Keep Your Customers Satisfied

Over the past few years, community banking has withstood rapid technological changes, unprecedented economic challenges during a pandemic and new demands from its customer base. To maintain profitability amidst all this turmoil, you need to ensure that your bank retains its existing customers. After all, studies show that attracting a new customer typically costs five times more than retaining an existing one.

Here are three fundamental questions to help improve customer satisfaction and, ultimately, retention.

  1. What’s your core deposit base?

A good first step is to identify your core deposits and develop an understanding of customer behaviors. Differentiate loyal, long-term customers from those motivated primarily by interest rates. A core deposit study can help you distinguish between the two types of depositors and predict the impact of fluctuating interest rates on customer retention. Banking regulators strongly encourage banks to conduct these studies as part of their overall asset-liability management efforts.

Core deposit studies assess how much of your bank’s deposit base is interest-rate-sensitive by examining past depositor behavior. They also look at factors that tend to predict depositor longevity. For example, customers may be less likely to switch banks if they have higher average deposit balances and use multiple banking products (such as checking and savings accounts, mortgages and auto loans).

  1. How can you get to know your customers better?

To build customer loyalty, it’s critical to ensure that customers are engaged. According to research by Gallup, engaged customers are more loyal, and they’re more likely to recommend the bank to family and friends. They also represent a bigger “share of wallet” (that is, the percentage of a customer’s banking business captured by the bank).

Recent retail banking studies show that fewer than half of customers at community banks and small regional banks (less than $40 billion in deposits) are actively engaged. The percentages are even smaller at large regional banks (over $90 billion in deposits) and nationwide banks (over $500 billion in deposits). That’s the good news. The bad news is that 50% of customers at online-only banks are fully engaged.

So, how can community banks do a better job of engaging their customers to compete with online banks? The answer lies in leveraging their “local touch” by knowing their customers, delivering superior service, and providing customized solutions and advice. To do that, banks must ensure that their front-line employees — tellers, loan officers, branch managers and call center representatives — are fully engaged in their jobs.

Encouraging employees to engage with customers has little to do with competitive salaries and benefits. Rather, it means providing employees with opportunities for challenging work, responsibility, recognition and personal growth.

  1. How can you develop your online presence?

An increasing number of customers — younger people in particular — use multiple channels and devices to interact with their banks. These include online banking, mobile banking applications and two-way texting.

To build loyalty, banks should enable customers to use their preferred channels and ensure that their experiences across channels are seamless. And don’t overlook the importance of social media platforms. Younger customers are more likely to use these platforms to recommend your bank to their friends and families.

Ask the right questions

Your customer retention strategies shouldn’t be based on guesswork. Consider periodically engaging with customers concerning their level of satisfaction with your current systems and processes. Ask what they’d like to see improved. A brief survey, or even a short conversation, can provide valuable input on ways to keep your customers satisfied with your bank’s services over the long term.

©2021

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Construction General Helpful Articles Jackson, TN Memphis, TN

Protect Your Construction Company from the Effects of High Supply Prices

Building supply manufacturers are doing their best to catch up with the high demand for their materials. Material prices overall are continuing to climb, making it difficult for contractors of all types and sizes to provide their services in the same manner they did before the pandemic as well as grow their businesses.

What can contractors do?

Communication is key for contractors and business owners right now. It is important for clients to know developments in supply chains and pricing. Much of the information that should be communicated can be included in contracts. Even though they cannot impact the supply chain and prices of materials, contractors can protect themselves from losing money and work through several means.

  • Expiration Dates

With prices and supply availability changing every day, contractors cannot guarantee a price for long. Since there is a chance that original quotes can change at a moment’s notice, contractors can explain that their quote is only viable until a certain date. 

  • Delay Clauses

Since there are typically damages contractors must claim when a job is not completed by the projected date, it is important for contractors to include delay clauses in their contracts. With the pandemic and the unknowns of the building materials supply chains, contractors cannot be held accountable for the delay in construction due to lack of materials.

Need more insight?

Our experts are consistently keeping tabs on industry changes. Contact one of our representatives today for consulting that will keep your business running smoothly and productively in the midst of unknowns.

