Understanding the benefits of health reimbursement arrangements

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest It’s no secret that a spotlight has been on our country’s healthcare system for some time now — and a bright one at that. Health insurance options and expenditures are a real concern for agribusiness owners and it’s hard to know what options will best fit the needs of your operation. Rest assured there are options; some that can even put money back your pocket.Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) are based upon Section 105 of the Internal Revenue Code. These particular arraignments allow farmers who qualify to deduct 100% of family medical cost against the farm income. In turn, the taxpayer saves federal, state and FICA taxes for family medical costs (typically a 35% savings).This is done by declaring medical expenses as business expenses, not as Schedule A itemized personal deductions, which are often limited or lost. What’s the catch here you ask? Whether they file as sole proprietor or an LLC, farmers must have a spouse who is employed by their business, at least on a part-time basis. More and more farmers are putting their spouse on the payroll in order to take advantage of HRAs.A Section 4 105 Plan allows a qualified farmer to benefit by deducting 100% of:Health Insurance and dental insurance premiums for eligible employee(s) and family. This also includes qualified long-term care insurance.Uninsured (out of pocket) medical, dental and vision care expenses for eligible employee(s) and family.Chiropractic, medical supplies, contact lenses, hearing aids, Medicare Part A, Medicare Supplemental, optical/vision, and cancer insurance premiums for eligible employee(s).Let’s take a look at scenario that would qualify: Joe owns and runs a farm. His wife, Jane, helps in the fields and takes care of some financial records and administrative functions for the farming business. Because Jane is already a service to the farm operation, Joe makes her a true employee and begins providing her with compensation. They are now eligible for HRAs.Joe compensates Jane a total of $14,000 per year in the following way:1. Reimbursement for family health premiums:  $7,0002. Reimbursements for uninsured medical expenses:  $5,0003. W-2 Cash Wages:  $2,000TOTAL$14,000 By allowing for a 100% federal, state and FICA tax deduction of the $12,000 of reimbursed expenses, Joe would receive $4,200 in actual tax dollar savings by taking advantage of a Section 105 Plan. (Note: the tax savings is assuming rates of 15% federal, 5% state and 15% FICA taxes=35% savings).It’s important to note that farmers who file as C corporations don’t need to abide by the spouse/employee method. The corporation is viewed as the employer in this case and the owner is an employee as long as the employee is receiving scheduled pay. Also note farm entities and sole proprietors with two or more employees may not be eligible for this special deduction because at the two or more employee threshold the new Affordable Health Care Act rules require certain “essential health benefits” (group insurance) and the Section 105 HRA rules may not apply. If you have two or more employees, we advise you consult your accountant for other potential health care solutions.AgriPlanNOW and BizPlanNOW is a couple of the HRAs you may have heard about. HRAs like these aren’t too confused with actual insurance plans. These are reimbursement programs that you must enroll in and there are annual fees, but the savings they provide far outweigh the upfront costs. Once enrolled, you will work with your insurance provider and tax professional to lower your out-of-pocket costs. Because you’re medical costs are now classified as business expenses you will see your deductions increase and tax savings will be the result. Savings will of course vary, but the average is around $5,000 per year.Once you submit an application for an HRA and you are enrolled, then it becomes vital to keep receipts and all records of medical expenses and health insurance premiums as well as payroll transactions. All this information will need to be reviewed and submitted at year-end by your tax professional. A CPA with experience in working with agribusiness professionals can assist you with proper record keeping and of course the tax reporting piece of the puzzle. Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners.  Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves.last_img read more

