Camp Hill-based firm named among top 25 in U.S.

Following a selection process by the Best Companies Group, Camp Hill-based Boyer & Ritter LLC has been ranked 25th among the top midsize firms in the U.S. in Accounting Today’s “Best Accounting Firms to Work For.”

Anonymous Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey and an employer questionnaire about benefits, policies, and demographics produced the designation.

Boyer & Ritter CEO Robert J. Murphy said in a statement that national recognition is a testament to the dedication, passion, and commitment each team member brings to the firm.

“One reason clients know they can count on us for unsurpassed service and insightful advice comes down to two words: our employees,” said Murphy.

The survey and selection process were handled by Best Companies Group, an independent research firm managing programs worldwide and specializing in identifying and recognizing great places to work. Best Companies Group also oversees the 100 Best Places to Work in PA ranking.

Boyer & Ritter was named No. 3 among midsized companies ranked in the 100 Best Places to Work in PA in 2022. Best Companies Group recognized Boyer & Ritter among the 49 “2023 Best HR Teams in America” earlier this year.

For a seventh straight year, Boyer & Ritter was also among Accounting Today’s Top Mid-Atlantic Accounting Firms. It again ranked among the nation’s top 300 largest firms by Inside Public Accounting.

With offices in Camp Hill, Carlisle, Chambersburg, and State College, Boyer & Ritter provides accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services to businesses of varying sizes and industries throughout Pennsylvania and the continental United States. 

Cumberland County to sell tax delinquent properties online

The Cumberland County Tax Claim Bureau is holding its first-ever virtual sale of tax-delinquent properties.

By moving the sale online, the county is reaching a wider pool of buyers, increasing the likelihood the properties will be returned to the tax rolls, in turn generating funds to support essential county services. Bid4Assets, an online marketplace for distressed real estate auctions, has been selected by the county to host the sale.

Bidding opens at 10 a.m. Sept. 15 and closes at 10 a.m. Sept. 18. A total of 362 properties have been listed on Bid4Assets.com, with minimum bids ranging from $190 to $210,980, and totaling over $2.7 million.

“Our office is on standby to assist all taxpayers seeking to remove their property from this sale,” Cumberland County Tax Claim Bureau Director Melissa Mixell said in a release. “By taking the auction process online, we can increase our office’s availability to taxpayers.”

“Bid4Assets is excited to work with Cumberland County to produce a successful transition to virtual public auctions,” added Bid4Assets President Jesse Loomis. “Bid4Assets has over 35,000 registered real estate buyers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our goal is to find socially responsible homebuyers who seek to renovate the properties available in the sale and restore them to taxpaying status.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Central Pa. banker warns that small business will be damaged by proposed lending rules

Proposed rules governing small business lending could threaten small business privacy and reduce access to capital. 

That’s the warning Jonestown Bank & Trust Co. President & CEO Troy Peters sent to a congressional subcommittee Wednesday. Peters testified on behalf of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers before the United States House of Representatives Small Business Committee and Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access. 

The subcommittee was chaired by U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA Ninth District), who was named chairman last Feb. 3. Wednesday’s hearing focused on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposed rule regulating data collection and reporting requirements of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act and the effects it will have on community banks’ ability to meet the unique needs of local small businesses. 

Peters noted in his testimony that community banks are “different than large banking institutions that operate under a contrasting business model that focuses on large companies and loan sizes. We intimately know our markets and our customers.” 

He added that small-business loans are not cookie cutter but are tailored to meet the specific business’ needs. 

“Making application and loan data public as proposed will certainly be objectionable to my clients and is quite concerning,” Peters said. “By publicly displaying sensitive information like how much money they applied for, what the purpose of the loan is, and their revenue number, is not the kind of information they want or expect to be made public from a private transaction.” 

Peters said such a disclosure could create a competitive disadvantage, such as revealing a planned business investment. 

