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January 16, 2014

Before meeting with your adviser, plan sponsors should know what to anticipate in an annual review and take steps to complete the following list of responsibilities in order to ensure a successful plan year. Take a look at our fast five on what to achieve in your 401(k) Annual Review:

1. Review what did and did not work in your plan during the prior year. The annual review is not just an advisory meeting. You should expect a more comprehensive review of your investment performance and be ready to make necessary adjustments if needed.

2. Anticipate changing financial environments and mirror these in your plan. While you will want to look at the past year to review plan design and performance, you may also want to think ahead to the coming year. Keep in mind changes in the marketplace or your company dynamics that could affect financial investment plan options for the future, then make changes accordingly.

3. Communicate plan changes to employees. While implementing these changes in your new plan is important, informing your employees of changes and any effective dates is perhaps just as pressing of a matter.

4. Discuss fee arrangements. Though reviewing and negotiating fees is never an easy topic to include in your annual review, it is a necessary one. If your 401(k) investment adviser is not initiating the conversation surrounding your provider fees, you should do so.

5. Confirm that your plan is in compliance with the Investment Policy Statement (IPS). Though your plan should already be in compliance, yearly review of these standards should be commonplace to ensure that any changes in the plan and related investment holdings are in accordance with the IPS.

If you have any questions regarding your 401(k) Annual Review, feel free to contact our Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, Linda Lauer at llauer@cbiz.com or 901.685.5595.




January 14, 2014

As part of the 2013 Uniformity and Small Business Relief Act, taxpayers need to be aware of a change to business tax return due dates, effective January 1, 2014. All Tennessee Business Tax returns (TN Business License based on Gross Receipts) have a due date of the 15th day of the 4th month after the close of their year end.

Effective January 1, 2014, all Business Tax returns must be filed electronically, along with the associated payment. (Ex. December 31 year end, new due date of 4/15/2014.). During the transition, some businesses will be required to file short period returns and deductions will be prorated. Click herefor more information on this business tax transition.

If you need further information regarding this update to business tax returns, please contact Anna Howell, Senior Manager, State and Local Tax, in our Memphis office: ahowell@cbiz.com or 901.685.5575.




January 10, 2014

Drew-Bringhurst-Headshot-croppedToday we announce the addition of Drew Bringhurst as Business Development Manager in our Memphis office.

Drew joins CBIZ MHM with more than 10 years of experience in the sales, marketing, and human resources industries. He most recently served as New Job Fever’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. His familiarity with the Greater Memphis area is highlighted by this past position, as well as his roles as Senior Account Director at Bringmor Group and Recruiting Manager at Robert Half. As Business Development Manager for CBIZ MHM, Drew will support and expand the organization's business growth model through lead generation and client retention. His major areas of expertise include the finance and accounting, engineering, information technology, and human resources industries.

“Drew’s experience in sales and his knowledge of the Memphis market will be a great asset to our expanding office,” said Steve Dunavant, Senior Managing Director, CBIZ MHM.  “His addition showcases our commitment to delivering superior product lines and client service to the Greater Memphis market.”

Drew received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Christian Brothers University. He currently holds a board position at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is also a board member of the Christian Brothers University Career Services Alumni Advisory Board.




January 7, 2014

Shortly after the U.S. enacted its first federal tax (a customs duty), the Continental Congress created a drawback of that same tax in 1789 to promote trade and allow American companies to compete internationally. Today, the federal government collects more than $28 billion annually in customs tariffs, of which somewhere between $2 billion to $3 billion is available to be refunded under drawback.

Surprisingly, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates that in any given year more than 70% of these monies go unclaimed and are eventually lost by companies. What is drawback?

 In its simplest form, drawback is a refund of duty paid on imported merchandise that is linked to an exportation (or destruction) of an article. For valid drawback claims, CBP refunds 99% of the value of duties paid at the time of import, retaining 1% to cover its costs of administering the program. Today, there are three categories of drawback: 1) manufacturing drawback, 2) unused merchandise drawback, and 3) rejected merchandise drawback.

How long does it take to receive a refund?

Drawback regulations provide for generous time periods to collect information, import/export documentation, and prepare and file refund claims. For example, recovery of import duties and fees for unused merchandise that is subsequently sent abroad is available when such goods are exported or destroyed within 3 years following import. Considering the multi-year window for claiming drawback after the export of the merchandise, a company new to the drawback program can potentially receive a significant duty recovery on its initial filing(s). Thereafter, duty refund claims can be filed in periodic installments based on import and export activity.

What are the steps required to receive drawback?