February workshop addresses 4Rs on the farm

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Nutrient Stewardship Council will host a complimentary “4R Farming 4 Sustainability” educational workshop Feb. 12 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, providing farmers and agricultural retailers updates, perspectives and information on the 4Rs and the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification.The voluntary certification program is a concentrated effort by the agriculture industry to significantly reduce and prevent applied nutrients from running off fields, which has contributed to harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, such as the one responsible for the shutdown of Toledo’s water supply in early August of 2014.“This event will help farmers and nutrient service providers learn more about the voluntary certification program and how important the 4Rs can be in nutrient management,” said Andrew Allman, executive director of the Nutrient Stewardship Council. “Attendees will hear from both their peers and industry professionals to learn how they can contribute to the goal of long-term improvements in the Western Lake Erie Basin.”The workshop agenda includes:An overview of the certification program and its relevancy/legislative connection, provided by Nutrient Stewardship Council representatives and certification program administrators.Perspectives about the program and the 4Rs, shared by panels of growers from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, and representatives from facilities that have become certified through the program within the first two years of its existence.Updates on related research and certification program requirements from industry professionals and consultants.Rick McLellan, senior vice president — commercial division, of The Mosaic Company will be the featured keynote speaker.Twenty-three nutrient service providers have achieved certified status through the program since its inception in March of 2014. These certified facilities provide nutrient recommendations or nutrient application services to 3,870 grower customers covering 1.57 million acres, with 1.09 million of these acres located in the WLEB. Approximately 20% of total farming acres in the WLEB are now covered by certified providers through the program. The program also has commitments from 47 other facilities to go through the certification process.The 4R Farming 4 Sustainability workshop will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Fort Wayne, Indiana – IPFW Coliseum, 4111 Paul Shaffer Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825. Continental breakfast and lunch is included with complimentary registration. For more information and to register for the event, visit oaba.net/events, email info@oaba.net or call 614-326-7520 ext. 1.last_img read more

Goa Congress MLAs urge Governor to follow Karnataka precedent

first_imgGoa Congress leaders, including leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Chandrakant Kavlekar, and party MLAs on Friday called on Governor Mridula Sinha and urged her to follow the immediate precedent set by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and invite the Congress in Goa, as the largest party to form government.The Goa Congress Legislative Party (CLP) has 16 MLAs in the Assembly. Mr. Kavlekar was accompanied by 13 MLAs as two MLAs are not in the state and one MLA is in hospital at the moment, said party spokesperson Siddnath Buyao.Coming out of the meeting with the Governor at Raj Bhavan, Mr. Kavlekar told presspersons that a representation had been submitted to the Governor, requesting her to “right the past wrong” of inviting the BJP to form the government in Goa in March 2017, and now invite the 16-member Congress party to form the government instead.“We have asked her to do what the Karnataka Governor has done recently and invite the Congress as the single largest party to form the government in Goa. This current government has to be dismissed,” said Mr. Kavlekar.He asserted that the Congress in Goa was capable of forming a government and prove its majority in the 40-member Assembly, if it was invited to do so by Ms. Sinha.“She has told us that she will respond to our letter in two days,” Mr. Kavlekar said.The February 2017 pollsThe BJP won 13 seats in the February 2017 elections, against 17 bagged by the Congress. The BJP staked its claim to power with two regional outfits and independent MLAs, and formed a coalition government after getting a prompt nod from Ms. Sinha.Subsequently, Congress MLA Vishwajit Rane quit the party after he remained absent on the floor of the House defying the party whip when Mr. Parrikar took a vote of confidence and joined the BJP to become a Minister, taking the BJP’s strength to 14.At present, the BJP-led alliance has a strength of 23 legislators, with 14 from the BJP, three each from regional parties Goa Forward and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents. The Opposition comprises 16 of the Congress and one NCP member.last_img read more

An Historic Day for Touch Football!

