Funding For Import-Challenged Ohio Manufacturers – Up To $75,000

Jan 03, 2022

Have your sales been hit by import competition? If so, the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAAF) program may be able to help. For Ohio manufacturers, the program is managed by the Great Lakes Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (GLTAAC) who helps qualified manufacturers identify, develop, staff, and pay for critical business improvement projects. GLTAAC clients have received up to $75,000 in matching funds.

While TAAF matching funds are extremely beneficial, GLTAAC clients also value the planning assistance received from their experienced team of manufacturing professionals. The guidance helps to clarify which projects can best support each client’s growth strategy while matching funds help clients fast-track those important efforts – regardless of the project’s size. Here are just a few case studies to demonstrate the value of GLTAAC and how leveraging funding can aid your organization:

  • Big impact from a quick and concentrated effort for an instrumentation manufacturer – An Ohio GLTAAC client had recently changed its name and required a rebrand with a new logo. After multiple conversations with key company stakeholders and a marketing consultant, a new logo was developed. The company’s website now features their re-designed logo and the GLTAAC client states, “This TAAF co-funded project was a simple, small – but strategic – marketing effort. Two weeks of intense work and results.”
  • TAAF matching funds saved both money and time for Ohio foundry – When their existing ERP system was being phased out, this GLTAAC client knew they would use TAAF matching funds for outside IT expertise to migrate to a new system. However, they also recognized their shortage of a key resource: time. They elected to utilize TAAF co-funding to hire a consultant to serve as the internal project manager for the entire ERP upgrade process. The consultants managed and ran all aspects of the upgrade, which enabled the project to be completd on schedule without disruption. Total cost for both consultants: $91,000 (TAAF paid 50%).

If import competition has hurt your sales, don’t put off learning more about TAAF and GLTAAC. Here’s how to get started.

STEP ONE – Contact GLTAAC Project Manager, Jani Hatchett at hatchett@umich.edu or 734.998.6227. Jani can quickly outline the TAAF program and help you determine whether your firm would qualify and provide the next steps.

STEP TWO – Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and check out our website at www.gltaac.org.

Categories: Manufacturing & Distribution


Navigating LIFO Inventory Methods During Global Supply Chain Disruptions

Dec 20, 2021


State of the Global Economy
The same issues have been covered in the news cycle for months; supply chain malfunctions, production shortages, inflation, increased tariffs… all the reasons why businesses are facing heightened costs of resources this year. COVID-19-related disruptions have affected distributors and manufacturers worldwide, with gradual increases in the consumer prices index every month since the third quarter of 2020 (apart from May ‘21.) Numerous products including crude oil and petroleum products, natural gas, leather, lumber and wood, chemicals, and metal products have all seen substantial inflation (from 25% – 200%) in the last twelve months.

As costs go up, one tax leveraging option for those required to maintain inventories is the LIFO (last-in, first-out) inventory method. By using LIFO, goods sold throughout the year are deemed to come first from any goods purchased or produced during that year, then from the beginning inventory. As a result, inflation on items in the ending inventory is already included in the cost of goods sold, which may result in a lower taxable income.

LIFO Snapshot
LIFO is an alternative inventory valuation method, used by companies during periods of increased inflation to defer significant taxation. When adopting a LIFO inventory method, taxpayers can measure the effects of inflation on their internal and external prices by assuming the most recently purchased items are being sold first. This is achieved through an “inventory price index computation method,” using indexes published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

First, the taxpayer must ascribe value to all inventory (including beginning inventory) at cost. Then, say the LIFO method was adopted in the tax year 2020, the taxpayer should value all inventory at cost, ratably, for 2020 through 2022 and account for any necessary adjustments. In theory, the result of those adjustments would reflect the impact of inflation on company inventory and would then be deducted from taxable income and removed from the balance sheet.

It is required all taxpayers adopting the LIFO method for tax purposes, apply a LIFO computing method to book income. Additionally, all financial statements issued by the taxpayer must reflect computation under a LIFO method. To adopt LIFO, taxpayers must attach Form 970, Application to Use LIFO Inventory Method, to their federal income tax return.