“Even worse, publishing information that a sole proprietor’s loan request was denied, in a small community like ours, is akin to posting a bounced check to the wall behind the store cash register,” said Peters. “The public humiliation shouts ‘Don’t do business with this person, they’re a deadbeat!’ I feel like this rule … will not be in the best interest of my clients and the communities that we serve.” 

Meuser said that as community banks are vital to the state’s small businesses, he was pleased to have had the opportunity to invite a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Community Bankers to testify before his House Small Business subcommittee. 

“I will continue to fight for community banks, and I appreciate Mr. Peters of Jonestown Bank & Trust expressing his concerns about the CFPB’s proposed rule on new data collection,” Meuser said. “I greatly valued his insight, as did the entire committee. 

“We cannot allow burdensome federal regulations and mandates to harm banks that play such an important role in providing access to capital and supporting Pennsylvania’s small businesses.”

Pennsylvania’s gas tax to jump 3.5 cents in 2023

For Pennsylvania drivers, gas at the pump may soon cost more, thanks to a 2013 state law enacted to fund road and bridge improvements.

The commonwealth’s gas tax is scheduled to rise 3.5 cents in 2023, an increase levied on wholesalers that will likely be passed on consumers.

From the current 57.6 cents per gallon, the tax will rise to 61.1 cents per gallon next year, according to a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Meanwhile, the tax on diesel fuel is set to climb from 74.1 cents per gallon to to 78.5 cents per gallon.

Pennsylvania’s gas tax is already one of the highest in the nation, ranking in the top three.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

State collects $2.9 million in general fund revenue for August

Pennsylvania collected $2.9 billion in general fund revenue last month, which was $63.8 million – or 2.3% – more than anticipated, the Department of Revenue reported Thursday.

Fiscal year to date, $5.6 billion has gone into general fund coffers. That’s $60.4 million, or 1.1%, above estimate.

More specifically:

· Sales tax receipts totaled $1.2 billion for August, $45.5 million above estimate. Year-to-date sales tax collections are $2.4 billion, which is 1.9% more than anticipated.

· Personal income tax revenue last month was $1.2 billion, $6.4 million below estimate. Year-to-date collections are 0.3 percent below estimate.

· August corporation tax revenue of $111.3 million was $1.8 million below estimate. Year-to-date corporation tax collections total $285.8 million, which is $5.1 million below estimate.

· Inheritance tax revenue last month was $116.7 million, or $3.3 million below estimate. Year to date, collections are $3.3 million below estimate.

· Realty transfer tax revenue was $88.8 million for August, $18.1 million above estimate, bringing the fiscal-year total to $123.2 million, which is 17.3% more than anticipated.

Other general fund tax revenue – including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes – was $161 million for the month. That’s $6.3 million below estimate and brings the year-to-date total to $264.7 million, or 2.4% below estimate.

Non-tax revenue totaled $35 million for the month, or $18.1 million above estimate. The year-to-date total of $77.5 million is 30.5% more than expected.

Beyond general fund collections, the motor license fund collected $239.7 million in August, $25.3 million below estimate. Fiscal year-to-date revenues for the fund – which include the commonly known gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – are $480.6 million, or 4.9% below estimate.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Through May, state’s general fund revenue sets record pace

With the May totals now in, Pennsylvania has collected a record $43.9 billion in general fund revenue for the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, Gov. Tom Wolf announced

The $3.2 billion in general fund revenue that came into the state’s coffers last month was $402.4 million, or 14.2%, over estimate. Year-to-date general fund collections are 12.5% above

Here are more May numbers from the release:

• Sales tax receipts were $1.2 billion, or $129.1 million above estimate.

• Personal income tax revenue was $1.1 billion, or $126.9 million more than expected.

• The corporation tax revenue totaled $510.9 million, or $129.5 million more than

• Inheritance tax revenue was $132.3 million, or $15.6 million above estimate.

• Realty transfer tax revenue was $69.3 million, or $13.9 million more than expected.

