Inflation and Small Businesses

Read below to learn how inflation affects your small business.

Are you a small business owner affected by recent inflation? You are not alone. Inflation is affecting small businesses across the country as inflation continues to soar to numbers we haven’t seen since 1982. A recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey found that roughly 74% of small business owners are experiencing rising costs of supplies. This percentage has remained roughly the same from Q4 2021. However, the amount of small businesses passing along these increased costs to customers has increased from 39% in Q4 2021 to 47% in Q1 2022.

Rising concerns surround the small business community. One of the main concerns — there is no end in sight. There is no clear prediction how high inflation will soar or how quickly this will occur. Another contributing factor to this small business struggle is increased labor costs. A recent Bloomberg article stated that roughly 50% of small businesses were forced to increase compensation in order to attract qualified talent.

Small businesses definitely have several negative factors threatening their bottom line. With no end in sight, the future of the small business, local market hangs in the balance.

Here at Mazur and Associates we are qualified to render the highest level of expertise to assist our fellow small businesses. A great starting point is to review your costs by expense category and advise where are able to reduce wasteful spending and therefore increasing cash flow. Also, right now is the optimal time to consider a price increase for your services. Let us assist in this process of determining the “sweet spot” at which your Company can earn more revenue without alienating (and potentially losing) your customers!  We are here to serve you and work to maximize your business’ bottom line.  Call us today at 732 936-1230 or email to schedule a teleconference.

IRS offers relief for taxpayers located in several New Jersey and New York counties

Following the recent disaster declaration by FEMA, the IRS has granted relief to businesses and individuals impacted by Tropical Storm Ida. In New Jersey, this currently includes residents/businesses in the following eleven (11) counties: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union. In New York, this currently includes Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond and Westchester counties. Taxpayers in Ida-impacted localities subsequently designated by FEMA in other parts of these states will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Sept. 1, 2021. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period, including the following:

  • Individuals who had a valid extension to file their 2020 return due to run out on Oct. 15, 2021. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2020 returns were due on May 17, 2021, those payments are not eligible for this relief.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Sept. 15, 2021
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Nov. 1, 2021
  • Tax-exempt organizations, operating on a calendar-year basis, that had a valid extension due to run out on Nov. 15, 2021
  • Businesses with an original or extended due date also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year partnerships and S corporations whose 2020 extensions run out on Sept. 15, 2021 and calendar-year corporations whose 2020 extensions run out on Oct. 15, 2021.
  • Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Sept. 1 and before Sept. 16, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 16, 2021.

Relief granted to New Jersey Business and Individual Taxpayers

Track FEMA disaster declarations for New Jersey here for the latest developments.

The New Jersey Division of Taxation is following the federal guidelines for tax relief for victims of Hurricane Ida. Affected taxpayers include businesses and individuals located in the disaster areas and those whose tax records are in the disaster areas, and relief workers. Taxpayers affected by Hurricane Ida now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file their New Jersey tax returns and submit payments for any return and/or payment, including estimated payments, which have either an original or extended due date between Aug. 26, 2021, and before Jan. 3, 2022. This means that individuals who had a valid extension to file their 2020 returns, due to run out on Oct. 15, will now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file. Also, businesses having a valid extension and required to file a New Jersey Form CBT-100, CBT-100S or NJ-1065 by October 15, 2021 will also have until January 3, 2022 to file.

In addition, you may be eligible for abatement of penalty and interest on underpaid tax that would normally accrue during this the period of the postponement. If the IRS further extends the filing deadline for federal tax purposes, the deadline for New Jersey returns and payments will also be extended.

Information on a $10.5M grant program administered the NJEDA for small businesses impacted by Ida is available here:

Please refer back to this page for updates that are announced by FEMA, the Internal Revenue Service and States of New Jersey and New York.

Changes to Child Tax Credit & Dependent Care Assistance Tax Benefits

Read below to learn how to manage your credit(s)!

Dear Valued Client:

The American Rescue Plan Act (the Act), which President Biden signed into law on March 11, 2021, is loaded with tax benefits for taxpayers with children. For 2021, the Act increases the amount of the child tax credit, increases the refundable portion of the credit, increases the age at which a child qualifies for the credit, and provides a program for distributing the credit monthly. The Act also enhances the child and dependent care tax credit in 2021 by making it refundable, increasing the expenses eligible for the credit, increasing the maximum rate of the credit, and increasing the applicable percentage of expenses eligible for the credit. Finally, the Act increases the exclusion from income for employer-provided dependent care assistance. Here is a brief summary of these changes.

Child Tax Credit Changes

Maximum Child Tax Credit Amount: The amount of the child tax credit is increased from $2,000 in 2020 to $3,000 for 2021. However, if the child is under age 6, the credit is further increased to $3,600.

Increase in Refundable Portion of the Child Tax Credit: The refundable portion of the child tax credit is important because that means money in your pocket when the amount of the credit exceeds your tax liability. For years other than 2021, the refundable portion of the child tax credit is based on a calculation involving an earned income formula. The Act gets rid of the earned income formula and increases the refundable amount so that it equals the entire credit.

Increase in Age of Children Qualifying for the Child Tax Credit: While the child tax credit generally only applies to children under age 17, for 2021 only, it also applies to children who are age 17.