first_imgThe National Rugby League (NRL) and Touch Football Australia have today launched an historic sporting partnership representing the biggest boost to participation and game development in the history of either sport. The two sports will work together as part of a strategic alliance to create the largest sporting community in the country which will reflect the wider support that exists for Rugby League and the game’s commitment to ensuring there is a ‘place on the field’ for everyone.The new agreement will bring more than 1.03 million participants together playing in competitions under a joint NRL-TFA banner. This is in addition to the 844,000 girls and boys who currently take part in NRL Development programs each year. The alliance delivers significant benefits for both sports: a unique and complete pathway for park players and elite athletes that includes contact and non-contact sports – designed so players never leave the game or the field at any point in time during the calendar year or period of their playing life; enhanced inclusiveness, retention, and access to greater, more diverse playing opportunities for all Australians; a better alignment and consolidation of people, resources and competitions across the country – working together on Touch Football and Rugby League under a joint NRL-TFA banner; curtain raisers for the elite Touch Football athletes to showcase their skills and speed on the world stage at State of Origin and Test matches and selected NRL/representative fixtures; a more effective, year-round calendar of events and utilisation of sporting fields’ and amenities under the NRL banner. At the heart of the strategic alliance is a reuniting of two kindred spirits – after over 40 years apart and now formally coming together as one sporting community. Establishing, arguably and compellingly, Australia’s largest sporting community – bringing together well over 1 million participants across the country involved in competitions. According to the CEO of Touch Football Australia, Mr Colm Maguire, the strategic alliance between Touch Football Australia and the NRL is a definitive ‘game changer’ for Touch Football (and Rugby League) and a watershed moment in the history and evolution of both sports. “Touch Football in Australia was born out of Rugby League and the opportunity to create Australia’s largest sporting community aligned with the NRL is as compelling as it is ambitious and fortuitous,” Maguire announced in Sydney today in conjunction with NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Smith. “And, there is a real opportunity to grow the profile of touch both as a recreational game and an elite sport,” he said. “Not only will our partnership with the NRL provide greater potential to expand the participation base and extend the reach and profile of Touch Football, it will also ensure the sport will benefit significantly from the NRL scale, brand and market and distribution presence,” Mr Maguire added. “Both parties will share in the potential synergies of alignment: particularly in terms of combined approach and effort, revenue growth opportunities, cost saving efficiencies including shared services, scale benefits and consolidated national resources. Another key feature of the partnership will be the creation of a dual track continuous pathway; from grassroots to elite for both contact and non-contact forms of the game,” he added. “The corollary to this is the NRL will position Touch Football as its primary recreational game providing greater options for players, catering for all shapes, sizes and skill levels: expanding significantly their age demographics from ages 5 to 70-plus years old and increasing their female participation base, product offerings and mutually beneficial commercial leveraging opportunities,” Mr Maguire added. “Significantly, the partnership enables Touch Football to realise its vision articulated in its strategic plan, to become Australia’s leading community sport through strategic partnerships,” Mr Maguire said. The alignment of Touch Football under the joint NRL-TFA umbrella and operations will be in effect an alignment of like minds, resources, people and approaches. Touch Football Australia Chair, Mr Michael Rush, added that while this has been a very carefully considered process over an extended period of time, the development of the partnership and the announcement at this junction is at the right time for both sports and tremendously exciting. “I can assure all stakeholders connected to our sport that the TFA Board of Management and executive have undertaken a very thorough and demanding assessment and consideration of what this partnership means for our future. We have been diligent and professional while speculating on the exciting outcomes that can be achieved within a collaborative proposition,” Mr Rush said. “It is our firm view that this strategic alliance is in the very best interests of the sport and our membership. What has truly been encouraging is the fact that our new partner has an identical view. “We are very fortunate to be in the position we are in today; our sport and our large and diverse membership naturally hold significant appeal to the NRL. And this is clearly both a validation and in large part a direct result of all the commitment, hard work and perseverance of volunteers, staff, players, officials and supporters everywhere that have made the sport what it is today,” he added. “I can assure all of our members and stakeholders that it is a very exciting time to be involved in the sport. It is a credit to all of our sport’s stakeholders that have built the sport and made this partnership possible. “The partnership also ensures we are best equipped now and in the future to meet the resourcing, positioning and pathway challenges impacting the crowded Australian sporting market,” he added. Mr Maguire added that from a whole-of sport perspective, the continued support of the Australian Sports Commission is pivotal to ensuring that the participation base of both sports expands and provides consolidation support for future growth. “The outcomes of the announcement will further support the participation targets funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission. TFA is grateful for the ongoing contribution by the ASC ($570k in 2013-14) into the sport of Touch Football, particularly within the participation environment,” he said. Today’s official signing of the Memorandum of Understanding commits each party to finalise the terms of the partnership which will include discussions with the Australian Sports Commission. According to NRL’s Chief Executive, Mr David Smith, it is a time for great enthusiasm, excitement and optimism for the sport as the NRL enters into this significant growth stage in the game’s history. “The new agreement with Touch Football Australia is a key strategic step in growing opportunities for Rugby League,” Mr Smith, said today. “Not only will it see more than one million people play in unified competitions, it brings together people from every state and territory, from almost every age group and every demographic. “We have been very clear about our ambition to extend the profile and reach of Rugby League and working with Touch Football Australia will also enable us to pursue new commercial and marketing opportunities that we can leverage with new partners.” CONTACT: Julian Buckmaster – GM, Marketing, Communications and Partnerships, TFAP: 0438 777 993; E: Julian@austouch.com.au Follow us through the week on Facebook (www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustralia) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus) as well as YouTube (www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus); or keep up-to-date with all the news, event action and results by visiting us at the Touch Football Australia website – www.austouch.com.au. Related Filesmedia_release-pdfRelated LinksAustralia’s Largest Sporting Communitylast_img read more

