CBIZ MHM Memphis Focused On Top Concerns of CFOs

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The Memphis office of CBIZ MHM will host a full-day CFO & Controller Conference focused on the top concerns of CFOs. The event will take place May 19th at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis.

Though the local office of CBIZ MHM has hosted several CFO & Controller Conferences in the past, this will be the first time the event will span the entire day (8 AM-4 PM). Participants are eligible to earn a total of 7 CPE Credits.

The following topics & speakers will be featured in 50 minute sessions:

Are You Leaving Money On The Table?
Economic Development In Greater Memphis

  • Mark Herbison – Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Memphis Chamber

Year 2025 Succession Planning: Is Your Firm Ready?

  • Karen C. Fenaroli, CPA – Managing Director, EFL Executive Search – A CBIZ Company

Rise Of Big Data & Its Impact On The CFO

  • Ken Rohman – Principal, Chief Digital Officer, archer>malmo

Cyber Security & Brand Protection

  • Damian Caracciolo – Managing Director, CBIZ Executive Risk
  • Chris Roach – Managing Director, National IT Practice Leader, CBIZ Risk & Advisory Services, LLC

Affordable Care Act: What CFOs Need To Know

  • Jim O’Connor – President, Employee Benefits, CBIZ Benefits & Insurance
  • Steve Dunavant – Managing Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC

Updates On Tax Developments & Accounting Standards

A Panel Discussion with Memphis-Based CFOs

If you would like to attend, please click here to be directed to our Eventbrite registration page.


CBIZ MHM Memphis Participates in #MentoringMonday

CBWt1IcUkAAdXUACBIZ was proud to be a national sponsor of the second annual Bizwomen Mentoring Monday event hosted by the Memphis Business Journal at Christian Brothers University on March 30, 2015. Linda Lauer, Lead Managing Director, was one of 40 female mentors participating in the event. Bringing together top female professionals in the city with hundreds who are eager to learn from them, Mentoring Monday is truly an unforgettable experience. This year, the event spanned across 43 cities in the U.S. and included 1700 mentors and 8000 mentees.

IMG_2191In Memphis alone,  over 220 women gathered in the CBU Canale Arena. After a short presentation from Bizwomen.com editor, Mary Johnson, the coaching began. Quick 7-minute conversations were inspiring, informative, and sometimes just the beginnings of relationships carried outside of the event.

The 2015 class of Memphis Bizwomen Mentors combined a wide variety of female professionals from across the city in various industries, from healthcare to marketing and accounting to fashion.

To see further coverage of the event visit our @CBIZMemphis Twitter page or search #MentoringMonday on Twitter.

Transfer Pricing Update: Australia Safe Harbors

The Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) recently published Practice Statement Law Administration (“PS LA”), online guidance for safe harbors regarding the simplification of transfer pricing record keeping. The PS LA explains the Australian Commissioner will not review a taxpayer’s transfer pricing records beyond confirming the taxpayer’s eligibility if certain safe harbor requirements are met.

The guidance provides safe harbors to the following:

Safe harbor conditions for Small (non-distribution) taxpayers:

  • Consolidated turnover is not greater than AUD 25 million;
  • Has not incurred 3 or more consecutive years of losses;
  • Has no intercompany transactions with entities in “specified countries” (countries considered “high risk”);
  • Has not restructured in the year;
  • Has no intercompany transactions involving royalties, research and development, and license fees and arrangements;
  • Not classified as a distributor; and
  • No more than 15% of total turnover is comprised of “specified intercompany services” (services considered “high risk”).

Safe harbor conditions for Small-to-medium sized distributors:

  • Turnover for the distributor is no greater than AUD 50 million and has an operating margin of at least 3% on a 3-year basis;
  • Has no intercompany transactions with entities in “specified countries;”
  • Has not restructured in the year; and
  • Has no intercompany transactions involving royalties, research and development, and license fees and arrangements.

Safe harbor conditions for Low-risk intragroup services:

  • The markup on low-risk service revenue is at least 7.5% or the markup on low-risk service expense is no more than 7.5%; and
  • One of the following conditions is met: (1) No more than AUD 1 million of absolute intercompany services or (2) Greater than AUD 1 million of absolute intercompany services, with service expense comprising of no more than 15% of total expense and the service revenue comprising of no more than 15% of total revenue;
  • Has not incurred 3 or more consecutive years of losses;
  • Has no intercompany transactions with entities in “specified countries”;
  • Has not restructured in the year; and
  • No more than 15% of total turnover is comprised of “specified intercompany services.”