Phaseout of Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit is phased out for taxpayers with income above a certain amount. Generally, the threshold amounts for beginning a phaseout of the credit is $400,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $200,000 for all other taxpayers. For 2021, modified phase-out rules apply to the increase in the credit for 2021. The modified adjusted gross income threshold is reduced to $150,000 in the case of a joint return or surviving spouse, $112,500 in the case of a head of household, and $75,000 in any other case. This special phase-out reduction is limited to the lesser of the applicable credit increase amount (i.e., either $1,000 or $1,600) or 5 percent of the applicable phase-out threshold range.

Monthly Payments of Credit May Be Available: The Act provides a special program under which individuals with refundable child tax credits for 2021 can receive advance payments equal to one-twelfth of the annual advance amount, thus potentially receiving up to $300 per month for children under 6 and $250 per month for children 6 years and older. However, these payments would only be made from July 2021 through December 2021. In essence, if you qualify for this program, you can receive one-half of your total child tax credit in the last six months of 2021 and the other half of the credit after filing your 2021 tax return. In addition, the advance child tax credit payments are generally excepted from reduction or offset, including situations where you may owe federal taxes that would otherwise be subject to levy or collection.

Changes to Dependent Care Assistance Tax Benefits

Refundable Credit: Generally, you are allowed a nonrefundable child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC) for up to 35 percent of the expenses you pay to someone to care for a child or dependent so that you can work or look for work. The Act makes the CDCTC refundable for 2021 as long as you live in the United States for more than one-half of the tax year.

Increased Dollar Limit on Creditable Expenses: The Act increases the amount of child and dependent care expenses that are eligible for the credit from $3,000 to $8,000 for one qualifying individual and from $6,000 to $16,000 for two or more qualifying individuals.

Increase in Maximum Credit Rate, Applicable Percentage, and Phase-out Thresholds: For 2020, the CDCTC is an amount equal to the applicable percentage of the employment-related expenses that you paid during the tax year, with the applicable percentage being 35 percent reduced (but not below 20 percent) by 1 percentage point for each $2,000 (or fraction thereof) by which your adjusted gross income for the tax year exceeds $15,000. For 2021, the maximum credit rate is increased from 35 to 50 percent and the phase-out thresholds are amended so they begin at $125,000 instead of $15,000. At $125,000, the credit percentage begins to phase out, and plateaus at 20 percent. This 20-percent credit rate phases out if your adjusted gross income is in excess of $400,000. If your income is in excess of $500,000, you are not eligible for the credit.

Increase in Exclusion for Employer-Provided Dependent Care Assistance: The Act increases the amount that may be excluded from income for employer-provided dependent care assistance. For years before 2021, the maximum exclusion was $5,000 ($2,500 in the case of a separate return filed by a married individual). For 2021, the exclusion is increased to $10,500 ($5,250 in the case of a separate return filed by a married individual).

Unenrolling from Advance Child Tax Credit Payments:  There may be reasons why a taxpayer may prefer to opt out of receiving advance Child Tax Credit payments.  Among them are if you expect the amount of tax you owe to be greater than your expected refund when you file your 2021 tax return. The payments you receive are an advance of the Child Tax Credit that you would normally get when you file your 2021 tax return. Because these credits are paid in advance, every dollar you receive will reduce the amount of Child Tax Credit you will claim on your 2021 tax return. This means that by accepting advance child tax credit payments, the amount of your refund may be reduced or the amount of tax you owe may increase.

Also, if you receive advance child tax credit payments in 2021, you should keep track of exactly how many payments were direct deposited into your account in calendar year 2021.  Your 2021 tax return preparer will require that information to accurately prepare your 2021 tax return.  For tax year 2020, some of our clients experienced refund delays, IRS tax Notices and/or corrected tax returns due to incorrect information concerning the amount of the recovery rebates that they received in April 2020 and January 2021.

Below are the deadlines to unenroll or make changes to bank information for the Advance payments.  You must do this on the Child Tax Credit Update Portal:

Payment MonthDeadline to Update InformationPayment Date

Finally, if you are married filing a joint return, you and your spouse must EACH unenroll.  If only one of you unenrolls, you will get half of the joint payment you were supposed to receive with your spouse.

As you can see, the Act contains a number of changes, some of which may benefit you. Please call us at your earliest convenience so we may discuss how these changes impact you personally.  Thank you very much for the opportunity to be of service to you!

Very truly yours,

Steve Mazur, CPA, CGMA, MBA

Mazur and Associates, CPAs and Business Advisors, PC

PPP2 and significant COVID relief for businesses and individuals

President Signs $900 Billion Covid Relief Package; Paycheck Protection Program Expanded

Last week, Congress overwhelmingly approved a $900 billion Covid relief package for individuals and businesses. Highlights of the relief package, which passed the Senate by a vote of 92-6 and passed the House by a vote of 359-53, include $600 payments to individual taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 or less (or $112,500 AGI for heads of households), payments of $1,200 to joint filers with AGI of $150,000 or less, and an additional $600 payment for each qualifying child. For businesses, additional time is provided for paying previously deferred payroll taxes, another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans is available, and borrowers with PPP loans may take deductions for expenses paid with PPP loan proceeds. The legislation also extends numerous expiring tax provisions for both individuals and businesses. President Trump sharply criticized the package and demanded changes before ultimately signing it into law, as passed, on December 27, 2020.