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Construction Helpful Articles Memphis, TN Nashville, TN

The Post-Covid Urban Revival: What’s Next For Big Cities?

Today, more than four out of five people in the United States live in cities and urban areas. Over the country’s long history of urbanization, cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago swelled not only in population, but also in their prominence as American cultural icons. That cachet helped these metropolises thrive even when economic conditions were challenging elsewhere, providing landlords and other commercial real estate stakeholders with a level of stability and security smaller cities couldn’t match.

In recent years, though, these storied cities started falling victim to their own success. Unebbing demand for limited residential and commercial space led to skyrocketing costs, and near-constant expansions and enhancements to government services necessitated new fees and higher taxes. At the same time, the emergence of remote working meant that people didn’t have to move to these uber-expensive cities to work for the companies that called them home. New technology, combined with cost of living and quality of life concerns, chipped away at that old preeminence, and businesses and individuals started choosing Atlanta over New York, Denver over Chicago and Austin over San Francisco. A Brookings Institution study found that population growth in the country’s largest urban areas dropped by almost half through the 2010s.

Download the below article to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic amplified some of the disadvantages of living and working in densely populated cities and accelerated migration to smaller cities and more rural areas.

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Memphis, TN

ALEXANDER THOMPSON ARNOLD NAMED TOP 10 FIRM IN MEMPHIS AREA

Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA) is recognized as the eighth largest CPA firm in the Memphis area for 2021, maintaining their ranking from the previous year, according to the Memphis Business Journal’s (MBJ) Book of Lists. The MBJ’s Book of Lists is an annual ranking of more than 1,000 of the finest area companies in their fields.

“We are proud of ATA’s continued excellence in the Memphis area. Our firm is continuing to grow in the Memphis market,” said Terryl Viner, managing partner of the Memphis location. “We are honored to be recognized with the other firms as part of the Book of Lists and will continue looking for new opportunities to provide our clients the quality service they deserve,” said Viner.

ATA continues to grow and provide innovative approaches in the accounting industry. In the past year, the firm has added Chief Information Officer Alan Watson as well as National Advisory Practice Leader and Partner Rick Schreiber. With these additions, the firm has expanded its consulting practices and advanced their technological assets.

It is the firm’s goal to continue growing with its business partners and implement services to better serve clients. ATA challenges itself as a firm to stride forward on MBJ’s Book of Lists.

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About Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA)

ATA is a long-term business advisor to its clients and provides other services that are not traditionally associated with accounting. For example, Revolution Partners, ATA’s wealth management entity provides financial planning expertise; ATA Technologies provides trustworthy IT solutions; Sodium Halogen focuses on growth through the design and development of marketing and digital products; Adelsberger Marketing offers video, social media, and digital content for small businesses; and newly added ATAES a comprehensive human resource management agency.

 

ATA has 13 office locations in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. Recognized as an IPA Top 200 regional accounting firm, it provides a wide array of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services for clients ranging from small family-owned businesses to publicly traded companies and international corporations. ATA is also an alliance member of BDO USA LLP, a top five global accounting firm, which provides additional resources and expertise for clients.

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NEW STIMULUS PACKAGE PASSED DECEMBER 21, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (bill), a massive tax, funding, and spending bill that contains a nearly $900 billion coronavirus aid package. The emergency coronavirus relief package aims to bolster the economy, provide relief to small businesses and the unemployed, deliver checks to individuals and provide funding for COVID-19 testing and the administration of vaccines. The over 5,500-page bill has been sent to President Trump, who has yet to sign it.

The coronavirus relief package contains another round of financial relief for individuals in the form of cash payments and enhanced federal unemployment benefits. Individuals who earn $75,000 or less annually generally will receive a direct payment of $600. Qualifying families will receive an additional $600 for each child. According to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, these checks could be distributed before the end of 2020. To provide emergency financial assistance to the unemployed, federal unemployment insurance benefits that expire at the end of 2020 will be extended for 11 weeks through mid-March 2021, and unemployed individuals will receive a $300 weekly enhancement in unemployment benefits from the end of December 2020 through mid-March. The CARES Act measure that provided $600 in enhanced weekly unemployment benefits expired on July 31, 2020.

