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Small Businesses

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Building a sales prospect pipeline for your business

An old business adage says, “Sales is a numbers game.” In other words, the more potential buyers you face, the better your chances of making sales. This isn’t completely true, of course; success also depends on execution. Nonetheless, when a company builds a pipeline to funnel prospects to its sales team, it will increase the opportunities for these staff members to strike and close deals. Here are some ways to undertake construction. Do your research First, establish a profile of the organizations that are the best candidates for your products or services. Criteria should include: Location, Number of employees, Sales volume, Industry, and Specific needs. Next, think lead generation....

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The fine line between a small business and a hobby

It’s a matter of work vs. fun, right? No, the difference, at least from a tax perspective, is that you can fully deduct business expenses from income.  Under the new tax law you can’t deduct any hobby expenses. No single factor is determinative, but you’re probably operating a business if: You have a profit motive. You keep accounting, inventory and other records. You invest significant time and effort. You need the income you  make from it. It’s been profitable for at least 3 of the past five years. You’ve conducted similar, profitable activities in the past. You expect assets you use to appreciate in the future. You consult professional...

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Reminder: Group Health Plans Required to Offer Special Enrollment

Certain Events Trigger 30 or 60-Day Special Enrollment Periods Under HIPAA, certain events that happen to employees or their dependents trigger a right to "special enroll" in a group health plan. Special enrollment allows individuals who previously declined health coverage to enroll in coverage outside of a plan's open enrollment period. An employee and his or her dependents must be provided at least 30 days to request special enrollment in a group health plan because of: Loss of eligibility for other coverage, such as coverage from a spouse's employer; Termination of employer contributions toward other health coverage; or Certain life events, including marriage, birth, adoption,...

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Virginia Expands National Guard Employment Protections

Law Effective July 1, 2018 A new law in Virginia expands certain National Guard employment protections (i.e., leave, reemployment, and nondiscrimination) to any person who is a member of the National Guard of another state who is employed or seeking employment in Virginia. Expanded Protections The new law extends National Guard employment rights (concerning leaves of absence; reemployment; and employment nondiscrimination) to any person who is a member of the National Guard of another state who is employed or seeking employment in Virginia. Prior to July 1, 2018, such rights extend only to members of the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia...

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Reminder: Form 1094 & 1095 Deadlines Approaching

Certain Employers Required to Electronically File Returns Employers subject to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) information reporting requirements are reminded that the deadlines to file and furnish Forms 1094 and 1095 are quickly approaching. The reporting deadlines in 2018 are for reporting information on the 2017 calendar year, and are as follows: Applicable large employers (ALEs)—generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalents—must file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS no later than February 28, 2018 (or April 2, 2018 if filing electronically). ALEs must also furnish a Form 1095-C to all full-time employees by March 2, 2018. Self-insuring...

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New Tax Law Takes a Bite out of Meals & Entertainment Deductions

H.R. 1, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has changed the deductibility of certain meals and entertainment expenses.  Prior to 2018, a taxpayer could deduct 50% of business meals and entertainment and 100% of meals provided on the employer’s premises and for the convenience of the employer.  Under the act, taxpayers are still generally able to deduct 50% of the food and beverage expenses associated with operating their trade or business (e.g., meals consumed by employees on work travel).  For amounts incurred and paid after December 31, 2017 and until December 31, 2025, the act expands this 50%...

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IRS Confirms Impact of Tax Reform on Contribution, Benefits Limits

The Internal Revenue Service says that the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 does not affect the tax year 2018 dollar limitations for retirement plans announced last October – but it will have an impact in the future. Of course, the tax code specifies dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans, and it requires the Treasury Department to annually adjust these limits for cost-of-living increases using procedures that are similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under the Social Security Act. The IRS notes that the recently enacted TCJA made no changes to the section of the...

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DOL Proposal Encourages Creation of Association Health Plans

Rule Would Permit Associations Based on Industry or Geography The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed rule which would allow employers to join together as a single group to offer group health insurance coverage to current employees, former employees, working owners, and their family members as part of an "association health plan." If finalized, the rule would allow association health plans to be formed on the basis of industry or geography, such as by state, city, county, or metropolitan area. Notably, the proposed rule would subject association health plans to the nondiscrimination rules currently applicable to large group coverage...

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Reminder: Individual Mandate Remains in Effect for 2018

Requirement is Effectively Repealed Beginning in 2019 Individuals are reminded that the section of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which effectively repealed the individual shared responsibility provision ("individual mandate") of the Affordable Care Act does not become effective until 2019. As a result, individuals are required to have minimum essential health coverage, qualify for an exemption from the requirement, or pay a penalty tax for 2018. You can learn more about the Individual Mandate (Individual Shared Responsibility) through SIMA's partner, HR360. ...

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