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Attract Top Talent With These Tax-Free Tactics

Offering fringe benefits to your employees can set you apart from your competitors when looking to hire new dental assistants and staff.

Offering fringe benefits to your employees can set you apart from your competitors when looking to hire new dental assistants and staff.

Competition is fierce when it comes to attracting and retaining the top talent for your dental practice and it seems as though dental professionals have no choice by to get creative when it comes to providing their dental staff with a comprehensive benefit package. We’ve seen other companies successfully deploy the tactic of providing their teams with fringe benefits, especially those businesses within the technology sector; and maybe it’s time for practice owners throughout the dental industry to consider this approach.

Read Also: Ten Tips For Growing Your Dental Practice

Have you been considering new ways to increase the quality and quantity of your practice’s talent pool? Fringe benefits like free food, massages, fitness centers and game rooms not only help your practice stand out among other practices in the area, they can be implemented without increasing your tax liability. The following is an overview of Publication 15-B, the Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, which is a helpful tool for owners of dental practices who are looking to learn more about the treatment various kinds of fringe benefits will receive at tax time.

What Is A Fringe Benefit?

Generally speaking, a fringe benefit is a form of payment given to a person in exchange for the performance of services. This benefit can be provided by you (the practice owner) to any person (not necessarily a member of your staff) who is performing services for your office, which means independent contractors and partners, for example, are also eligible to receive fringe benefits.    

Are Fringe Benefits Taxable?

All fringe benefits provided by your business are taxable and must be included in your recipients pay unless the law specifically excludes it. Further guidance on how to determine the taxable inclusion amounts is found in Publication 15-B. That being said, cash, cash equivalents and gift cards are generally considered taxable and are not included on the exclusion list below.

What Types Of Fringe Benefits Are Specifically Excluded And Non-Taxable?

(This is not an extensive list.) 

  • Achievement Awards – Your staff likes being recognized for their length of service or safety achievements. While recognition/awards that take the form cash, cash equivalents and gift certificates are taxable, practice owners can reward the dental practice’s team with tangible personal property under this exclusion. Note: Depending on the type of the award, dollar limits may apply.
  • Athletic Facilities – If you maintain an on-site athletic facility that is exclusively used by your office’s staff, your staff’s spouses and their dependent children, the value of this benefit is not required to be included in your staff’s wages.
  • De Minimis Fringe Benefits – A de Minimis fringe benefits are “perks” that are considered to have very little value – so much so that accounting for a benefit of this size would be considered unreasonable or administratively impractical. Common examples of de Minimis fringe benefits include:
    • Occasional personal use of company copying machine
    • Holiday gifts, with a low market value
    • Occasional tickets to the theater or a sporting event
    • Occasional parties and picnics for your practice’s staff and their guests
  • Employee Discounts – This fringe benefit, while subject to limitations, implies that an employer can offer employees a discount for property or services, as long as it is provided to patients as well.
  • Employer-Provided Cell Phones – Many dental professionals provide cell phones for non-compensatory business reasons. Personal use of an employer provided cell phone is excludable from an staff member’s income.
  • Meals
    • De Minimis meals – Coffee, donuts, soft drinks and meals that help to enable your staff to work for longer periods of time are not taxable. Just remember to know your audience – too much sugar is bad for the teeth!
    • Meals on your business premises – Meals that are provided to you team on your practice’s property, which are made available for convenience (facts and circumstances), are excludable. 

NOTE: Expect to see more IRS guidance forthcoming regarding meals as they fine tune the “employer’s convenience” guidance. With all the attention Google and Facebook have garnered for their employee meals the IRS has made meal fringe benefits a priority initiative.

Email a Bright Dental CPA to learn more about what tactics are available to help you attract the talent you need while helping you keep your tax bill down. 

Check out these articles for more tips and tax strategies to help you save extra money at tax time! 

How To Determine When To Call A Dental Retirement Plan Administrator

What Is The Ohio Small Business Tax Deduction?

Could A Crown Be A Tax Deduction?

Give Your Dental Practice The Boost It Needs With QuickBooks®

Dental QuickBooks - Dental CPA

Here are tips you need to know about using QuickBooks® in your dental practice.

Maintaining the business side of your dental practice isn’t easy. And keeping your books updated and accurate can be worse than a tooth ache. But, with the right software, it doesn’t have to be that bad. For example, when used properly, QuickBooks® is an easy-to-use, affordable accounting software package that can help you finally keep tabs on your practice’s cash, accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory and more – which can ultimately help you boost the profitability of your practice.

