CPAs and Advisors with Your Growth in Mind

Loan Forgiveness Available for Qualified Student Loans

In case you missed it last year, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued a revenue procedure (“Rev. Proc.”) that offers loan forgiveness to certain federal student loans. Rev. Proc. 2015-57 addresses tax implications for the discharge of student loans under the “closed school” and “defense to repayment” processes. Under the guidance, qualifying taxpayers can exclude from their income student loans discharged under either process. In addition, any prior-year deductions and/or tax credits a taxpayer receives under Rev. Proc. 2015-57 are not added back to the gross income and/or tax liability during the year the student loan is discharged. More on. Read More.

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No Changes to the Department of Labor SCA Health & Welfare Rate

As far back as many can remember, there has been a yearly change in the Health & Welfare (“H&W”) rate. Last summer for instance, the H&W rate jumped $0.25 from $4.02 per hour to $4.27 per hour. However, as of July 28, 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division has made no changes to the Service Contract Act (“SCA”) (“H&W”) rate. The DOL has also issued a memorandum that retains the H&W rate at $4.27 for presumably next year. With the exception of citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Cost Index, the memorandum provides no other commentary as. Read More.

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FASB Issues Significant Nonprofit Accounting Update

Yesterday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued its first major changes to nonprofit accounting in over 20 years. Published as Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-14, Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958) and Health Care Entities (Topic 954): Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities, the standard addresses how nonprofit organizations disclose their expenses and investments. The amendments are intended to benefit donors, lenders and other readers of financial statements by providing more insight about a nonprofit organization’s spending. ASU No. 2016-14 will require additional disclosures on a nonprofit’s access to liquidity and any endowment funds that are under water. Other expected. Read More.

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New NISPOM Requirements to Protect Against Insider Threats

In May 2016, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) published Change 2 to DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Operating Manual (“NISPOM”). This change now requires government contractors who have facility security clearances and are otherwise subject to the requirements of NISPOM, to establish and maintain an insider threat program. Insider threats are not a new concern, but the concern is greater today than ever before. With information leaks such as those created by Edward Snowden at the National Security Agency making world headlines, no company can afford that level of exposure or anything similar to it. Cherry Bekaert recently published blogs on the need for protecting. Read More.

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Colleges Offering Digital Badges
to Students

More colleges are issuing digital badges as an alternate form of student credentials. Used as a supplement to degrees, the badges highlight skills and accomplishments that student transcripts do not capture. Badges for skills such as academic successes or volunteering efforts are intended to enhance traditional degrees, as well as help students with future employer and graduate school prospects. More on the digital badges is available on Inside Higher Ed.


FAFSA Changes Draw Mixed Responses

The Department of Education has announced that starting with the 2017-18 academic year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) will be released months earlier and the application deadline will be pushed up to October 1. In addition to the new schedule, FAFSA applications will automatically use the most recent federal tax data, which is a shift from having applicants estimate their family’s income data. While higher education groups believe the FAFSA changes will lead to a more simplified financial aid process, college access advocates feel the earlier deadlines could make it difficult for low-income students to receive aid.. Read More.

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