It’s time for you to check out MSATP’s latest Facebook Live Stream installment! Sandy kicks off the episode with an insightful analysis of a few impactful financial consumer bills the legislature passed during its latest session. We then had the pleasure to hear from MSATP President, William Feehley, CPA, as he reflected on an eventful tax season and provided tax professionals with some useful resources to take their practice to the next level. Donny Lala capped off our presentation by introducing the USB Payment Processing Refer a Client Program, an innovative tool to help your clients increase their profit margin. Here’s a quick recap of this week’s video—make sure to check out the video as well!
3 KEY FINANCIAL CONSUMER FINANCIAL LEGISLATION UPDATES
HB 856 / SB 647:
This bill removed the requirement that you must be at least 25 years-old to apply for Earned Income Tax Credit for Individuals Without Qualifying Children. The bill will come in effect on July 1, 2018.
HB 710 / SB 202:
Many consumers have put a freeze on their financial information due to the recent rise in security breaches. Previously, these individuals would be charged up to $5.00 to freeze their accounts and an additional $5.00 to re-open them. This bill prohibits creditors from charging these fees and permits consumers to request a freeze at any time without cause. This bill will come in effect on October 1, 2018. To place or lift a credit freeze, please contact the three major credit bureaus: www.experian.com, www.equifax.com, www.transunion.com
HB 17 / SB 69:
In 2016, Maryland required higher education institutions to send an annual letter to individuals who are receiving financial aid detailing their accrued debt. HB 17 / SB 69 expands the requirement to for-profit institutions.
REVIEWING ANOTHER EVENTFUL TAX SEASON
WITH MSATP PRESIDENT, WILLIAM FEEHLEY
Bill started off his reflections of the past tax season by pointing out the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was passed on December 22, 2017 and how 85-90% of his clients will benefit from the new legislation. While in Bill’s opinion, Maryland did relatively little else to assist taxpayers this session by only granting a small increase in the standard deduction and not allowing taxpayers to itemize on the Maryland returns if they opted for the standard deduction on federal, he was quick to express his gratitude that the IRS stepped in to resolve the HSA issue we covered in last week’s episode.
Bill then turned to the future—offering some useful insight and resources on how those in the tax industry can get ahead before the next tax season rolls around. For tax professionals specializing in multistate returns, Bill anticipates the Supreme Court will hear more cases concerning this issue in the near future that could impact income and sales tax matters. To make sure you’re ready to handle any changes, Bill advises developing additional checklists or implement additional staff training now, rather than waiting until November or December when it will likely be too late for these efforts to be useful to your business.
Bill reminded those that missed out on the new tax law class in January that they can attend the class in Ocean City at the upcoming annual convention. Thompson Reuters published a handy guide of the tax act and developed sample letters tax professionals can use to inform clients and potentially general additional billable hours over the summer. There will also be an all-inclusive Solo & Small Firm event in Bethany Beach this November that includes hotel, meals and entertainment—in addition to outstanding educational opportunities, a chance to get to know fellow practitioners and gain some valuable insights into how others run their practices.
ADD VALUE TO CLIENTELE WITH USB PAYMENT PROCESSING
We were excited to welcome Donny Lala of USP Payment Processing to introduce their quick and easy client referral program. USB Payment Processing has been helping accountants and tax professional grow their businesses since 1996. They can help you assist clients in identifying revenue savings that they can then invest back into their business—adding value to your tax practice and drive revenue to your clients. USB’s Refer a Client Program allows accounting and tax professionals to request a free payment processing quote in 3 easy steps:
Email a minimum of 2 months of your client’s current payment processing statements to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line: “MSATP Client Proposal Request.” Be sure to remove the name and address of the client to safeguard their privacy.
Include in your email the industry type (retail, restaurant, car dealership, etc.) and tell USB how the client is currently processing (i.e., online terminal, swiped via mobile device).
Allow 2-3 hours for the USB specialists to complete your client’s no-cost analysis.
Are you tech savvy? Good news—you can also apply online at: www.usbne.com/MSATP
Be sure to stay tuned for this week’s MSATP Facebook Live Episode on Thursday, April 26th at 9 AM —we’ll be taking a look at how we’re working with young professionals and promoting financial literacy. Not a member of our private MSATP Members Facebook Group yet? Click HERE to join!