Financial Advice for Working with the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME)

The Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, or IAAME is an organization designed to accredit, approve, monitor, and provide oversight of intercountry adoption services provided by adoption service providers, in order to protect the most vulnerable among us: the orphan.

The staff of IAAME has widespread knowledge and experience in providing welfare services for children, which helps them administer standards, contracts, licenses, and monitoring domestic and international adoption services.

In 2008, standards were set by Hague Adoption Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act, and IAAME has been the accrediting agency since 2017. As an accrediting entity, its responsibilities, as set forth by 22 CFR 96 Part F, include:

  • Determining agencies eligibility for accreditation
  • Determining persons eligibility for approval
  • Monitoring and oversight of accredited/approved agencies/persons compliance with applicable requirements
  • Investigating and responding to complaints about accredited agencies and approved persons (including their use of supervised providers)
  • Taking adverse action against an accredited agency or approved person, and/or referring an accredited agency or approved person for possible action by the Secretary
  • Determining if an accredited agency or approved person is eligible for renewal of their accreditation/approval
  • Collecting data from accredited/approved agencies/persons, maintaining records, and reporting information to the Secretary, State courts, and other entities
  • Assisting the Secretary in taking appropriate action to help an agency/person in transferring its intercountry adoption cases and adoption records

One item from this list includes the approval of persons. Mainly, this is referring to attorneys that are involved. Attorneys need to look closely at their practices to determine whether they are providing adoption services as defined in the regulations in addition to legal services. If an attorney is providing adoption services s/he must be accredited, approved, or act under the supervision of an accredited or approved adoption service provider. Agencies and/or persons who provide intercountry adoption services without being accredited or approved may face criminal and/or civil penalties such as those outlined in section 404 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000.

Part of this accreditation are requirements for financial data including:

  • Budgeting
  • Annual internal review
  • An independent audit every 4 years
  • Tax returns
  • Control documentation
  • Cash Reserve documentation
  • Risk assessment documentation
  • Compensation policies
  • Insurance documentation

There are many other requirements set forth in the application and renewal process. 

We know that it can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders by giving your time and energy to helping an orphan child. Do not let the financial requirements add to that stress as well. At Marshall Jones we can help relieve those worries by helping you appropriately prepare for the financial requirements. Contact Marshall Jones by calling (404) 231-2001 or reach out to us online.

New Clarity Around Preparing for PPP Loan Forgiveness

On May 15th, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a press release that the Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) Loan Forgiveness Application along with detailed instructions and clarifications around the loan forgiveness process.

Here is a summary of the highlights and changes brought by the press release and the official forgiveness application.

Alternate 8-Week Covered Period

There is now an alternative covered period in which to disburse funds from the PPP for companies with payroll frequencies of biweekly or longer.  These companies may begin their covered period beginning the first pay period after receiving the PPP loan funds.  This simplifies the determination of the amount of payroll costs incurred against the loan by creating a clean cut-off.

The SBA provides the example that if a borrower “received its PPP loan proceeds on Monday, April 20, and the first day of its first pay period following its PPP loan disbursement is Sunday, April 26, the first day of the Alternative Payroll Covered Period is April 26 and the last day of the Alternative Payroll Covered Period is Saturday, June 20.”

We recommend using the Alternate 8-Week Covered Period, if possible, for your business.

Flexibility in Basis of Accounting for Forgiveness

Previous interpretations of the CARES Act allowed only for expenses that were incurred AND paid to be considered in the calculation of loan forgiveness.  This criterion has been loosened and allows companies to consider costs that are incurred OR paid (for payroll and other costs), as long as incurred expenses are paid by the next normal payroll or billing date.

The Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Calculation has been Defined

The new guidance instructs borrowers to calculate FTEs by entering the average number of hours paid per week per employee, divide by 40, and round the total to the nearest tenth. The maximum for each employee is capped at 1.0.  This is contrary to previous interpretations of the CARES Act which assumed a 30-hour work week as contemplated by the Affordable Care Act.  This is an important calculation as any reduction of FTEs during the eight-week covered period that is below the lower of the average weekly FTEs during the period of EITHER February 15, 2019 through June 30, 2019 OR January 1, 2020 through February 29, 2020, results in a reduction of loan forgiveness.  A safe harbor exception to this rule applies as long as you restore your FTEs before June 30, 2020.

Further exceptions to this FTE rule have been added which allow that for a) any positions for which the borrower made a good-faith written offer to rehire an employee during the covered period which was rejected by the employee; and b) any employees who were fired for cause, voluntarily resigned, or voluntarily requested and received a reduction of their hours during the covered period, no reduction of forgiveness will apply.

Allowable Wage Reductions

Wage reductions are allowable under the PPP and will not impact forgiveness unless wages (calculated on a per employee basis) are reduced below 25%.  The calculation compares the average ANNUALIZED salary or hourly wage by employee during the eight-week covered period and compares it to the average ANNUALIZED salary or hourly wage during the period from January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. If the average during the eight-week period is less than 75% of the average during the previous quarter, a reduction of the forgivable amount of the loan applies, ONLY if the wages are not increased to less than at 25% reduction by June 30, 2020 (safe harbor rule).

