Blog

  • 07 Apr 2016 3:27 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    NFIB and NAHB among several groups calling Obama administration's new reporting rule unconstitutional

    WASHINGTON - The Department of Labor's new union persuader rule violates business owners' First Amendment rights, making it nearly impossible to consult with legal counsel when facing union organizing, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 

    "Once again, the administration is rigging the game in favor of workplace unionization," said NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned. "The DOL is putting small employers at a profound disadvantage.

    "Unions pay people whose full-time job is to organize workers," she continued. "Small employers have businesses to run. They don't have in-house lawyers or compliance officers to guide them through the process or navigate the complicated rules governing union organizing."

    Ed Brady, chairman of NAHB and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill., said that the rule is fundamentally unfair because it requires employers to report to the DOL whether and when they consult with a lawyer to discuss union organizing. The unions, on the other hand, aren't encumbered by any such requirement.

    "DOL's final persuader rule is another example of regulatory overreach that will impose far-reaching reporting requirements on employers and their consultants and result in significant monetary and legal implications for home building firms," said Brady."This lawsuit is necessary to maintain long standing policy on what union-related communications between employers and attorneys remain confidential."

    NFIB and NAHB joined the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Association of Builders and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce late yesterday in filing a lawsuit against the DOL in the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Lubbock Division. The business groups maintain that the rule violates the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and right of association. Also, according to the plaintiffs, the rule violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).

    Previously, owners were only required to report when outside counsel directly communicated with employees.  Under the new rule business owners will have to report any communication with legal counsel even if the matter ends there. The persuader rule will take effect on July 1, 2016. 

    For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.


  • 28 Mar 2016 2:35 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    EPA Makes Changes to Lead-Safe Re-certification Process

    NAHBNow Posted February 11, 2016

    Remodelers who are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work on homes that may contain lead paint under the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule now have the option to complete refresher training online, according to an EPA announcement.

    However, EPA re-certifications obtained via an online refresher course will be valid for only three years – versus five years for hands-on training courses – and can only be exercised every other re-certification cycle.

    Additionally, certified renovators who were grandfathered in under a HUD or EPA lead-based paint training course before the RRP rule was adopted must attend a refresher course with a hands-on component. The rule also made several streamlining and clarifying changes to RRP provisions that apply to training providers.

    EPA’s changes only apply to Minnesota and other states where EPA administers the program. The 14 states that administer their own programs will have to take legislative or regulatory action to adopt the online refresher course option.

    The White House Office of Management and Budget released the final rule to EPA on Jan. 21.

    For online or in-person refresher training, remodelers should contact their local home builders association, or they can find a course on EPA’s website

    EPA Information below

    When is renovator refresher training required?

    EPA extended the training expiration date for many certified renovators. To determine when a renovator's training has expired take a look at the table below. Expiration dates are based on when the previous course was taken. Please note that certifications begin to expire on March 31, 2016; renovators in that group must take refresher training by that date in order to have valid certification.

    Note: The extensions do not apply to firm certifications

    Renovator Training Expiration Information

    Date course completed followed by Expiration 

    On or before March 31, 2010  Exp. March 31, 2016

    From April 1, 2010 - March 31, 2011  Exp. 6 years from the date of course completion

    On or after April 1, 2011 - No extension provided.  

    • Initial courses and refresher courses with hands-on.  The expiration is 5 years from the date of course completion.
    • Refresher courses without hands-on (done entirely online).  The expiration is 3 years from the date of course completion.

    Firm application, update, certificate replacement

    All firm applications (certification and recertification), payments, updates and certificate replacement requests are done online.  Acceptable methods for payments online include credit card, debit card, or electronic check.

    Use EPA's "Look for the Logo" campaign to promote your business!

    As you know, EPA's RRP requires firms working in older homes and child care facilities to be certified, train their employees, and follow lead-safe work practices. To ensure that your potential customers hire a Lead-Safe Certified firm, help spread the word by using EPA's outreach materials to remind everyone to "Look for the Logo"! For more information or to download the materials for free, click here.

    Help us encourage your potential customers to "Look for the Logo". Feel free to place the widget on your webpage and highlight the print ad in an upcoming customer newsletter or email.