Mugger flees emptyhanded after Halifaxarea woman hits knees him

first_imgHALIFAX – A mugger got the worst of it in downtown Dartmouth when a woman fought back, hitting and kneeing him and forcing him to flee empty-handed.Police say the man was hiding in the bushes as the woman walked on a path off Alderney Drive near the waterfront at about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday.They say he grabbed her and tried to take her purse.Halifax Regional Police say “the suspect fled the scene and did not get anything from the female.”Police described the suspect as white, between 45 and 55, and between five-foot-seven and five-foot-nine.Anyone with information is asked to contact police.last_img

Rep Hoitenga Focus on roads communities veterans as Michigan budget process continues

first_img Rep. Michele Hoitenga today said she will continue to focus on improving roads and supporting local communities as the process of developing the state’s next budget plan continues.Hoitenga this week voted in favor of a Michigan House plan that continues record-level funding for road improvements and makes other investments to improve the economy while reducing overall spending in state government. The House – along with the Senate and Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration – will continue work toward a final budget plan in the coming months.“What matters most to families in Mecosta, Osceola and Wexford counties is what matters most to me,” said Hoitenga, of Manton. “Fixing our roads, helping people find and keep good-paying jobs, supporting local government services – that’s what I’ll be fighting for as we continue the budget process.”The House plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 includes:Road repairs. Funding will rise to the highest levels in Michigan history as the state addresses one of its most urgent needs. Overall, the state will have pumped more than $2 billion in additional funds into roads and bridges over a three-year period by the upcoming budget year – with more money coming in the future. Hoitenga also supports measures designed to make roads last longer and distribute road money more effectively. ### Veterans services. Support for those who served in the military is enhanced, including funding for grants to counties for local-level services. Local communities. The House plan provides more support to local governments through revenue sharing payments than proposed by the governor. “Revenue sharing helps communities provide services we all rely on,” Hoitenga said. “I will continue to fight for this important funding.” House Bills 5578-9 advance to the Senate as work to finalize the next state budget continues.center_img Categories: Hoitenga News,News 26Apr Rep. Hoitenga: Focus on roads, communities, veterans as Michigan budget process continues Education. The plan increases funding for schools with a focus on workforce training.last_img read more

Swisscom is using digital TV quality assurance com

first_imgSwisscom is using digital TV quality assurance company S3’s StormTest Development Center for software testing on its IPTV set-top boxes.  StormTest Development Center allows automated software testing to be executed across multiple digital TV devices. Swisscom is using the solution to test its customised Microsoft Mediaroom Client and TV apps. This simulates the customers’ experience and, according to S3, reduces the amount of time required per test.“S3 Group not only provides us with their StormTest Development Center but they also act as a professional service partner that expresses great interest in supporting and addressing Swisscom’s future test automation requirements. Any partner working together that aids in bringing our business forward is invaluable,” said Michael Krause, head of entertainment and TV test management at Swisscom. “We strive to deliver the ultimate IPTV experience to more than 600,000 customers, and as interactive services and multiple devices continue to become the norm, we need a partner who can help us ensure the highest quality of end-to-end platforms.  We have found that partner with S3 Group.”last_img read more

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first_imgShareTweet Traffic & Travel: Delays over broken down vehicle on Foyle Bridge was last modified: July 26th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: PSNITraffic & Travel: Delays over broken down vehicle on Foyle Bridgecenter_img POLICE are advising motorists of traffic disruption on the Foyle Bridge this afternoon.The delays are as a result of a broken down vehicle. Please avoid the area if possible and seek an alternative route.last_img