Welcome to Berntson Porter’s blog for clients and friends in the construction and real estate development industries. It is our intent to share knowledge that will help you in your business.

Have You Considered A Self-Directed IRA?

For those looking for a tax efficient, long term, investment vehicle and to diversify their retirement holdings, a self-directed IRA could be a viable option. Rather than investing in stocks, bonds,shutterstock_460065280 and mutual funds, self-directed IRAs are intended for alternative investments. Typically, we see self-directed IRAs set up for passive investment in real estate, but self-directed IRAs can be used for other business ventures. Self-directed IRAs can be designed with traditional as well as ROTH components, which follow the general contribution and distribution rules associated with standard traditional and ROTH IRAs.

While self-directed IRAs offer greater investment flexibility, certain transactions are prohibited. The IRA is barred from investments in which the IRA owner, or the IRA owners’ lineal descendants, have previous ownership as well as investments which create an indirect personal benefit for the IRA owner. Care must be taken not to run afoul of these rules as doing so could disqualify the IRA account’s preferential tax status. Given the complexity of these rules and potential tax consequences, it’s always recommended that you consult an advisor prior to setting up a self-directed IRA.

While not for everyone, self-directed IRAs provide an opportunity for tax preferred alternative investments. Still not sure if it’s a viable option for you? Give Berntson Porter a call at 425.454.7990 to speak with a tax professional. We’re here to help!

FASB Considers Plan to Exempt Private Companies from Variable Interest Entity Guidance

The accounting standard originally known as FIN 46 has been through the wringer over the years ever since its inception after the Enron scandal.  It has always been recognized as a burden for private companies to apply the guidance and perhaps even comprehend the details the FASB put forth.  In a FASB board meeting held on March 8, 2017 it was decided that the FASB will formally consider shutterstock_424808146exempting privately held businesses from applying the guidance in Topic 810 Consolidation as it relates to variable interests in businesses under common control.  This is potentially very good news for closely-held construction companies.  We will be keeping an eye on this topic.

Seattle Leads the Country in Tower Cranes

While most cities across the nation have seen a decline in construction projects and the number of cranes erected across the cityscape since 2015, the city of Seattle’s crane numbers continue to grConstruction-Cranes-copyow according to the RBL Crane Index, a publication by Rider Levitt Bucknall. Seattle once again leads the nation in the number of active cranes, with 62 at the year’s end. The publication noted that cranes for new projects quickly replace any that are removed on completed projects. Over half the cranes are for residential multi-family construction, which is currently at a ten year high, according to the index. Other sources indicate that there were more apartments completed in the Seattle metro area during 2016 than in any other year since 2000. Get the full article here.

 

Contractors Don’t Be Late – File Your W-2s by January 31st

31st deadlineForm 1099-MISC has a new filing deadline in 2017. All 1099-MISC that are reporting non-employee compensation (box 7) must be filed on or before January 31st, 2017. 1099-MISC reporting anything other than non-employee compensation must be filed by February 28th, 2017.

Due to the PATH Act, enacted December of 2015, employers are now required to file their copies of Form W-2 by January 31st, 2017. See the link below for the IRS reminder post.

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/reminder-employers-face-new-jan-31-w2-filing-deadline-some-refunds-delayed-until-feb-15

Revisit Year-End Planning Strategies When Closing December

You’ve made your list and you’ve checked it twice.  You know your cash position is strong, your receivables look good, and your job projections are sound.  You’ve taken advantage of accelerated depreciation methods and attractive tax strategies for contractors. If all of this is ringing true, you’re going to roll into January feeling pretty good about 2016.  To make sure your list hits all the important considerations for year-end, check out our full article Year-end Planning Strategies for Contractors in our Fall BP Report.

The Importance of Organizational Alignment

Group Exercise_iStock_000009333112Small[1]While it can be complex to achieve, organizational alignment is essential for all business leaders to understand – especially in today’s fast-changing corporate environment.

As your organization goes through economic upturns, downturns and other changes, it is put under stress.  Strategic planning relieves some of that stress by looking into the future and setting realistic and achievable goals.  Organizational alignment relieves the rest of the stress by looking into that same future and making sure that you have the right capabilities (experience, talent and intelligence) and capacity (enough people to get all of the work done) throughout your company.

Interested in learning more about how your firm can achieve organizational alignment? Join us Wednesday, September 28th at Bake’s Place in Bellevue for an informational seminar and discussion on how your organization can consistently achieve its strategic plan goals with local author and speaker, Barry MacKechnie. Barry has developed a blueprint for executives to follow as they lead their organization through the process of achieving strategic alignment. If you’re a business owner, this workshop is a must! 

Attendees will receive an autographed copy of Barry’s new book, “Achieving Organizational Alignment.”

For more information or to register, email Amy Ellisor or call directly (425-289-7630).

BP Visits Bertha

IMG_6408Recently members of the Real Property Group at Berntson Porter toured “Milepost 31”, a community outreach exhibit for the Bertha tunnel and Alaskan Way Viaduct project.  It is an interactive exhibit and walking tour with a viewing platform adjacent to the existing viaduct with views of the south opening of the tunnel.  It’s a very detailed, historical, and informative tour that describes the history of the area and the achievements and ordeals of the tunnel partnership. 

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/Milepost31

 

Key Success Factors for Operating in Canada

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  • Have you been approached for a joint venture in Canada?
  • Are you looking at selling your products or services to Canadian based clients?
  • Are you curious about Canadian Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and if it is applicable to you?
  • Are you properly reflecting foreign sales on your Washington B&O reports?
  • Are you considering buying a vacation home in Canada?

If you are a CFO, CEO or business owner considering operating in Canada, whether simply selling products or services there or establishing a physical entity, this seminar is for you! Know the barriers to entry and how they can be overcome. Join us Wednesday, July 13th from 2:30pm-4:00pm for an informative seminar on the keys to success when it comes to operating in Canada. We will present a case study on selling in Canada by establishing a physical entity, structuring and operating joint ventures, and issues surrounding HST and GST.

Space is limited! To learn more and register, contact Carrie Young at cyoung@bpcpa.com or 425.289.7658.

DOL and Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council Expected to Issue Rules for Labor Law Violations and Sick Leave

As reported by the Associated Builders & Contractors, there are two proposed laws in the works at the Federal level that could impact contractors.  First, there is a “Blacklisting Proposal” that would require federal contractors to voluntarily disclose labor law violations over a specified dollar threshold.  These disclosures could be used against a contractor when seeking federal contracts exceeding $500,000.

Second, the DOL has proposed rules that would change mandatory sick leave for federal contractors.  The final ruling is expected in September. 

http://www.abc.org/NewsMedia/Newsline/tabid/143/entryid/6306/final-rules-on-blacklisting-sick-leave-forthcoming.aspx?utm_source=ABC%27s+News+of+Merit+for+May+30%2C+2016&utm_campaign=ABC%27s+NOM+5-30-16&utm_medium=email