    Firm certification/re-certification

    Firms that disturb painted surfaces in homes and child care facilities built before 1978 are subject to EPA's renovation regulation and likely require firm certification. These firm certifications expire every five years.  Firms must apply for recertification to extend their certification an additional 5 years. Firms are encouraged to apply early, at least 90 days before their expiration, to ensure their application is processed before they expire. You won’t be penalized for applying early, just be sure to select “re-certification” and your new 5-year certification won’t begin until your current certification expires. Click here for information about applying for re-certification. FYI, check your certificate for your firm's expiration date (see example firm certificate below, the expiration date is circled in red), you can also check your expiration date using our online firm search tool. If necessary, you can order a copy of your certificate online.

     example firm certificate

    Once submitted to EPA your application will be processed in 2 to 3 weeks.  Once finished you will receive an email from flpp.notify@epa.gov that includes your approval letter, certificate, and customized logo. Please check your email settings to ensure you'll receive this message. You can also check the status of your application and download a copy of your certificate once issued by going to EPA's E-Enterprise website.  Use your CDX user name and password for access.  Your application information appears under the "progress tracker" section.

    Amending your application

    A firm must amend their certification within 90 days of the date a change occurs to information included in their most recent application. If the firm fails to amend their certification within that period, the firm may not perform renovations or dust sampling until their certification is amended

     Authorized states

    To date, EPA has authorized 14 states to run their own renovation programs. Renovators and firms that only work within an authorized state(s) must be certified by each authorized state in which they do work, and would not be required to be certified by EPA.  The authorized states are ALDEGAIAKSMA, MS, NC, OK, OR, RI, UT, WA and WI.

    If an individual renovator is certified by an authorized state they are also qualified to work in EPA administered states, with no additional training. EPA certified renovators wishing to work in an authorized state should contact the state to determine if additional training/certification is necessary. Regardless of whether a firm is certified by an authorized state, if they do work in an EPA administered state they must be certified by EPA. Click here to see the FQ’s related to this topic.

    Frequent question database (FQ database)

    EPA maintains a list online of Frequent Questions regarding the Agency's Lead Program. It is regularly updated to ensure that you have access to the very latest information. When questions come up we recommend you first review the Frequent Questions, then if you cannot find the answer you're looking for call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

    Here's an example from the FQ database.  Can the required records and documentation be stored electronically rather than as paper copies? The answer is “yes, the records can be stored electronically”. Take a look at FQ 23002-32220 for more details!

  • 23 Mar 2016 3:44 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Bonnie Moeller, Exec. Director

    Booths

    2016 – 286 booths/162 Vendors
    2012 - 243 booths / 157 vendors


    Admission
    o   2016 - 4,153 admission counted (Kids 12 and under free, not counted)
    o   2015 - 4,972 
    o   2014 – 4340
    o   2013 – 4169
    ·        If you add the Chamber Connection attendees 180, 879 vendors, and those coming to the show the last hour after ticket sales were closed, we had approximately 5,300 walk the HomeShow this year

    • o   20 CMBA members /staff attended the Builder Day at the Capitol on March 15 and met with 7 area legislators on building related issues.   250 Minnesota building industry professionals attended the day.  
    • o   Joined area legislators and community leaders during the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's Legislative Session Priorities Dinner
    • o   Publisher of the Tour of Homes – HomeShow magazine, 30,000 distribution, through SC Times and at Holiday Stations. 

    2015 – 283 booths/175 vendors

    2014 – 271 booths/165 vendors (income down due to less non-members)

    2013 - 268 booths / 167 vendors

    o   Fish Fry,

    o   175 sold 2016

    o   237 – 2015

    o   133 - 2014

    o   257 - 2013;

    2016 – Fri 1,179, Sat 1,539, Sun 1,435  total 4,153

    Chamber 180, Vendors 879, Last hour 30 = 5,242

    2015 – Fri 1,313; Sat 2,551. Sun 1,294,  total 4,972

    Chamber 120. Vendors 928, Last hour 30 = 6,050

    2014 – Fri 1,025; Sat 2, 259; Sun 1,056 total 4,340

    Chamber 136; Vendors 880; Last hour 30 = 5,356

    2013 – Fri 1,220; Sat 1, 892; Sun 1,084 total 4,196

    Chamber 150; Vendors 908; Last hour 30 = 5,284

    2016 NA 

    2015 Adults – 3,019                Seniors 2015 - 1,953 

    2014 Adults – 3,002                Seniors 2014 – 1,338

    2013 Adults – 2,615                Seniors 2013 – 1,581

    o   1, 071 admission passes were used (HomeShow passes mailed to members) 2016

    o   1,160 in 2015

    o   1,023 in 2014

    o   196 Value Connection passes returned in 2016

    o   141 in 2015

    o   90 in 2014

    o   461  $1 off coupons in 2016 (allowed printed and digital on phone)

    o   725 in 2015

    o   539 $1 off coupons in 2014

    There were 4 - 3 day passes sold in 2016.