Executive Summary

Highlights of the year-end Covid-related legislation include:

(1) Additional unemployment assistance which provides 11 weeks of $300 per-week emergency unemployment benefits, an extension of expiring pandemic-related unemployment assistance, and protection for individuals who received pandemic-related unemployment benefit overpayments through no fault of their own and are now unable to repay the funds;

(2) A second round of direct cash assistance payments of $600 for each family member, subject to certain family adjusted gross income limitations, with mixed-status families now eligible where only one spouse has a social security number;

(3) The creation of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Second Draw loan program with a maximum loan amount of $2 million made available for businesses that employ 300 or less employees and have used, or will use, the full amount of their first PPP loan;

(4) A new rule establishing that business expenses paid with the proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan are deductible (effectively overriding prior law and IRS guidance issued earlier this year);

(5) Eligibility to use 2019 income to determine the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit;

(6) A permanent reduction in the adjusted gross income threshold for medical expense deductions from 10 percent to 7.5 percent;

(7) An expansion of the carryover and grace period policies relating to employees with unused amounts in their health and dependent care flexible spending accounts;

(8) A three-month extension of credits reimbursing employers for paid sick and family leave paid to employees due to Covid-19;

(9) An increase in the income threshold at which the Lifetime Learning Credit phases out;

(10) Additional time for employees and employers to pay back deferred employee payroll tax amounts from the President’s August memorandum;

(11) An extension and expansion of the employee retention tax credit;

(12) Permanent and temporary extensions of expiring tax provisions (“tax extenders”); and

(13) A 100-percent deduction for business meal and beverage expenses, including any carry-out or delivery meals, provided by a restaurant that are paid or incurred in 2021 and 2022.


Additional 2020 Recovery Rebates for Individuals and Amendments to Earlier Recovery Rebates

Sections 272 and 273 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act provide a refundable tax credit in the amount of $600 per eligible family member. The credit is $600 per taxpayer ($1,200 for married filing jointly), in addition to $600 per qualifying child. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married filing jointly) at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income.

The provision also provides for the Department of Treasury to issue advance payments based on the information on 2019 tax returns. Eligible taxpayers treated as providing returns through the nonfiler portal in the first round of Economic Impact Payments, provided under the CARES Act, will also receive payments. The Treasury Department may issue advance payments for Social Security Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance beneficiaries, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries, and Veterans Administration beneficiaries who did not file 2019 returns based on information provided by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board, and the Veterans Administration.

Taxpayers receiving an advance payment that exceeds the amount of their eligible credit will not be required to repay any amount of the payment. If the amount of the credit determined on the taxpayer’s 2020 tax return exceeds the amount of the advance payment, taxpayers will receive the difference as a refundable tax credit.

In general, taxpayers without an eligible social security number are not eligible for the payment. However, married taxpayers filing jointly where one spouse has a social security number (SSN) and one spouse does not are eligible for a payment of $600, in addition to $600 per child with an SSN. The provision aligns the eligibility criteria for the new round of Economic Impact Payments and the credit for the Economic Impact Payments provided by the CARES Act.

Advance payments are generally not subject to administrative offset for past due federal or state debts. In addition, the payments are protected from bank garnishment or levy by private creditors or debt collectors. Additionally, the provision instructs the Treasury Department to make payments to the United States territories that relate to each territory’s cost of providing the credits.

Tax Treatment of PPP Loans

Section 276 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act provides that gross income does not include any amount that would otherwise arise from the forgiveness of a PPP loan. This provision also (1) overrides current law (and IRS guidance) preventing the deduction of expenses paid with tax-exempt income by allowing businesses to deduct business expenses paid with the proceeds of a PPP loan that is forgiven, and (2) provides that the tax basis and other attributes of the borrower’s assets will not be reduced as a result of the loan forgiveness. The provision is effective as of the date of enactment of the CARES Act (3/27/2020).

Employee Retention Tax Credit Modifications

Sections 206 and 207 of the Disaster Tax Relief Act extend and expand the CARES Act employee retention tax credit (ERTC) and makes technical corrections. Beginning on January 1, 2021 and through June 30, 2021, the provision:

(1) Increases the credit rate from 50 percent to 70 percent of qualified wages;

(2) Expands eligibility for the credit by reducing the required year-over-year gross receipts decline from 50 percent to 20 percent and provides a safe harbor allowing employers to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility;

(3) Increases the limit on per-employee creditable wages from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 for each quarter;

(4) Increases the 100-employee delineation for determining the relevant qualified wage base to employers with 500 or fewer employees;

(5) Allows certain public instrumentalities to claim the credit;

(6) Removes the 30-day wage limitation, allowing employers to, for example, claim the credit for bonus pay to essential workers;

(7) Allows businesses with 500 or fewer employees to advance the credit at any point during the quarter based on wages paid in the same quarter in a previous year;

(8) Provides rules to allow new employers who were not in existence for all or part of 2019 to be able to claim the credit; and

(9) Retroactive to March 13, 2020, the provision: (1) clarifies the determination of gross receipts for certain tax-exempt organizations; (2) clarifies that group health plan expenses can be considered qualified wages even when no other wages are paid to the employee, consistent with IRS guidance; and (3) provides that employers who receive PPP loans may still qualify for the ERTC with respect to wages that are not paid for with forgiven PPP proceeds.

