Oct 17, 2022
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (2022 IRA) was passed to incentivize investment in clean energy and promote the reduction of carbon emissions. A large share of the incentives come in the form of tax credits, which in some cases are extensions or expansions of current credits, such as those for electric vehicles or residential energy upgrades.
Of the tax provisions introduced by the 2022 IRA, one of the most significant to businesses has been the expansion of the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction (§179D), which increases the maximum deduction and updates the eligibility requirements for a property’s reduction of energy costs, in addition to other changes.
Under the expanded provision, a deduction is allowed for all or part of the cost of certain energy-savings improvements made to domestic, commercial buildings placed in service as part of the building’s:
- interior lighting systems
- heating, cooling, ventilation (HVAC), and hot water systems
- building envelope
The tax deduction benefits both commercial building owners and lessees along with designers of government-owned buildings. Additionally, the provision states that installation of energy-efficient property may occur as a result of new construction, or through the improvement of an existing commercial or government building.
Efficiency standard: To qualify for the deduction, newly updated eligibility requirements call for energy-efficient property to reduce associated energy costs by 25% or more (decreased from 50% or more) in comparison to a reference building that meets the latest efficiency standards.
Applicable amount: The applicable dollar value of the deduction is $0.50 per square foot, an increase of $0.02 for each percentage point above 25% that a building’s total annual energy cost savings are increased. However the amount cannot be greater than $1/ square foot, and the maximum amount of the deduction in any tax year cannot exceed $1/ square foot minus the total deductions taken over the previous three years (or during a four-year period in cases where the deduction is allowable for someone other than the taxpayer). The applicable dollar value will be adjusted for inflation for tax years beginning after 2022.
An increased dollar value is available for projects that satisfy prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements for the duration of the construction.
Alternative deduction for energy-efficient retrofit property. Under the 2022 Inflation Act, taxpayers may elect to take an alternative deduction for a qualified retrofit of any eligible property. However, instead of a reduction in total annual energy power costs, the deduction is based on the reduction of energy usage intensity.
For more information on how you may be able to take advantage of this deduction or any other tax relief provisions under the 2022 Inflation Act, contact William Vaughan Company’s team of trusted tax professionals.
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Categories: Tax Planning
Oct 11, 2022
Phishing attacks are on the rise and becoming increasingly complex! According to the 2022 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, phishing is the most common way for cybercriminals to penetrate an organization. Once accessible, larger-scale attacks are launched, like ransomware, to paralyze the company by stealing data or inflicting financial loss. Today, phishing accounts for roughly 90% of data breaches and on average costs an organization $5 million!
While these statistics are troublesome, there are proactive measures business owners can take to protect their assets and reputation. The most popular preventative measure is instituting security awareness training – it’s a powerful defense asset with impressive ROI that maximizes your security spending while protecting your bottom line. Security awareness training programs are aimed at educating users (employees) to understand the role they play in helping to combat security breaches. Effective training programs should be ongoing and continuous while providing your users with best practices for good cyber hygiene, outlining the security risks associated with their actions, and ways to identify potential threat characteristics in email and on the web. Some training programs even incorporate simulated phishing campaigns to allow for testing and measuring employee vulnerability.
All in all, security awareness training enables your users to make smarter security decisions in their day-to-day roles, helping you manage the ongoing problem of social engineering and strengthening your human firewall.
There are hundreds of security awareness training programs available, but not all are created equal. When it comes to choosing the right training program for your organization, William Vaughan Company Technologies (WVCT) can help you determine which best suits your business needs. Contact us today to learn more and find out why should you devote a portion of your security budget to security awareness training.
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Categories: IT & Risk Services
Oct 04, 2022
On September 29th, the IRS announced Hurricane Ian victims in the state of Florida will now have until February 15th, 2023, to file various federal returns.
The tax relief measure applies to businesses and individuals operating and residing in areas designated to receive disaster relief from FEMA. Those eligible must also have had a filing deadline of September 23rd, 2022, or later. In other words, any business or individual in the state of Florida that filed to extend their 2021 federal tax returns out to October 17th, 2022, will now have until February 15th, 2023, to file any returns or taxes.
For businesses, the extension relief will also apply to quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2022, and January 31, 2023. For individuals, the tax relief applies to any quarterly estimated income tax payments due on January 17, 2023. Additionally, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after September 23, 2022, and before October 10, 2022, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by October 10, 2022.