The bill earmarks an additional $284 billion for a new round of forgivable small-business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and contains a number of important changes to the PPP. It expands eligibility for loans, allows certain particularly hard-hit businesses to request a second loan, and provides that PPP borrowers may deduct PPP expenses attributable to forgiven PPP loans in computing their federal income tax liability and that such borrowers need not include loan forgiveness in income.

The bill allocates $15 billion in dedicated funding to shuttered live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions, with $12 billion allocated to help business in low-income and minority communities.

The bill also extends and expands the employee retention credit (ERC) and extends a number of tax deductions, credits and incentives that are set to expire on December 31, 2020.

This alert highlights the main tax provisions included in the bill.

Paycheck Protection Program

The PPP, one of the stimulus measures created by the CARES Act, provides for the granting of federally guaranteed loans to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations and tribal businesses in an effort to keep businesses operating and retain staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. (PPP loans are administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA)).

A recipient of a PPP loan under the CARES Act (the first round) could use the funds to meet payroll costs, certain employee healthcare costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent and utilities. At least 60% of the loan funds were required to be spent on payroll costs for the loan to be forgiven.

Eligible businesses

Businesses are eligible for the second round of PPP loans regardless of whether a loan was received in the first round. The bill changes the definition of a “small business.” Small businesses are defined as businesses with no more than 300 employees and whose revenues dropped by 25% during one of the first three quarters of 2020 (or the fourth quarter if the business is applying after January 1, 2020). The decrease is determined by comparing gross receipts in a quarter to the same in the prior year. Businesses with more than 300 employees must meet the SBA’s usual criteria to qualify as a small business.

Borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 (3.5 for accommodation and food services sector businesses) times their average monthly payroll costs in 2019 or the 12 months before the loan application, capped at $2 million per borrower, reduced from a limit of $10 million in the first round of PPP loans.

The bill also expands the types of organizations that may request a PPP loan. Eligibility for a PPP loan is extended to:

  • Tax-exempt organizations described in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(6) that have no more than 300 employees and whose lobbying activities do not comprise more than 15% of the organization’s total activities (but the loan proceeds may not be used for lobbying activities)
  • “Destination marketing organizations” that do not have more than 300 employees
  • Housing cooperatives that do not have more than 300 employees
  • Stations, newspapers and public broadcasting organizations that do not have more than 500 employees

The following businesses, inter alia, are not eligible for a PPP loan:

  • Publicly-traded businesses and entities created or organized under the laws of the People’s Republic of China or the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong that hold directly or indirectly at least 20% of the economic interest of the business or entity, including as equity shares or a capital or profit interest in a limited liability company or partnership, or that retain as a member of the entity’s board of directors a China-resident person
  • Persons required to submit a registration statement under the Foreign Agents Registration Act
  • Persons that receive a grant under the Economic Aid to Hard Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act

 

Uses of loan proceeds

The bill adds four types of non-payroll expenses that can be paid from and submitted for forgiveness, for both round 1 and round 2 PPP loans, but it is unclear whether borrowers that have already been approved for partial forgiveness can resubmit an application to add these new expenses:

  • Covered operational expenditures, i.e., payments for software or cloud computing services that facilitate business operations, product or service delivery, the processing, payment or tracking of payroll expenses, human resources, sales and billing functions, or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records and expenses
  • Covered property damage, i.e., costs related to property damage and vandalism or looting due to public disturbances that took place in 2020, which were not covered by insurance or other compensation
  • Covered supplier costs, i.e., expenses incurred by a borrower under a contract or order in effect before the date the PPP loan proceeds were disbursed for the supply of goods that are essential to the borrower’s business operations
  • Covered worker protection equipment, i.e., costs of personal protective equipment incurred by a borrower to comply with rules or guidance issued by the Department of Health & Human Services, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or the Centers for Disease Control, or a state or local government

To qualify for full forgiveness of a PPP loan, the borrower must use at least 60% of the funds for payroll-related expenses over the relevant covered period (eight or 24 weeks).

