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Monday, December 2, 2019

Broadus Christmas Stroll

Join us on Friday, December 6th 
for the Broadus Christmas Stroll! 
 
Catch the sites and sounds of Who-Village outside on the big screen, then come inside for food, fun and crafts with Who-ville characters from 2-7pm! 
Plus, bid in our annual Christmas wreath auction to benefit the Kid’s Food Bag Foundation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving
from Gardner & Billing CPAs!
Our office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 28th and 29th.  
Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Book Club Meeting Tonight

Don't forget the second gathering of the Building a Better Broadus Book Club is tonight at the office of Gardner & Billing CPAs PLLC. Join us at 6:30 for refreshments and real conversations. And don't let the name fool you, you don't even need to have read the book. đŸ˜‰

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Stop by our booth at the Powder River Ag Expo tomorrow from 3-7pm, visit with Melissa and enter our drawing to win 1 Free Hour of Personal or Business Financial Planning!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Powder River Ag Expo Next Week

Plan on coming to the Powder River Ag Expo next Wednesday and be sure to stop by our booth and visit with Melissa. At Gardner & Billing CPAs, we understand the tax implications of the ranching industry. Our strengths are your numbers!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Jessica Malone Achieves Enrolled Agent Certificate


Jessica Malone of Gardner & Billing CPAs PLLC recently achieved professional status as an Enrolled Agent.

What is an enrolled agent, you ask?
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels—examination, collection, and appeals—of the Internal Revenue Service. In addition to taxpayer representation, enrolled agents may provide tax consultation services and prepare and sign a wide range of federal and state tax returns.
 

So, is that like a CPA?
While both CPAs and EAs have expertise in taxes, the requirements to achieve these credentials differ. CPAs are licensed through the State. In Montana, CPA candidates must receive 150 credits in accounting and business at a college or university, meet the 2,000 hour experience requirement and then pass the four-part Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. CPAs not only study tax issues, they also gain expertise in accounting matters such as financial planning and auditing.

In comparison, EAs are authorized at the federal level. Candidates must pass a three-part series of tests called the Special Enrollment Examination that covers individual and business tax laws and representation issues. The enrolled agent exam focuses mostly on tax preparation matters and very little on general accounting practices. The State of Montana recognizes federal Enrolled Agent status for preparation of state return filings.

Both enrolled agents and certified public accountants enjoy virtually unlimited practice rights before the IRS. That means there are no restrictions to the types of tax issues they can handle and the type of taxpayers they can serve. Additionally, both tax professionals may represent tax clients before any type of IRS office. Lastly, EAs and CPAs are all required to meet specific ethical and continuing education requirements.
 

Jessica discusses her path to becoming an Enrolled Agent…
I started at the firm with Dave and Melissa in September of 2013 and just finished my 6th year at this office. Although I briefly considered the CPA path, Enrolled Agent was an easy decision for me based on the licensing requirements, since I have a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistic Anthropology. I never took a single accounting class in college! So rather than starting from scratch with college courses, I decided to use the practical knowledge I’d achieved through my employment and embark on the road of self-study of IRS material. Dave and Melissa have both been very supportive of this process. Enrolled Agent is knowledge-based and determined by scores on the examination testing. Once I passed the three part exam, I then had to pass a background and tax compliance check before receiving my certificate issued by the IRS. I am especially inspired by Melissa and I look forward to growing my experience base with this team.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

5 Pieces of Life-Changing ADVICE from Brené Brown


Melissa Billing will be hosting the first meeting of the Building a
Better Broadus Book Club this evening at the office of Gardner &
Billing CPAs. Join us at 6:30pm for refreshments and to find out what
to expect from this not-your-run-of-the-mill book club. The first book
is "Dare to Lead" by Brene Brown. To get a taste of the kinds of topics
Brene discusses, check out this video of her in action...

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

New Book Club to Meet at Gardner & Billing Office

Melissa Billing, Chairwoman of the Building a Better Broadus Committee of the Powder River Chamber of Commerce, will be leading a new book club which meets monthly at our office. 

The first organizational meeting will be Wednesday, October 16th at 6:30pm

We hope you'll join in to explore leadership with the first book on the agenda "Dare to Lead" by Brene Brown. Discover how to inspire and be inspired in your business, family and social group as we dive into the tough topics that build community leaders.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Office Hours: Friday, October 4th

The office of Gardner & Billing CPAs will be closed from 11am-1pm on Friday, October 4th so that we may all attend the funeral services of a man that embodied the spirit of community. Ron, you will be dearly missed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Building a Better Broadus Event

Tonight at the Powder River Historical Museum at 5:30pm
Stop by the Gardner & Billing CPAs banner to learn about the services we offer in our community

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tax Extension Deadline is Approaching

If you requested an extension to file your personal income taxes back in April, it's time to put it back at the top of your To-Do List.  

It's important to remember that an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay, so if you owe taxes, the longer you wait, the more additional interest you'll end up owing. 

The final filing deadline is October 15th or you'll also get hit with late filing penalties, so don't put it off any longer!  

We welcome new and existing clients to contact us with any questions you have!  We're here to help.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Start of 2020 UCR Registration Period is Delayed



If you operate a truck or bus in interstate or international commerce there is a federal law that applies to your business. The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program requires individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce to register their business with Montana and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet.