  • 04 Mar 2016 11:46 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    2016 CMBA HomeShow Events You Don't Want to Miss!

    It’s time again for the largest home building show in Central Minnesota, CMBA’s 44th annual HomeShow! The event will be taking place March 11-13 at St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. There will be many activities taking place throughout the weekend - kids activities, food and beer sampling, auctions, seminars, and so much more.

    Friday:

    What would an event be without music? Classic country singer Alan Godage will be here Friday from 2 pm to 7 pm. So, put on your boots and come enjoy great music and company! While you listen to Alan, celebrate fish fry season with the HomeShow’s fish fry, from 4 until 8 pm. The HomeShow is open 12 pm to 8 pm on Friday.

    Saturday:

    Chris Grundy’s two shows Cool Tool and Blog Cabin will be featured during this special appearance. He knows everything about creating spectacular renovations - you will not want to miss this opportunity to learn from the best! You can see him on Saturday at 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm on the American Door Works Stage.

    Also on Saturday, come get some gardening tips from Joel Karsten. As the author of Straw Bale Gardening, Joel has great advice for your gardening needs. His unique style of gardening features beautiful vegetables grown without soil. You can catch him on Saturday at 10 am, 1 pm and 4 pm.

    A highlight of this year’s show you won’t want to miss is the enchanted garden built by area landscapers. A plant sale will also take place on Sunday at 3 pm.

    There is always time to gain more knowledge! We will have four Premier Real Estate classes available on Saturday.

    ·        10 am: Preparing Your Home To Sell - Learn tips to increase the value of your home.

    ·        11 am: First Time Homebuyers - Learn everything you need to know about the home buying process.

    ·        1 pm: Make Your Home Smart - Learn about all the newest devices and apps to transform your home.

    ·        2 pm: Making Money In Real Estate - Learn about short term and long term investing, how to pick out good properties, and the smartest ways to invest your money in real estate.

    On Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, bring your kids to make and take home their own framed wipe off-board.  Plus, win a playhouse donated by Gulfeagle Supply!

    Sunday:

    Organic Gardening is on the rise! Bobby Jensen has all the advice you need to start organic gardening from your kitchen cabinet. As the co-host of the Grow With KARE segment on Kare 11, he’ll be able to answer your burning gardening questions. You can catch his appearance on Sunday at 12 pm and 2 pm.

    Also hear from Nick Olsen on Beekeeping, 11 am and 1 pm.  A $200 Garden Apiary will be given away after his 1 pm seminar.

    For more details on all the seminars, go to www.cmbaonline.org


    Along with these great events going on at the HomeShow, don’t forget there is beer and food sampling on Saturday from 1-5 pm. You won’t want to miss the Central Minnesota Builders Association’s HomeShow weekend. Cost is just $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 55+, and kids under 12 get in free. (Get your $1 off coupon for an even better deal!)


  • 25 Feb 2016 4:34 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)


    ►UPCOMING WEBINARS

    See Webinars for Small Businesses for upcoming National and Local Webinars.

    • The Internal Revenue Service is sponsoring a Spanish Webinar on Recordkeeping, How to find a Tax Return Preparer and IRS Resources that are available in Spanish.
    • Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 11:00 a.m. to noon, Central time
    • Register to attend this important informational event!

    ·        https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1153/13108

    Español:

    •  El Servicio de Impuestos Internos está patrocinando un Webinar en español. Venga a escuchar cómo mantener registros, cómo encontrar un preparador de impuestos y los recursos del IRS que están disponibles en español.
    • martes, 23 de febrero de 201611:00 a.m. to noon, Central time
    • ¡Regístrese abajo para asistir a este importante evento informativo!
    •  https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1153/13108

    ►NEWS

    Who Can Represent You Before the IRS?