Increase in loan amount

The bill contains a provision that allows an eligible recipient of a PPP loan to request an increased amount, even if the initial loan proceeds were returned in part or in full, and even if the lender of the original loan has submitted a Form 1502 to the SBA (the form sets out the identity of the borrower and the loan amount).

Expense deductions

The bill confirms that business expenses (that normally would be deductible for federal income tax purposes) paid out of PPP loans may be deducted for federal income tax purposes and that the borrower’s tax basis and other attributes of the borrower’s assets will not be reduced as a result of the loan forgiveness. This has been an area of uncertainty because, while the CARES Act provides that any amount of PPP loan forgiveness that normally would be includible in gross income will be excluded from gross income, it is silent on whether eligible business expenses attributable to PPP loan forgiveness are deductible for tax purposes. The IRS took the position in guidance that, because the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan are not considered taxable income, expenses paid with forgiven PPP loan proceeds may not be deducted. The bill clarifies that such expenses are fully deductible—welcome news for struggling businesses. Importantly, the effective date of this provision applies to taxable years ending after the date of the enactment of the CARES Act. Thus, taxpayers that filed tax returns without deducting PPP-eligible deductions should consider amending such returns to claim the expenses.

Loan forgiveness covered period

The bill clarifies the rules relating to the selection of a PPP loan forgiveness covered period. Under the current rules, only borrowers that received PPP proceeds before June 5, 2020 could elect an eight-week covered period. The bill provides that the covered period begins on the loan origination date but allows all loan recipients to choose the ending date that is eight or 24 weeks later.

Loan forgiveness

PPP loan recipients generally are eligible for loan forgiveness if they apply at least 60% of the loan proceeds to payroll costs (subject to the newly added eligible expenditures, as described above), with partial forgiveness available where this threshold is not met. Loans that are not forgiven must be repaid.

Currently, PPP loan recipients apply for loan forgiveness on either SBA Form 3508, Form 3508 EZ or Form 3508S, all of which required documentation that demonstrates that the claimed amounts were paid during the applicable covered period, subject to reduction for not maintaining the workforce or wages at pre-COVID levels.

The bill provides a new simplified forgiveness procedure for loans of $150,000 or less. Instead of the documentation summarized above, these borrowers cannot be required to submit to the lender any documents other than a one-page signed certification that sets out the number of employees the borrower was able to retain because of the PPP loan, an estimate of the amounts spent on payroll-related costs, the total loan value and that the borrower has accurately provided all information required and retains all relevant documents. The SBA will be required to develop the simplified loan forgiveness application form within 24 days of the enactment of the bill and generally may not require additional documentation. Lenders will need to modify their systems used for applications to make an electronic version of the new forgiveness application available to eligible borrowers.

Employment Retention Credit and Families First Coronavirus Response Credit

The bill extends and expands the ERC and the paid leave credit under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

ERC

The ERC, introduced under the CARES Act, is a refundable tax credit equal to 50% of up to $10,000 in qualified wages (i.e., a total of $5,000 per employee) paid by an eligible employer whose operations were suspended due to a COVID-19-related governmental order or whose gross receipts for any 2020 calendar quarter were less than 50% of its gross receipts for the same quarter in 2019.

The bill makes the following changes to the ERC, which will apply from January 1 to June 30, 2021:

  • The credit rate is increased from 50% to 70% of qualified wages and the limit on per-employee wages is increased from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 per quarter.
  • The gross receipts eligibility threshold for employers is reduced from a 50% decline to a 20% decline in gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in 2019, a safe harbor is provided allowing employers to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility and the ERC is available to employers that were not in existence during any quarter in 2019. The 100-employee threshold for determining “qualified wages” based on all wages is increased to 500 or fewer employees.
  • The credit is available to certain government instrumentalities.
  • The bill clarifies the determination of gross receipts for certain tax-exempt organizations and that group health plan expenses can be considered qualified wages even when no wages are paid to the employee.
  • New, expansive provisions regarding advance payments of the ERC to small employers are included, such as special rules for seasonal employers and employers that were not in existence in 2019. The bill also provides reconciliation rules and provides that excess advance payments of the credit during a calendar quarter will be subject to tax that is the amount of the excess.
  • Treasury and the SBA will issue guidance providing that payroll costs paid during the PPP covered period can be treated as qualified wages to the extent that such wages were not paid from the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan. Further, the bill strikes the limitation that qualified wages paid or incurred by an eligible employer with respect to an employee may not exceed the amount that employee would have been paid for working during the 30 days immediately preceding that period (which, for example, allows employers to take the ERC for bonuses paid to essential workers).