• Other general fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes, totaled $176.3 million, or $3.1 million less than anticipated.
• Non-tax revenue was $29.7 million, or $9.4 million below estimate.

Outside general fund collections, motor license fund collections – which include gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – were $301.1 million in May, or $10.7
million more than expected.

Also, the state’s rainy day fund, a separate account to protect Pennsylvania against emergencies, now contains a record $2.8 billion.

“We have the money in the bank to pay for the historic investment I want to make in K-12 education, as well as the corporate net income tax cut and reforms I have proposed to bolster
Pennsylvania businesses, and still have $1.8 billion left over,” Wolf said in the release. “At a time when Pennsylvanians are hurting and state government is not, there is no excuse not to
use this huge pot of money to improve education, lower costs for taxpayers, and build a stronger economy.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Secure your business’ future: Planning made easy

Whether it was the influx of radio commercials or the emails from your accountant flooding your inbox, you’ve probably realized by now that tax season just past. For business owners, while the last thing you’re probably thinking about right now is the next filing season, this is actually the ideal time to plan ahead. After all, you’ve got all of your key numbers right in front of you.

When you first begin to dig in, it can seem overwhelming, but if you direct your focus to three main areas it will set not only you, but your business, up for success in the year to come.

Choose Your Fighter(s)

The first step to take is always creating a strong financial plan. Not sure where to begin? One way is to connect with an expert, such as a wealth management team, to help map out, and subsequently monitor, your progress over time.

When actively running a business, planning for the future can often seem less urgent than dealing with more present issues but, in the long run, this planning is the best thing you can do for yourself, the business and your family. Your team will first start by creating a comprehensive plan that measures your assets and liabilities and then forecasts the outcomes for both your personal and business growth over time. This will give you a bird’s eye view of what your business can expect to do in the upcoming year and how any potential deviations might impact your projected earnings and performance.

Set Up Your Game Plan

Once your financial plan is created, the next step is to make sure that both you and your team members are set up for a strong financial future. As a business owner, based on the 2022 401(K) contribution limits, you have the ability to put $20,500 to $61,000, with profit sharing, into your personal retirement plan. In an effort to benefit both you and your employees, there are a host of 401(K) plan features to choose from.

Some of these options are:

· Safe Harbor: This popular 401(K) plan can help business owners maximize their annual contributions by automatically vetting them to ensure that highly-paid employees are not unfairly benefited in a top-heavy way. In order to qualify, the business must contribute one of the following:

– Matching Contribution: Either a 100% match on the first 3% of deferred compensation plus a 50% match on deferrals between 3 to 5% or making a more generous match often equating to 100% match on the first 4% of deferred compensation.

– Nonelective Contribution: 3% or more guaranteed match of compensation, whether or not the employee contributes.

· Roth: This type of plan allows your employees to make salary deferrals, after taxes, and at their own discretion.

· Automatic Enrollment: You can automatically enroll your employees that do not opt to make a salary deferral on their own. This encourages participation, which helps your business qualify as a Safe Harbor plan.

· Profit Sharing: This option allows the business to give a contribution to any plan participant, regardless of if they make a pre-tax or Roth deferral.

· Discretionary Match: The business can match a percentage of deferrals, whether they are pre-tax or Roth, for its employees.

Secure Your Future

While it’s not the most pleasant topic, a large part of planning for the future is deciding what happens when you’re no longer here. With all of your documents now in front of you, it’s the ideal time to review your Will and make any necessary updates. Under the present federal tax law, you can gift items or businesses to your beneficiaries, either while you are here or through your Estate. Keep in mind these rules are subject to change, so it’s wise to consult with a professional first. It is also important to make sure you regularly review and update your Trust and Estate plan, especially if a large transaction might be in your future.

