Last Minute Tax Filers: Don’t Make These Mistakes

Did you wait until the last minute to get to work on your 2021 tax return? Well, you’re in good company. Statistics show many Americans put off completing their return until just days before the deadline. If you’re among the procrastinators and will be tackling your 2021 return this week, we have some last-minute advice to share. We also have information on some of the most common mistakes the IRS is seeing as people file this year.

Deadline date

As you surely know by now, the tax filing deadline was pushed back a little bit again this year because of the Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia. This year’s tax deadline is Monday, April 18, 2022. That goes for your state tax return as well, and your local tax return.  

Unemployment Compensation 

The IRS says there’s some confusion this year on whether unemployment benefits should be included on 2021 tax returns as income. GJM tax experts say any unemployment compensation you received in 2021 is considered income and should be included on your 2021 tax return. The reason for the confusion is that there was a special law that you didn’t have to include unemployment payments on your 2020 tax return. That special law was just for one year and only applied to 2020 tax returns. It isn’t the case anymore, so be sure to include any unemployment benefits as income on your 2021 tax return.

COVID-Related Tax Breaks 

Make sure you include any COVID-related tax breaks you got in 2021: Advance Child Tax Credit payments and that third Economic Impact Payment. The IRS says it is seeing some taxpayers claim the wrong amounts on their 2021 tax returns. Make sure you reference the IRS letters you received regarding these payments: IRS Letter 6419 for the Advance Child Tax Credit payments and IRS Letter 6475 for your third Economic Impact Payment. That way you will be sure to get the correct amounts on your return.

Charitable Donations 

You can claim a deduction up to $300 for cash contributions to qualifying charitable organizations, even if you claim the standard deduction on your 2021 tax return. Married couples filing joint tax returns can claim up to $600.

Virtual Currency

Be sure to check either yes or no in the box on your 1040 Form that asks about virtual currency. The IRS says some people are forgetting to do so.

Set Up a Payment Plan

Failing to file your tax return because you know you owe and don’t have the money to pay is a big no no. It could cost you a great deal in penalties. If you owe money you need to pay by the April 18 deadline or set up a payment plan.

File Electronically

The IRS says a good way to cut down on mistakes is to file your tax return electronically and do direct deposit to your bank account. Electronic platforms require you to fill out all the necessary fields and that could help you avoid making a simple mistake, like forgetting your SSN.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Often people’s tax returns get held up, red flagged or delayed because of simple errors, according to the IRS. Be sure to review all your information for accuracy and doublecheck your final steps before hitting “submit” or mailing your tax return.

Here are some other important steps to avoid simple mistakes:

  • Make sure you use correct filing status
  • Report all your taxable income
  • Doublecheck your name, birth date and Social Security Number
  • Doublecheck your routing and bank account numbers
  • Sign and date your tax return
  • Keep a copy of your tax return
  • If mailing a paper tax return, make sure you mail it to the right address and have the correct postage on it
  • Take a deep breath and don’t rush. As a last-minute filer, if you hurry through filling out your return, you’re increasing your chances of making a simple mistake

Can’t get your return done in time? File for an extension. That gives you six more months to file, with the extended deadline for individuals on October 17, 2022. If you need some help, you’ll find all kinds of helpful tools from the IRS, including how to track your refund once you’ve filed.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business & transaction advisory, healthcare management advisory, outsourced accounting, and risk advisory. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution, nonprofit, private equity and utilities.  

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The Cyber Threat: Protecting Your Business

Are you doing enough to protect your manufacturing business from a cyber-attack? As more and more manufacturers deal with cyber incidents, including ransomware, it’s clear the cyber threat is now a top concern for the industry. In this article you’ll hear from some cyber experts brought together for a recent GJM Manufacturing Financial Executive Roundtable event. GJM manufacturing team lead Wes Beham hosted the gathering, while GJM’s Reid Mankowski moderated the panel discussion: “The Cyber Threat: Protecting Your Business.”  Read on to learn what our expert panelists say you should be doing to protect your business, as well as some areas of risk you may not have considered.

Threats

Dr. Loren Wagner is Director of Risk & Technical Services at CentraComm, a company that helps businesses determine their risk of a cyber-attack. Wagner says the cyber threats out there remain ominous. He cites the SolarWinds hack in early 2020 as an example of the damage a “supply chain”-related hack can do. SolarWinds is a software company that provides IT management and monitoring services. The hackers in the SolarWinds incident added harmful code to the SolarWinds software system. When SolarWinds then sent out software updates to its customers, that hacked code was included, giving the cyber criminals access to IT infrastructure at those companies. The hacks went undetected for months. Some top US officials believe the hackers were Russian.

But Wagner says threats don’t always come from afar. They can originate much closer to home and he says you can’t rule out an internal hack, perhaps from a disgruntled employee. Nation-state hackers and organized crime can be responsible as well. He says they’re very good at what they do, and these types of threats are increasingly common.