The bill makes three retroactive changes that are effective as if they were included the CARES Act. Employers that received PPP loans may still qualify for the ERC with respect to wages that are not paid for with proceeds from a forgiven PPP loan. The bill also clarifies how tax-exempt organizations determine “gross receipts” and that group health care expenses can be considered “qualified wages” even when no other wages are paid to the employee.

FFCRA

The FFCRA paid emergency sick and child-care leave and related tax credits are extended through March 31, 2021 on a voluntary basis. In other words, FFCRA leave is no longer mandatory, but employers that provide FFCRA leave from January 1 to March 31, 2021 may take a federal tax credit for providing such leave. Some clarifications have been made for self-employed individuals as if they were included in the FFCRA.

Other Tax Provisions in the CAA

The bill includes changes to some provisions in the IRC:

  • Charitable donation deduction: For taxable years beginning in 2021, taxpayers who do not itemize deductions may take a deduction for cash donations of up to $300 made to qualifying organizations. The CARES Act revised the charitable donation deduction rules to encourage donations following a decline after the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017.
  • Medical expense deduction: The income threshold for unreimbursed medical expense deductions is permanently reduced from 10% to 7.5% so that more expenses may be deducted.
  • Business meal deduction: Businesses may deduct 100% of business-related restaurant meals during 2021 and 2022 (the deduction currently is available only for 50% of those expenses).
  • Extenders: The bill provides for a five-year extension of the following tax provisions that are scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2020:
    • The look-through rule for certain payments from related controlled foreign corporations in IRC Section 954(c)(6), which was extended to apply to taxable years of foreign corporations beginning before January 1, 2026 and to taxable years of U.S. shareholders with or within which such taxable years of foreign corporations end
    • New Markets Tax Credit
    • Work Opportunity Tax Credit
    • Health Coverage Tax Credit
    • Carbon Oxide Sequestration Credit
    • Employer credit for paid family and medical leave
    • Empowerment zone tax incentives
    • Exclusion from gross income of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness
    • Seven-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes
    • Expensing rules for certain productions
    • Oil spill liability trust fund rate
    • Incentive for certain employer payments of student loans (notably, the bill does not include other student loan relief so that borrowers will need to resume payments on such loans and interest will begin to accrue).
  • Permanent changes: The bill makes several tax provisions permanent that were scheduled to expire in the future, in addition to the medical expense deduction threshold mentioned above:
    • The deduction of the costs of energy-efficient commercial building property (now subject to inflation adjustments)
    • The gross income deduction provided to volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders for state and local tax benefits and certain qualified payments
    • The transition from a deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses to an increased income limitation on the lifetime learning credit
    • The railroad track maintenance credit
    • Certain provisions, refunds and reduced rates related to beer, wine and distilled spirits, as well as minimum processing requirements for certain craft beverages produced outside the U.S.
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Don’t forget about making a portability election