Check Out: Customize QuickBooks For Your Dental Practice

Start QuickBooks® On The Right Foot

Simply purchasing and installing QuickBooks® isn’t enough. Taking this approach will prove to be even more frustrating and time consuming because the records you depend on to manage a profitable practice will be inaccurate, and you’ll just have to start over again anyway. Instead, if you want to get the most out of your QuickBooks® investment, you will need to follow specific steps, in a specific order, to ensure the software is not only working, but is reporting accurate data.

Keep Your QuickBooks® Software Current

The fact remains that basic double entry bookkeeping has not changed in more than 500 years. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to update your QuickBooks® software. Here’s why you need to keep it updated.

If you use QuickBooks® to prepare your dental practice’s payroll, for example, you should be aware that QuickBooks® only supports three years’ worth of releases for payroll. So, with the release of the 2013 version, your 2010 version of QuickBooks® will soon be out of date and will need an upgrade.

If you are using QuickBooks® version 2010 in a web-hosted environment, you will have to upgrade at during 2013, as Intuit requires that web hosts to allow use of only the most recent three versions of QuickBooks®.

Contact A QuickBooks® Pro For Help

Whether you are a new dentist or seasoned pro, dental professionals find success with QuickBooks® every day, but they don’t realize this success alone. Working with a QuickBooks® expert to set up and/or manage your dental practice’s data doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In fact, you could help you secure greater profit in the long run just by calling in the professionals. At the end of the day, if you’re not taking full advantage of all that QuickBooks® has to offer, you’re missing out on some pretty powerful tools. The team at Bright Dental can help. With a team of certified QuickBooks® ProAdvisors, our QuickBooks® team can assist with QuickBooks® consultation, set-up, training and support. Email Bright Dental CPAs today to learn more.

By Heather McNichols (New Philadelphia Office)

Are you looking for additional QuickBooks® Resources for Dental Professionals? Check out these links for more insight and advice.

Unlock Your Dental Practice’s Potential With QuickBooks

6 QuickBooks Tips Every Dentist Should Know

Dentistry: It’s Not All White Coats And Drills

How To Determine When To Call A Dental Retirement Plan Administrator?

Don’t Miss The October 1 Deadline

Dental Retirement Plan - Dental CPA

If you haven’t made time to speak with a retirement plan specialist recently to make sure that your retirement plan still addresses your company’s unique needs, there’s a chance you are missing out on a more cost-effective solution. Your retirement plan team can quickly run some illustrative numbers to compare your SEP against a 401(k) plan to reveal whether a better option exists for your business.

Do you provide your practice’s staff with a SIMPLE IRA or Safe Harbor 401(k) plan? Well, time’s running out to make changes to your existing plan or establish a new one. The deadline to make changes or establish your dental practice’s retirement plan is Oct. 1, so if you haven’t already, consider touching base with your dental retirement plan services team. Not only will they help you meet the deadline, they can take a look at your existing plan to make sure it has been optimized to deliver maximum results.

Your Dental Practice’s Retirement Plan Is A Powerful Tool

Have you taken the time to really understand the value a great retirement plan design can be for your practice? Here are six reasons why you may want to pick up the phone and call your retirement professional as soon as possible.

Read: Put Together An Amazing Dental Advisory Team

Six Reasons To Call Your Dental Retirement Plan Administrator

  1. You have no retirement plan at all. Offering your staff a retirement plan is more than just a great recruitment tool; it’s an excellent way to make your dental practice’s profits go further. Check out Retirement Plan Design: One Size Does Not Fit All for more insight into how a retirement plan can help bolster your practice’s growth strategy.
  2. You have a SEP Plan with more than two employees. If you haven’t made time to speak with a dental retirement plan specialist recently to make sure that your plan still addresses your practice’s unique needs, there’s a chance you are missing out on a more cost-effective solution. Your dental retirement plan team can quickly run some illustrative numbers to compare your SEP against a 401(k) plan to reveal whether a better option exists for your business.
  3. You are a business owner who is able to maximize deferrals every year with a SIMPLE IRA. If so, it may be time to consider a safe harbor 401(k) plan in 2016 for additional tax deferral. For more insight into how this option can work for you, take a look at Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans Provide Smooth Sailing.
  4. You have a 401(k) but receive corrective distributions every year. You may be missing out on a retirement plan design that can not only alleviate this problem, but can help you maximize the benefits your practice receives for being active participants in your staff’s retirement strategy. Access Safe Harbor FAQ here.
  5. You maximize deferrals every year under your Safe Harbor 401(k) plan but offer no profit sharing option. A better plan design for dental practice owners in this situation might be to maximize profit sharing contributions while limiting the amount that has to be provided to staff. For example, cross-tested profit sharing plans may save you money if your practice’s staff consists primarily of younger employees.
  6. You are maxing out your profit sharing plan every year. It’s time to add a cash balance option to your existing retirement plan. This is a great option for practice owners in this position, because it allows for much higher employer contribution deductibles for owners. Click here to learn more about how these plans can help your business.