While this time of year can be stressful, both personally and professionally, it is the best time to think about the future. By connecting with wealth management professionals and having the tough talks, the heavy lift of gathering all of your information, putting together a comprehensive financial plan and actively reviewing said plan as the next year progresses is taken off of your shoulders, allowing you to put more energy into your business on a daily basis. This way, you can plan your work and work your plan.

Francis Post is senior vice president and managing director at Tompkins Financial Advisors.

State takes in more revenue than expected in February  

Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell reported Tuesday that Pennsylvania collected $2.4 billion in general fund revenue last month, 6.8% more than expected. 

General fund collections are $28.6 billion so far this fiscal year, 7.5% above estimate. 

Some highlights from February: 

  • Sales tax receipts totaled $935.6 million. Year-to-date sales tax collections, at $9.1 billion, are 6.5% more than anticipated.
  • Personal income tax revenue was $1 billion. Year-to-date PIT collections are $9.7 billion, 5.8% more than expected.
  • Corporation tax revenue came in at $136.1 million. Year-to-date collections in this category total $2.8 billion, 28.6% above estimate.
  • Inheritance tax revenue was $116.1 million, bringing the year-to-date total to $1 billion. That is 9.9% more than anticipated.
  • Realty transfer tax revenue was $58.5 million. The fiscal-year total of $549.5 million is 20.2% above estimate.

Other general fund tax revenue, including cigarette, malt beverage, liquor and gaming taxes, totaled $136.6 million for February. The year-to-date figure of $1.3 billion is 1.9% more than expected. 

Non-tax revenue was $18.9 million for the month, bringing the year-to-date total to $4.2 billion, which is 2.1% above estimate. 

Also, the Motor License Fund received $197.0 million in February, $24.8 million below estimate. Fiscal year-to-date collections for the fund – which include gas and diesel taxes, as well as other license, fine and fee revenues – total $1.8 billion, which is 2% more than anticipated. 

Senators will propose tax credits bill to address labor shortage

To address the persistent labor shortage in Pennsylvania, state Sens. Ryan Aument and John Yudichak announced that they will soon introduce a bill to create a Small Business Workforce Tax Credit. 

Aument, whose district is in Lancaster County, and Yurdichak, who serves Carbon and Luzerne counties, made their intentions known in a Senate co-sponsorship memorandum dated Feb. 10. 

The aim of the tax credit, they explained, is to incentivize hiring by small businesses for “the purpose of successfully drawing our citizenry back to work.”  

Under the proposed legislation, small businesses will reduce the amount of state taxes they owe if they’re able to boost employment numbers compared to the year before.  

They would qualify for a tax credit if they had 50 or fewer employees as of Dec. 31, 2019, and experienced at least a 25% decrease in income tax gross receipts from the second quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020.  

The memorandum, addressed to Aument and Yudichak’s fellow senators, asks their colleagues to co-sponsor the bill.  

It noted that 50% of restaurant operators in the full-service, quick service and fast-casual segments expect recruiting and keeping employees to be their major challenge this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. 

Brown Schultz Sheridan and Fritz forms business valuation and litigation consulting firm 

Regional accounting and advisory firm, Brown Schultz Sheridan and Fritz (BSSF), has launched a business valuation and litigation support consultancy. 

The firm announced this month that it partnered with Carli Lehr, a certified public accountant and valuation analyst with over 16 years of experience providing business valuation services, to lead as the director of its new consulting firm, BSSF Valuation and Litigation Consulting. 

“By partnering with Carli on BSSF Valuation & Litigation Consulting, we are expanding our capacity to help clients in an area of need that continues to grow,” said Ken Wolfe, president and managing principal at BSSF. “Since Bruce Brown formed this practice many years ago, it has thrived. I look forward to its continued success under BSSF Valuation & Litigation Consulting as Carli works closely with Bruce and the team at BSSF.” 

Along with her experience in business valuation, Lehr brings assurance, audit, tax planning, tax compliance, business consulting and finance experience to BSSF’s new consulting firm. 