How Marshall Jones Can Help

We have had many requests to help businesses and nonprofits navigate the complexities and hurdles of the PPP Loan.  The AICPA has empowered firms like us with special guidance, tools, and calculators to help make sure we can be effective at providing the guidance and assurance you need.  If you have concerns about your PPP loan and the forgiveness calculation, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Here

Accounting and Financial Reporting for an Advertising Agency

The marketing and advertising industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. But with this growth comes a new set of challenges ⁠— especially when it comes to financial reporting.

Accounting for ad agencies doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simplify your advertising agency’s financial management and accounting with the strategic use of financial reports.

Types of Financial Statements for Marketing Companies

There are four key financial reports that advertising and marketing agencies need to be aware of:

Profit Analysis Report

As the name suggests, this report provides insights as to how profitable your advertising agency truly is. A profit analysis report offers a comparison of estimated costs and actual costs, along with billable amounts and actual invoices. The report can be as specific as you want it to be with the addition of filters to show the names of clients, a range of dates spent working on projects and more.

Staff Utilization Report

Keep track of available staff hours, hours already worked and billable hours organized by each staff member and role at your agency with a staff utilization report. This report lays out the details of staff hours within a given date range, billable or otherwise.

Efficiency Report

An efficiency report is essential when it comes to understanding the efficiency of your marketing company’s active staff members. This report includes the number of jobs worked on by each staff member, along with a breakdown of their billable and non-billable hours worked in a given time. You can also weigh the value of the payroll cost of an individual against their billable hours.

WIP, or Work in Progress Report

A work in progress report also offers valuable insights about the day to day operations of your agency. A WIP report will include job-level details along with financial data, such as a breakdown of which values are actual or estimated and which are invoiced or un-billed.

Accounting Tips for Your Advertising Agency

If you want your advertising agency to continue to grow in the coming years, proper accounting is essential. Keeping your financial reports up-to-date is one tip. Here are a few more:

  1. Keep track of all of your cash flow and expenses. That includes receipts, contracts, deposit slips and more.
  2. Set time aside for upkeep. If you’re handling any aspects of your accounting in-house, you need to schedule a designated time to do so on a weekly or monthly basis.

Accounting can be complex, especially as your business grows and you have more staff members and clients to keep track of. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong by outsourcing accounting and financial management to an experienced firm.

Are You in Need of Accounting Services? Marshall Jones Can Help!

Our team of Certified Public Accountants and Advisors has been serving businesses and individuals in Atlanta for over three decades. Let us handle the financial aspect of your business so you can focus your attention on creative advertising! Contact us today for expert assistance in managing your advertising agency.

Preparing for Paycheck Protection Loan Forgiveness

It has been a long road for many of you who have already received your Paycheck Protection Program loan funds, and certainly for those of you who are still waiting for your funds to arrive.  Unfortunately, this is only the first step in the process under the CARES Act and the economic relief it is intended to bring.

To help you navigate this road, we at Marshall Jones want to be sure to continue to be there for you during the next phase, which is to help you use the funds in a way that prepares you for forgiveness.

PPP Loan Forgiveness Maximization

Much like the confusion that existed initially around applying for the PPP loan, there is a great deal of ambiguity around the precise forgiveness calculations that will be required.  While clarity will come with time, we believe there are some practical steps and safe interpretations of the forgiveness clauses of the CARES Act which will put you in the best position to receive total loan forgiveness.

We want to emphasize the areas we think are the most important considerations for you to make during the eight-week covered period after you receive your loan funds.  Doing your best to use the funds in a way that aligns with the intent of Congress will give you the best chance at maximum loan forgiveness.

Know Your Timeline

The clock to spend your PPP funds starts the day your funds are deposited into your bank account.  You will have eight weeks from this time to spend your loan funds on covered charges if you want to receive 100% forgiveness on your loan.

Track and Document Your Covered Expenses

There are many ways to do this, but some are more practical than others.  Some advisors are recommending opening up new bank accounts, changing payroll frequencies, or disbursing money in specific amounts to prove the use of funds.  We believe that a good accounting system is all you really need.

Ultimately, we believe that you will simply need a list of paid and incurred transactions covered by the CARES Act that the PPP funds were used for during the eight-week period after receiving your loan funds.  This list of expenses can be tracked simply in a spreadsheet or clever use of debits and credits in your account system.

Covered PPP Fund Expenses Include:

  • Gross wages, tips, vacation, FMLA
  • Employer portion of Health care benefits
  • Employer portion of retirement benefits
  • Employer portion of state and local taxes on compensation
  • Rent for real and personal property
  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Phone
  • Internet
  • Fuel
  • Interest on loans secured by real or personal property

Expenses Not Covered by the PPP Fund:

  • Employer portion of payroll taxes
  • Wages for the eight weeks that are more than $15,385 for a single employee (effectively excluding wages that are over $100k for a single employee)

ALL of these transactions should be supported by documentation.  We recommend that all this documentation be accumulated at least weekly, kept electronically, and ready to provide to the bank when asked for during the forgiveness process.

Maintain Your Payroll at Pre-Pandemic Levels

Forgiveness will be reduced if you do not retain an average number of employees during the eight-week period that is greater than that which existed at pre-pandemic levels (the lessor of the average number of FTEs from 2/15/19 – 6/30/19 or 1/1/20 – 2/29/20).

Forgiveness will also be reduced if you reduce employee salaries by more than 25% of their salary at pre-pandemic levels.

Forgiveness will be reduced if more than 25% of the loan funds are used on non-payroll costs.  Based on the calculation of the maximum loan amount, this should only be possible if you do not maintain your pre-pandemic payroll levels.