In addition to gathering import and export transaction documentation, authorization to operate under drawback is required, and detailed records of the company’s inventory flows must be maintained. For certain types of drawback, the claimant must select a drawback accounting method (e.g., FIFO, LIFO, Low-to-High) which does not necessarily have to match that used by the company for financial or tax purposes. Additionally, a notice of intent to export or destroy merchandise may be required prior to export or destruction, but in many cases, a waiver may be requested.

While there are many benefits to duty drawback beyond cash recovery, the initial and ongoing diligence required to maintain a compliant and effective drawback program can be challenging for some companies.

Considering the various types of drawback available and the advanced approval/ruling requirement, initial studies, such as a duty-refund opportunity identification exercise and operational feasibility analysis, are recommended. These efforts will help determine the amount of duties that may be available for recovery, the type of drawback that may apply to your company, and the process you need to follow to prepare for filing claims. The output of these efforts will provide you with 1) the proper insight for selecting the type of drawback that is right for your company and 2) help you to develop and implement the procedures necessary to operate a robust and compliant drawback program. This guest post was written by Mark Ludwig of Variant Advisors,* a corporate management consulting firm offering value-added services including export control compliance program development, reviews or assessments, and staff & management training.

For more information contact Mark at mludwig@variantadvisors.com or 305-213-8775. *Outside of the Big Four, and through its relationship with Variant Advisors, CBIZ is unique among other major national professional services firm by offering these value-added solutions.      




December 19, 2013
Today, Target cites evidence from investigators that a data breach extending over a few weeks, beginning Black Friday through December 15, 2013, potentially compromised debit and credit cards used in nearly all of their 1,797 stores in the United States. Target is partnering with a forensics firm to investigate the matter further, but the unknown number of customers affected by this payment card breach could possibly rank as the largest in history. Target CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, made a statement this morning regarding maintaining trust in the brand:
“Target’s first priority is preserving the trust of our guests and we have moved swiftly to address this issue, so guests can shop with confidence. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. We take this matter very seriously and are working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice.”

Karen Cassella, Executive Vice President of CBIZ Security & Advisory Services, LLC, recommends taking the following steps if you are concerned that your information may have been hacked:

1. Find out exactly what information was stolen

2. Cancel your credit/debit cards that were compromised immediately (if you're bank didn't do so automatically)

3. Monitor your credit and debit card transactions daily and watch for any unauthorized changes

4. Talk with your bank representative to see what they can do 5. Pull your free credit reports

Visit www.cbiz.com/pci for more information regarding CBIZ Security & Advisory Services, LLC and contact Karen Cassella (kcassella@cbiz.com) at (901) 685-5575 or email the CBIZ SAS team at pci@cbiz.com.    




December 12, 2013

News last week that two major U.S. companies had violated export control statutes should be warning enough to any business that the U.S. government is serious about enforcing cross-border trade laws and regulations.

In the first case, Weatherford International, a major energy industry company, and four of its subsidiaries were fined $100 million for export control and sanctions violations. The government found that executives, managers, or employees on multiple occasions participated in, directed, approved, and facilitated prohibited transactions and the conduct of its various subsidiaries. Specifically, the businesses had exported or re-exported oil and gas drilling equipment to, and conducted business operations in, sanctioned countries without the required U.S. Government authorizations between 1998 and 2007.

This news arrived almost simultaneously to that of another major company's export control problems. The former export compliance officer at Honeywell International, Inc. was administratively debarred from participating in any activities that are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for violations of the Arms Export Controls Act (AECA) and the ITAR. The company itself avoided sanctions by voluntarily disclosing the violations to the U.S. State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance. According to the government, the employee falsified export license authorizations which resulted in the company exporting defense articles, including technical data, and provided defense services to various foreign persons without Department approval in violation of the AECA and ITAR.

As these two cases demonstrate, the "we've got someone on top of that" and "it's not broke, so no need to fix" arguments do little to advance understanding and transparency in what is becoming an increasingly significant source of revenue for many U.S. companies: international operations. Understanding the obligations with which your company must comply under international trade and customs laws and regulations can be a burdensome task. If your company is involved in interactional sourcing, manufacturing and/or distribution activities, we’d be pleased to help. A few of our value-added services include export control compliance program development, reviews or assessments, and staff & management training.

For more information, please contact Mark Ludwig of Variant Advisors* at mludwig@variantadvisors.com or tel. 305-213-8775, or John Archer of CBIZ MHM LLC at jarcher@cbiz.com or tel. 305.503.4229. *Outside of the Big Four, and through its relationship with Variant Advisors, CBIZ is unique among other major national professional services firm by offering these value-added solutions.




December 9, 2013

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CBIZ MHM Memphis is thrilled to announce our selection as one of The Commercial Appeal's Top Workplaces. The Top Workplaces is a list of the best places to work in the Memphis metro area, which is determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. Our office had 90% of our employees complete the survey - one of the highest response rates out of all companies participating. We are honored to have been selected for the award, particularly as the judges were our employees! Here are just a couple of our employee comments:

"I appreciate that the management team seems to care a lot about giving everyone a life/work balance."