Extension of Credits for Paid Sick and Family Leave

Section 286 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act extends the refundable payroll tax credits for paid sick and family leave, enacted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First Act), through the end of March 2021. It also modifies the tax credits so that they apply as if the corresponding employer mandates were extended through the end of March 2021. This provision is effective as if included in Families First Act.

Election to Use Prior Year Net Earnings from Self-Employment in Determining Average Daily Self-Employment Income for Purposes of Credits for Paid Sick and Family Leave

Section 287 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act provides an election for an individual who elects the credit for paid sick or family leave to use prior year net earnings from self-employment income, rather than current year earnings, in calculating the income tax credit available.

Extension of Certain Deferred Payroll Taxes

On August 8, 2020, the President Trump issued a Presidential Payroll Tax Memorandum allowing employers to defer withholding employees’ share of social security taxes or the railroad retirement tax equivalent from September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, and requiring employers to increase withholding and pay the deferred amounts ratably from wages and compensation paid between January 1, 2021, and April 31, 2021.

Under the Payroll Tax Memorandum, the deferral is only available with respect to any employee with wages or compensation, as applicable, payable during any bi-weekly pay period of less than $4,000, calculated on a pre-tax basis, or the equivalent amount with respect to other pay periods. This equates to wages of $104,000 per year. The Payroll Tax Memorandum provides that the amounts deferred are not subject to any penalties, interest, additional amounts, or additions to the tax. The Payroll Tax Memorandum also authorizes the Treasury Secretary to issue guidance to implement these orders and directs the Treasury Secretary to explore avenues, including legislation, to eliminate the obligation to repay the deferred taxes. Under the Payroll Tax Memorandum, penalties and interest on deferred unpaid tax liability would begin to accrue on May 1, 2021.

Section 274 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act extends the repayment period through December 31, 2021. Additionally, penalties and interest on deferred unpaid tax liability will not begin to accrue until January 1, 2022.

Clarification of Educator Expense Deduction for PPE

Section 275 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act requires the IRS to issue guidance or regulations providing that personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19 are treated as eligible expenses for purposes of the educator expense deduction. Such regulations or guidance will be retroactive to March 12, 2020.

Emergency Financial Aid Grants

Section 277 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act provides that certain emergency financial aid grants under the CARES Act are excluded from the gross income of college and university students. The provision also holds students harmless for purposes of determining eligibility for the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning tax credits. The provision is effective as of March 27, 2020, the date of enactment of the CARES Act.

Clarification of Tax Treatment of Certain Loan Forgiveness and Other Business Financial Assistance Under the Coronavirus Relief Legislation

Section 278 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act clarifies that gross income does not include forgiveness of certain loans, emergency EIDL grants, and certain loan repayment assistance, each as provided by the CARES Act. The provision also clarifies that deductions are allowed for otherwise deductible expenses paid with the amounts not included in income by this section, and that tax basis and other attributes will not be reduced as a result of those amounts being excluded from gross income. The provision is effective for tax years ending after March 27, 2020..

Authority to Waive Certain Information Reporting Requirements

Section 279 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act gives the Treasury Department authority to waive information filing requirements for any amount excluded from income by reason of the exclusion of covered loan amount forgiveness from taxable income, the exclusion of emergency financial aid grants from taxable income or the exclusion of certain loan forgiveness and other business financial assistance under the CARES Act from income.

Application of Special Rules to Money Purchase Pension Plans

The CARES Act temporarily allows individuals to make penalty-free withdrawals from certain retirement plans for coronavirus-related expenses, permits taxpayers to pay the associated tax over three years, allows taxpayers to recontribute withdrawn funds, and increases the allowed limits on retirement plan loans. Section 280 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act clarifies that money purchase pension plans are included in the retirement plans qualifying for these temporary rules. The provision applies retroactively as if included in Section 2202 of the CARES Act.

Election to Waive Application of Certain Modifications to Farming Losses

Section 281 of the Covid-Related Tax Relief Act allows farmers who elected a two-year net operating loss carryback prior to the CARES Act to elect to retain that two-year carryback rather than claim the five-year carryback provided in the CARES Act. This provision also allows farmers who previously waived an election to carry back a net operating loss to revoke the waiver. These clarifications are aimed at eliminating unnecessary compliance burdens for farmers. The provision applies retroactively as if included in the CARES Act.


Section 311 of the Economic Aid Act creates a second loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), called a “PPP Second Draw” loan for smaller and harder-hit businesses, with a maximum loan amount of $2 million. In order to receive a PPP Second Draw loan, eligible entities must: employ not more than 300 employees, have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP; and must demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter (although applicable timelines for businesses that were not in operation in Q1, Q2, and Q3, and Q4 of 2019 are provided). Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021, are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.

In addition to the creation of the PPP Second Draw, Section 304 of the Economic Aid Act expands the list of eligible expenses for which a PPP loan may be used. Additional eligible expenses include (1) covered operations expenditures; (2) covered property damage costs; (3) covered supplier costs; and (4) covered worker protection expenditures.