Remember the spirit of the CARES Act and the namesake of the loan program.  The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to let people keep their jobs and their salaries.  If you want the best chance at maximum loan forgiveness, maintain your payroll at pre-pandemic levels, which may include rehiring individuals who have been laid off or furloughed.  Doing this should keep you safely within the bounds of loan forgiveness interpretations that are to come.

Stay informed & Talk with Your Bank or a Professional at Marshall Jones

More information on loan forgiveness will be available in the coming weeks.  Please check with us or your bank to stay aware of the latest news and be prepared to adjust course if necessary.

There will be many nuances to the PPP loan forgiveness process, so if you want a more detailed analysis of your specific situation, we would be happy to have these discussions with you.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us online or by phone at (404) 231-2001.

Business Partner or Shareholder Buyouts: What You Need to Know

As your business grows and develops, you may be asking yourself — what are the steps involved with selling my share of the business to my partner? Or maybe you’re looking for advice for buying out a business partner.

When it comes to buying out a partner in a business, there is a right and wrong way to go about it. If you can part amicably, the process will be much easier. So what do you need to know before you proceed with a company buyout?  

What to Know Before Buying Out a Business Partner

Your business partnership may be ending for several good reasons. Maybe your partner is retiring or moving away or has been presented with an opportunity they can’t pass up. Even if the split is amicable, buying out a business partner can still be an overwhelming, stressful experience. Here’s what you need to know before buying out a business partner:

Start the Conversation About the Buyout With a Positive Tone

When you’re ready to start the conversation about the buyout, use a positive tone — this is particularly important if you and your partner aren’t parting on the best terms. You may not want to open the conversation with legal jargon that’s difficult to understand, as this is likely a person you’ve built a close working relationship with over the years. 

Instead, aim for a friendly, easy-going conversation, so you can avoid angering your partner or making them defensive. During this conversation, there’s no need to bring up disagreements from the past or place blame. The focus of this discussion should be following a path that works well for both of you. 

Consider All Your Financing Options

Buying out a business partner may come with a sizable cost, and you may not be able to cover this upfront expense out of pocket. When it comes to partner buyout financing, you may want to consider self-financing. If you can’t finance the buyout yourself, you may want to consider other financing possibilities, such as a business acquisition loan. 

Schedule a Business Valuation

Bring in an independent firm that can evaluate your business. This objective opinion on the value of your business will give you and your partner a starting point for negotiating a fair buyout and ensuring this buyout will be a positive investment.   

Steps to Buying Out a Business Partner

The process of buying out a partner or shareholder doesn’t have to be mysterious or overwhelming. To buy out a business partner, you should follow these steps:

1. Determine the Value of Your Partner’s Equity Stake

What is the value of your partner’s equity position? This is the first step to calculating what the financial challenge will be. After your business is valued by a professional, you’ll be able to assign a value to your departing partner’s equity stake. 

2. Decide What the Appropriate Financing Should Be for the Buyout

The financing you select will likely be based on how much the buyout will cost, the amount of debt your company already has, your industry, your location, your cash flow and your equity. If you’re unsure what may be the best financing option, you can reach out to an experienced financial professional for help. 

3. Assess What the Transactional Approach Should Be

Determine what the transactional approach should be for financing by visiting your tax professionals and legal professionals. The form of your organization, such as whether you are a partnership or a corporation, may affect the transactional approach that is right for your company. 

4. Initiate the Financing Transactions

After you’ve determined what the transactional and legal strategies should be, you can put the process of buying out your partner in motion. If your primary bank doesn’t seem like the best option, you may want to consult with a certified public accountant or advisor from Marshall Jones, who can help you pinpoint the most favorable financing option.  

Tips for Structuring and Financing a Partner or Shareholder Buyout

Are you unsure how to structure and finance a partner or shareholder buyout? The following tips can help you during this process:

1. Select the Best Method for Financing the Buyout

You can choose between debt financing and equity financing. Debt financing tends to be more common through buyouts over time, lump-sum payments or earn-outs. 

2. Agree on Your Company’s Valuation

During a business partner buyout, a common method for valuing a business is both partners developing a valuation on their own and taking the average of both of these values. If there is too large a discrepancy between the two values or if other reasons interfere with your ability to reach an agreement, you can bring in a third party who can independently value your company.

3. Formalize the Deal’s Structure

You should also formalize the structure of your deal. To do so, you can bring in a legal professional who is experienced in acquisitions and mergers. The legal requirements vary by state, and a lawyer will be knowledgeable about what the laws are in your state.  

What You Should Consider When Buying Out a Business Partner

There are tax implications of buying out a business partner, along with other considerations. Consider the following when buying out a business partner:

Your Company’s Future

How will you be able to keep your company operational after your partner is no longer present? Is your partner very hands-on with the business? Will you need to increase your number of hours in the office or find another partner or hire new employees? Will your partner’s absence have a direct impact on your business’s sales? Or will your partner’s absence give you a chance to grow your company in another direction? 

Assessing what lies in the future for your company is an important consideration when buying out a business partner. 

Your Previous Agreements

When your business was originally formed, you may have included a buy-sell agreement. With this agreement, you can follow the protocols that were set. When buying out a business partner, remember to consider your previous agreements.