"I love the extra things they do to make the employees feel appreciated."

CBIZ employees attended the Top Workplaces awards banquet held at Hilton Memphis on December 4, 2013. CBIZ MHM Memphis was recognized alongside 49 other companies as a sought after workplace in the Memphis metro area. To see the full list of Memphis Top Workplaces click here. Interested in working for us? To explore career opportunities at CBIZ, visit www.cbiz.jobs/



December 3, 2013

The Memphis office of CBIZ MHM is proud to recognize Karen Cassella for her completion of the Susan G. Komen (SGK) 3-Day, a 60-mile walk throughout the course of three days, in the effort to fight against breast cancer. 

The walk was held in San Diego, CA, November 15-17, with walkers supporting the continued theme, “We Will Never Give Up.” Karen celebrates her 3-year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor, and completed the 60-mile walk for the third time with her husband, Nick Cassella. With the help of friends and family, Karen surpassed her goal of raising $5,000. Half of her donations came from her CBIZ friends/colleagues through our local 'Think Pink' week as well as online donations. Together, Karen and Nick were able to raise $9,000 in combined donations for her team. 

Karen's first 3-Day walk took place in July 2011, just six months after she completed her chemo treatments, at the Boston 3-Day. As a result, Karen started a Bucket List and added ‘Participate in the SGK 60-mile walk every year’ as its first item. Her time spent at the 3-Day walk was an amazing experience. Karen hopes to remind others that every 74 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer. The San Diego 3-Day Walk net proceeds are invested in breast cancer research and community programs.




November 21, 2013
Managing Director, Eustis Corrigan, in the Memphis office has co-authored a new whitepaper on Tangible Property Regulations, taking the complex final tangible property regulations and distilling them down to the key issues most likely to impact or benefit your business.
"The tangible property regulations (TPRs) are the most dramatic changes in tax law to affect businesses since the overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code in 1986. The TPRs apply to all forms of business, whether a "C" corporation, an "S" corporation, a partnership, an LLC, a sole proprietorship (Schedule C on individual return), or a rental (Schedule E on individual return)."
It's important to note that the tangible property regulations become effective January 1, 2014. Find out the issues that require immediate action by taxpayers and view a checklist of questions that highlight tax opportunities your business may be missing in this helpful guide: Capturing Tax Opportunities Within the Final Tangible Property Regulations. If you have any questions on these complex rules and related tasks, feel free to contact Eustis Corrigan at ecorrigan@cbiz.com or 901.685.5575.



November 19, 2013

The Memphis office held their bi-annual CFO/Controller Conference November 13th at the University of Memphis Fogelman Center.

One hundred financial leaders in the Mid-South attended the half-day event where they gained insight into the current challenges in the industry including the ever-changing issue of healthcare reform. The first of four presentations given by PeopleCap Principals, Howard Cleveland and Andy Nix, spotlighted the importance of having a people strategy both in the process of hiring and in the management of current employees. Their long-term picture of employee engagement outweighing any benefits a company may offer served as a launching pad for Steve Dunavant and David Gearhardt's topic of the current financial environment of which CFOs are having to navigate.

The Affordable Care Act, though continuously changing, is putting an added burden on both CFO and HR professionals in the area of employee health benefits. Perhaps the most frustrating is the absence of much control over the impeding requirements.

Jenny Kiesewetter, Founding Member at Kiesewetter Law Firm PLLC, recognizes the shift of risk management from the collective "House Money, House Rules" way of thinking to placing more responsibility on the employee. The transfer of risk leaves many individuals with the choice to leverage private exchanges within the marketplace. Kieswetter clearly recognized this "industry trend" during her presentation on "The Future of Employer-Provided Healthcare."

The conference came full-circle with the final Q & A portion presented by a selected panel of CFO and HR professionals in the Memphis area. A common theme throughout this session was the growing partnership between the financial and human resources department at companies across the Mid-South. The panel represented some of the most well-respected companies and professionals in the local community: Perkins & Marie Callender's, nexAir, Bryce Corporation and Fred's. Though healthcare plans and benefits varied across the stage of businesses, all agreed that they are keeping a close eye on the healthcare reform and its effects on their employees.

Marcia Vargas, Sr. Vice President of Human Resources at Fred's, said it best, "We can no longer rely on benefits as the lever for employee satisfaction and recruitment. We are going to have to identify other ways to create employee engagement."

Healthcare is certainly changing the way employees view their employer. If our conference has any one takeaway, it is that Memphis businesses deeply care for their employees and their health.




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