BMSS News

Are You ACA Compliant?

 For more information, please visit our sister company, Payroll & Beneifts at www.pbspay.com or call your BMSS contact at (205) 982-5500.

 

Beyond the Bottom Line July 2015

HR & Employment Law Updates - Overtime and Employee Classification

On June 30, 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million white collar workers within the first year of its implementation. The rule would raise the salary threshold from $23,660 to $50,440 for workers to automatically qualify for time-and-a-half overtime wages.

The new rule would apply to all private employers that are subject to federal wage and hour laws. A public comment period began July 6, 2015, with the final version of the rule likely not going into effect until sometime in 2016.

Read more about the overtime changes from the DOL...

On July 15, 2015, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division issued guidance to Fair Labor Standards Act's definition of "employ" in regards to the determination of whether workers are employees or independent contractors under the law.  In order to make the determination whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA, courts use the multi-factorial “economic realities” test, which focuses on whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or in business for him or herself. A worker who is economically dependent on an employer is suffered or permitted to work by the employer. Thus, applying the economic realities test in view of the expansive definition of “employ” under the Act, most workers are employees under the FLSA.

Read more employee classification from the DOL...

Alabama Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (CST) on Friday August 7, 2015, and ending at 12:00 midnight on Sunday August 9, 2015, Alabama will hold its 10th annual sales tax holiday. 

If you have any questions, please contact your BMSS CPA or one of our State & Local Tax Services professionals or call (205) 982-5500.

Coming This Fall

As we get closer to fall, it is time to start thinking about a few non-income related taxes: Unclaimed Property, Ad Valorem and Business Licenses.

Unclaimed Property

  • Alabama’s unclaimed property reports are due on November 1st of each year. (Note: Due dates vary by state.)
  • Alabama’s unclaimed property reporting period is July 1st – June 30th. (Note: Reporting periods vary by state.)
  • Examples of unclaimed property: Credit balances or memos, customer deposits, uncashed payroll checks, vendor checks, etc.
  • Please contact your BMSS professional if you have questions regarding unclaimed property or if assistance is needed in reporting unclaimed property.

Ad Valorem Reporting – Tangible Property Tax Filing

  • Alabama’s Ad Valorem returns are due December 31st of each year. (Note: Due dates vary by state.)
  • Alabama’s Ad Valorem reporting period is October 1st – September 30th. (Note: Due dates vary by state.)
  • Now is the time to get your asset listing up to date! Be sure to include new asset purchases, any asset dispositions, leased property and be sure to identify the location of the property.
  • BMSS will be contacting clients soon with information regarding preparation and filing of the ad valorem returns.

Business Licenses

  • Business license requirements vary by jurisdiction and state. Determine if the jurisdictions (city and county) in which you are conducting business requires a business license.
  • Be sure to check the due date for each jurisdiction in which you are renewing or filing a business license. Many of the local Alabama municipal business licenses have a delinquency date of January 31st or February 15th. Jefferson County business licenses are due October 31st.
  • The business license fee is calculated on a particular tax base, depending on your business. It could be based on gross receipts, employee headcount, or just be a flat fee. Be sure to use the correct formula for calculating the business license fee.
  • Please contact your BMSS CPA for assistance If you have questions regarding business licenses.

If you have any questions, please contact your BMSS CPA or one of our State & Local Tax Services professionals or call (205) 982-5500.

BMSS Staff Promotions

Stephen Von Hagel, CPA, CGMA was promoted to Senior Manager. Stephen graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration and Masters of Accountancy.  He has over 10 years of experience in public accounting and specializes in financial statement audits, single audits, reviews and compilation services for clients in the healthcare, construction, manufacturing, distribution, non-profit, governmental, transportation and technology industries. Stephen also has the designation of Certified Global Management Accountant, is a member of the Alabama Utility Contractors Association, is a graduate of the ASCPA Leadership Program and serves on his church finance council.

Nick D’Alessandro, CPA was promoted to Manager. Nick has 10 years of experience in public accounting, most of which has been concentrated in individual, not-for-profit and business taxation with construction and manufacturing clients. Nick contributes to technical topics for tax compliance articles and is part of the compilation and review team at BMSS. He serves as President of the Knights of Columbus #635, on the Advisory Council for Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic School and previously served as Treasurer for the Birmingham Boys Choir Foundation. Nick is a graduate of the ASPCA Leadership Academy.

Promoted to Supervisor was Brad Brown, Tyler Crawford, Dan Post and AJ VanderWoude.

Luke Arnett, Zach Clifton and Jennifer Mayfield were promoted to Senior Accountant and Hannah Avery, Dana Marshall, Robby Lilly and Tyler Bartlett were promoted to Staff Accountant B.

