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Check your tax forms for errors and avoid fines for 2013

TAX-Check-tax-forms(BPT) – Tax season will be here before you know it and businesses everywhere want to handle their reporting quickly, efficiently and on time in order to avoid the penalties and fines associated with missed deadlines. In recent years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has increased its penalties for misfiled or late tax forms. As a result, it’s more important than ever for leaders of small to mid-sized businesses to stay on top of changes and be doubly vigilant in assembling and reviewing their reporting documents.

As simple as it may seem, one of the most important but least utilized steps to this review is simply double-checking all reporting documents and deadlines. It is vital to double check the information on tax forms for accuracy and be aware of year-end deadlines to prevent errors resulting in fines or other penalties. If filing is not done by the deadline, taxpayers will face failure-to-file penalties.

“Tax season doesn’t have to be a stressful time of the year that starts ulcers for small business leaders,” says Janice Krueger, a tax and reporting expert at Greatland, one of the country’s leading providers of W-2 and 1099 products for business. “A recent study revealed that 39 percent of filers are never certain that they are meeting all the rules and requirements when reporting annually. We want to help alleviate those concerns by informing taxpayers about filing requirements and deadlines, along with the ramifications of errors and/or late filings.”

Many 1099 and W-2 reporting penalties have doubled or even tripled over the past few years and it is increasingly essential that businesses file and complete all wage and income filings on time. Here is a list of filing penalties for W-2 and 1099 forms Greatland believes taxpayers should be aware of this season:

* The penalty for failing to file accurate information on returns is $100 per return.

* The maximum failure-to-file penalty is $1.5 million.

* If returns are filed within 30 days after the due date, the penalty is $30 per return.

* The maximum penalty for organizations that issue returns within 30 days is $250,000.

* The penalty for filing returns more than 30 days after the due date, but before Aug. 1, is $60 per return.

* The maximum penalty for organizations that issue returns more than 30 days past the due date, but before Aug. 1, is $500,000.

For small businesses, defined as organizations with annual gross receipts of $5 million or less for the three most recent tax years:

* The maximum failure-to-file penalty is $500,000.

* The maximum penalty for organizations that issue returns within 30 days after the due date is $75,000.

* The maximum penalty for organizations that issue returns more than 30 days past the due date, but before Aug. 1, is $200,000.

To make sure your business has all of the accurate information needed, you can find a full list of federal and state filing regulations to remember on Greatland’s W-2 and 1099 fact center website.

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2014 Standard Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

56 cents per mile for business miles driven

23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes

14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business, medical, and moving expense rates decrease one-half cent from the 2013 rates. The charitable rate is based on statute.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2013-80 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

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Supplemental insurance plans can help protect your family and your wallet

BUS-Supplemental insurance PHOTO(BPT) – No one wakes up thinking that their day will include a heart attack or a cancer diagnosis.

But unexpected medical emergencies can happen to anyone at any time, and few people are prepared for the expenses that accompany them. Financial experts often recommend building an emergency fund consisting of six months of salary, but few people can achieve that in these difficult economic times.

“One way to prepare for a significant health event is to consider supplemental insurance, a policy that can be bought in addition to your major medical plan,” says Scott Krienke of Assurant Health, a Milwaukee-based insurer. “These plans can be used to pay out-of-pocket costs not covered by major medical, as well as non-medical costs related to an injury or illness.”

Supplemental plans generally pay cash directly to the consumer. The money can be used however the customer chooses, whether it’s for day-to-day costs like child care or lost wages, or medical expenses not covered by a major medical policy such as deductibles, co-insurance or experimental/alternative treatments.

While most people may not want to believe they’ll ever experience a critical illness, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer, followed by cancer. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, followed by accidents.

Supplemental insurance plans are available for specific critical illnesses, such as heart, stroke and cancer, and offer a range of benefit levels to fit different needs and budgets. Critical illness supplemental plans pay upon life-threatening diagnosis to help offset expenses.

Supplemental plans for accidents also can be a helpful add-on to a major medical plan. The cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with motor vehicle crash injuries was over $99 billion in the U.S. in 2010, according to the CDC.

There are two types of accident plans: accident fixed-benefit and accident medical expense. Accident fixed-benefit plans pay a set amount for treatment of covered injuries due to an accident. They pay in addition to any other plan benefits in place, and the cash can be used for whatever the policyholder wants—to replace lost income, pay medical bills or take care of household expenses. Accident medical expense plans help pay out-of-pocket medical costs that are not covered by other plans.

There also are supplemental plans available for dental care.

Taking the time to research plans is important in order to select the right supplemental insurance to protect yourself and your family in the face of a medical emergency.

Choose options that fit your unique needs and your budget, and you’ll be better equipped to weather a sudden illness or accident. No matter how the health care market might change, people will continue to have out-of-pocket costs for items not covered by major medical insurance, and supplemental plans are one way to cover those unexpected expenses.