Safe harbor conditions for Low-level intragroup loans:

  • Australian group has a combined borrowed and loan amount of AUD 50 million or less;
  • The interest rate paid on the amounts borrowed is not more than the variable Reserve Bank of Australia indicator lending rate for “small business; variable; residential-secured; term loans”;
  • Has not incurred 3 or more consecutive years of losses;
  • Has no intercompany transactions with entities in “specified countries” (countries considered “high risk”); and
  • Has not restructured in the year.

2015 Headshot - Josh FinfrockHowever, there are certain limitations to the safe harbors. Any taxpayer paying or receiving royalties or license fees are excluded from the safe harbor. Furthermore, the distribution safe harbor applies to the whole group. Specifically, the whole group’s main activity must be classified as a distributor and the distribution segment cannot be segmented. Finally, safe harbor for interest only applies to inbound interest expenses (there is no safe harbor for outbound interest revenue).

If you have further questions regarding transfer pricing or safe harbors, feel free to contact our Transfer Pricing expert Josh Finfrock at jfinfrock@cbiz.com.


Partners: Why You Should Not Receive a W-2

A common mistake (often most applicable with small businesses) is the issuance of a Form W-2 to a partner in a partnership. Surprisingly, tax advisors continue to see partners treating themselves as employees. Today, more small businesses are offering profits interest as a form of compensation to their employees at all levels, which terminates the employee status in the eyes of the IRS.

When an employee becomes a partner, payroll withholding becomes his or her own financial burden and filing obligation. Previously responsible for withholding and remitting the employment taxes of that employee, the employer must now report guaranteed payments on Schedule K-1 to the partner as opposed to issuing a W-2. Through his or her receipt of a profits interest, the partner is now responsible for making quarterly estimated payments to the IRS.

Sarah Murphy HeadshotBoth partners and employees should be aware of these changes when capital or profits interests are awarded as a form of compensation. If you are a partner and have received a W-2, you should consult with your tax advisor for the appropriate steps to correct your filing and withholding obligations for 2015.

If you have further questions regarding partnerships, please feel free to reach out to me (samurphy@cbiz.com) or one of my colleagues.

Learning to Fly (and Land) at the Women & Business Seminar

The Daily News hosted the third annual Women & Business Seminar at the Brooks Museum. This year was the second in a row in which the event sold out. We are honored to have been a sponsor since the seminar’s inception and to have Linda Lauer speak about the national CBIZ Women’s Advantage in the event’s opening remarks. This year’s keynote speaker was Keri Wright, Chairman and CEO of Universal Asset Management (UAM).

Appointed to Chief Operating Officer at UAM when she was only 25, Keri attributes her success to finding confidence and courage in herself. Her speech was particularly focused on finding these traits at a young age, something she gained while flying an airplane solo at the age of 15. Pointedly, Keri can relate everything in her career to “having to land the plane.” The phrase repeatedly served as the driver behind all of Keri’s points in her speech, whether it be literally or figuratively. Keri notes that learning to take full ownership of a tough situation with confidence and courage and seeing it through is what she strives to teach young women.


The Q&A section allowed audience members to inquire about common issues in the workplace including flexible work arrangements, work-life balance, and finding trusted business partners. Kim Grant, Owner of Kim Grant Homes, echoed Keri’s sentiments regarding age being a business hurdle she has had to overcome. Interestingly, even with both women working in extremely male-dominated industries, each claimed age to be her larger issue at hand.

Judy McLellan of Crye-Leike spoke to the importance of having a mentor, citing her mother, a former realtor, as her biggest influence. And Lauren McHugh, President of Huey’s, also noted the importance of finding a mentor at a young age, noting that connecting with someone early on in your career can be a tremendous help in your professional growth.

The entire panel spurred the over 250 women and men into discussion, and the room’s intimate setting allowed for quick dialogue.  Publisher of the Daily News, Eric Barnes, took questions up until the last second with hands still raised. With the chatter only continuing at the event’s wine and cheese reception, one thing is clear – the women & business seminar series is flying, and it doesn’t look like it’s ready to land anytime soon.