Eligible and Noneligible Entities

Entities eligible for the PPP Second Draw include businesses, certain non-profit organizations, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-operatives. Entities ineligible include entities listed in 13 C.F.R. 120.110 and subsequent regulations (except for entities from that regulation which have otherwise been made eligible by statute or guidance, and except for nonprofits and religious organizations); entities involved in political and lobbying activities including engaging in advocacy in areas such as public policy or political strategy or an entity that otherwise describes itself as a think tank in any public document, entities affiliated with entities in the People’s Republic of China; and registrants under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Loan Terms

In general, borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan or the calendar year. Seasonal employers may calculate their maximum loan amount based on a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019 through February 15, 2020. New entities may receive loans of up to 2.5 times the sum of average monthly payroll costs. Entities in industries assigned to NAICS Code 72 (Accommodation and Food Services) may receive loans of up to 3.5 times average monthly payroll costs. Businesses with multiple locations that are eligible entities under the initial PPP requirements may employ not more than 300 employees per physical location. Waiver of affiliation rules that applied during initial PPP loans apply to a second loan. An eligible entity may only receive one PPP second draw loan. Fees are waived for both borrowers and lenders to encourage participation. For loans of not more than $150,000, the entity may submit a certification attesting that the entity meets the revenue loss requirements on or before the date the entity submits its loan forgiveness application and non-profit and veterans organizations may utilize gross receipts to calculate their revenue loss standard.

Loan Forgiveness

Borrowers of a PPP Second Draw loan are eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the sum of their payroll costs, as well as covered mortgage, rent, and utility payments, covered operations expenditures, covered property damage costs, covered supplier costs, and covered worker protection expenditures incurred during the covered period. The 60/40 cost allocation between payroll and non-payroll costs in order to receive full forgiveness will continue to apply.

Churches and Religious Organizations

Churches and religious organizations are eligible for PPP Second Draw loans.

Safe Harbor on Restoring Full-time Employees and Salaries and Wages Applies

The rule of reducing loan forgiveness for a borrower reducing the number of employees retained and reducing employees’ salaries in excess of 25 percent applies.

Maximum Loan Amount for Farmers and Ranchers

A specific loan calculation for the first round of PPP loans for farmers and ranchers who operate as a sole proprietor, independent contractor, self-employed individual, who report income and expenses on a Schedule F, and were in business as of February 15, 2020, is established. These entities may utilize their gross income in 2019 as reported on a Schedule F. Lenders may recalculate loans that have been previously approved to these entities if they would result in a larger loan. This provision applies to PPP loans before, on, or after the date of enactment (i.e., December 27, 2020), except for loans that have already been forgiven.

Seasonal Employer

A seasonal employer is defined as an eligible recipient which: (1) operates for no more than seven months in a year, or (2) earned no more than 1/3 of its receipts in any six months in the prior calendar year.

Eligibility of News Organizations for Loans

Eligible FCC license holders and newspapers with more than one physical location are eligible for a PPP Second Draw loan, as long as the business has no more than 500 employees per physical location or the applicable Small Business Administration size standard; and includes eligible Code Sec. 511 public colleges and universities that have a public broadcasting station if the organization certifies that the loan will support locally focused or emergency information.

Prohibition on Use of Loan Proceeds for Lobbying Activities

An eligible entity is prohibited from using proceeds of the covered loan for lobbying activities, lobbying expenditures related to state or local campaigns, and expenditures to influence the enactment of legislation, appropriations, or regulations.

© 2011-2021 Parker Tax Publishing. Reprinted with permission.

Apply for PPP Loan Forgiveness


***Update as of June 18, 2020***

On June 17, 2020 new clarifications on PPP loans were released. Four major loan repayment/forgiveness components have been clarified:

  1. If the loan was received before June 6, the repayment period is 2 years. If the loan was received on or after June 6, the repayment period is now 5 years.
  2. Borrowers that received their loan before June 5 have a choice between the old 8 week coverage period and the new 24 week coverage period.
  3. S corporation owners cannot include health insurance costs as payroll costs but they can include pension and retirement costs.
  4. Safe harbors for excluding salary and hourly wage reductions in the number of “full-time equivalent” employees from reducing loan forgiveness may now be applied on the exact date that the loan forgiveness application is submitted.  Borrowers need not wait until December 31, 2020 to use the safe harbors when applying for loan forgiveness.

***Update as of June 6, 2020***

On June 3, 2020 the senate approved the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act, otherwise known as H.R. 7010. This bill, which was signed by President Trump on Friday, June 5th, will increase the chances that a large percentage of a borrower’s PPP loan will be forgiven. There are three main points to this bill that PPP loan recipients should become familiar:

  1. Extension of the Covered Period

Rather than the PPP loan covering 8 weeks of operating costs, H.R. 7010 extends the period of 24 weeks from the loan origination date or until December 31, 2020, whichever comes first. This change is to support businesses that are currently operating below full capacity due to state and local restrictions or market conditions. The SBA is expected to give further guidance on this portion of the bill in the coming weeks.