Considerations
Adopting a LIFO inventory method may not benefit all taxpayers. Companies considering the use of a LIFO method for the 2021 tax year should first perform a cost-benefit analysis in order to answer the following questions:

  • What are the potential tax savings for the 2021 tax year if the company switched to LIFO?
  • Historically, what trends has the company experience during periods of inflation?
  • Do historic trends and potential tax savings warrant a switch to a LIFO inventory method?
  • What costs are associated with implementing & maintaining LIFO computation in-house?
  • Are the potential tax savings greater than the projected costs?

As always, our team of advisors is available to help you determine the best approach for your given situation.

Categories: COVID-19, Manufacturing & Distribution


Capitalizing on the R&D Tax Credit For Manufacturers

Apr 28, 2021

While the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit has been around for some time, it remains one of the best opportunities for manufacturing and distribution companies to minimize their tax liability and leverage an immediate source of cash. The credit was designed to provide a tax incentive for U.S. companies to increase spending on research and development in the U.S.

How to qualify

What constitutes as R&D is much broader than manufacturers realize. Applying to not only the development of products, but also activities and operations, such as new manufacturing processes, environmental improvements, software development, and quality enhancements. The R&D credit is available to any business that incurs expenses while attempting to develop new or improved products or processes while on U.S. soil. A four-part test has been established to help manufacturers determine if they qualify:

  • An activity that creates a new or improved business component of function, performance, reliability, or quality;
  • Technological in nature and related to physical or biological science, engineering, or computer science;
  • Intended to discover information to eliminate uncertainty in capability, method, or design;
  • An activity that includes a process of experimentation, or evaluating one or more alternatives to achieve a result. This might include modeling, simulation, or systematic trial-and-error.

How to claim the credit

Since the credit may be claimed for both current and prior tax years, manufacturers should document their R&D activities to ensure they are positioned to claim the credit in both situations. You will be required to factually provide the number of qualified research expenses (QREs) paid with documentation such as payroll records, general ledge expense detail, project lists, and notes, etc. Qualified research expenses are defined as:

  • Wages paid to people directly working on, supervising, or directly supporting the development process
  • Supplies used or consumed during the development process
  • Contract research expenses paid to a third party for performing qualified research activities on behalf of the company
  • The cost of cloud service providers or leasing computers used in research activities

It is important to note that research doesn’t have to lead to a successful product or process for the expenses to count. Even if the project or research failed, you can still claim the credit.

Additional tax benefits

  • Alternative Minimum Tax – Eligible small businesses with an average of $50 million or less in gross receipts over the past three years may claim the federal R&D tax credit against their alternative minimum tax liability beginning in 2016.
  • Payroll Tax – Eligible startups can use the credit to offset payroll withholding taxes. Startups using the provision must have gross receipts of less than $5 million and no gross receipts prior to the five taxable years ending in the then-current tax year. The credit towards payroll withholding taxes is limited to $250,000 in one year, but companies can carry forward excess credits to apply to future payroll withholding taxes.

How we can help

For more information about R&D credits or reducing your company’s risk of facing penalties, contact our Manufacturing & Distribution Practice Leader below.

Connect With Us.
Robert Bradshaw, CPA
Manufacturing & Distribution Practice Leader
bob.bradshaw@wvco.com | 419.891.1040

Categories: Manufacturing & Distribution, Tax Planning


Industry 4.0 In A Pandemic World

Apr 08, 2021

In our last manufacturing-focused blog, we explored the topic of the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. This highly developed revolution focuses on the use of technology, automation, and digitization for operational efficiency. Many are now curious to know how this new phase of manufacturing was impacted by the disruption of the pandemic. With a vast shift from in-person work to a more remote setup, Industry 4.0 experienced a surge in the scaling of related technologies.

According to a survey by McKinsey, of their 400 respondents, 94% of respondents told noted that Industry 4.0 had helped them to keep their operations running during the crisis, and 56% percent said these technologies had been critical to their crisis responses. For those organizations who had already taken the leap to incorporate Industry 4.0 into their daily operations, the pandemic was a win situation. These early adopters were simply able to rely on their automation to overcome the loss of physical presence in their factories and at the same time utilize their real-time data analytics to assess their operations and make prompt adjustments.

