You can reduce taxes and save for retirement by contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or Roth 401(k) plan, contributing to it is a taxwise way to build a nest egg.

If you’re not already contributing the maximum allowed, consider increasing your contribution rate between now and year end. Because of tax-deferred compounding (tax-free in the case of Roth accounts), boosting contributions sooner rather than later can have a significant impact on the size of your nest egg at retirement.

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With a 401(k), an employee elects to have a certain amount of pay deferred and contributed by an employer on his or her behalf to the plan. The contribution limit for 2019 is $19,000. Employees age 50 or older by year end are also permitted to make additional “catch-up” contributions of $6,000, for a total limit of $25,000 in 2019.

The IRS just announced that the 401(k) contribution limit for 2020 will increase to $19,500 (plus the $6,000 catch-up contribution).

Continue Reading Save on Taxes with Your 401(k) Plan

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Nicole Riley, an audit senior manager and one of the faces of the PKF Texas Broker-Dealer team. Nicole, welcome back to the Playbook.

Nicole: Great to be back.

Jen: So, the last time you were here we discussed FINRA and the SEC in relation to broker-dealers. Are there common issues that FINRA tends to find when they’re looking at broker-dealers?

Nicole: One of the more common things that we continue to see coming out of these audits that they’re doing, even though the rules have been around since 2003, are issues with expense sharing agreements.

Continue Reading What FINRA Finds in Your Expense Sharing Agreements

We are proud to sponsor the next Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Energy Corridor luncheon, hosted at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City on November 13, 2019. The keynote speaker for the upcoming luncheon is Dave Ward, Houston’s iconic Eyewitness News anchor.

Ward will discuss and share memories from his best-selling book, Good Evening, Friends: A Broadcaster Shares His Life. Following the program, Ward will be signing copies of his book.

The PKF Texas team members are excited to attend and hear some of the stories from Dave Ward’s book, as well as network and meet with fellow guests.

For more information and to register for this event, visit www.ghwcc.chambermaster.com.

One of the most laborious tasks for small businesses is managing payroll. It’s critical you not only withhold the right amount of taxes from employees’ paychecks, but also that you pay them over to the federal government on time.

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If you willfully fail to do so, you could personally be hit with the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty, also known as the 100% penalty. The penalty applies to the Social Security and income taxes required to be withheld by a business from its employees’ wages. Since the taxes are considered property of the government, the employer holds them in “trust” on the government’s behalf until they’re paid over.

The reason the penalty is sometimes called the “100% penalty” is because the person liable for the taxes (called the “responsible person”) can be personally penalized 100% of the taxes due. Accordingly, the amounts the IRS seeks when the penalty is applied are usually substantial, and the IRS is aggressive in enforcing it.

Continue Reading What Small Businesses Need to Know About Payroll Tax Penalty

On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, the Greater Houston Partnership is hosting its next luncheon event, titled “2019 Manufacturing Industry Forum,” at the Hilton University of Houston.

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An update on the industry will be presented by Rich Wells, Chair, Greater Houston Partnership’s Manufacturing & Logistics Committee and V.P. of Gulf Coast Operations and Site Director of Texas Operations at the Dow Chemical Company, Freeport.

Mike Molnar, Founding Director, Office of Advanced Manufacturing at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the U.S. Department of Commerce, is this year’s keynote speaker, and he will address national industry trends, progress with the Manufacturing USA program and the Administration’s National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing.

PKF Texas is a proud sponsor of this event, and our team members will be attending the luncheon, ready to network and meet fellow guests!

For registration details, visit www.houston.org.

To learn more information about how PKF Texas serves the industry, visit www.PKFTexas.com/Manufacturing.

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m here today with Marty Lindle, a Director in our Audit department and one of the faces of PKF Texas’ Broker-Dealer team. Marty, welcome back to The Playbook.

Marty: Thanks, Jen. Thanks for having me.

Jen: I know that the PCAOB recently released their eighth annual report on the interim inspection program for auditors. Can you give us an overview of what’s in this report?

Marty: The inspection program came about after the Madoff scandal in 2010. After that, the Dodd-Frank Act gave the PCAOB the authority to regulate broker-dealer auditors. They began inspecting firms in 2011 and issued their first findings in 2012. With that finding, they basically found 100% deficiency rate. After that, the law was changed to cause broker-dealers to be audited under the PCAOB standards instead of the AICPA standards.

Jen: And so, what does that actually mean? Why is that important for broker-dealers?

Marty: It’s important for broker-dealers, because that’s what their auditors are going to be focused on. If you understand what their focus areas are, it can lead to a more efficient audit for yourself and probably reduce some costs.

Also, one of the main findings of the initial inspection was independence violations. That’s gone down quite a bit in the subsequent years, but you don’t want to have an independence violation, because that could cause you some regulatory scrutiny – and maybe even a re-audit.

Jen: Oh, my gosh. Well, we will definitely get you back to talk a little bit more about some trends that you’re seeing with this in the broker-dealer space. Does that sound good?

Marty: That sounds great.

Jen: Perfect. This has been another Thought Leader Production, brought to you by PKF Texas – The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. If you’d like more information about broker-dealers, visit PKFTexas.com. Tune in next week for another chapter.

As trusted business advisors, we enjoy working with you to co-create ideas and co-develop innovative solutions for your business. To supplement this, we also want to provide valuable information, including upcoming Houston events that we support, and think may be of interest to you.

  • Greater Houston Partnership – Industry Forum
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • Client Exclusive – Not-for-Profit Seminar
  • An Evening with PKF Texas
  • National Association of Corporate Directors
  • Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • Meet the University of Houston Dean
  • Greater Houston Partnership – State of the Port
If you have questions about any event details or registration information, the organization-specific contacts are below. We hope to see you at any or all of these Houston events!

Continue Reading Mark Your Calendars! Upcoming November 2019 Houston Events…

To properly fulfill their fiduciary duties, your not-for-profit’s board needs certain information from its board members, and it’s up to the executive director and managers to ensure they have it. This doesn’t mean you have to share every internal email, memo or phone message. Board members are busy and you don’t want to bog them down with superfluous reading material.

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However, there are several types of information you must share so that they can make informed decisions.

Continue Reading Getting the Right Information from Board Members

Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back once again with Nicole Riley, one of our audit senior managers and one of the faces of PKF Texas’ broker-dealer team. Nicole, welcome back to the Playbook.

Nicole: Great to be here.

Jen: So, broker-dealer, what is that?

Nicole: So, a broker-dealer is a highly regulated company that traditionally buys and sells securities. That’s really where the name comes from is because they can be selling and buying for a customer where they’re the agent or the broker, or they could be buying and selling for their own accounts where they’re the principal in the transaction or a dealer, hence, broker-dealer.

But really the modern broker-dealer is doing more than just buying and selling securities, they publish investment research, they are helping companies raise capital, they’re helping clients find investments and place their money and they’re also providing investment advice.

Jen: Okay, so you mentioned highly regulated – what does that actually look like?

Continue Reading What is a Broker-Dealer?