    • Many people use a tax professional to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a return for a fee. If you choose a tax pro, you should know who can represent you before the IRS. There are new rules this year, so the IRS wants you to know who can represent you and when they can represent you. Choose a tax return preparer wisely.
    • Representation rights, also known as practice rights, fall into two categories:
    • Unlimited Representation
    • Limited Representation
    • Unlimited representation rights allow a credentialed tax practitioner to represent you before the IRS on any tax matter. This is true no matter who prepared your return. Credentialed tax professionals who have unlimited representation rights include:
    • Limited representation rights authorize the tax professional to represent you if, and only if, they prepared and signed the return. They can do this only before IRS revenue agents, customer service representatives and similar IRS employees. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare. They cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question. For returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, the only tax return preparers with limited representation rights are Annual Filing Season Program Participants.

    Scam Calls and Emails Using IRS as Bait Persist.

    Scams using the IRS as a lure continue. They take many different forms. The most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity too.

    Phishing Remains on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season.

    The IRS warned taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. Criminals pose as a person or organization you trust and/or recognize. They may pose as a bank, credit card company, tax software provider or government agency. Criminals go to great lengths to create websites that appear legitimate but contain phony log-in pages. These criminals hope victims will take the bait to get the victim’s money, passwords, Social Security number and identity. If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS, report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

    Are you making charitable donations?

    Know how to determine the fair market value for non-cash donations. See Determining Fair Market Value in Publication 526 Charitable Contributions. See Publication 561 Determining the Value of Donated Propertyfor more information.

    ►AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

    The Premium Tax Credit – The Basics:

    If you – or anyone on your federal tax return enrolled in health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for the premium tax credit.

    The Individual Shared Responsibility Provision – The Basics:

    The individual shared responsibility provision requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance, a health coverage exemption, or make a payment for any months without coverage or an exemption when you file. If you, your spouse and dependents had health insurance coverage all year, you will indicate this by simply checking a box on your tax return.

    Obtaining and Claiming a Health Coverage Exemption

    • ·        The Affordable Care Act requires you and each member of your family to have minimum essential coverage, qualify for an insurance coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment for months without coverage or an exemption when you file your federal income tax return.
    • ·        You, your spouse or your dependents may be eligible to claim an exemption from the requirement to have coverage and are not required to make a payment. For any month that you do not qualify for a coverage exemption, you will need to have minimum essential coverage or make a shared responsibility payment.
    • ·        You can claim most exemptions when you file your tax return. However, you must apply for certain exemptions in advance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.


    ►ACA for Small Employers

    Averaging Full-time and Full-time Equivalent Employees and Why it Matters:

    For purposes of the Affordable Care Act, employers average their number of employees across the months in the year to see whether they will be an applicable large employer. This is important to do because two provisions of the health care law apply only to Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) and are now in effect. See Determining if an Employer is an Applicable Large Employer for more information.

    ACA and Employers: How Seasonal Workers Affect Your ALE Status

    When determining if your organization is an applicable large employer – which is also known as an ALE – you must measure your workforce by counting all your employees.  However, there is an exception for seasonal workers.

    • If an employer’s workforce exceeds 50 full-time employees for 120 days or fewer during a calendar year, and the employees in excess of 50 who were employed during that period of no more than 120 days were seasonal workers, the employer is not considered an applicable large employer.
    • A seasonal worker for this purpose is an employee who performs labor or services on a seasonal basis. For example, retail workers employed exclusively during holiday seasons are seasonal workers.

    ►ACA for Applicable Large Employers

    Five ACA Facts for Applicable Large Employers:

    Some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act only affect your organization if it’s an applicable large employer. An ALE is generally one with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees. The vast majority of employers will fall below the ALE threshold number of employees and, therefore, will not be subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions. If you are an ALE, here are five things to know.      

    TAXES. SECURITY. TOGETHER. (Identity Theft)

    IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works

    • The IRS knows identity theft can be frustrating and confusing for victims. When it comes to tax-related identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service wants to resolve cases as quickly as possible. The IRS has worked hard to help victims of identity theft by making improvements and shortening the time it takes to resolve these complex situations.
    • Each taxpayer’s experience will vary, depending on whether they tell the IRS they may be a tax-related identity theft victim or the agency informs them there may be have been a suspicious tax return filed with their name on it. Further, the IRS may not realize the taxpayer is an identity theft victim until their return has been processed or an audit has been initiated.
    • See IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works for a general outline of what you can expect.
    o   You tell the IRS you may be a tax-related identity theft victim
    o   The IRS tells you a suspicious return has been received with your name on it
    o   Are there other steps I should take as a tax-related IDT victim?