A Changing Landscape

Wagner was joined on the GJM roundtable panel by Alex Clark, VP and Cyber Risk Leader for Hylant. Clark says it’s incredible when you consider how the cyber landscape has changed. He says ransomware now accounts for about half of the cyber insurance claims they’re seeing.

“Cyber bad actors are getting more creative."

Clark says these "bad actors" are attacking operational functions once they access a company’s infrastructure. “Businesses need to start asking more questions to make sure they’re protected.” Clark says he’s seeing an increase in ransomware attacks in which the hackers not only lock down the business for ransom, but also steal company data.

What can you do right now to protect your business, and what questions should you be asking? Here’s what our panelists say you need to consider:

  • Do you have your IT/security team at the executive table for the conversation about cybersecurity? They need to be there
  • Try to think down the road to stay ahead of these criminals
  • Look at your peers. Are you where you should be with policies/protections?
  • How proactive are you being with your security measures?
  • Do you have an incident response plan? Have you tested that response plan?
  • What does your backup system look like? Where is that backup system?

Corey Kaemming says The Andersons has done some tests in which they hired people to try to break into their system and see if they could get in. Kaemming, also a panel member, is Senior Manager of Information Security at The Andersons. Another test, he says, involved letting an individual gain access to their system and seeing how far they could get and what information they could access.

The panelists all agreed that preparation helps a company understand its limitations. Kaemming says The Andersons has documented its response plan and will practice it on a regular basis. Clark also urged attendees to take advantage of resources their insurance carriers offer to help mitigate their risk.

Here are some other key items panelists say all executives should keep in mind:

  • Multifactor authentication for emails
  • Ensure you have system backups in place and that you test them regularly
  • Software “patching” in place where it needs to be. For example: you patch Microsoft, but Adobe may not get patched
  • Employee awareness and training is critical. They need a clear understanding. Do a periodic vulnerability assessment
  • Don’t forget to secure “end of life” software: old, abandoned versions of software still out there
  • Do scans at least two times a year, more if you have a lot of change going on
  • Cyber insurance: No longer a blanket approach. Find the right fit for you. Several carriers cater to middle market businesses
  • Cell phones: another risk. Are personal devices included in your cyber policy?
  • Revisit policies around your cyber policy. For example, your acceptable use policy
  • Once you’ve had a claim there will be heightened scrutiny from insurance underwriters
  • Just because you’ve had a claim that doesn’t make you uninsurable

Cathy Witte from CIFT/Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) also spoke to attendees, offering details on a funding opportunity for cyber projects available through the MEP. Manufacturers looking to learn more are encouraged to call 419-535-6000, ext. 142, or go to ciftinnovation.org.

The cyber threats that exist today are ever-present and everchanging. Be sure your business is ready.

GJM’s Risk Advisory offerings include a team of specialists who work with many different types of businesses to determine and manage cyber risk. Learn more about our Risk Advisory Services.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business & transaction advisory, healthcare management advisory, outsourced accounting, and risk advisory. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution, nonprofit, private equity and utilities.

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Area Businesses Should Prepare Now for Sales Tax Increase

Toledo-area businesses in Lucas County and the city of Rossford need to be ready for a sales & use tax increase that takes effect on April 1, 2022. According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the .5% increase enacted by the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) will raise the sales tax rate in Lucas County from 7.25% to 7.75%, and in the city of Rossford from 6.75% to 7.25%. The increase does not apply to all of Wood County.

While such increases aren’t uncommon, we are sharing this as an important reminder, as the rate change will likely impact many GJM clients, and it’s important that the appropriate members of your team are aware of the need to charge a different rate effective April 1, 2022.

“Sales tax is one of those taxes small businesses can struggle with,” says GJM Tax Manager Matt Alic, who specializes in state and local tax. “It can be a complicated area for tax, though this is a fairly straightforward change. Businesses will want to be sure to make the necessary changes moving forward.”

Should you have any questions or concerns about the rate change and how it impacts your business, please reach out to your GJM team for guidance. You can also learn more at the Ohio Department of Taxation website.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business & transaction advisory, healthcare management & advisory, outsourced accounting, and risk advisory. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution, nonprofit, private equity and utilities.

 

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A Conversation with New GJM Partner Ryan Leininger

We had a chance for a sit down with GJM's Ryan Leininger shortly after he came on board with the firm. Enjoy this video conversation, and learn more about his areas of specialty and professional history.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business & transaction advisory, healthcare management & advisory, outsourced accounting, and risk advisory. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution, nonprofit, private equity and utilities.

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GJM Staff Share CPA Exam Tips


Studying for the CPA exam takes dedication, determination and a great deal of your time. If you're struggling to get it done, here's a fun and helpful video that offers up some suggestions from some GJM staff who've recently passed the exam. 

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business & transaction advisory, healthcare management advisory, outsourced accounting, and risk advisory. The firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution, nonprofit, private equity and utilities.  

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