Tips for Buying Out a Business Partner to Make the Process Easier

To make the process of buying out a business partner easier, you can outsource your accounting and consult with business experts at Marshall Jones. Even during an amicable buyout and with a detailed partnership agreement, it will be in both your and your partner’s best interest to work with experienced professionals who can help you negotiate the buyout.

Get Assistance With Buying Out Your Business Partner or Shareholder

Are you looking for advice on buying out a business partner? Our Marshall Jones Certified Public Accountants And Advisors have the financial expertise to guide you through your business partner or shareholder buyout. Contact us today to get started. 

startup businesses

Tax Strategies for Startup Businesses

There are a lot of advantages to being your own boss. But when it comes to tax strategies and financing, many owners of startup businesses find themselves at a loss.

If you want to set your small business up for success, follow these simple tips.

How to Finance a Startup Business

Financing your business is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face in getting your startup off the ground. Here are a few methods for financing your startup:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Applying for a bank loan
  • Attracting angel investors
  • Using a credit card
  • Tapping into your 401(k)

You should think carefully about the risks you are willing to take on to finance your startup, especially if you choose to borrow money.

However you finance your business, the most important thing you need to do is make the money count. Smart money management can make or break a small business.

Financial Tips for Small Businesses

There’s a learning curve for small business money management. Here are three helpful financial tips to get you started:

1. Only Pay for the Insurance You Need

Overpaying for insurance is a common misstep for startups. Assess your risks and only invest in the insurance you absolutely need. If you’re working from home, for example, your risks are limited and can probably be covered by your existing homeowner’s insurance.

2. Always Use Contracts

Show your clients that you’re a legitimate business by setting up contracts. This is the best way to ensure that you always get paid for the work you do.

3. Build a Network You Can Rely On

Part of being a smart spender is knowing when you need to hire outside assistance versus when you can rely on other businesses in your network. When it comes to finances and bookkeeping, you can’t go wrong with hiring an accounting firm.

But you might be able to tap into your network for certain services, such as graphic design. Consider trading services with other startups and small businesses rather than paying fees elsewhere.

Tax Advice for Small and Startup Businesses

The taxes you pay on your earnings depend entirely on the structure of your small business. If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, you don’t necessarily need to make quarterly tax payments right away. Corporate entities, on the other hand, need to file taxes as they earn income.

Here’s another piece of advice: set aside self-employment taxes as you earn. This will prevent any unpleasant surprises when it’s time to pay during tax season.

Contact Marshall Jones for Accounting Services

If you’re managing a small business, you know that it’s important to strategize when it comes to your budget. Outsourcing accounting services to an experienced firm is a cost-effective alternative to hiring an in-house accountant — and it allows you to focus on the project at hand.

This tax season, look no further than Marshall Jones for reliable accounting services in Atlanta, Georgia. Contact us today to learn more about how our Certified Public Accountants and Advisors can help your startup business grow!

COVID-19 UPDATES FROM MARSHALL JONES


In these uncertain times, we want to offer you the assurance that Marshall Jones is working at maximum capacity to service all of your audit, tax and bookkeeping needs, and is actively monitoring legislation at the Federal and State level that could impact you and your businesses.

We urge you to continue to consult with us prior to taking action based on news reports which are sometimes incomplete.  This blog will be updated with only the most impactful and official news and legislation, relevant to you.

While there have been many reports and rumors on tax relief, stimulus packages, and the like, only one major piece of legislation has been signed so far, though more are expected in the coming weeks.  Below is a synopsis of the major provisions in this legislation, with a simple description of how they may affect you and your business.

I. Congress – CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” was
signed into law, in part to provide a variety of funding streams for economic relief and stimulus to those
economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have highlighted some of the more relevant and
impactful parts of this new law below.

Title I – Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act

Paycheck Protection Program

  • Paycheck Protection Loans, guaranteed by the SBA, available to businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees.  This includes sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals.
    •  Maximum loan will be 2.5 times the average monthly payments of the following items for the 1-year period before the date the loan is made plus total amounts due under other certain SBA loans:
      1. Salary, wage, commission, or similar compensation
      2. Payment of cash tip or equivalent
      3. Payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave
      4. Allowance for dismissal or separation
      5. Payment required for the provisions of group health care benefits, including insurance premiums
      6. Payment of any retirement benefits
      7. Payment of State and local tax assessed on the compensation of employees
    •  Loan funds may be used for:
      • Payroll costs defined above
      • Other group health care benefits paid
      • Payments of interest on any mortgage obligation (excluding prepaid interest)
      • Rent
      • Utilities
      • Interest on other debt obligations
    •  Borrower Requirements
      • Good faith certification by the borrower.
    •  Deferral of Repayment
      • Lenders must defer payment of principal and interest to between 6 months and 1 year.
      • There will be no prepayment penalty.

Loan Forgiveness

Borrowers are eligible for forgiveness of loans equal to the sum of the following costs incurred and payments made from February 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020

  • Payroll costs defined above
  • Payment of interest on mortgage obligations (excluding prepaid interest)
  • Rent
  • Utilities

Forgivable amount calculated above may be reduced by the following:

  • Pro-rata reduction of full-time equivalent employees
  • Pro-rata reduction of total salary or wages
  • Rehires are taken into consideration for this calculation
  • Documentation required to apply for forgiveness include:
    • Payroll tax filings
    • state income, payroll, and unemployment insurance filings
    • Documents verifying payments on covered payments such as cancelled checks and receipts
    • Certification of proper use of funds
  • Lender has 60 days to approve forgiveness
  • Forgiven amounts will not be taxable

Learn more about the New Clarity Around Preparing for PPP Loan Forgiveness.