The IRS will automatically apply this relief measure to taxpayers with a record of address in the disaster area, meaning there is no need to contact the agency directly. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or payment notice (that had an original or extended filing, payment, or deposit due date falling within the postponement period,) the taxpayer should call the number listed on the notice as soon as possible to abate the penalty.
For more information on the tax relief measure or to see if you qualify, contact your trusted team of tax professionals at William Vaughan Company as we continue to monitor IRS updates and the situation in Florida.
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Aug 30, 2022
With the labor shortages and hiring challenges facing employers nationwide, now more than ever, companies are beginning to put their “office culture” under a microscope. But what exactly does that mean, and how important is workplace culture in relation to employee retention?
We sat down with Aaron Swiggum, managing partner at William Vaughan Company to learn what innovative techniques his leadership team has initiated within the firm to create a culture that keeps talent motived and engaged: Give your team the trust and flexibility to work remote.
“At William Vaughan Company, we give our employees the option to work from home or at any of our three offices, depending on the needs of their schedule,” said Swiggum. “To support our staff working remotely, we offer a take-home technology package fully equipped with monitors, docking stations and the like to ensure their success while off-campus.”
Create space for connections within the office.
Meanwhile, for those working on-site, Swiggum has repurposed unused office space into multi-person, collaboration rooms where our team can work together, bounce ideas off each other, and grow together as professionals. Expanding opportunities for engaging connection beyond just the traditional “water cooler” chat is crucial for the ever growing, virtual workspace.
Keep an eye on corporate culture trends to stay ahead of curve.
Corporate cultures at companies like Google and Facebook typically come to mind when you think of progressive work environments and trendy perks. But you don’t have to be a tech giant to incentivize your team. William Vaughan Company noticed what those companies were doing, then polled our team to see which perks would be most beneficial to them. “We’ve increased our maternity leave, added paternity leave for new dads, and created wellness programs that encourage healthy habits during our busiest, and often most stressful, times of the year.
Reimaging what teambuilding looks like.
Modeled after the esteemed, Seattle Fish Market, William Vaughan Company launched a program known as “Fish Groups” which aims to connect 7-8 team members who may not normally work together. Each group meets off-campus periodically throughout the quarter, allowing for deeper connections to form between colleagues that may have only previously communicated via email.
Define your core values and stick to them.
Of all the core values that define William Vaughan Company, “work hard, play hard,” “family,” and “community” are the pillars upon which we’ve built our culture. “We pride ourselves on having created a work environment where our team can have fun, participate in community service activities, and at the end of the day, feel secure about putting their families first,” Aaron says.
Although “culture” has become somewhat of an overused buzzword today, William Vaughan Company knows how important building and maintaining a positive and engaging work environment can be. According to Aaron, “when your team feels valued and supported, that directly translates into the work they’re doing for the clients. And ultimately, our goal is to help our clients and their businesses succeed, so we have to start by creating a space for our internal team to be successful.”
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Categories: Other Resources
Aug 08, 2022
What Does This Mean?
Effective October 1, 2022, Microsoft will permanently disable Basic Authentication (Basic Auth) due to security concerns and outdated technology. The planned replacement is called none other than, Modern Authentication (Modern Auth). So, what does this mean for your organization?
Basic Authentication & Security Issues
Basic Auth simply means an application sends usernames and passwords over the Internet as encoded text. These credentials are also often stored or saved on the device.
While the credentials are encoded, meaning converted to characters or symbols, this form of authentication can expose usernames and passwords. Hackers may intercept the transmission, decoding and stealing the information. Since Microsoft announced its disablement of Basic Auth in September of last year there has been a notable spike in high-level attacks by cybercriminals. According to Microsoft, “As a reminder, Basic Auth is still one of, if not the most common ways our customers get compromised, and these types of attacks are increasing. Every day [you have] Basic Auth enabled; you are at risk from attack.”
Furthermore, Basic Auth does not support multi-factor authentication (MFA) which is the best protection against cyber-attack and is now required under Presidential order 14028. To learn more about MFA, check out our previous blog here.
Modern authentication is an umbrella term for a combination of authentication and authorization methods between a client (for example, your laptop or your phone) and a server. With Modern Auth comes additional security features like MFA, smart cards, etc. Modern authentication doesn’t let apps save account credentials and is better designed for Internet-scale and management.
If your organization has not begun the transition to Modern Authentication, it is mission-critical that you begin doing so now.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is strongly encouraging organizations to make the move immediately and to enable multifactor authentication.
WVC Technologies can assist you in this transition. Our partner, DMC Technology group and their certified team of technicians can walk you and your team through the process.
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Senior Client Executive
Categories: Risk Services