Portability allows a surviving spouse to apply a deceased spouse’s unused federal gift and estate tax exemption amount toward his or her own transfers during life or at death. For 2020, the exemption amount is $11.58 million, and the IRS just announced that that amount will increase to $11.7 million for 2021. To secure these benefits, however, the deceased spouse’s executor must have made a portability election on a timely filed estate tax return. The return is due nine months after death, with a six-month extension option. Unfortunately, estates that aren’t otherwise required to file a return (because they don’t meet the filing threshold) often miss the deadline.
Qualifying for an automatic extension. In 2017, the IRS made it easier for estates to obtain an extension of time to file a portability election. For all deaths after 2010, the IRS grants an automatic extension, provided: The deceased was a U.S. citizen or resident, The executor wasn’t otherwise required to file an estate tax return and didn’t file one by the deadline, The executor files a complete and properly prepared estate tax return on Form 706 within two years of the date of death, and The following language appears at the top of the return: “FILED PURSUANT TO REV. PROC. 2017-34 TO ELECT PORTABILITY UNDER §2010(c)(5)(A).” 
Other considerations. Bear in mind that portability isn’t always the best option. All relevant factors should be considered, including nontax reasons that might affect the distribution of assets under a will or living trust. For instance, a person may want to divide assets in other ways if matters are complicated by a divorce, a second marriage or unusual circumstances. Also, absent further legislation, the federal gift and estate tax exemption is slated to revert to pre-2018 levels after 2025. Portability continues, though, for those whose estates will no longer be fully sheltered, so additional planning should be considered. 
Don’t miss the deadline. If your spouse predeceases you and you’d benefit from portability, be sure that your spouse’s estate files a portability election by the applicable deadline. 

Contact us with any questions you have regarding portability.

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Memphis, TN Nashville, TN Press Releases

ATA Welcomes New Partner for National Advisory Practice

Jackson, TN – September 1, 2020 Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA) is excited to announce the addition of Rick Schreiber as a partner to the firm. Rick comes to ATA with over 25 years of public accounting & advisory experience in helping companies increase the value of their businesses.

Schreiber was the National Leader of BDO’s Manufacturing & Distribution Practice, and the Southeast Regional Leader of BDO’s Retail & Consumer Business Practice.  He was also the National Co-Leader of BDO’s Industry 4.0 (Digital Transformation) Advisory Group and the managing partner of the Memphis BDO office. Rick holds numerous designations such as CPA, CVGA, CGMA, M&AP, and MBA, which enables him to work with IPO’s, secondary debt offerings, mergers & acquisitions, and value-growth advisory services. He has extensive experience in working with middle market and private equity backed companies.

“My background in both domestic and international companies in the manufacturing, distribution, retail, technology, and healthcare industries, has prepared me for this new role at ATA,” states Schreiber. “I’m looking forward to his new opportunity to help clients and their businesses on a national advisory level.”

“As a BDO alliance member, we have worked with Rick for many years and are very excited to welcome him to ATA,” said John Whybrew, Managing Partner. “As ATA expands its national advisory practice, Rick will be invaluable in providing the development and support our clients need.”

Most recently, Rick spent the last 13 years at BDO, where he was the Managing Partner for Assurance & Advisory Services at BDO Memphis. Prior to joining BDO, he worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers for 10 years in a number of their practice offices. Before joining PricewaterhouseCoopers, he worked for a local accounting firm providing assurance, tax, and broad-based business advisory services.

As National Advisory Practice Leader, Rick will expand the firm’s consulting practices and spread awareness of ATA’s Family of Firms, which are ancillary companies that provide business support to clients. He will oversee all advisory services for the firm, providing strategic direction for the consulting department, while building relationships and building our client base. He will come in as a Member/Partner, so he will also work cross-functionally with the partner/leadership group for the overall objectives of the firm.

Schreiber holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Indiana University (IU) and has a Master’s in Business Administration degree concentrated in finance from IU as well.

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About Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA)

ATA is a long-term business advisor to its clients and provides other services that are not traditionally associated with accounting.  For example, Revolution Partners, ATA’s wealth management entity provides financial planning expertise; ATA Technologies provides trustworthy IT solutions; Sodium Halogen focuses on growth through the design and development of marketing and digital products; Adelsberger Marketing offers video, social media, and digital content for small businesses; and Center Point Business Solutions is a comprehensive human resource management agency.

ATA has 14 office locations in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. Recognized as an IPA Top 200 regional accounting firm, it provides a wide array of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services for clients ranging from small family-owned businesses to publicly traded companies and international corporations.  ATA is also an alliance member of BDO USA LLP, a top five global accounting firm, which provides additional resources and expertise for clients.