Take control of your retirement plan today. Email dental retirement plan expert to find out what you have been missing.

By Steve Renner, QKA (New Philadelphia office) 

This article was originally published on Dear Drebit – Rea & Associate’s official blog. Bright Dental CPAs is the dental services division of Rea & Associates.

Check out these articles for more helpful retirement plan advice from retirement plan experts.

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Retirement Roulette

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Fraudulent Credit Card Transactions Will Become Your Practice’s Problem On Oct. 1

PCI  to EMV – Protecting Your Patient Credit Card Data

Patient Data Protection - Ohio CPA Firm

As of Oct. 1, 2015, the liability for fraudulent transactions will no longer be assumed by the credit card issuing institution. Instead, if you (the merchant) fail to adopt EMV technology, your dental practice will be responsible for any loss that results from a fraudulent transaction.

Like their screenings and dental procedures, your patients want their payment experience to be as easy and painless as possible, which is why you have come to depend on the ability to process credit card payments, which are frequently used to cover the difference after insurance pays a portion. But did you know that the magnetic stripes on your patient’s credit cards make them susceptible to fraud?

Major data breeches have made the news in recent years and all businesses are at risk (including your dental practice). Fraudsters are able to steal the information hidden within the cards magnetic stripe and use that information to create a fraudulent card. To combat the growing threat on consumer data, most American businesses will be expected to implement Credit Card EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa) technology October 1.

Read Also: ID Thieves Don’t Discriminate, Health Professionals Are At Risk

Change Is Necessary To Protect Your Patients

Due to the increasing number of credit card breaches where millions of credit card numbers and associated data have been stolen, the industry has forced small businesses nationwide to adhere to PCI (Payment Card Industry) Security Requirements. Supported by the PCI Security Council, the ultimate goal of EMV is to stop and prevent further fraudulent activity. Success has already been noted in countries outside the U.S.

“Currently, almost half of the world’s credit card fraud happens in the U.S. where magnetic stripe technology is the standard,” states David Navetta and Susan Ross in a blog on Data Protection Report. “Outside the U.S., an estimated 40 percent of the world’s cards and 70 percent of the terminals already use the EMV technology. These countries are reporting significantly lower counterfeit fraud levels with EMV cards than with the magnetic stripe cards.”

Understanding EMV Technology

Credit Card EMV technology, which has been used in Europe since the early 1990s, replaces the magnetic stripe we have grown accustomed to with an imbedded chip that, scrambles sensitive cardholder data at the point of sale terminal. This technology ultimately makes it more difficult to access and replicate consumer data in an attempt to commit fraud.

Dental Practices Must Comply

Why should you be concerned about the credit card industry’s switchover to EMV technology? As of Oct. 1, 2015, the liability for fraudulent transactions will no longer be assumed by the credit card issuing institution. Instead, if your dental practice fails to adopt EMV technology, your practice will be responsible for any loss that results from a fraudulent transaction. If your practice currently accepts credit cards as a form of payment (and you would like to continue to do so), unless you want to be hit with potentially devastating losses, you must make sure to install and activate the new technology before the Oct. 1 deadline.

That being said, some types of businesses will have a little more time to comply. If you aren’t quite sure whether or not your practice is exempt, visit the website of each payment brand you accept to learn more.

Next Steps For Dentists

  • If you have not investigated or planned for EMV Technology, contact your card processor immediately to determine your business’s specific needs.
  • Implementing EMV technology can be a cumbersome and time consuming project, but the best way to protect your practice from fraud and liability is to implement the new technology as soon as possible.
  • If EMV technology has been implemented be sure to confirm that the chip reading capability has been enabled. In addition, confirm with issuers that cryptographic values are being associated with the card number to ensure that the EMV technology has been setup and configured properly. Verifying that cryptographic values are being assigned will eliminate the chance of misconfiguration and possible fraudulent activity.
  • Train your staff on the new procedures. When a patient tries to use their card, they will notice some changes, such as their credit card being held in the EMV reading slot throughout the entire transaction process. This is normal, however your staff should be prepared to answer the questions that will certainly arise.

By Brian Garland (Dublin office) 

Want to learn more ways you can protect your dental practice and your patients from a fraudster? Check out these articles: 

Dental Practices Should Beware Of Wire Transfer Scam

Is Your Dental Practice Safe From Scammers?

Internal Controls For Dental Practices

Rea & Associates, Inc. | Bright Dental CPAs | 7201 Center St, Mentor, Ohio 44060-4858
phone + 440-266-0077