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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2018 Montana Minimum Wage Increase



Montana’s Minimum Wage is set to rise to $8.30 per hour effective January 1, 2018 pursuant to Montana Code Annotated 39-3-409.  The current 2017 wage is $8.15, which means an increase in 15 cents per hour.  No tip credit, training wage or meal credit is allowed in the State of Montana, so all businesses covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act are required to pay at least Montana minimum wage. 

The law requires a minimum wage adjustment based on changes in inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from August of the preceding year to August of the year in which the calculation is made.  An adjustment to the minimum wage is to be calculated no later than September 30 of each year based upon any increase in the CPI, rounded to the nearest five cents. 

Also, remember that overtime hours are calculated on a weekly basis, and NOT a bi-weekly basis! Employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a single workweek must receive overtime compensation of at least 1.5 times their regular hourly rate for those hours worked over 40. 

Additional information on Montana’s minimum wages can be found at the Dept of Labor website www.mtwagehourbopa.com

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

~ Christmas Wreath Silent Auction ~


Bidding begins today and we encourage you to drop by our office or comment on our Facebook post to take this beautiful handmade wreath "home for the holidays"! All proceeds benefit the Broadus Senior Center and remember, Gardner & Billing CPAs will match the winning bid up to $50! Bidding will end after the stroll on Friday, so keep an eye on this one!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Broadus Christmas Stroll


At Gardner & Billing CPAs we’re excitedly forming plans for the Broadus Christmas Stroll taking place on Friday, December 1st!

We felt that our Christmas Wreath Silent Auction was such a
success last year that we’ll be recreating the event again in 2017. This year we’ll be designing a single Christmas wreath for auction and plan to open bidding on Wednesday, November 29th. You can bid online via our Facebook page or stop by our office to bid in person, up through the night of the Christmas Stroll. All proceeds on the auction will go to assist in bringing the Senior Center “home” to their location downtown. Plus, Gardner & Billing CPAs will match the winning bid for a contribution up to $50!

We want to continue our tradition of being a family-friendly stop on your stroll. Santa’s Christmas elves will be handing out drinks, treats and a fun coloring craft during the stroll from 3-6pm. We encourage kids of all ages to stop by on Friday to pick up a stocking to take home to color and decorate. Once your masterpiece is complete, return it to our office to be hung by the fireplace. For every stocking that’s returned for display by December 15th, we’ll donate $2 to your choice of either the Library Storytime or the Kid’s Food Bag Foundation!


If you want to show your support for the Senior Center or our local kids, we’ll also have special Christmas stockings on hand for free-will donations to these great groups.

We hope you’ll visit us at Gardner & Billing CPAs on your stroll when you’re “Home for the Holidays” this year to join us in the spirit of Christmas cheer and charity!







Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Important Notice on Potential Tax Reform Changes




We are closely watching the possible legislative changes that the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee are working on to create changes in the tax code. 

While the two committees are far apart on some of the issues, they are close to being in agreement on others.  As you know, the Senate and the House need to each pass their versions of the tax reform, and then a Joint committee made up of members from each the House and Senate need to agree on a compromise that will then be voted on by the Senate and the House.

It appears more likely than not that there will be some version of tax reform legislation.  It is too early to begin to make any planning moves based on the possibility of the legislative changes.  It is important to keep in mind that there may be changes coming, so any decisions for the future that have tax implications may be affected by this legislation.

As soon as we know what the final version of the "tax reform" is, we will be communicating with our clients.  You can expect a lot of press as the process moves forward; however, until the House and Senate have voted on the compromise presented by the Joint committee, we aren't going to know for certain what the changes are going to be.  This is a heads-up though, Tax reform is on the horizon and we all need to keep that in mind as we move forward.

Tax law is like Montana weather----we seldom get bored with it as it changes all the time!

In the meantime---Happy Holidays to you and your families.   Dave & Melissa

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Honoring Our Veterans

Gardner & Billing CPAs wish to extend our gratitude and respect to all those who have served our country... 
yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

Wishing you a Happy Veterans Day.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Trucking 2018 UCR Delayed Until Further Notice

If you operate a truck or bus in interstate or international commerce, the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program requires that you register your business with Montana Dept of Transportation and pay an annual fee based on the size of your fleet.  Registration for the upcoming 2018 period is typically due by December 31, 2017.  However, The UCR Board of Directors has announced a delay in the start of 2018 registrations.  The below notice was issued at the end of last week to address expectations for the opening of registration on November 1st. 
___________________________________________________________________
October 27, 2017
TO: All State Administrators of the UCR Act
FR: UCR Board of Directors
RE: UCR 2018 Registration Delayed Until Further Notice


While we believe a new rule setting final fees is imminent, the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Board of Directors is delaying until further notice the start of the 2018 registration period while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completes the rulemaking process for 2018 fees. We regret this inconvenience and appreciate your patience.