Auston Sullivan was named Staff Accountant. Auston previously worked as a runner and intern at BMSS.

Nonprofit Seminar on September 30th

The BMSS Not-For-Profit Practice Group, along with BDO, will be presenting a seminar on new regulatory updates, tax compliance and other changes affecting tax-exempt organizations.

Save the date!  More details coming soon.

Wednesday, September 30th

08:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Credit Union Roundtable - August 13th

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith invites you to attend our annual "Credit Union Roundtable" - an interactive seminar open to all credit union employees, management, board and committee members.

Thursday, August 13
10 am – 2 pm
Lunch will be served.

Join Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith for this fun and informative day of discussing ways to better your credit union’s operations and compliance.

Included topics:

  • Financial Accounting & Regulatory Updates
    • Current and proposed changes and how to deal with or stay ahead of them
  • Tax Updates
    • What you need to know to stay in compliance
  • Human Resources & Health Care Reform
    • Staying ahead of the confusing alphabet of HR regulations - EEOC, FMLA, DOL, IRS etc. 
    • Affordable Care Act (ACA) - health care reform updates
  • Employee Benefit Plans
    • Understanding your fiduciary responsibilities
  • Service Organization Controls (SOC) Reports
    • An integral part of any vendor due diligence or internal control risk assessment

This is YOUR roundtable.  BMSS wants to know what topics you would like to discuss.   We will have an open forum to share ideas.  Please let us know items you would like discussed when you register.

FREE to attend!
CPE credit available from AICPA.

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith
1121 Riverchase Office Road
Birmingham, AL 35244

Space is limited. Registration is required - Register here now.

Questions? (205) 982-5565

Read more about how the BMSS Credit Union Practice Group can help you.

Back to School Sales Tax Holiday Aug. 7-9

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. (CST) on Friday August 7, 2015, and ending at 12:00 midnight on Sunday August 9, 2015, Alabama will hold its 10th annual sales tax holiday. 

Shoppers have the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, and clothing (see reference sheet of exempt items) free of state sales or use tax.

Retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax-exempt during the Sales Tax Holiday.

Local sales and use tax may apply – see list of participating cities and counties.

If you have any questions, please contact your BMSS CPA or one of our State & Local Tax Services professionals or call (205) 982-5500.

 

BMSS Staff Promotions July 2015

BMSS is proud to announce recent staff promotions in our firm!

Stephen Von Hagel, CPA, CGMA was promoted to Senior Manager. Stephen graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration and Masters of Accountancy.  He has over 10 years of experience in public accounting and specializes in financial statement audits, single audits, reviews and compilation services for clients in the healthcare, construction, manufacturing, distribution, non-profit, governmental, transportation and technology industries. Stephen also has the designation of Certified Global Management Accountant, is a member of the Alabama Utility Contractors Association, is a graduate of the ASCPA Leadership Program and serves on his church finance council.

Nick D’Alessandro, CPA was promoted to Manager. Nick has 10 years of experience in public accounting, most of which has been concentrated in individual, not-for-profit and business taxation with construction and manufacturing clients. Nick contributes to technical topics for tax compliance articles and is part of the compilation and review team at BMSS. He serves as President of the Knights of Columbus #635, on the Advisory Council for Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic School and previously served as Treasurer for the Birmingham Boys Choir Foundation. Nick is a graduate of the ASPCA Leadership Academy.

Promoted to Supervisor was Brad Brown, Tyler Crawford, Dan Post and AJ VanderWoude.

Luke Arnett, Zach Clifton and Jennifer Mayfield were promoted to Senior Accountant and Hannah Avery, Dana Marshall, Robby Lilly and Tyler Bartlett were promoted to Staff Accountant B.

Auston Sullivan was named Staff Accountant. Auston previously worked as a runner and intern at BMSS.

 

BMSS Welcomes Dr. Sacha Walicord

Dr. Sacha Walicord has joined BMSS as an International Business Consultant. He is a member of the Alabama Germany Partnership and also serves as the pastor of Covenant Heritage Presbyterian Church.

Payroll & Benefit Solutions Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Payroll & Benefit Solutions, sister company to BMSS, is celebrating its10 year anniversary! Over the past 10 years, they have grown to service over 840 clients in 40 states with 15 employees.  Thanks to all clients who have been with PBS through the years.  We appreciate the staff who has helped us achieve our growth.  Payroll & Benefit Solutions looks forward to serving you in the future!

Best Place to Work and Special 10-Year Achievement Award

BMSS was named a "Best Place to Work" for 2015 by the Birmingham Business Journal. We ranked #4 in the Large Size Company category.  

The award was based on feedback from confidential employee surveys. Read the full article at the Birmingham Business Journal.

This is the 10th year in a row we are named a Best Place to Work. This year we were one of only 2 companies who received a Special Achievement Award for this honor. 