  1. Changes in Spending Limitations

H.R. 7010 allows for more of the PPP loan to be spent on non-payroll costs by increasing the cap for those costs from 25% to 40%. However, there is a “catch” within the bill that is important to note. The bill states that “to receive loan forgiveness under this section, at least 60% of the covered loan amount must be used for payroll costs”. To put this in perspective: Before H.R. 7010, if a borrower takes out a PPP loan for $50,000, uses $25,000 on payroll costs and 15,000 on non-payroll costs, the forgivable amount of that PPP loan would be $25,000 x 75% = $18,750. Though all $50,000 of the loan is not forgiven, the $18,750 would be. After H.R. 7010 takes effect, using the same example from above, since only 50% of the PPP loan ($25,000 of $50,000) was used for payroll costs, none of the loan is forgivable.

  1. More Time to Replace Full Time Employees and Restore Salaries

Before H.R. 7010, a PPP loan would not be forgiven in its entirety if the borrower lost full time employees during the covered period or if a borrower significantly reduced the average salaries or wages of certain employees during the covered period compared to the numbers reported in the first quarter or 2020. However, a borrower could restore their lost forgivable loan amounts if they are able to fully restore their full-time employees or wages to levels comparable to those reported on February 15, 2020 by June 30, 2020.  With the newly enacted H.R. 7010, the previous deadline of June 30, 2020 has been extended to December 31, 2020.

Additionally, the loan maturity date for most PPP loans has been extended from two years to five years, giving borrowers more time to repay their PPP loan and reducing their monthly installments.


On Friday, May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application, causing most small business owners to scratch their heads when reviewing the lengthy and complicated application. Here at Mazur and Associates, we want to support small businesses like your own by explaining the PPP loan and the Loan Forgiveness Application. 

First, a brief overview of the PPP loan itself. 

The PPP loan program was created to help small business owners keep their employees on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis. The SBA will forgive PPP loans if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the loan funds are used for payroll costs, rent, mortgage interest, and/or utilities. According to the SBA, the loan will be fully forgiven if the funds have been used for the previously mentioned categories; however, 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll costs. Loan repayment will be automatically deferred for 6 months, requires no collateral or personal guarantees, has no small business fees attached and has a 2-year maturity period with an interest rate of 1%.  It is also important to understand that loan forgiveness is based upon the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees as well as keeping their pre-COVID19 salary or wage levels. Therefore, loan forgiveness will be reduced if full-time employee headcount decreases or if salaries and wages decrease.  Any small business owner can apply for a PPP loan at any SBA lender, federally insured institution, or local lender that is participating in the program. To see what qualifies as a small business for PPP loans, click here. To apply for a PPP loan, click here. We highly recommend that you consult a CPA or a financial advisor before you attempt to apply for a PPP loan to ensure that your application is completed accurately with the maximum allowable loan amount quantified.  Also, once the eight-week period has elapsed, it is critical to hire a professional to prepare the eleven (11) page Loan Forgiveness application.  The SBA’s Loan Forgiveness calculation form is quite complex and specific documentation must be attached in order to have your PPP loan completely forgiven. Mazur & Associates, CPAs and Business Advisors, PC should be your choice for this endeavor, as each of our CPAs has over thirty (30) years of experience in addressing the needs of small businesses like yours.  Before the eight-week spending window has elapsed, kindly telephone our office at (732) 936-1230 to schedule a conference during our regular business hours.  We are available Monday through Saturday to assist you. 

Second, the following is a brief overview of PPP Loan Forgiveness process.

On the surface, the application for PPP Loan Forgiveness appears to be relatively simple. Step one is to complete the application (also available electronically) and step two is to submit the application to your lender who will then assess your payroll and other expense documentation for forgiveness. However, although the SBA has provided detailed instructions with the application, it is still exceedingly difficult for a layperson to complete correctly and dot all of the “I’s” and cross all of the “T’s”. Because the application was just released, there is much room for borrower’s interpretation of the instructions.  Since tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake, a professional’s expertise in preparing and scrutinizing all attachments is highly recommended.  The CPAs at Mazur & Associates are members of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Tax Section and have access to specialized tools to ensure the accuracy of each client’s PPP Loan Forgiveness application. In addition, since late March our CPAs have taken hours of continuing professional education webinars on all aspects of the CARES Act, FFCRA and the Payroll Protection Program.

The SBA has stated that more guidance will be forthcoming over the summer months before the Loan Forgiveness portion of the PPP expires on October 31, 2020.   Again, we cannot stress enough that you should not attempt to complete and submit this Application without first consulting an experienced CPA! 

Here at Mazur and Associates we are qualified to render the highest level of expertise to assist our fellow small businesses. Several of our clients bypassed our counsel and applied for their PPP loan before consulting with us.  Unfortunately, a few of these small businesses received a smaller PPP loan than what they were entitled to!  We are here to serve you and work to maximize the Loan Forgiveness of your business’ PPP loan.  Call us today at 732 936-1230 or email to schedule a teleconference or virtual appointment.  Stay safe, all!

2019 Tax Deadline Postponed

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***Latest Update as of April 1, 2020 ***

On April 1, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has extended the state income tax filing date and the corporation business tax filing deadline from April 15th to July 15th to coincide with the federal deadline. Murphy also decided to extend the state fiscal year to September 30th to allow the Administration to focus on fighting COVID-19 and give it some time to reevaluate it’s budget for the coming year.

***Update as of March 29, 2020 ***

New York Governor Cuomo has issued an executive order authorizing the Tax Commissioner to provide relief from certain tax filing and payment deadlines.