 

 

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First Baby of 2014 at Spectrum Health United Hospital

BUS-First-baby-PHOTO-2014-at-UnitedSeth James Nicholson was the first baby born in 2014 at Spectrum Health United Hospital, in Greenville.

He was born at 9:39 pm on January 2, 2014 in United Hospital’s obstetrics unit. His parents, Annette and Tim Nicholson, live in Stanton.

Seth weighed 4 pounds, 5 ounces, and was 17 inches long. He was delivered by Dr. Andrea Sterling.

 

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Five key deadlines to help small businesses avoid IRS headaches

*TAX-Five key deadlines

BPT) – The adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure still rings true – especially for businesses preparing for tax season. If you oversee your company’s filing requirements, knowing what is due and when can save you and your employee’s penalties, time and stress.

Every year, January’s arrival means two important tasks if you are in charge of filing and reporting for your company or employer: issuing W-2s and 1099 forms to employees. Small-to-medium-sized businesses should plan accordingly to stay ahead of key dates crucial to making the 2013 filing season your “gold-star” year.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), businesses must send their employees W-2s by Jan. 31 and provide all W-2s and the transmittal form W-3 to the IRS by the last day of February.

If an employee does not receive a W-2 from their employer, they can contact the IRS for assistance. The IRS requests employees to wait until at least Feb. 14, allowing for slow mail delivery. After Feb. 14, the IRS will contact the employer and request the employee receive a duplicate W-2. The employer will be notified of the penalties if it fails to comply with government regulations, which can include fines, penalties and even imprisonment.

The same applies to issuing 1099s, used primarily for reporting company payments to freelance and contract workers, or other non-employees. In general, businesses need to furnish employees with a copy of their 1099 form by Jan. 31, 2014.

According to the experts at Greatland Corporation, a company that provides W-2 and 1099 forms and e-filing services to small businesses, for the past three years, the IRS has been cracking down on contractors who aren’t always attentive when it comes to paying taxes. In fact, the government has collected $9.5 million in back wages from employers who misclassified workers as independent contractors since 2011.

“We have many customers that used to feel overwhelmed by adopting a clear process for managing the timeline for ordering and submitting their forms,” says Janice Krueger, a spokesperson for Greatland, one of the country’s leading providers of W-2 and 1099 products for business. “Feedback from a recent survey we conducted showed that 43 percent of small business filers are terrified of being fined by the IRS for not complying with a new rule or regulation for W-2 and 1099 reporting. Adopting an early game-plan is always recommended to allow enough time for the complicated filings.”

Estimates are that 20 percent of businesses misclassify workers; so make sure your business knows how to correctly report your contractors when issuing a W-2 and 1099 forms.

According to Greatland, these key dates will allow company W-2 and 1099 filers to stay on track this filing season:

* Jan. 31, 2014 – Due date to mail employee copies for W-2

* Jan. 31, 2014 – Due date to mail recipient copies for 1099

* Feb. 18, 2014 – Due date for 1099-MISC if reporting payments in boxes 8 or 14

* Feb. 28, 2014 – Due date to send Copy A to federal agency on paper (W-2 to SSA, 1099 to IRS)

* March 31, 2014 – Due date to send Copy A to Federal agency electronically (W-2 to SSA, 1099 to IRS)

To make sure your business doesn’t miss a deadline, you can find a full list of federal state and filing dates to remember on Greatland’s W-2 and 1099 fact center website.

 

 

 

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Deadline to file for new Michigan tax exemption is February 10

From Kent County Bureau of Equalization

 

There are new changes in Michigan’s Personal Property Tax beginning this year.

These changes exempt personal property from taxes under certain conditions. The Kent County Bureau of Equalization wants to be sure all property owners are aware of this new tax break, and that they file for exemption before a fast-approaching deadline.

A taxpayer who owns, leases, or has possession of personal property, with a total true cash value of less than $80,000, may request the property be exempt by filing an exemption affidavit (Form 5076) with the local unit of government. The affidavit must be filed by February 10 each year in order to obtain the exemption. If an affidavit is not timely filed, the property will not be exempted. Property owners who file the affidavit are not required to file the personal property statement as they have in the past.

“Businesses will want to pay special attention to their Personal Property Statements and other letters from their Assessor this year,” said Matt Woolford, Director of the Kent County Bureau of Equalization. “The majority of small businesses may find they are eligible to be exempted from paying personal property taxes. Like a homeowner, though, businesses will have to apply to their local assessor to receive an exemption. It is in every business owner’s interest to educate themselves on these new tax breaks. They should contact their local assessor to find out more how this law may apply to them.”

Along with the deadline, there are provisions that prevent property owners from dividing up their property among different entities to fall under the threshold. In addition, the law requires the property owner to maintain records demonstrating the value of their personal property and make those records available to the assessor on demand.

This is a significant change to the personal property tax law and property owners with questions are encouraged to contact their local Assessor’s office. For 2014 only, a taxpayer who misses the February 10 deadline may petition the March Board of Review to add the exemption; however, the Bureau of Equalization strongly recommends filing an exemption affidavit before the deadline.