For others, the pandemic was a wake-up call. Manufacturers who have yet to make the transition to Industry 4.0 were met with the stark reality of being unable to pivot during the disruption which left them negatively impacted. According to the McKinsey survey, 56% of respondents that hadn’t implemented Industry 4.0 technologies prior to COVID-19 found themselves constrained in their ability to respond to COVID-19 in the absence of digital technologies to support them.

While the pandemic made organizations realize the importance of Industry 4.0. It has also hindered progress. For some, the pandemic wreaked havoc on cash flow and talent creating a sort of catch-22. The need for automation and digitization is apparent, but without the capital to support the transition, manufacturers are stuck in a rock and a hard place.

So what is next? Manufacturers must first recognize the value-add of Industry 4.0 and commit to scaling their operations to include features of this forward-thinking revolution. Once committed, the next step is to develop a detailed plan. Given limited resources, having a strategic approach will ultimately maximize the benefits of smart technology without having to reprogram due to short-fixes. The biggest hurdle is making the decision to scale and take the first step. Whether it’s setting up your current system to pull data in an efficient manner for future data analytic software or focusing on best practices for remote working, committing to Industry 4.0 is the first step. Don’t make the mistake of discounting Industry 4.0, it could be deadly in a time of disruption. Organizations that learned from the pandemic, have embraced this new revolution, and can be nimble during uncertainty are those who will survive and thrive.

Categories: COVID-19, Manufacturing & Distribution


The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0

Mar 10, 2021

While many industries experience change and opportunity, manufacturing companies are embracing one in particular: Industry 4.0. This initiative joins Information Technology (IT) with Operational Technology (OT) to improve processes, increase automation, and support data exchange.

Industry 4.0 is often used interchangeably with the notion of the fourth industrial revolution. It is characterized by, among others, 1) more automation than in the previous revolution, 2) the linking of the physical and digital world through cyber-physical systems, enabled by Industrial IoT, 3) a shift to smart products and automation to define production steps, 4) closed-loop data models and control systems and 4) customize data and dashboards

Industry 4.0 is comprised of eight technology sectors that inspire new ways of thinking and working, Additive Manufacturing & Advanced Materials, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Modeling, Simulation, Visualization & Immersion, Robotics, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) are the key aspects of Industry 4.0.

There are numerous advantages to entering the fourth industrial revolution, each of which can have a great impact on your business. The pursuit of more efficient, customer-centric processes paired with Industry 4.0 pushes past optimization and leads to new opportunities and innovation.

Here are some insights into a few of the benefits of Industry 4.0:

  • Enhanced Productivity – Optimization and automation will lead to saved costs, increased profitability, limited waste, reduced opportunity for delays and errors, faster production, and overall improved function of the value chain.
  • Real-Time Optimization – Customers at every step of the value chain expect good products produced fast. By increasing automation, production increases to real-time operation leading to satisfying increased expectations while keeping the process moving forward.
  • Increased Business Continuity – Predictable and preventive maintenance as a result of digital technology means less downtime and fewer expenditures
  • Higher Product Quality – Cross-collaboration between departments and the ease of data sharing means improvement and modifications are made quickly which results in a higher quality of product
  • Lower Costs – Automation and system integrations also mean a reduction in waste, efficient use of resource and materials, reduction of downtime which ultimately leads to lower overall operating costs
  • Improved Agility – With real-time data available at your fingertips, being able to forecast and pivot become much easier
  • Innovation – Increased visibility across production lines, distribution chains, and supply chains allow for innovation and improvement whether it be for process enhancement or new product development.

There’s no doubt Industry 4.0 has enabled manufacturers to increase operational visibility, reduce costs, expedite production times, and deliver exceptional customer support. Over the coming months, William Vaughan Company is going to explore various topics involving the importance of this new era, strategies to implement, and ways to leverage Industry 4.0 to help you lead in the markets where you compete. Stay tuned for more on Industry 4.0.

Categories: Manufacturing & Distribution