Accordingly, the Commissioner has extended the April 15, 2020, due date to July 15, 2020, for New York State personal income tax and corporation tax returns originally due on April 15, 2020. In addition, the Commissioner is allowing taxpayers to defer all related tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed.


With the recent outbreak and rapid spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19), both employees and employers are wondering how they are going to make ends meet while complying with the quarantine mandates that have shut down all “non-essential businesses” in New Jersey as of 9 p.m. on Saturday March 21, 2020. Typically, taxpayers would be getting ready to file by April 15th. However, there is great concern about how taxpayers will be able to afford to file their tax returns on time and pay any balances due because of the debilitating imprint of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In light of these mounting concerns, the United States Dept. of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service has postponed the 2019 federal tax filing date from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can defer their federal income tax payment until July 15 without facing any penalties or interest regardless of how much they may owe. This automatic extension applies to all taxpayers including but not limited to individuals, trusts, estates, corporations, non-corporations, and the self- employed. There is no need to file any form to take advantage of this automatic extension.  However, if a taxpayer requires additional time beyond July 15th to prepare or to pay their 2019 federal tax liability, they must file a Form 4868 (Individual) or a Form 7004 (business) extension of time.

In the event that a taxpayer is owed a refund on 2019 their federal tax return, it is recommended that they file immediately, electronically, and request direct deposit in order to get access to their refund money as soon as possible. As of now, the IRS is still providing refunds within 21 days of filing. The IRS is also providing updates on how COVID-19 is impacting federal tax on a special page on their website. Click here to access it.

Also, the Treasury Department, IRS, and the Division of Labor have announced a plan to help businesses provide COVID-19 related paid leave to their employees as well as tax credits for small business to help cover COVID-19 related costs. This plan is under the Families First Corona Virus Response Act signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. This plan impacts businesses with fewer than 500 employees by providing two new payroll tax credits that immediately and fully reimburse the business for the cost of providing COVID-19 related leave for their employees. The plan includes paid sick leave, an expansion of paid child care to include parents with children who have had their school district closed or have lost their child care services due to COVID-19 mandated shut downs. The complete coverage plan reimburses employees for 100% of the COVID-19 related paid leave costs. This credit includes health insurance costs and does not subject the employer to a payroll tax liability.  An identical credit is available to self-employed individuals. For more specifics on this plan and how it may be implemented, click here.

As for New Jersey state tax return filers, a bill is up for consideration in the New Jersey Senate (A.B. 3841) that would extend the state filing date to June 30th, 2020.   It has not yet been passed in the legislature and is not year official.  We will update this bulletin as soon as any changes are signed into law.

In New York State, the following message was posted on March 16, 2020 on the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance Corona Virus Response website: “At this time, the New York State Tax Department has not extended the deadline to file personal income tax or other tax returns. We will update this page if new information becomes available.”  Mazur & Associates, CPAs shall update this bulletin if and when there are changes to the April 15, 2020 New York State individual and corporation tax filing deadline.

Here at Mazur and Associates are doing our part to fight COVID-19 and protect those in our country and community as well as prepare and review 2019 individual and business tax returns. Our office is operating with staff on premises daily.  However, Governor Murphy’s order and common-sense dictates that until further notice we cannot meet with any client at our office. As always, feel free to telephone our office or email us with any questions you may have.  And revisit our website often for updates on any changes to the 2019 or 2020 tax deadlines or available tax credits.

In closing, we wish you and your family a safe and healthy quarantine period and a trust that our citizens can return to their schools, workplaces and social activities in the very near future!

Family Business Succession Planning


As the owner of your family business, your lifetime has been poured into making the business a success. However, there comes a time in every business owner’s life when they have to start thinking of what will become of their business once they are no longer able to run it. Though it can an emotional topic for an owner, their family, and their employees, creating a succession plan for your business is an important part of ensuring the legacy of your business continues on. Think of it like writing a will, uncomfortable but necessary to ensure that the business is adequately prepared for the future. In many cases, the family’s livelihood and retirement are at stake. According to a JP Morgan statistic, businesses with a structured and clear plan of succession are more likely to succeed in the second, third, fourth and even fifth generations than those that do not. Even if you don’t plan on retiring any time soon, it is never too early to start planning for your business’s future. Rather, it is much better to have a plan once a situation arises rather than trying to create a plan while to situation is ongoing. With that in mind, we at Mazur and Associates have created this two-part guide to help business owners start their planning as soon as possible.

The first thing to do when creating a succession plan to choose a successor(s). When choosing a successor or board of successors, be sure to have someone

  • with a formal education and understanding of business
  • who has been mentored in your specific business so that they understand its values, culture, and environment
  • with good leadership skills who also has the capability to teach those skills to the next generation

If you decide to choose an heir (a family member) as your successor, you should anticipate and prepare for tension and disagreement amongst the involved family members. The family business is likely important to multiple family members involved, all of whom may have different ideas about how to shape the business’s future. This is why it is so important to make sure your objectives and goals for the business are clear when you take steps to involve other members of your family. It may also be helpful to involve a third-party business advisor as both a source of unbiased insight and a crucial buffer for those intense or emotional topics that come with succession planning.