2015 Tax Considerations: Self-Rental Income Part 2

If you read Part 1 of our blog post series concerning self-rental income, you know that the Net Investment Income (NII) Final Regulations removed self-rental relationships from the inclusion in Bucket 1 of the NII.  While the focus of the previous blog post centered with the rental income in Bucket 1, we will now look at the impact of the self-rental relationship on Bucket 3 and some additional tax planning considerations.

After the Proposed Regulations were released, many tax professionals suggested converting triple net-lease arrangements to operating leases. An operating lease holds you responsible for more than just collecting money each month. A triple-net lease designates the tenant as solely responsible for all costs and services for the property.

By converting to an operating lease, the belief was that the rental income would not be included in Bucket 1 due to meeting the “derived in a trade or business in which the taxpayer materially participates” language. However, the Final Regulations relieved this concern by exempting activity falling under Reg. §1.469-2(f)(6) and Reg. §1.469-4(d)(1) as illustrated in our previous blog post.  By meeting either of those two positions in the Regs, any gain or loss should also be excluded from Bucket 3.

However, there still may be some benefit in converting a triple-net lease into an operating lease even after the change from the Proposed Regs to the Final Regs.

The operating lease may strengthen your position that the rental activity is a trade or business vs. an investment.  The disposition of property used in a trade or business is generally considered ordinary under §1231, therefore if the property is disposed of at a loss it might be considered ordinary under §1231 instead of a capital loss (subject to capital loss limits) on investment property. Additionally, if there is a COD event in respect to real property used in trade or business, there may be an opportunity to make an election under §108(c) to reduce the basis of depreciable real property instead of recognizing COD income. This election would not be available if the property was deemed to be an investment property.

2014 Koch - Headshot

If you have further questions regarding the NII tax or your self-rental property, feel free to reach out to me at bkoch@cbiz.com or one of my colleagues.

2015 Tax Considerations: Self-Rental Income Part 1

The Net Investment Income (NII) tax went into effect in 2013, but if you participate in a self-rental property arrangement, now may be a good time to review your tax filings and entity structuring as we head into filing season. The NII Final Regulations included a reversal from a position taken in the 2012 Proposed Regulations concerning the treatment of self-rental income.

As a reminder, the 3.8% Medicare surtax on qualifying NII includes three buckets:

  1. Gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents, unless derived in a trade or business in which the taxpayer materially participates
  2. Gross income from a trade or business that is a passive activity or the trade or business of trading in financial instruments or commodities
  3. Net gain from the disposition of property, other than property the income generated from which otherwise would be excluded under Bucket 1 or 2

For a detailed description of the NII tax, feel free to read our previous post on the topic.


In this example, Bob is an attorney and operates his law practice in which he materially participates inside an S-Corporation of which he owns 100% of the stock. Bob also owns the property in which the law practice operates inside of a separate single-member LLC. Under the terms of the lease, Bob’s law practice pays rent to the single-member LLC.

In most circumstances, rental income is by nature considered passive income. However under Reg. §1.469-2(f)(6), rental income derived from property rented to a trade or business in which the taxpayer martially participates “is treated as not from a passive activity.” In the example presented above, since the rental income in Bob’s single member LLC is derived from the S-Corp, which is an operating business in which Bob materially participates, the income would be considered nonpassive. Also, Bob may group the rental activity with the operating business activity under Reg. §1.469-4(d)(1) thus making the grouped activity a nonpassive activity.

Initially under the Proposed NII Regs, self-rental income appeared to be subject to the 3.8% because it fell within the “rents” description in Bucket 1, unless the rental income was proved to be “derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business.” After hearing complaints from tax professionals, Treasury reversed the position in the Final NII Regs allowing rental income from a self-rental to be excluded from Bucket 1 if it is treated as a nonpassive activity (Reg. §1.469-2(f)(6)) or if the rental activity is grouped with an active trade or business activity (Reg. §1.469-4(d)(1) ) (and the grouped activity is nonpassive to the taxpayer).

For most small business owners, it’s common to split real estate and active business operations into separate legal entities for liability issues. Therefore, it is critical that taxpayer’s develop an understanding of self-rental structuring. A rental lease’s arrangement could change the nature of a property owner’s involvement in the trade or business such as in the case of an Operating lease versus a Triple-net lease. This arrangement is one example of a tax planning opportunity available for self-rental property owners.