BSSF provides accounting, assurance, tax and consulting services from its offices in Camp Hill, Hanover and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as well as Frederick and Westminster, Maryland. The firm employs 130 team members. 

“I am excited for this partnership with BSSF,” said Lehr. “The firm has a history in our region of providing excellent business valuation and litigation support services, and I am looking forward to continuing and growing that tradition while serving our clients.” 

PA House approves bill to increase allotted deductibles for small businesses 

Tax reform legislation passed by the house on Tuesday would allow Pennsylvania’s small businesses to take full deductions on qualifying equipment up to $1.05 million on state personal income tax. 

House Bill 333, introduced in the House by Eric Nelson, R-Westmoreland County, was approved on Tuesday by a 125-75 vote and is now headed to the Senate.  

The bill amends Section 179 of the Federal Tax Code, which allows owners of a pass-through business to take a deduction for the full purchase price of qualifying equipment. 

Currently, those subject to state corporate net income tax can take a full deduction up to $1 million. Those subject to the state personal income tax, however, can only take a deduction up to $25,000. 

House Bill 333 increases that deduction during the current year from $25,000 to $1.05 million, consistent with the federal limit. 

If passed in the Senate and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, the bill would help provide relief for struggling businesses, allowing them to create more jobs across the state, Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“The Commonwealth needs to be increasingly competitive, with both jobs and capital. Companies and investors have choices – both globally and among the states – on where to place their investments and we want businesses to remain here, invest here and grow here,” said Barr. “House Bill 333 is a key component of the Chamber’s Propel PA Forward initiative which focuses on policies that will improve the state’s business climate to create an equality of opportunity for every resident. We applaud the PA House for passing this bill with bipartisan support.” 

PA Senate passes bill allowing businesses a higher tax deduction on new equipment 

A bill that would allow Pennsylvania businesses to claim tax deductions of up to $1.05 million for the purchase of new equipment passed the state Senate in a 31 to 19 vote and is now headed to the House. 

Senate Bill 349 calls for the removal of a limit on Pennsylvania S corporations, partnerships and individuals that limits the amount to $25,000 annually for new equipment, software and vehicles. 

“The increase in the deduction found in Senate Bill 349 is not a tax credit, but simply allows a tax deduction earlier in the useful life of depreciable assets,” said Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-Venango, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and the prime sponsor on the bill. “This overdue change is an incentive to encourage businesses to buy equipment and to invest, which promotes job growth in Pennsylvania.” 

The legislation brings Pennsylvania small businesses in line with the state’s C corporations, which could already use the deductions as part of section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Pennsylvania’s personal income tax laws had limited other businesses to that $25,000 deduction, said Hutchinson. 

If passed by the house, the bill will provide a boost to the state’s small and independent businesses following 18 months of uncertainty and restrictions during the pandemic, said Greg Moreland, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses Pennsylvania. 

“This legislation mimics parts of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which allows full expensing up to $1,050,000 for the purchase of new equipment, but at the state tax level,” said Moreland. “Prior to the pandemic we saw how federal tax code changes helped drive business growth around the country, and if SB 349 becomes state law, small businesses will be better positioned to invest, grow, hire, and drive Pennsylvania’s economic recovery.” 

The legislation is part of a three-bill Small Business Reform Package that includes Senate Bills 347, 348 and 349. 

SB 347, introduced by Sen. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin and Perry, would allow for tax-deferral when property is exchanged for similar property, a long-standing federal provision available in every state in some form except for Pennsylvania, DiSanto wrote in a memorandum for the bill. 

SB 348, introduced by Sen. Judy Ward, R- Blair, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon,  would allow small businesses to use the Net Operating Loss deduction. 

Both bills have yet to be passed in the Senate. 

“The passage of SB 349 is the first step in helping advance a small business tax package to help employers recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated shutdowns by bringing Pennsylvania tax law in-line with federal tax deduction law,” said Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland.