5 Tax, Assurance and Business Areas to Watch in 2021 and Beyond– November 22, 2021 by Marie Brilmyer

Talk about being thankful. We had more than 350 clients and friends register for our annual fall CPE day — undaunted by the virtual format we presented in again this year. We are always truly happy to put together this day, no matter the format, to help educate clients on what they need to know for year-end and moving forward.

This year’s event focused on the hot topics of ESG, cybersecurity, assurance, and tax and estate tax planning. Below are some highlights of each, along with links to their related webinars and resources.

1. Accounting: What’s Ahead and Potential Impacts

Gino Scipione and I covered the latest happenings in the accounting world, starting with an overview of environmental, social and corporate governance — better known as ESG — and the impact on businesses. In addition to rising demand by investors and asset managers, it’s important to note that companies focused on ESG are often seen as more transparent and have a strong indication of business success. The presentation also offered insight into the four (out of a running list) main frameworks for ESG reporting and what private companies should be considering now.

Accounting standards going into effect in 2021 and 2022 were also a hot topic. We covered numerous pronouncements, with leases taking center stage. After the FASB considered, yet voted down, yet another delay for private company implementation, ready or not, 2022 is the year to move forward. Speaking with your advisers and lenders, staying connected with the operating part of your business, reviewing all of your leases (including embedded leases) and evaluating lease management software are all steps to start your journey.

>> Watch the webinar or download a copy of the presentation

>> Learn more on our Lease Implementation Services page

2. Cybersecurity: Resilience to Protect Your Business

Cybercrime has increased 600% as a result of COVID, with many attacks occurring on smaller companies (250 employees or more) and costing millions in damages and even regulatory fines. Michelle Chopper, Steve Guarini and Ronnie Munn from MCPc, Inc. addressed the timely issue of cybersecurity. They focused on what companies can do to increase the effectiveness of their security not only inside the business, but across the entire business ecosystem. The key message was that companies need to show top-down leadership, and provide access to ongoing resources and education for everyone involved in and with their organization — as most breaches are due to unknowing human error whether by employees or third parties connected to the business. In fact, email is the biggest threat to protect against and educate on.

>> Watch the webinar or download a copy of the presentation

3. Tax Planning in an Age of Uncertainty

The team of Jenny Tapia, Angel Rice, Chris Madison, Jeff McMichael, Stephenie Truong and Patrick Walsh approached the complex area of tax planning head on. With seemingly continuous tax law changes over the past few years and new ones possibly on the horizon, there are many opportunities and challenges to sort out for both businesses and individuals. The group focused on where the ERC stands today, new elections for various state and local tax deductions, and opportunities to explore before proposed tax increases could take place as part of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. Highlights included a discussion on accelerating deductions and postponing income, 100% bonus depreciation, claiming the ERC retroactively, and tax considerations and additional filings related to remote employees.

>> Watch the webinar or download a copy of the presentation

4. Real Estate Tax: Where We Are and Where We’re Headed

Adam Hill and Jon Williamson explored top of mind topics for the real estate industry, including tax provisions that will soon be re-introduced after being suspended by the CARES Act, TCJA rule changes in the coming years and the impact of the pending Build Back Better bill on real estate investments. The team educated us on loss and interest expense limitations, carried interests and like-kind exchanges — also urging those in the industry to not ignore 100% bonus depreciation still in play through 2022 (for now) and the complementary Section 179 expense provisions. Net operating loss limitations are back on the table for 2021, and be on the lookout for a number of energy related credits surrounding green energy technology and housing credits in the Build Back Better bill.

>> Watch the webinar or download a copy of the presentation

5. Year-End Estate Planning and IRA Strategies Post SECURE Act: What’s Next?

Leon LaBrecque of Sequoia Financial and Scott Swain updated us on pending changes in the estate tax regime and attractive planning strategies heading into year-end. Now may be a good time to consider gifting assets to family members while business and real estate values are still depressed. Currently low interest rates make certain planning tools very advantageous, such as GRATs (Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts) and CLTs (Charitable Remainder Trusts), which are particularly useful for larger large estates. Other “four-letter words” referenced that can help in estate planning included SLATs (Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts) and IDGTs (Intentional Defective Grantor Trusts). The team also recapped IRA and qualified plan rules under the SECURE Act and pending legislation (including a pending SECURE Act “2.0”), as well as related tax planning strategies.

>> Watch the webinar or download a copy of the presentation

Thank you to all of our attendees and panelists for another fantastic educational day for private companies!

Contact Marie Brilmyer at mbrilymer@cohencpa.com, any of the presenters mentioned above or a member of your service team to discuss these topics further.

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Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Information contained in this post is considered accurate as of the date of publishing. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances and current law.