The Affidavit of Owner of Eligible Personal Property Claiming Exemption from Collection of Taxes (Form 5076) can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/treasury/5076_439273_7.pdf or at your local Assessor’s office.

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Northwest Kent Mechanical receives award

 

Northwest Kent Mechanical is proud to announce its recent Associated Builders & Contractors Award of Excellence. They received the award for their mechanical work on the recently completed Kent County Correctional Facility. It is the 16th Award of Excellence the company has received in the last 10 years.

This portion of the project was $4.9 million and was a three-year project starting with the renovation of an existing section of the jail. The second phase involved tearing down a different section of the jail facility so that the new addition could be built.

Mechanically, Northwest Kent Mechanical installed 14,150 feet of ductwork that totaled more than 100,000 pounds. On the plumbing side, they installed 42,500 feet of pipe (approximately eight miles). This job included 301 plumbing fixtures and 236 drains. There are two lower-level mechanical rooms that house the chilled water system, domestic hot water system, and the heating distribution pumps. The Penthouse Mechanical room houses six air-handling units.

They also encountered a rare incident during the project, when a crane collapsed on another building at the facility. This accident caused the facility to lose water and heat to some of the older portions of the jail. Northwest Kent employees worked through the weekend to restore water and heat to make the facility operational again.

“It was incredible to see all the trades work together to get things back up and running after this accident,” said a spokesperson for Northwest Kent Mechanical.

 

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Business Bits

Deltatron/U-haul at your service

If you are looking for a truck or trailer rental close by, you might want to check out Deltatron/Uhaul, 3500 17 Mile Rd, in Cedar Springs. Owner James Pate said that they now rent U-haul trucks, trailers, tow dollies, appliance and box dollies, furniture blankets, box tape and more.

“We have the right equipment for the moving job at a great price,” said Pate.

Deltatron U-haul is located west of Meijer and is open Monday through Friday 9-5, and Saturday 9-noon. Give them a call at (616) 696-4348.

 

Casino trip garners Toys for Tots

Compass Coach recently held a toy drive on one of their casino trips. In lieu of fees to ride the bus, passengers were asked to bring a new, unopened toy for Toys for Tots. The trip raised about $1,500 worth of new toys for disadvantaged kids. Owner Trent Stange and support staff dropped off the Toys at the Marine Reserve Center in Grand Rapids.

“Our hope is to bring a little joy to these kids for Christmas,” said Peter Deutsch, of Compass Coach.

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2013 Suzanne Christensen Volunteer Award

Pictured from left to right:  Shelly Westbrook, Foundation Director Sadie Springsteen, Volunteer – 2013 Suzanne Christensen Award Recipient  Tina Freese-Decker, President

Pictured from left to right:
Shelly Westbrook, Foundation Director
Sadie Springsteen, Volunteer – 2013 Suzanne Christensen Award Recipient
Tina Freese-Decker, President

Spectrum Health Foundation United & Kelsey Hospitals presented the 2013 Suzanne –Christensen Volunteer Award on Wednesday, November 13.

A volunteer appreciation luncheon was held in honor of the Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals volunteers and Kelsey Hospital Guild members. The luncheon was held to thank hospital volunteers and guild members for their kind and caring dedication to Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospital’s patients and staff.

The 2013 Suzanne Christensen Volunteer Award was presented at the luncheon. The Suzanne Christensen award is given annually to a recipient who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to the Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospital community through volunteerism or other significant goodwill. It is with great excitement and honor to announce that Sadie Springsteen was this year’s recipient.

Sadie has been volunteering at United Hospital since July 2012 and supports United Lifestyles and the Foundation. Sadie has exhibited true dedication, enthusiasm and a giving heart. United and Kelsey Hospitals sincerely appreciate the work that Sadie does and congratulate her on this noteworthy honor.

Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals currently has 25 Guild members and 74 active volunteers who serve in 15 departments. The volunteer services program has expanded this year to include volunteer safety assistants and additional greeter positions at United Hospital. At Kelsey Hospital, a new outpatient surgery hostess volunteer is providing a therapeutic distraction to family members who are waiting. The volunteers at the hospitals selflessly give of their time, talents and efforts. The hospitals would like to thank Sadie and the many other devoted volunteers of the hospitals for their spirit of volunteerism and support.

 

 

 

 

 

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Compass Coach food drive

BUS-Compass-Coach-food-driveA Compass Coach food drive on a casino bus run to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan raised 1,100 pounds in food donations and $300.00 in cash.

North Kent Community Services, at 10075 Northland Dr., was the benefactor of this collection. Kathy Clements, the Business Manager at North Kent, was amazed at the generosity of these casino riders, along with Compass Coach donating the trip in exchange for donations.

“So many folks are short on resources this year, it’s a treat to have local businesses step up and help,” said Clements.

Compass Coach also runs a Winter Coat drive Nov. 29, along with Toys for Tots in December.

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