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About Alan Hill

Alan C. Hill, CPA, is the director of dental services for Rea & Associates, Inc.'s dental division, Bright Dental CPAs. Alan has devoted his career to serving dentists with their accounting, tax and practice management issues. He also helps new dentists get on their feet and choose a path for their careers. Alan is a frequent speaker and writer in the dental industry.

Smile … New Tax Form Due Dates Are Coming

Changes, like teeth cleanings and taxes, are just a part of life, which is why you really shouldn’t be surprised to learn that many of the tax form due dates you have grown accustomed to are changing. And, if you want to avoid penalties, you will need to be ready to file your personal and practice’s tax forms on time beginning with the tax forms you file with the IRS next year (2017).

Visit Dear Drebit to learn more about the changes.

Have questions about how these due date changes impact your dental practice? Email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates to learn more.

Don’t Let Dental School Loans Get You Down

Graduating from dental school is a big deal – one you should be very proud of. Unfortunately, your obligation to repay your student loans can cut your celebrations short. Happily, there are programs available to help graduates elevate or ease the pain of having to pay back those loans.

In 2014, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law that effectively provides loan repayment for dentists and dental hygienists who practice in underserved areas of Ohio.

Who Qualifies For Relief?

If you meet one of the following criteria, you most likely qualify for the loan repayment program.

  • Dental students, and dental hygiene students, who are in their final year of school.
  • Dental residents in their first year of residency or are currently enrolled in an advanced education program.
  • Practicing general and pediatric dentist or dental hygienist.

Remember: you must be working full-time (40 hours per week) or part-time (20-39 hours per week) in underserved areas of the state serving Medicaid-eligible patients and those who are unable to pay.

Want to learn more about the practice sites that qualify for loan repayment program or want to complete the application for the loan repayment program application and other forms. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) can help. You can also check out this loan repayment programs fact sheet for more details.

However, if you are looking for more help managing your finances in general, the bright dental team at Rea & Associates is at your service! Contact us today for more dental school tips.

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How Are You Celebrating Your Dental Assistants This Week?

Celebrate Dental Assistants | HR Tips | Bright Dental CPAs

It’s Dental Assistants Recognition Week, which means that its your chance show your appreciation to the hard-working men and women who help your dental practice run so well!

We hope you are as excited as we are to celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week! This is your chance show your appreciation to the hard-working men and women who help your dental practice run so well! But just in case you need some help letting them know how grateful you are for all the work they do, we’ve provided you with a few suggestions to help point you in the right direction. After all, these men and women not only engage with your patients every day, the skills and experience they bring to your office has been critical to your success – and we think that’s cause for celebration!

  1. Attract Top Talent With These Tax-Free Tactics The first step in appreciating your dental assistants is finding top talent. Here are some tips on how your dental practice can attract top talent and keep them!
  2. Guide Your Dental Practice with an Employee Handbook An employee handbook is a central location for your dental practice’s rules, regulations and benefits. It is a great resource for all your employees to understand their expectations in your dental practice. Read to learn how an employee handbook could be the thing missing from your dental practice.
  3. Are Your Employees Aware of the Benefits? Working at your dental practice has a lot more benefits than a paycheck for your employees. Sometimes those additional benefits are forgotten or overlooked. Take the time to show or remind your team what they are getting besides a paycheck every other week.
  4. A 401(k) Plan and Your Dental Practice Do you offer your dental employees a 401(k) plan? This is a great “benefit” for employees, as many have retirement on their minds. Here are some of the rules with having a 401(k) plan at your dental practice.
  5. Should I Hire My Spouse To Work In My Dental Practice? As with most things, the answer with the question: “Should I hire my spouse to work in my dental practice,” isn’t an easy one to answer. Hopefully this list will provide you with some unbiased advice to help you come to a conclusion that makes sense for your unique situation.

So, how are you planning to recognize your dental assistants this week – and beyond?

Don’t forget, you can always email the Bright Dental CPAs at Rea & Associates for management assistance throughout every phase of your dental practice lifecycle.

Does A Dentist’s Online Presence Really Matter?

Online Marketing | Dental Professionals | Ohio Dental CPAs

According to a recent study by Foxtail Marketing, a full-service agency that specializes in digital marketing campaigns for doctors and dentists, dentists without an online presence, or a minimal online presence, have seen a significant impact on their bottom lines. Read on to learn more.

Longtime dental professionals are embarking on new territory when it comes to marketing their practices and now, it seems, it’s the younger dentists who have the upper hand.

While dental practices typically don’t share a lot of similarities with companies such as Coca-Cola®, McDonalds®, Nike®, or Starbucks®, today’s competition for marketplace dominance is changing the way businesses approach their customers and compete with competition. Dental professionals are also realizing that the way they engage with their patients is changing.

Read Also: The Business Side Of Dentistry

These days, your patients are looking for more than just a dentist to fix a tooth or make their mouth pain go away, they want to establish a relationship with you and your office even before they step through the door of your office. Then, they expect you to work to maintain this relationship.

Brand Matters

Every time you or someone from your office engages with an existing or potential patient is an opportunity to shape the perception of your practice – and online engagement is just as powerful as meeting one-on-one with somebody. In fact, if somebody can’t find information about your practice online, there’s a pretty good chance they will take their business to the practice on the other side of town with excellent Yelp reviews and active Facebook account.

According to a recent study by Foxtail Marketing, a full-service agency that specializes in digital marketing campaigns for doctors and dentists, dentists without an online presence, or a minimal online presence, have seen a significant impact on their bottom lines.

Reviews Matter

“With the rise of ratings sites like Yelp and HealthGrades, [dental professionals] were noticing that not managing their dental presence was causing them to lose patients to higher ranked practices,” the agency stated in a press release. “[The] study highlighted that physicians and dentists that took control of their digital marketing and actively worked on it saw ‘significant increases’ in their patient numbers. They also noticed that referrals spiked by being active on social media and engaging with their patients through email.”

The study, which surveyed more than 500 doctors and dentists, found professionals older than 45 were more likely to ignore social media. Furthermore, clinics that had no online presence and weren’t involved in a physician’s network realized a 30 percent drop in patient numbers over the course of two years.

“While the idea that social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are important to small businesses isn’t a new theory, it is interesting to note how much it is now impacting both the dental and medical industries,” the release continued. “And it does appear, based on this study, that the younger generations of physicians and dentists have already jumped out to a lead when it comes to their digital presence.”

Remember, the best marketing for your dental practice is always going to be word-of-mouth, so make sure to make it a priority to always deliver top-notch service while working to establish and sustain an excellent brand identity. When your existing patients are happy, they will be more apt to tell their friends and family, engage with your practice on social media platforms and even leave a positive online review, and those actions can be just as valuable as an expensive media buy.

Expertise Matters

For more tips to help you secure a successful future in dentistry, email Rea & Associate’s Bright Dental CPAs.

By Alan Hill, CPA (Mentor office)

Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Make sure your dental practice isn’t left behind.

Is Your Dental Practice In ‘The Cloud’?
The Important Role IT Security Plays Within Your Dental Practice
Are You Backing Up Your Data?

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?

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