A "commercial motor vehicle" is defined as a self-propelled or towed vehicle used on the highways in commerce principally to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle:
  1. has a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more;
  2. is designed to transport 11 or more passengers (including the driver); or
  3. is used in transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding.
To avoid delays, it is highly recommended that you register on-line. Go to https://plan.ucr.gov/ and follow the step-by-step instructions. Payments may be made on-line using MasterCard, Visa or e-Check.

Annual registration is typically scheduled to open on October 1st and registrants must complete UCR registration and pay UCR fees before January 1 of the registration year. After that date, the registration fee are still due, but a non-registrant may then be subjected to state enforcement action.

However, the start of the 2020 UCR registration period is delayed until further notice while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completes its rulemaking process on fee levels for next year. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on August 27.

Once the final rulemaking is published later this year, thereby officially establishing UCR fees for 2020, the UCR Board of Directors will recommend that states delay enforcement for three (3) months from the start of the registration period.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Full Time Hours

As of this week, our office goes back to regular full-time hours. We'll be open Monday - Friday from 8am - 5pm 
(closed for lunch between 12-1).

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Closed for Labor Day

The office of Gardner & Billing CPAs will be closed on Monday, September 2nd for Labor Day.  We reopen with full-time office hours which means we will now be open Fridays 
as of September 3rd. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Powder River County Fair

It's time for the Powder River County Fair! Drop down to the fairgrounds this week and check out the many activities and events happening this week in Broadus!



Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Audit Season

Have you recently been selected for a State Fund audit on your workers compensation policy?  State Fund conducts mandatory premium audits on all new policies after the first year of coverage.  After that, they randomly select roughly 25% of policies each year for an audit.  

If you have questions on a premium audit, we're happy to assist, even if we don't process your payroll regularly.  We can review your records ahead of time so there's no surprises and then handle the audit from our office so that you don't have to deal with the stress. So don't panic when you get correspondence in the mail with that dirty little word and don't hesitate to ask us for help. 

Here's some information from Montana State Fund related to premium audits:


Why a Premium Audit?  
The purpose of an audit is to ensure you pay fair and accurate premium for your business operations during the policy period. When you purchased your policy, premium was estimated based upon the type of work and the anticipated payroll you expected to have. A premium audit is conducted at the end of the policy period to obtain the actual business operations and records to determine your final premium. The result - whether a return in premium, additional premium due, or no change to your premium - is your assurance that you paid the correct amount.

Types of Audit
There are two types of audits. An on-site audit, also known as a physical or field audit, involves a visit to your business location by our representative to review your operations and records. A phone audit involves a review of operations and records over the phone. In both cases, you will be notified in advance to arrange the audit appointment. During the process it is essential to have someone familiar with your overall operations present to answer the auditor’s questions and/or complete any necessary forms. You may have the audit performed with your accountant or other third party, however they must be familiar with your operations, staff duties and be able to accurately answer the auditor’s questions.

Are you hiring independent contractors?
If you enter into an agreement with others to perform duties for you, you are required to maintain and provide the auditor access to the following records for each of them: 

  • A certificate of workers’ compensation coverage 
or  
  • An Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate (ICEC) issued by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.
If you do not have documentation confirming others you paid to perform duties lawfully secured their workers’ compensation obligations, any payments made to these workers may be treated as wages when calculating your policy premium.  

To obtain additional information regarding Independent Contractors and your responsibilities as the hiring agent, go to: erd.dli.mt.gov/work-comp-regulations/montana-contractor or contact the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) at 406-444-9029. The web site contains search options to assist you with confirming current workers’ compensation insurance coverage and/or ICEC status.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate (ICEC) – Frequently Asked Questions



Montana Workers’ Compensation Laws for Independent Contractors from the Department of Labor & Industry

What are Montana’s workers’ compensation laws for independent contractors?
The law requires independent contractors to obtain either an independent contractor exemption certificate or self-elected coverage under a Montana workers’ compensation insurance policy. Refer to MCA, 39-71-417.

What is the purpose of an independent contractor exemption certificate?
It allows an independent contractor to waive all their rights and benefits that would otherwise be provided by a workers’ compensation insurance policy. If an independent contractor were to suffer a work-related injury or occupational disease while performing the occupations specified on the certificate, they would not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The certificate concludes the person’s status is conclusively presumed to be that of an independent contractor. Refer to MCA, 39-71-417(7).

What is the purpose of self-elected workers’ compensation insurance coverage?
Self-elected workers' compensation insurance coverage provides wage-loss and medical benefits to an independent contractor should a work-related injury or occupational disease occur.

What is the risk of hiring an independent contractor without an independent contractor exemption certificate or self-elected workers’ compensation insurance coverage?
It would result in the state treating the independent contractor as an employee of the hiring agent. This means the hiring agent may be responsible for claims related to work-related injuries or occupational diseases and incur penalties from the Uninsured Employers’ Fund. Labor agreements and issuance of 1099s do not make a person an independent contractor.

Are there penalties for making a person obtain an independent contractor exemption certificate?
Yes. Montana law prohibits employers from avoiding their responsibility to provide workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees. An employer may not require an employee through coercion, misrepresentation, or fraudulent means to adopt independent contractor status or exert control to a degree that destroys the independent contractor relationship. An employer who violates a provision of the law is subject to a fine to be assessed by the department of up to $1,000 for each violation. Refer to MCA, 39-71-419(2).