Also, how you deal with the disposition of the activity or property can affect if your operations are viewed as a trade or business or an investment property. Read more about these considerations in Part 2 of our blog post series.

If you have further questions regarding the NII tax or your self-rental property, feel free to reach out to me or one of my colleagues.

CBIZ MHM Memphis Participates in the 13th Annual St. Jude Marathon

RunnersThis past Saturday, thousands of runners, volunteers, and sponsors gathered to fundraise and promote awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the St. Jude Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K.

Members of our CBIZ MHM Memphis office contributed in various ways to the events — by running in the half-marathon, participating in the relay, and volunteering. The CBIZ volunteers were stationed at the water and aid station at mile marker 9, handing out Gu along with preparing water and Gatorade to hand out to the passing runners.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, is a pediatric hospital Group 2focused on research geared towards the treatment, cures, and prevention of children’s catastrophic diseases.  While the average daily operating costs for St. Jude is $2 million, families never receive a bill for any of the services offered through St. Jude.  Therefore, fundraising events such as the St. Jude Marathon, along with community involvement and support in these events, are all the more crucial.

This year’s St. Jude Marathon involved an estimated 20,000 participants and raised over $7.5 to date.  To learn more about the St. Jude Marathon, or to donate, click here.

CBIZ loved getting to work with other members of the Memphis community towards such a worthwhile cause and wishes the best of luck to the fundraising team in their continuing efforts!  To learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, click here.

Highlights from our #CFOConf

RoomParticipants wrapped up the CFO & Controller Conference Nov. 12 at the FedEx Institute with a better understanding of the CFO’s role in Enterprise Risk Management. The half-day event included the following speakers:  Dr. John Gnuschke, economics professor at the University of Memphis, as well as Remonde Brangman, Bill Smith, Marshal Kline, Josh Finfrock, and John Mulvaney of CBIZ MHM, LLC.

One addition to our line-up was Bill Smith of the CBIZ National Tax Office who gave a legislative tax update. His political update tied in well with Dr. John Gnuschke’s broad-based overview of the current economic climate both nationally and globally. John MulvaneyRemonde Brangman covered supplier risk management including how to identify and segment internal and external risks, the best treatment, and how to continually monitor those risks. Remonde also noted the recent Home Depot breach was a hack made through a supplier.

The “Hidden Risks On Your Balance Sheet” segment included an overview of Abandoned/Unclaimed Property from Marshal Kline, an International/Transfer Pricing update from Josh Finfrock, and a State & Local Tax update from Craig Williams. All three presentations covered significant risks to companies that are typically going unnoticed in risk analysis.

As a conference wrap-up, John Mulvaney covered Fraud & Risk Assessments through several case studies. Alarmingly, companies show a 50% failure to recover rate from fraud because of improper insurance coverage. In terms of fraud assessment and prevention, there is a heightened importance on internal controls and segregation of duties. However, this point could be made for all of the risks covered in our conference, and perhaps is the key takeaway.

For further information regarding our Nov. 12th CFO & Controller Conference, check out highlights from Twitter. Additionally, be sure to follow us @CBIZCFOConf for updates and line-ups for our future CFO Conferences.



Commercial Real Estate Seminar Shines Light On Future of Memphis

Robert LoebEric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News, opened the Nov. 6th Commercial Real Estate Seminar with a nod to the attendees, “This is the first seminar series ever sold out.” Perhaps it was the keynote speaker, Robert Loeb of Loeb Properties Inc., who brought out a larger than ever crowd. Loeb Properties is arguably most well-known for its redevelopment of Overton Square, but the group is developing Memphis areas outside of Midtown. Most recently, Loeb has expressed an interest in rejuvenating part of the Highland Strip near the University of Memphis campus.

Crowd at CRE SeminarThe overarching theme to the day’s group of presentations was that Memphis is a city on the rise and a city of choice for many investors. In fact,  Steve Woodyard noted in his presentation that there were 17,000 new jobs created in Memphis between 2008 and 2012, and we continue to see investors from outside of Memphis bring new life to the community.

A crowd of over 200 gathered for the #MEMCRE event at Brooks Museum. To read further coverage of this event, visit the Memphis Daily News website.

Photos courtesy of Andrew Breig, Daily News.