Receiving our Special Achievement Award for 10 years of being named a Best Place to Work

BMSS News May 2015

WELCOME!  Cynthia Griffith joins BMSS as a Bookkeeper.

CONGRATS!  Jenny Gray received an ASPCA Leadership Academy award.

BMSS was named a "Best Place to Work" for 2015 by the Birmingham Business Journal. We ranked #4 in the Large Size Company category.   This is the 10th year in a row we are named a Best Place to Work. We were one of only 2 companies who received a Special Achievement Award for this honor.

 

Value of Our Membership in BDO Alliance USA

BDO Alliance USA - Value to CPA Firms from BDO Alliance USA on Vimeo.

Taxpayers Receiving Identity Verification Letter Should Use IDVerify.irs.gov

Taxpayers who receive requests from the IRS to verify their identities should use the Identity Verification Service website, idverify.irs.gov, for the fastest, easiest way to complete the task.

Taxpayers may receive a letter when the IRS stops suspicious tax returns that have indications of being identity theft but contains a real taxpayer’s name and/or Social Security number. Only those taxpayers receiving Letter 5071C should access idverify.irs.gov.

The website will ask a series of questions that only the real taxpayer can answer. 

Once the identity is verified, the taxpayers can confirm whether or not they filed the return in question. If they did not file the return, the IRS can take steps at that time to assist them. If they did file the return, it will take approximately six weeks to process it and issue a refund.

Letter 5071C is mailed through the U.S. Postal Service to the address on the return. It asks taxpayers to verify their identities in order for the IRS to complete processing of the returns if the taxpayers did file it or reject the returns if the taxpayers did not file it. The IRS does not request such information via email, nor will the IRS call a taxpayer directly to ask this information without you receiving a letter first. The letter number can be found in the upper corner of the page.

The letter gives taxpayers two options to contact the IRS and confirm whether or not they filed the return. Taxpayers may use the idverify.irs.gov site or call a toll-free number on the letter. Because of the high-volume on the toll-free numbers, the IRS-sponsored website, idverify.irs.gov, is the safest, fastest option for taxpayers with web access.

Taxpayers should have available their prior year tax return and their current year tax return, if they filed one, including supporting documents, such as Forms W-2 and 1099 and Schedules A and C.

Taxpayers should always be aware of tax scams, efforts to solicit personally identifiable information and IRS impersonations. However, idverify.irs.gov is a secure, IRS-supported site that allows taxpayers to verify their identities quickly and safely.

If you receive a letter from the IRS, please contact your BMSS CPA or one of our Tax professionals.

Where's My Refund? Income Tax Refund Tracker

The IRS and Alabama Department of Revenue have some great new tools to check the status of your refund and tax account.  You will need to make sure you have the refund amount and taxpayer’s social security number (first SSN listed on a joint return) to check your Federal and Alabama refunds.

Check Your Federal Refund Status & Tax Account Information:

Check Your Alabama Refund Status & Tax Account Information:

We have provided these links for you to be able to conveniently check your return refunds or transcripts. If, however, you would like our assistance on these or other tax matters, please do not hesitate to call us.

Congratulations Patrick Bowman - Top 40 Under 40

Congratulations to Patrick Bowman!  Patrick was named one of the "Top 40 Under 40" by the Birmingham Business Journal.

The "Top 40 Under 40" awards recognize the outstanding young professionals in Birmingham who have made significant career achievements and have demonstrated social responsibility. 

Patrick joined BMSS in 2001 and became a Member in 2014.  He provides audit, review and compilation services to clients primarily in the construction, manufacturing, governmental and not-for-profit industries and is responsible for overseeing continuing education efforts for our governmental and not-for-profit auditors and monitoring updates in audit techniques and pronouncements.  Patrick serves on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits, is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association of Alabama and was inducted into the Troy University Accounting Hall of Honor in 2014.

Patrick joins other BMSS "Top 40 Under 40" past honorees John Shank and Ross Mendheim in this honor.

Read all about the 2015 Top 40 Under 40...

Karen Poist and Bill Lorimer Promoted to Member

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith is proud to announce that Karen Poist, CPA and Bill Lorimer, CPA became Members on January 1, 2015.

Karen Poist, CPAKaren Poist and her husband, Chad, have 4 children - Allison, Matt, John & Jack. They are members of Prince of Peace Catholic Church.  Karen began her career as an Internal Revenue Agent with the Internal Revenue Service in Rochester, New York. She worked in various aspects of tax accounting for firms in New York and Virginia and in private industry with a large government-contracting company in the Washington, D.C. area.

She joined Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith in 1998. Karen heads our State & Local Tax Services Group (SALT). Her experience and areas of specialty include state and local income taxation, individual and corporate taxation, compliance, planning, audit representation and mergers and acquisitions. She works with and represents clients on tax audits with the IRS and state and local governments. Karen has presented SALT seminars for our clients including topics on state and local taxes, sales tax, nexus and apportionment and allocation.

A graduate from the State University of New York at Fredonia with a BS degree in Accounting, she is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants and serves on the Taxation Committee. Karen holds a Certified Public  Accountant license in both Alabama and Virginia.

Bill Lorimer, CPABill Lorimer and his wife, Marian, have four children - Christopher, Andrew, Bryson and Maegan. Bill is a resident of Hoover and attends Hunter Street Baptist Church.

Bill joined Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith in 2006.  He previously working for a local accounting firm for 12 years. His special areas of practice include individual, corporate federal & state income along with not-for-profit taxation and compliance. Bill has experience working with all forms of entities in real estate, construction, manufacturing, retail, not-for-profit, entertainment and service industries.  He regularly presents to not-for-profits and businesses on tax compliance.

He graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s in Accountancy and is a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants.

New Employees January 2015

Welcome new employees! Zach Clifton joined BMSS as Staff Accountant B. Tyler Bartlett and Dana Marshalls are new Staff Accountants. Emily Espy, Lauren Sampson, Amber Lockwood and Abby Missildine are working as Interns for 2015.

Payroll & Benefit Solutions, sister company to BMSS, welcomes Paige Henderson and James Waid as Payroll Specialists.
 

BMSS Named a Best Accounting Firm to Work For in the US

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith was named as one of the “2014 Best Accounting Firms to Work For” in the United States by Accounting Today magazine. 

The “Best Accounting Firms to Work For” list honors the top 100 best places of employment in the accounting industry in the United States.

BMSS was the only firm in Alabama to make this list.

Company's workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics were evaluated along with an employee survey to measure the employee experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.

What does this mean for our clients?  BMSS has a high level of employee satisfaction, low turnover and the ability to recruit topnotch professionals. We utilize our low turnover to minimize staff changes. Staff consistency allows us to reduce costs to clients and ensure long-term relationships.

BMSS Professionals Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA) Designation

John Shank, Don Murphy, Derrel Curry and Scott Stevens have received their Chartered Global Management Accountant designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

The Certified Global Management Accountant (CGMA) is a global management accounting designation that recognizes the unique role played by professionals around the world who combine accounting and financial expertise with strategic insight to guide better business decisions. It demonstrates management accounting expertise in such areas as leading strategically with management to make more informed decisions, helping organizations manage change, risk and uncertainty, protecting corporate assets and promoting operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Management accountants understand both financial and non-financial data and continually integrate information from across an enterprise to help a business achieve their objectives.  Their understanding and experience of business goes well beyond financial accounting - management accountants are business professionals at the heart of decision-making, who “connect the dots” and recognize how the different parts of the business need to come together to create value.

Jack Knight Retired December 31, 2014

Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith is both proud and saddened to announce that A. Jackson (Jack) Knight, CPA, CVA will be retiring on December 31, 2014. 

Jack joined Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith in 2000 and has over 40 years of public accounting experience. He served as the team leader for the Financial Services Practice Group focused on providing assurance and consulting services to credit unions, community banks and insurance carriers, as well as not-for-profit organizations and churches. 

As a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), Jack performed business valuation services which are commonly required in conjunction with the purchase or sale of a business, succession planning, estate and gift taxes and initial public offerings.  He was a frequent speaker to credit unions and not-for-profit organizations on accounting and fraud prevention topics and was actively involved with the League of Southeastern Credit Unions.

Active in the community, Jack serves as Past-President for the Arc of Jefferson County and was named "2011 Volunteer of the Year" from the Arc of Alabama. He also serves as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and participates in numerous ministries and global mission trips with Dawson Memorial Baptist Church.

Jack and his wife, Sallie, have two sons, David and John, and three grandchildren with a fourth grandchild being welcomed in early 2015.

“Jack will be greatly missed at BMSS,” said Don Murphy, Managing Member. “He developed our firm’s Financial Services Practice Group and fostered the development of younger accountants. Although we will all miss Jack’s friendly nature and smiling face around the office, this is a well-earned opportunity for Jack to devote more time to his family and personal interests.”


 

BMSS Habitat for Humanity Service Project

For the 9th year in a row, Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith is sponsoring and building a Habitat for Humanity home.

Employees from Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith, and sister companies Abacus IT Solutions and Payroll & Benefit Solutions, joined together for 8 weeks to donate over 600 hours to build the new Habitat for Humanity home.

The home is expected to be completed on December 18th, 2014.

Habitat for Humanity

View progress of the project in the Habitat for Humanity photo gallery.