Emergency EIDL Grants

  • From January 31, 2020, through December 31, 2020, businesses and nonprofits are eligible for another type of loan through the SBA.
    • $10,000 advanced may be received 3 days after SBA receives application.
      • Funds are to be used for providing paid sick leave to employees
      • Maintaining payroll to retain employees.
      • Meeting increased costs to obtain materials unavailable from original source.
      • Making rent or mortgage payments.
      • Repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.
    • This advance does not have to be repaid even if the loan is denied.

If you are interested in applying for any of the available loans, please let us know.  We are happy to assist you in the application and loan forgiveness process, or help to answer other questions you may have about the available SBA loans.

Title II – Assistance for American Workers, Families, and Businesses

Rebates and Other Individual Provisions

  • Individuals unable to work due to COVID-19 for a period of up to 39 weeks from January 27, 2020, through December 31, 2020, are eligible for relief in amounts based upon State calculations.
    • Most individuals will receive an advanced tax credit refund of $1,200 ($2,400 in the case of eligible individuals filing a joint return), plus $500 for each qualifying child.
    • This credit will be phased out by 5% of the amount of adjusted gross income of your 2019 or 2018 tax return that exceeds the following:
      • $150,000 for joint filers
      • $112,500 for head of household filers
      • $75,000 for other tax payers

Other Individual Tax Provisions

  • Required Minimum Distributions from Qualified Retirement Plans are waived for 2020.
    • 10% penalty for early retirement plan withdrawal is waived for distributions up to $100,000 for qualified individuals affected by the virus.
      • Cash Charitable contributions during 2020 which are normally limited to 60% of Adjusted Gross Income are not subject to that limitation.
      • Taxpayers who do not itemize are eligible for a $300 cash charitable contribution deduction in arriving at Adjusted Gross Income.
      • Employer provided payments up to $5,250 per employee for student loan repayments are not includable in taxable income for any payments made before 1/1/2021.
      • Net Operating Loss deductions (NOL) previously limited to offsetting 80% of taxable income are allowed to fully offset taxable income in tax years beginning after 2017.
      • NOLs arising in a tax year beginning AFTER 12/31/2018 is eligible to be carried back to each of the FIVE preceding tax years.
      • The limit on Excess Business Losses has been lifted for tax years 2018, 2019 and 2020.  The Excess Business Loss limitation restricted Trade or Business Losses to Trade or Business income plus $250,000 ($500,000 if Married Filing Jointly).

Other Business Tax Provisions

  • The payment of the employer portion of payroll taxes (FICA and Medicare) can be deferred until 12/31/2021 for 50% of such taxes and 12/31/2022 for the remaining 50%.
    • The 30% limitation on the deductibility of business interest expense has been increased to 50% for tax years beginning in 2019 and 2020.
      • A technical correction designates Qualified Improvement Property as 15-year property, thus qualifying for 100% Bonus First Year Depreciation deduction effective retroactively for all property placed in service after 12/31/2017.
      • Corporations with Corporate Minimum Tax Credits, can claim 100% of those AMT credits in 2019.

Please know that these tax changes are often complex and face certain restrictions.  Please consult your Marshall Jones advisors for specifics as to how these changes may affect you.

Congress Public Law 116-136

Paycheck Protection Program

Treasury – CARES Act


I. IRS – RELIEF FOR TAXPAYERS AFFECTED BY ONGOING CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 PANDEMIC: NOTICE 2020-18

Filing and Payment Relief

  • The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Federal income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020.
  • There will be no interest accruing from April 16th through July 15th and no penalties for filings or payments due April 15th that are completed by July 15th.
  • This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations.
  • This relief is automatic, taxpayers do NOT need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify.
  • Estimated tax payments for quarter one of 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020 are also automatically extended until July 15, 2020.
  • Individual and business taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension until September 15 or October 15 based on prior law.

Marshall Jones is closely monitoring all new regulations from the IRS and are prepared to help businesses navigate the impacts and ensure proper compliance. 

If you are due a refund, please send your information in as soon as it is complete so we can get your refund into your hands!

Official IRS Publication

IRS Filing and Payment Deadline FAQs


II. GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE – GEORGIA CORONAVIRUS TAX RELIEF INFORMATION

  • The Georgia Department of Revenue is automatically extending the 2019 income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, 2020
  • Vehicle registrations that expire between March 16, 2020 and May 14, 2020 are also being extended through May 15, 2020
  • Press release and FAQs on tax relief can be found at the link below

Georgia Tax Relief

AICPA GUIDE TO STATE FILING RELIEF


III. CONGRESS – CORONAVIRUS PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2020: PUBLIC LAW NO: 116-123

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.

On March 18, 2020, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Georgia has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). This declaration will provide assistance in the form of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to impacted small businesses in all 159 counties in Georgia

GEORGIA SBA PRESS RELEASE

CONGRESS BILL 116-123

SBA DISASTER ASSISTANCE


IV. CONGRESS – FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT: PUBLIC LAW NO: 116-127

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

  • The current employee threshold for FMLA coverage changed from only covering employers with 50 or more employees to instead covering those employers with fewer than 500 employees.
  • It also lowers the eligibility requirement such that any employee who has worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the designated leave may be eligible to receive paid family and medical leave. 
  • It requires qualifying employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees affected by coronavirus (for a number of hours determined by an employee’s full- or part-time status) 
  • Emergency sick leave is limited to: 
    • $511 per day/$5,110 in the aggregate for employees that are in quarantine or seeking a diagnosis for coronavirus; 
    • $200 per day/$2,000 in the aggregate to care for a quarantined family member or to provide childcare.
  • It provides employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave if the employee or a family member is in quarantine or if a child’s school or place of care is closed due to the coronavirus; 
  • It requires employers to provide no less than 2/3rd of the employee’s usual pay up to $200 per day, $10,000 in total; 
  • The 12 weeks of job-protected leave can apply AFTER employees take the provided two weeks of emergency paid sick leave. 

Small Employer Exception

  • The Department of Labor has the authority to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from compliance when “imposition of [the paid sick leave requirements] would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” The guidance for how to apply for exemption will be released by DOL at a later time.
  • Business closures or shutdowns are not covered reasons requiring paid sick leave.

Marshall Jones is closely monitoring all new regulations from the IRS and are prepared to help businesses navigate the impacts and ensure proper compliance. 

For now, our recommendation is to maintain detailed documentation of the time spent by employees for virus testing, medical care, school closures, and relevant information of affected family members, while also protecting the privacy of your employees. We suggest that employers develop an internal mechanism via intranet, separate email, or a time–keeping system to track the time employees are absent for reasons related to coronavirus, including a coronavirus diagnosis, recommended or required self-quarantine, care for a quarantines or ill family member, and/or care for a child who is ill or whose school or place of care is closed due to coronavirus.

Tax Credits For Paid Sick And Paid Family and Medical Leave

Paid Sick Leave Credit

  • For an employee who is unable to work because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis, eligible employers (those with fewer than 500 employees) may receive a refundable sick leave credit for sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate, for a total of 10 days.
  • For an employee who is caring for someone with Coronavirus, or is caring for a child because the child’s school or child care facility is closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may claim a credit for two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, for up to 10 days. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

Child Care Leave Credit

  • In addition to the sick leave credit, for an employee who is unable to work because of a need to care for a child whose school or child care facility is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus, eligible employers may receive a refundable child care leave credit. This credit is equal to two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay, capped at $200 per day or $10,000 in the aggregate. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted towards the child care leave credit. Eligible employers are entitled to an additional tax credit determined based on costs to maintain health insurance coverage for the eligible employee during the leave period.

The expansion of required paid sick leave is designed to be completely reimbursable to the employer through immediate tax credits to payroll taxes

Each of these tax credits has complex qualifications, guidelines and reporting requirements The expansion of required paid sick leave is designed to be completely reimbursable to the employer through immediate tax credits to payroll taxes that could change rapidly and dramatically as the coronavirus outbreak continues.  We will keep you updated as we learn more and ask that you contact us with specific questions.  

116TH CONGRESS BILL 116-127


V. GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR – EMERGENCY RULES ADOPTED 03-19-20

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has adopted an emergency Rule 300-2-4-0.5 Partial Claims, effective March 16, 2020. The rule mandates all Georgia employers to file partial claims online on behalf of their employees for any week during which an employee (full-time/part-time) works less than full-time due to a partial or total company shutdown caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Any employer found to be in violation of this rule will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

Filing partial claims results in your employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically.

Employees for whom you file a partial claim are NOT required to report to a Georgia Department of Labor career center, register for employment services, or look for other work.

On March 19th, the following additional emergency measures were adopted,

… in the determination of the Commissioner, the account of an employer may not be charged for certain benefits paid for unemployment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including benefits paid on partial claims filed online.

The Georgia Department of Labor has links to many help FAQs for employees and employers alike to assist with complying with the rule change.  Please follow this link to access this information.

GEORGIA DOL COVID 19 INFORMATION

GEORGIA DOL EMERGENCY RULES


Is your business in need of virtual accounting services? Contact Marshall Jones online or by phone (404) 231-2001 for more information

Why Your Company Can Benefit from Outsourcing Your Accounting Department

In 2020 businesses look to technology to perform or aid performance in every department. Video conference calls replace meetings, instant messaging replaces having to interrupt someone by walking to their office and more and more companies are going paperless with the utilizing cloud-based technology. 

As technology changes a large part of how businesses operate, the advantages of outsourcing accounting and financial management become more compelling. Outsourcing these functions allow a business to spend more time on their core business operations, customer service, business development and other activities that directly impact a company’s growth.

Below we will discuss the top 5 reasons you should outsource your companies accounting in 2020.

1. Avoid Having a Full Accounting Department on the Payroll

One of the biggest things to consider when outsourcing your accounting department is the savings you will have. When you outsource your accounting needs, you no longer have the overhead of that department on your books. That saves your company from paying the salary and benefits that the department would be using. 

2. You Can Be As Involved as You Want 

When you outsource your accounting department, you have a team working for you. At Marshall Jones, we work with you to determine how we can best suit your needs. We can send reports weekly, monthly, or quarterly and are always available to call, video conference, email and, of course, meet in person.

3. Financial Consultation by a Team of Professionals 

Outsourcing your accounting will only add to your company’s financial knowledge. Instead of a static group working on your financials, you can have a dynamic team that values keeping up with the industry best practices. Marshall Jones works with a wide variety of companies and industries, allowing us to understand and consult on strategic business decisions.