2014 CFO of the Year Awards Results

On October 23rd, the fifth annual CFO of the Year Awards were held at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis.  The CFO of the Year Awards recognize outstanding financial professionals in Memphis and the Mid-South for exceptional performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards.

The event kicked off with a packed breakfast to honor all the finalists for the various awards.  All those nominated for these awards must be in the position of Chief Financial Officer or the equivalent to this position within their companies  or organizations.  Winners in each category were chosen from an independent panel of judges: Kevin Campbell, partner with B2B CFO; Milton Lovell, CFO of nexAir LLC; and Dan Wortham, retired CFO of Christian Brothers University.  The winners in their respective categories are as follows:

  • MBJ  - CFO EditionPrivate Company Less than $100 Million Annual Revenue: Gery M. Carlson, CFO of Regency Homebuilders LLC
  • Private Company More than $100 Million Annual Revenue: Brian Robinson, Senior Executive Vice President and CFO of Crye-Leike Cos. and President of Crye-Leike Insurance Agency
  • Nonprofit Company Less than $8 Million Annual Revenue: Jason Lee, Executive Vice President and CFO, Orion Federal Credit Union
  • Nonprofit Company More than $8 Million Annual Revenue: Linda Sawyer, Vice President, Administration, and CFO, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

David Zettergren, CFO, University of Memphis,  was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his service within the financial sector.

CBIZ is proud to sponsor an event that honors such influential leaders in their various financial fields and wishes to extend a warm congratuations to all finalist and winners of 2014 CFO of the Year Awards.

 To see a full list of the 2014 CFO of the Year finalists, click here.






CBIZ MHM Hosts Office Trick-or-Treat

Our third annual Office Trick-or-Treat took place last week for our employees and their families. The event is hosted by the office social committee and includes trick-or-treating around our two floors of Clark Tower, games, and contests. Check out some photos from our event, including the winner of our Adult Costume Contest for the second year running, Mike Broy as Ron Weasley from Harry Potter.

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CBIZ MHM Memphis Hosts “Think Pink” Week, Supports Race for the Cure

Last week we held a “Think Pink” week in support of  the Susan G. Komen Foundation and in anticipation of the Memphis Race for the Cure. Our office particularly supports our own Karen Cassella, a 4 year survivor, and her team of “Warriors” who walk the race together. We kicked off the week with a breakfast including pink donuts from one of our favorite local donut shops, Gibson’s, and ended the week by wearing pink in honor of Karen and her team.

Think Pink Week 2014

KKs Warriors

KKs Warriors 2

All proceeds we raised help the fight against breast cancer. Seventy-five percent of the money raised through the Race stays in the community to fund local breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs. The remaining twenty-five percent supports groundbreaking breast cancer research. For more information regarding the Susan G. Komen Foundation visit their website.

Tangible Property Regulations – Updates & Guidance

The Tangible Property Regulations are the most dramatic changes in tax law to affect businesses since the overhaul of the Internal Revenue Code in 1986. The IRS has recently finalized procedures for how to implement these extensive changes, some of which are tax-payer friendly and available for a limited time only.

Eustis Corrigan covers some of the recent updates associated with these regulations. Learn more about important guidance that can help you when it comes to your year-end tax planning and preparations in the latest CBIZ BizTip video:

The CFO’s Role in Enterprise Risk Management

November 14 CFO Conf

Our upcoming CFO & Controller Conference will feature various speakers and presentations on the topic of enterprise-wide risk management (ERM). Risk is an inevitable part of an operating environment. In today’s world, risk management can’t be seen as a simple matter of insurance protection.

The CFO and Controller must be focused on planning, leading, and controlling the activities of an organization in order to minimize the effects of risk on an organization’s capital and earnings. Join us at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis on November 11, 2014 to hear risk experts cover the following:

John Gnuschke, Professor – Department of Economics, University of Memphis

Remonde Brangman, Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC

Marshal Kline, Managing Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC
Josh Finfrock, Senior Manager, CBIZ MHM, LLC
Craig Williams, Managing Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC

John Mulvaney, Director, CBIZ MHM, LLC

For more information and to register go here: http://cfoconferencenov2014.eventbrite.com

Questions? Contact Megan at 901.842.2776 or mmurdock@cbiz.com

Follow: @CBIZCFOConf on Twitter for updates and highlights of the event.