    See all “IRS Security Awareness Tax Tips” here.

    ►NEWS FROM OTHER AGENCIES

    From Business USA: What better time than tax season to pass along some of our best advice?

    Free ACA webinars:

    ·        The Small Business Administration, the Department of Health Human and Services, and Small Business Majority have teamed up for a free webinar series where small employers can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for their organization and employees.

    ·        Topics covered include the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, the new Health Insurance Marketplace, and Employer Shared Responsibility and new employer reporting requirements. Webinar content will generally be the same each week.

    ·        See this page for registration links for winter 2016.

    Don't Delay, Renew Your Passport ASAP

    ·        "When does my passport expire?"

    ·        This is a question we ask ourselves before any big trip. If you haven't checked your passport's expiration date in a while and are planning a trip overseas, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise. Passports expiring in 2016 must be renewed as soon as possible.

    ·        Some countries are also now requiring that you have a passport that has been valid for at least 6 months. As spring and summer travel plans come up, passport agencies become even busier.

    ·        So don't put it off and renew your passport today! For more information on overseas travel, visit USA.gov.

    ►IN EVERY ISSUE

    See the latest:

    ·        Tax Tips  
    ·        Health Care Tax Tips
    ·        Fact Sheets
    ·        Headliners
    ·        News releases
    ·        Announcements, Notices, Revenue Rulings, Revenue Procedures, Treasury Decisions, and Treasury Regulations are in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB)

    ·        Find the latest IRS news via Social Media options.

    The Issue Management Resolution Systemhelps solve issues with policies, practices and procedures. Tax professionals should forward significant issues regarding IRS policies, practices and procedures to their Stakeholder Liaison.

    Outreach Corner. Find it easy to spread the word about key income tax topics! This page offers electronic communication materials to use in reaching out to the people you serve. Get free news you can use each month, targeted by time of year to coincide with what your customers, employees, volunteers, etc. need to know about new tax law legislation, IRS events and other activities that affect them.

    Industries/Professions Tax Centers. Tax Centers contain links to topics such as tax tips, financial resources, trends and statistics, forms, and more.

    Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs)

    Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) help IRS examiners during audits by providing insight into issues and accounting methods unique to specific industries. While ATGs are designed to provide guidance for IRS employees, they’re also useful to small business owners and tax professionals who prepare returns.


  • 22 Feb 2016 4:44 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    With the economy and housing market still recovering, some potential first ­time home buyers may be hesitant to invest in a new home. There are, however, several reasons why now is a great time for Millennials and other first­ time home buyers to start building their American Dream.

    1. Interest rates are low 

    Today’s historically low interest rates are helping first­ time home buyers find affordable housing options. Average weekly interest rates for a 30­ year fixed mortgage remain under 4.5%. 

    It’s important to keep in mind that interest rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly. There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home.

    2. Huge down payments are not necessary 

    While lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years, there are options for purchasing your first home without a 20% downpayment. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans to first­ time home buyers with down payments as low as 3.5%. However, these loans require mortgage insurance. 

    To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre­-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.

    3. New homes are built to fit your lifestyle 

    Designed to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, new homes – including urban condos and single­ family homes – feature open floor plans, flexible spaces, low­-maintenance materials and other amenities that appeal to younger buyers. 

    With energy costs near the top of consumer concerns, it’s good to know that new homes can be more energy efficient than ever. Innovative materials and construction techniques mean that today’s new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. Not only can they be more affordable to operate, new homes also are significantly more resource efficient and environmentally friendly.

    4. Technology makes house shopping fun and easy 

    Today’s tech­-savvy home buyers use mobile apps to quickly gather all of the key information on a property and to see extensive photos from their cell phones or tablets. If you’re just beginning your search, Realtor.com is a popular app because it generally contains the most accurate information gathered from more than 800 local MLS’s (multiple listing services).

    If you’re checking out homes in an unfamiliar area, AroundMe helps you get a quick sense of the neighborhood by telling you the location of local restaurants, supermarkets, businesses, and attractions nearby.

    There also are several free mortgage apps to help you determine how much you can afford and to compare real­-time rates from multiple lenders. Popular mortgage calculator apps include Zillow and Trulia.

    5. Owning a home can help young families build wealth and combat rising rents

    For most Americans, homeownership is a primary source of net worth and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term. Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have more than $10.8 trillion of equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth. 