4. Dedicated CPAs Who Are Up To Date on the Latest Tax Laws

Do not worry about keeping up with the ever-changing tax laws. Hire a team that with the expertise to not only file your taxes for you, but help you plan and prepare during the year and work with you to find deductions you may not know you qualify for. Outsourcing guarantees that you are keeping up with the latest financial practices and tax laws while eliminating many manual processes that are inefficient.

5. Have All of Your Financials at the Touch of a Button

With the cloud-based technology used today, your financials are only a click away even when your tax team is across town in Atlanta and Alpharetta. With the advances in communication technology and the ability to share files, records and documents in seconds, outsourcing your accounting makes a lot of sense.

Are you a business in Atlanta or Alpharetta, Georgia looking for the best way to improve your financials in 2020? Contact the Certified Public Accountants and Advisors of Marshall Jones today to discuss all of your business’ needs.

A project management team working

8 Steps to Effective Project Management

Whether you’re trying to launch a fresh product or break ground on new construction, making progress requires concentrated effort. Project management is the process of harnessing and organizing that effort to turn a concept into reality.

The project management process can involve many different phases depending on the complexity of the goal, including planning, organizing, scheduling, and executing the work involved. With a thorough project management plan, a daunting task becomes a series of simple, actionable steps that allow you to meet deadlines, stay on budget and achieve incredible things.

In today’s world of complex, multiphase tasks that encompass a large scope, good project management is essential. However, even smaller goals can see substantial benefits from developing a plan for their achievement. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of planning to benefit your company, here are some essential project management tips for creating action plans that work for you. 

Project Management Steps for Success

Depending on the scope of the work, some of these steps may be combined or even expanded into sub-steps to accommodate your specific needs. Nevertheless, approaching any goal with this process in mind will give you a strong foundation from which to determine your ideal phases of project management.

1. Define the Project

Every accomplishment begins with a concept. The first step in making it a reality is refining it so you have a clear objective. Think about your short- and long-term goals and how this project may impact other aspects of your business. When you know what you want to do or build, you can begin planning how you’re going to make it happen.

2. Determine Who Needs to Be Involved

Identifying the relevant stakeholders is one of the most critical phases of project management. This group will obviously include parties like business owners, sponsors, and shareholders, but it is also important to remember that everyone touched by the project has a stake in it, including consumers.

With all key parties identified, ensure their needs are met and secure the necessary approvals before moving forward.

3. Define the Steps Needed and Determine Who Will Work on Each

When evaluating the parties involved in the project management process, be sure to account for all the work that will be necessary to bring your plan to fruition. Will you be able to complete the project in-house? Will you need to hire contractors or buy new tools? These considerations have a significant impact on your budget and timeline, so they should always take place early in the planning process.

4. Set Goals and Determine What Qualifies as a Successful Outcome

Once you have a clear vision and you know what your stakeholders expect, the project management process becomes more concrete. Write out your objectives for the project and how you expect it to benefit everyone involved.

5. Identify a Timeline and Create a Schedule

An essential aspect of developing a functional timeline is accounting for how the steps of your project might overlap. Are any of your processes prerequisites for others? You’ll want to ensure your schedule is arranged to accommodate any interconnecting project demands.

In addition to creating a final deadline for the project, be sure to include realistic, achievable milestones that will occur along the way. These may include progress markers and deadlines for individual components. Keeping your project management steps manageable and actionable will keep the project moving and ensure the continued motivation of your team.

6. Assess Risks and Resources Needed

Every project involves some risk. When you take the time to consider what might go wrong in the course of execution, you can design contingency plans to keep the project on track. Similarly, you’ll want to be sure you have everything you need on hand to complete the project before it begins, preferably with a little extra to spare in case of unexpected issues.

7. Perform the Tasks

With your plan in place, your team ready, and your resources secure, it’s time to break ground. In this phase, your job as a project manager is to keep everything moving, ensuring open communication and proactively addressing issues so the project can continue to advance toward the finish line.

8. Test the Outcome and Determine Success 

The final step of the project management process is perhaps the most rewarding. Review the work that was accomplished and evaluate its success in light of the original goal and any circumstances that emerged during completion.

Very few projects are ever finished precisely as expected, but by following these project management tips, you can design a detailed and agile plan that keeps work moving and brings your vision to life in the end.

Sharpen Your Focus With Financial Management From Marshall Jones

When you are running a company or startup in Atlanta, your focus should be on the project at hand. Let Marshall Jones handle the accounting side of your business. Contact one of our Certified Public Accountants and Advisors today!

Here is what you need to know to prepare for an audit in Atlanta

Preparing for an Audit? Here’s What You Need to Know

The idea of an audit can intimidate many business owners. However, there are several different types of audits, and many are designed to improve your business so you can operate more efficiently in the future. Read on to learn more about what each classification of audit is, as well as tips for how to prepare for an audit.

The Different Types of Government Audits

The first step when preparing for a company audit is to identify and understand which type of audit you are dealing with. There are 14 main types of audits, each one serving a unique purpose. Once you do this, you can then take the necessary steps to prepare for the audit and incorporate the results into your daily operations.

1. External Audit

External audits are performed by external auditors who have no stake in your company. They are ideal for businesses of any size that want to get a clear look at their company and its processes without bias. An external, expert opinion is often one of the best resources for difficult issues your company may struggle with, like finance or tax compliance. Additionally, external audits lend your business more credibility with financial stakeholders.