Due to this unanticipated further delay, UCR is recommending to all states that the enforcement period for 2018 compliance not begin until 90 days after the final rulemaking is published.
The fee levels being proposed are based on a recommendation submitted by UCR to the FMCSA in March 2017 to reduce fees for carriers at all levels by 9% in 2018.


Until further notice, please do not accept any carrier fees for the 2018 registration year. If received prior to the final rulemaking, please return to the entity that paid the fee.


We will continue to keep you updated as we become aware of relevant fee and registration information.

___________________________________________________________________

The Montana Dept of Transportation has confirmed that they cannot begin processing 2018 UCR applications until the fee structure has been finalized.  Do not submit payments or registrations until registration has been opened.  

For additional information and updates on registration, visit the UCR website or contact the Montana Department of Transportation at (406) 444-2998.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween from Gardner & Billing CPAs! 
Come visit us next week for Halloween treats!

Broadus Trick-or-Treat Schedule


10:30am Storytime Trick-or-Treat
Preschooler trick-or-treat around the courthouse square 


3:30pm Trick-or-Treat for all ages
  Meet at the library
Preschoolers - 2nd grade go together as a group with adults
3rd grade and up receive a list of participating businesses 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Estate Planning Workshop with Marsha Goetting


Marsha Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics Specialist, will be presenting an Estate Planning Workshop on Monday, October 30th, at 1:00 p.m. at the Broadus Community Center.

Goetting will begin the workshop with effective methods of starting difficult conversations about estate allocation. Specific areas Goetting will cover include decisions about treatment of heirs and equal vs equitable; wills, trusts, probate, duties of the personal representative, joint tenancy transfer and transferring motor vehicles, power of attorney, basis in land, Montana Medical Care Savings Accounts, rights over your remains, letter of last instruction, common law marriage, and the Montana Endowment Tax Credit.


Marsha's video guide to estate planning in Montana, based on Montana’s state laws, is a lively, helpful video that everyone can understand! It has lots of helpful tips presented in a fun, memorable way. More information on Marsha and estate planning resources can be found at the MSU Extension website.


Biography
Marsha A. Goetting is a Professor and Extension Family Economics Specialist at Montana State University in Bozeman. She has presented over 800 workshops reaching over 25,000 Montanans with financial and estate planning information. She has also authored over 75 MontGuides and bulletins and has received national, regional, and state awards for her financial management and estate planning programs.

Educational Background

Dr. Goetting received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Family Economics and Adult Education from Kansas State University and her Ph.D. from Iowa State University.

Professional Associations
  • Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education
  • American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Montana Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Montana Gerontology Society
  • Montana Association of Family and Consumer Sciences


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

IRS Relief for Drought Stricken Ranchers


https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/drought-stricken-farmers-and-ranchers-have-more-time-to-replace-livestock-under-irs-relief

IR-2017-164, Sept. 27, 2017

WASHINGTON – Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought in an applicable region now have an additional year to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, according to the Internal Revenue Service. An applicable region is a county designated as eligible for federal assistance plus counties contiguous to that county.

This relief generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, or poultry are not eligible.

To qualify, the sales must be solely due to drought, flooding or other severe weather causing the region to be designated as eligible for federal assistance.

Under these circumstances, livestock generally must be replaced within a four-year period, instead of the usual two-year period. But in addition, the IRS is authorized to further extend this replacement period if the drought continues.

The one-year extension, announced today, gives eligible farmers and ranchers until the end of the tax year after the first drought-free year to replace the sold livestock. Details, including an example of how this provision works, can be found in Notice 2006-82, available on IRS.gov.

The IRS provides this extension to farmers and ranchers located in the applicable region that qualified for the four-year replacement period if any county, parish, city, or district, that is included in the applicable region is listed as suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), during any weekly period between Sept. 1, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2017. All or part of 42 states, plus the District of Columbia, are listed.

As a result, farmers and ranchers in the applicable region whose drought sale replacement period was scheduled to expire at the end of this tax year, Dec. 31, 2017, in most cases, will now have until the end of their next tax year. Because the normal drought sale replacement period is four years, this extension immediately impacts drought sales that occurred during 2013. But because of previous drought-related extensions affecting some of these localities, the replacement periods for some drought sales before 2013 are also affected. Additional extensions will be granted if severe drought conditions persist.

Details on this relief, including a list of NDMC-designated counties, are in Notice 2017-53, posted on IRS.gov. More information on reporting drought sales and other farm-related tax issues can be found in Publication 225, Farmer’s Tax Guide, also available on the IRS web site.
 

Below is the listing of Montana and Wyoming Counties eligible:
Montana
Counties of Big Horn, Blaine, Broadwater, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Deer Lodge, Fallon, Fergus, Flathead, Gallatin, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Granite, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Liberty, Lincoln, McCone, Meagher, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Park, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Powell, Prairie, Ravalli, Richland, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sanders, Sheridan, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, Yellowstone.

Wyoming

Counties of Big Horn, Campbell, Crook, Niobrara, Park, Sheridan, Teton, Weston.