    At the same time, rent prices continue to climb – 2.8 percent in 2013 – as rental vacancies dropped to their lowest point since 2000, according to a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That makes now a great time to start investing in your future instead of your landlord’s. 

    For more information on resources for first­ time home buyers in Central Minnesota, visit nahb.org/forconsumers.


  • 09 Feb 2016 10:40 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    To CMBA Members:

    A top priority of the CMBA Board of Directors is to provide more membership benefits.  In doing so, we are offering free continuing education for builders licensing to members, and we have absorbed the last two $16 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) dues increase, as well as the 2014, 2015 and 2016 legal action fund assessment of $35-$25 from Builders Association of MN (BAM) rather than passing these on to the members. 

    Another goal is to enhance the HomeShow by adding an Outdoor Living display and expanding the Homeshow at no additional cost to the vendors.

    In addition, we are providing each CMBA member with 10 free HomeShow passes to the upcoming HomeShow March 11-13, 2016.  Since admission to the show is $5, these tickets hold a $50 value.  We hope you will use these passes to attend the show and give them to your clients.    

    We ask that you hang the enclosed HomeShow poster in a high traffic area to help promote the show.  We also request that you proudly display the enclosed CMBA Member window cling.

    Our main HomeShow attraction this year will be Chris Grundy, from DIY Network Cool Tools and Blog Cabins.  Tool expert and avid do-it-yourselfer Chris Grundy is living his dream working with tools and chillin' with other home improvement fanatics. DIY Network Blog Cabin is the multimedia experience based on a very simple idea: You Design It, We Build It, You Could Win It!

    The CMBA Board truly appreciates your support of our association and the local construction industry. 

    We hope you have a safe, productive and profitable 2016.  See you at the show!

    CMBA President, Craig Schoenberg, Schoenberg Construction, Inc.


  • 16 Dec 2015 11:27 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    ·         Check out “IRS Security Awareness Tax Tips” here <https://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Security-Awareness-Tax-Tips> . They’re part of the TAXES. SECURITY. TOGETHER <https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Taxes-Security-Together>  initiative.

    ·         Health Care Law: Tax Considerations for Employers with Fewer than 50 Employees <https://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act/Employers/Tax-Considerations-for-Employers-with-Fewer-than-50-Employees> .

    ·         If you missed 10 Cybersecurity Mistakes You Cannot Afford to Make - Tips from the Federal Trade Commission, you can access the recording on YouTube here <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLrnI5ZEl9Y&feature=youtu.be> . You can access the slides here <http://mmsrv01b.intellor.com/sba/2015/Start%20with%20security%20presentation%20-%20for%20SBA%2012-8-15.pdf> . The webinar shared information found in Start with Security: A Guide for Business <https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/plain-language/pdf0205-startwithsecurity.pdf> .  

    Check out the IRS Video Portal <http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Small-Business-Video-and-Audio-Presentations

    Sign up for e-News for Small Businesses <http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Subscribe-to-e-News-for-Small-Businesses>   


  • 01 Dec 2015 1:07 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” ­ Unknown

    Pursuing a new career path is something most people do at least a few times in their life. Some people are born with skills that rocket them into a career, but most take a while to decide. Those that don’t want to sit behind a desk all day thrive in environments where they can build with their hands. For these types of people, construction is a fulfilling and exciting career to pursue. Whether you have found your true calling or are still trying to find it, we are here to tell you why

    you should choose a career in the building trades.

    It’s Rewarding...

    Construction is hard work, but is also incredibly rewarding. Building something with your own two hands gives you pride in your accomplishments and a sense of purpose in your work. You may begin at the bottom, but you find that you can quickly work your way up. With a career in the construction field, you will always keep learning and growing in your career.

    ...In More Ways Than One

    Careers in construction are also high­paying. The average salary of a St. Cloud carpenter is $42,152 yearly, and the salary only increases for those with a degree. As with many careers, the more work and dedication you put toward your career in construction, the more it will financially pay off for you.

    Degrees Are Attainable

    There are many career paths available in construction. Those that attend some form of higher  education receive greater employment rates and have a higher potential in the field. St. Cloud Technical and Community College, for example, houses many construction programs that offer  tuition costs as low as $13,861 for the program.

    Job Security

    Job security is a huge perk that comes with working construction. The construction field is constantly growing, and opportunities for advancement are always available.