As you prepare for an external audit, take the time to designate someone to be the liaison between your company and the external auditor. A single point of contact will help both you and the auditor stay organized. This person will be responsible for compiling reports and communicating with the auditor about questions, findings and more. 

2. Internal Audit

An internal audit is an audit your company handles itself, checking that each branch of the company is following the proper procedures and internal policies. The goal of an internal audit is to strengthen the organization and identify areas for improvement. To prepare for an internal audit, sit down with all areas of management, and compile a thorough list of the areas you want your internal audit to focus on.

3. Forensic Audit

A forensic audit is usually required at the request of the court, and its findings are used during legal proceedings to investigate fraud or misappropriation. To stay on top of a forensic audit, make sure your company keeps detailed records of all financial transactions, including dated receipts. Having a clear picture of your financial transactions will help you avoid surprises during a forensic audit.

4. Statutory Audit

Statutory audits are a legally required review of a company’s finances and financial procedures. A statutory audit can occur on a federal, state or local level. Because there are differences between local standards and national standards, do not use the results of a statutory audit as your primary source of information about your company’s standings. As you prepare for a statutory audit, make sure you submit all required documentation requested by the initiator on time to avoid delay.

5. Financial Audit

A financial audit is conducted by external auditors and carefully analyzes your company’s financial statements, processes and position. Because financial audits are typically an annual audit, make sure you close out your company’s fiscal year before proceeding. This way, you get an accurate report of your company’s data.

6. Tax Audit

Tax audits are conducted by the IRS and are one of the most recognized types of government audits. Your company could experience a tax audit for several reasons, including non-compliance, or it could just be a scheduled event by the IRS. To adequately prepare for a tax audit, make sure you know the scope and purpose of the audit. If you know why your company is being audited, you can prepare your answers and have the appropriate financial information ready before the proceedings begin.

7. Information System Audit 

An Information System audit is also known as an IT audit. It is an audit of your company’s IT infrastructure, operations and related policies. For a productive audit experience, create a list of all controls and safeguards currently in place. List the applications, services, software and programs your company uses, as well as information needed to access them. You should also take the time to compile a list of all known IT gaps, so your IT auditor has a place to start and focus their efforts. 

8. Compliance Audit

A compliance audit ensures your business is compliant with a given set of standards or regulations. Compliance audits are essential, as they keep your company running smoothly and according to all laws. To avoid surprises, conduct your own internal compliance audit before the real thing so you can identify and address weak spots ahead of time. At the very least, you can learn something new to help your business run better. 

9. Value for Money Audit

A Value for Money audit is typically used by non-profit organizations when a traditional for-profit analysis of an organization’s finances cannot be made. The purpose of this classification of audit is to analyze your organizations’ financial effectiveness and determine whether your designated funds are correctly utilized. Before a Value for Money audit, make sure you have a clear understanding of your organization’s money in and money out, as well as the value of all goods and services purchased.

10. Review Financial Statements

A review of financial statements is less expensive than a full audit and smaller in scope.  A review of financial statements is useful for analyzing financial information and checking for accountability, accuracy and legality. Many organizations and businesses use a review of financial statements when they do not have financial experts on staff as a way to stay on top of their financial proceedings.

Because a financial review is smaller in scope than a full audit, it does offer less assurance. For this reason, make sure you check with all lenders or financial investors with a stake in your organization before electing to have a review of financial statements, as some may require full audits instead.

11. Agreed Upon Procedures (AUP)

An Agreed Upon Procedure (AUP) is when a company hires an external auditor to audit a specific part of their business. Companies may initiate AUPs if a part of their organizational structure is not performing up to standards or as a way to identify where they should allocate time or funds. Once you receive the results of an AUP, it is up to you to make sense of the findings and apply them to your practice. To do so, you may need to consult an outside expert. Keep this potential cost in mind as you plan and budget your AUP. 

12. Integrated Audit

An integrated audit combines an external financial audit with an internal audit of your company’s operations. It is a way to identify discrepancies before between financial reporting and financial statements. Integrated audits take a closer look at how each branch of your company interplays with one another. To prepare for an integrated audit, make sure each department of your company’s management is aware of the audit, so they can help implement internal changes, and provide the external auditor with all necessary information.

13. Special Audit

A special audit looks at one specific area of a company’s operation. It may be initiated by an outside agency, like the government, or from inside the company. To get the most out of a special audit, make sure all management has a clear understanding of the purpose and goal of a special audit. This will help your staff feel at ease and will give everyone a clear direction once the results of the special audit are returned to you. 

14. Operational Audit

Companies initiate operational audits to get a fresh perspective on their company’s processes and structure. Operational audits are excellent for identifying weaknesses and strengths, as well as introducing new ideas to help your company thrive. Before conducting an operational audit, determine the scope of the review and create a list of goals. For the most productive audit experience, work with your auditor to identify the areas of concern you want the audit to focus on.

Let Marshall Jones help your company prepare for an audit

Let Marshall Jones Help Your Company Prepare for an Audit

At Marshall Jones, our certified public accountants and advisors perform audits according to auditing standards generally accepted in the U.S. and standards that apply to financial audits in government auditing standards. We use a risk-based audit approach to comply with all standards and objectives. Contact us today for your audit needs.