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Q4 2016 Issue

Welcome to the latest edition of RBF News - our summary of the important tax, business and financial news and opinion you need to see the bigger picture... and make more informed decisions.

Economic Snapshot
Closeup shot of one presidential election button in focus in between many other buttons in a box. Selective focus with shallow depth of field.
Although the divisive presidential campaign is creating uncertainty that may be undermining business confidence, many recent measures pointed to a solid third quarter for the economy. 

Gross domestic product increased at a 2.9 percent annual rate after rising at a 1.4 percent pace in the second quarter, the Commerce Department said. That was the strongest growth rate since the third quarter of 2014 and beat economists' expectations for a 2.5 percent expansion pace.

The Federal Reserve also reported moderate growth amid tight labor markets and steady wage gains in its latest Beige Book. Economists said the report indicated more of the slow growth that could leave the central bank on track to raise interest rates in December.

In Massachusetts, the unemployment rate in September fell to 3.6 percent, its lowest level since June 2001. "This is very good news for the Commonwealth," Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Ronald Walker said. The state's jobless rate has fallen 1.2 percent over the past year. 
Taxes and Tax Planning
United States Internal Revenue Service building sign
Employers face new Jan. 31 W-2 filing deadline - The Internal Revenue Service reminded employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15. 

You don't want to be on the radar of the IRS wealth squad - Bloomberg's Suzanne Wooley looks at the work of the IRS's Global High Wealth Industry Group, which she describes as the tax agency's equivalent of "a SWAT team" targeting big fish.

IRS updates per diem rates for lodging and meals - The Internal Revenue Service has updated rates that taxpayers can now use to substantiate the amounts they are claiming for lodging, meals and incidental expenses when traveling away from home.

IRS announces 2017 pension plan limitations - The income ranges for making deductible contributions to traditional IRAs, contributing to Roth IRAs, and claiming the saver's credit all increase for 2017. The contribution limit for 401(k)s remains unchanged.
Managing Your Business
Meeting Discussion Talking Sharing Ideas Concept
New overtime rules for white collar workers kick in soon - Employers have until December 1, 2016 to assess the impact of the new rules on their employees and make changes. RBF's Beatrice Casseus and Kathy Hempel provide some action steps.
The importance of planning for uncertainty in business - Silent film icon Buster Keaton's successful stunts weren't a matter of guesswork or luck, observes RBF partner Jack Malley. Keaton took extraordinary measures to minimize risk...and businesses can learn from him.  
Craziest excuses for calling in sick (video) - Eating cat food that she thought was tuna? Forbes reporter Karsten Strauss takes a look at CareerBuilder's latest survey on the wacky reasons employees gave as the reason why they had to miss a day of work
Around the Office
Mexico City skyline is covered with grey cloud of smog. Red roofed buildings in foreground.
A skyline view of Mexico City, Mexico.

In late October, several RBF managers attended Russell Bedford's annual conference in Mexico City, Mexico.  There, RBF partner Jack Malley led a workshop on outsourced accounting services, and RBF partner Bill Rucci led a workshop on assisting clients with mergers and acquisitions. RBF is the New England-area affiliate of Russell Bedford International (RBI), a leading global network of independent accounting and business consulting firms with 290 offices in more than 100 countries.

Closer to home, RBF partner Paul Bardaro was a guest panelist at a Morgan Stanley-sponsored panel discussion for business owners, held November 1 at Brae Burn Country Club in Newton, MA.  Paul spoke on the topics of business valuations and tax considerations around various business buy-out strategies. 
Lenny Smith, Principal
CPA Lenny Smith has been promoted to principal. An 11-year veteran of RBF, Lenny specializes in tax planning and compliance for closely-held businesses in a variety of industries, both domestic & international. 

In other staff news,  RBF welcomed several new faces to our team of dedicated professionals in recent months. They are: semi-senior accountants Caroline Gosselin and David Leroux; senior tax accountant Ryan Moss; CFO consultant Kathy Hempel; tax manager Sudha Vishwanath; audit manager Kevin Bruno; and administrative assistant Denise Williams.

In RBF client news, the Chicken and Rice Guys were among the top 10 Boston-area companies that recently landed on the 2016 Inc 5000 list of America's fastest-growing companies. And on August 18, our client The Institute for Pediatric Innovation rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

In the publishing arena, RBF partner Vinny Botta's follow-up article, "Four (Not So) Common Tax Mistakes Contractors Make," appeared on the national website ForConstructionPros.com. Vinny's article was also featured in the site's daily e-newsletter in August.

As we go to press, the RBF Social Committee is conducting an office-wide food drive to benefit the Council of Social Concern, providers of needed social services to families in Woburn, Winchester and surrounding communities. Nonperishable food items are being accepted through Thursday, November 17, according to the food drive's coordinator Kathie Andrade.

Rucci, Bardaro & Falzone PC
500 Unicorn Park Drive, Suite 101, Woburn, MA 01801
Phone 781.321.6065     Fax 781.321.7747

RBF is the  New England-area affiliate of Russell Bedford International, a leading global network of independent accounting and business consulting firms.