    Supportive Organizations

    St. Cloud (and other areas of Minnesota) is filled with supportive organizations for the field of construction ­ like the CMBA. Many construction workers become members of a union.

    Working in the construction field is a career path that you can take pride in and feel accomplished. With the rewards that come with the job, attainable degrees, job security, and a variety of support at your disposal, just imagine what your future could look like with a career in the building trades!

  • 19 Nov 2015 4:19 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    ►Upcoming webinars:

    • Local Webinar: Employment Tax e-File

    DateTuesday, December 8, 2015

    Time10:00 a.m. Central

    Highlights of What's Covered:

    • Modernized e-file migration
    • What is a Reporting Agent?
    • Benefits of becoming a Reporting Agent
    • Form 8655, Reporting Agent Authorization
    • E-Services for Reporting Agents
    • Tips for Reporting Agents
    • Plus live Q & A

    CPE:  Earn One CE Credit – Category: Federal Tax                                                        

    PTIN Holders: In order to get your CE reported to the IRS, ensure that your first name, last name and PTIN match your account. Your PTIN must begin with the letter P followed by 8 numeric characters. If your name and PTIN are incorrectly entered, you may still receive a certificate but your credit will not be reported to the IRS.

             

    Click on the following link to registerhttps://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1154/11583

    • Local Webinar: IRS Resources at Your Fingertips
    Date:    Thursday December 10, 2015
    Time    10:00 a.m. Central; 9:00 a.m. Mountain
    • Highlights of What's Covered:
    • IRS.gov offers tax professionals, small business owners and individuals a wealth of information and resources, in both English and Spanish, to fulfill your filing season and business tax needs. You will be able to save considerable time and effort by simply visiting IRS.gov before picking up the phone for assistance.
    • CPE: Earn up to two CE Credits – Category: Federal Tax

    The SSA/IRS Reporter is a quarterly, online-only publication for businesses, payroll professionals and others who work with payroll taxes and employment tax issues. The Fall 2015 edition of the SSA/IRS Reporter is now online with information on retirement plans, year-end reminders and more.

    2016 Inflation Adjustment Amounts Released, Rev. Proc. 2015-53: The IRS has released new inflation-adjusted amounts for 2016. These inflation-adjusted figures generally apply to tax years beginning in 2016 or transactions or events occurring in calendar year 2016. Included are the tax rate tables, the beginning income levels for the limitation on certain itemized deductions, and the beginning income levels for the phaseout of personal exemptions and credits.

    IRS Announces 2016 Pension Plan Limitations; 401(k) Contribution Limit Remains Unchanged at $18,000 for 2016.

    ►AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

    Understanding Your Form 1095-B, Health Coverage. Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, is used to report certain information to the IRS and to taxpayers about individuals who are covered by minimum essential coverage and therefore aren't liable for the individual shared responsibility payment. By January 31, 2016, health coverage providers should furnish a copy of Form 1095-B, to you if you are identified as the “responsible individual” on the form. Read the article for more information about the “responsible individual”.

    Understanding Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage: Employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, in the previous year use Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, to report the information required about offers of health coverage and enrollment in health coverage for their employees.  Form 1095-C is used to report information about each employee. Individuals who worked for multiple employers that are required to file Form 1095-C may receive a Form 1095-C from each employer.

    Three Tax Considerations during Marketplace Open Enrollment:When you apply for assistance to help pay the premiums for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, the Marketplace will estimate the amount of the premium tax credit that you may be able to claim.  The Marketplace will use information you provide about your family composition, your projected household income, whether those that you are enrolling are eligible for other non-Marketplace coverage, and certain other information to estimate your credit. Read the article for three things you should consider during the Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment period.

    ►ACA for Applicable Large Employers

    Publication Helps Health Coverage Providers and Employers Understand ACA Information Return Electronic Filing. Health coverage providers and applicable large employers – and those assisting them in preparation for electronically filing the 2015 health care information returns - need to understand the IRS ACA Information Return electronic filing process. Publication 5165, Guide for Electronically Filing Affordable Care Act Information Returns for Software Developers and Transmitters, outlines the communication procedures, transmission formats, business rules and validation procedures for returns transmitted electronically through the AIR system.

    ►ACA Resources from the IRS and other agencies

    Consumer Guide for Annual Household Income Data Matching Issues: This is a guide to help you understand how the Marketplace uses annual household income to decide whether you qualify for help paying for health coverage through the Marketplace.

    ·        Health Care Tax Tips help you stay informed about ACA topics

    ·        ACA Information Center for Tax Professionals

    ·        Keep up-to-date on the latest ACA news by visiting our What’s Trending page.

    ·        Affordable Care Act Legal Guidance and Other Resources

    ►IDENTITY THEFT

    IRS Tests W-2 Verification Code for Filing Season 2016: For filing season 2016, the Internal Revenue Service will test a capability to verify the authenticity of Form W-2 data. This test is one in a series of steps to combat tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. The objective is to verify Form W-2 data submitted by taxpayers on e-filed individual tax returns. The IRS has partnered with certain Payroll Service Providers (PSPs) to include a 16-digit code and a new Verification Code field on a limited number of Form W-2 copies provided to employees. For the purposes of the test, omitted and incorrect W-2 Verification Codes will not delay the processing of a tax return. The IRS will analyze this pilot data in a “test-and-learn” review to see if it is useful in evaluating the integrity of W-2 information.

    IRS, States, Industry Continue Progress to Protect Taxpayers from Identity Theft:A public-private sector partnership announced success in identifying and testing more than 20 new data elements on tax return submissions that will be shared with the IRS and the states to help detect and prevent identity-theft related filings. Known as the Security Summit, the unprecedented collaborative effort began in March and culminated in the development of several recommendations in June between the IRS, leaders of tax preparation and software firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators.

    In Announcement 2015-22the IRS states that the value of ID theft services is not taxable income if it is received in connection with a possible data breach. Therefore the value of these services is not reportable on either Forms W-2 or Forms 1099.

    ►EMPLOYERS

    General Employment Tax Issues. The IRS reminds business owners how critical it is to understand the various types of employment-related taxes they may be required to deposit and report. This fact sheet provides information on some of the more common employment tax topics posed by business owners, including:

    • ·        Worker Classification
    • ·        Voluntary Classification Settlement Program
    • ·        Fringe Benefits
    • ·        Officer Compensation
    • ·        Backup Withholding and Information Return Penalties

    ►NEWS FROM OTHER AGENCIES

    SBA: Do Year-End Tax Planning Now: It’s that time again for owners to think about taxes. It may not be the most enjoyable endeavor of the year but it’s certainly one that will put money in your pocket. The sooner you get started, the more opportunities you’ll have and the less stressed you’ll be. Here are some basic planning ideas that you can use now to improve your tax picture for the year.

    The U.S. Treasury Department has introduced myRA, a retirement savings account for individuals looking for a simple, safe, and affordable way to save for their retirement. Over thirty percent of all American households have no retirement savings. myRA provides a way to start saving for retirement. Designed for people who don’t have access to a retirement savings plan through their job, myRA offers a favorable choice for those who want to save for retirement. With myRA:

    ·        There’s no cost and no fees to open and maintain an account;

    ·        The investment will not lose money;

    ·        Account owners choose how much to save ($2, $20, $200 – whatever fits their budget);

    ·        If account owners change jobs, the account stays with them; and

    Learn more about myRA at https://myra.gov/  

    ►IN EVERY ISSUE

    See the latest:

    ·        Find the latest IRS news via Social Media options.

    The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) At-A-Glance

    Latest News and Guidance from OPR

    Subscribe to the Office of Professional Responsibility’s newsletter. 

    Find the latest Tax Pro News and Resources.

    The Issue Management Resolution Systemhelps solve issues with policies, practices and procedures. Tax professionals should forward significant issues regarding IRS policies, practices and procedures to their Stakeholder Liaison.

    Outreach Corner. Find it easy to spread the word about key income tax topics! This page offers electronic communication materials to use in reaching out to the people you serve. Get free news you can use each month, targeted by time of year to coincide with what your customers, employees, volunteers, etc. need to know about new tax law legislation, IRS events and other activities that affect them.

    Industries/Professions Tax Centers. Tax Centers contain links to topics such as tax tips, financial resources, trends and statistics, forms, and more.

    Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs)

    Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) help IRS examiners during audits by providing insight into issues and accounting methods unique to specific industries. While ATGs are designed to provide guidance for IRS employees, they’re also useful to small business owners and tax professionals who prepare returns.


CMBA:
1124 West Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301
320.251.4382 info@cmbaonline.org | www.cmbaonline.org
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