When creating a board of successors, as many family businesses do, please note the composition of the leaders you have chosen. Make sure that they are fit to be able to strategize both for the mid and long term with business values and growth in mind. Review your policies with your chosen board so they have a full understanding of them and how you would like the business to be continued. Changing the leadership and decision-making role from one person to multiple people on a board also calls for a review of policies. Perhaps you do not have a policy on decision making power divided among multiple people or your policy only outlines how things work with a smaller number of leaders. This calls for decisions making policies and procedures to be created, reviewed, made clear, and put in writing. This will help your business and your successors operate smoothly. Include your successor(s) in the drafting of your succession plan conversations, as it is soon to be their business as well. It Is important that the current generation and the next generation leader(s) have a shared set of common goals for the future of the business.

As we said before, it might be wise to involve a third-party business advisor to help make rational business decisions. We also recommend you bring in a CPA who can provide you, your family, and the business advisor with numerical evaluations of your business that can help you plan properly. For example, the Estate Tax rate in the U.S. is 40% and is due 9 months after the deceased has passed. Many families are burdened by such a heavy tax and this has a negative effect on their family businesses, causing them to go bankrupt or need to sell. Having a CPA will be able to help you create a financially sound succession plan so your family and business do not fall victim to economic hardship. We also recommend you have a lawyer present during your succession planning who has experience creating the proper legal structure and documents necessary to ensure that your succession plan is carried out properly. When drafting your plan, be sure to make the vision and values of the business extremely clear and in writing. The definitions, responsibilities, and structure of all roles should be clearly outlining in the wording as well. Having a lawyer present will enable you to create the legal documents necessary to ensure success.

There are quite a few ways to pass down the ownership of your business to an heir, for example:

  • Family Limited Partnership- a succession plan that transfers business interest to another family member by establishing a partnership with general and limited partner interests, and then simply transferring the business ownership to the partner. It is also possible to gift business interest over time to that partner.
  • Granter Retained Annuity Trust of Unitrust- GRATs and GRUTS are types of irrevocable trusts that a business owner can transfer their assets to while still collecting income for a set period of time. At the end of the set period or upon the owner’s death, the assets then go to the beneficiaries.
  • Private Annuities- this is a sale of property or assets in exchange for regular payments for the rest of the seller’s life time. Ownership is fully transferred to the successor who agrees to make these regular payments until the death of the seller or, in some cases, until the death of the surviving spouse. This method allows those involved to avoid gift and estate taxes.
  • Self-Canceling Installment Notes- SCINs allow owners to transfer their ownership in exchange for a promissory note that the buyer will make a series of payments. Upon the seller’s death, the remaining payments will be cancelled.

Once you have chosen your successor(s), ensured that they have the qualities needed to run your business well, decided on a type of plan, created your plan of succession with a business advisor, CPA, and lawyer, it is time for the final step! Periodically review your succession plan and revise it as needed. Things change, unexpected circumstances arise, but that does not mean your plan cannot adapt along with them. Reviewing and revising your succession plan until it comes time to put it into action is the best thing you can do for your business because it ensures its survival in the face of uncertainty.

If you decide not to choose an heir for your successor, you can use most of the options above with someone outside of your family, but there are additional options as well. You may want to consider your co-owner, a key employee, an outside party, or the company itself as your successor. Part two of this series will tell you all about these other options!

As always, we here at Mazur and Associates are here to help you. As both CPA’s and trusted business advisors, we would be more than happy to assist you in creating a financially sound plan of succession. Give us a call at (732) 936-1230 to set up an appointment and we can get started right away!

Prepare Now to File Your 2019 Tax Returns Before the Deadline


With tax season in full swing and the filing deadline looming in less than two months, there is no room for putting off your annual tax return filing ritual.  Act today so that any tax balances due can be budgeted and paid for by April 15th.  Those that are required to pay estimated taxes may have a second federal or state remittance due on April 15th so don’t get caught flat-footed.  In 2018 there were many tax law changes which continue to apply in 2019.  If last year’s changes threw you for a loop because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) taking effect, the SECURE Act passed on December 20th 2019 may challenge you next year at this time.  But first things first.

The first step is to carefully track your deductions. By keeping track of your receipts, invoices, bills, and other records of expenses like medical bills and donations for individuals and travel expenses, mileage and other business expenses for business owners, you can ensure that you deduct everything possible and maximize the benefits you qualify for. More documentation is always better than less. If you are looking for more advise on how to keep your tax records, read our blog post on it here.

The next step to take is to brush up on changes to the tax laws. There have been some major changes for both individual and business filers. The TCJA is explained here as well as further details on how it effects those planning on getting a divorce. The 20% deduction for qualified business income granted by the TCJA and the new classification guidelines for employees and independent contractors are two other major changes to the tax law that filers should make themselves aware of. Lastly, planning around estate tax because of the increased exemption under the TCJA can help individuals take out larger exemptions without having to pay the 40% tax. By being aware and well informed, tax planning will become much easier and you can avoid making mistakes that will result in steep fines and penalties owed to the IRS. Specifically, for those filers in New Jersey, Mayor Murphy made changes to the tax law that they should keep in mind when planning for the upcoming tax season. The minimum wage increase, the new task force on employee misclassification, and the paid sick leave legislation are just a few of the major changes the state tax laws have seen.

Thirdly, contributing the maximum amount to your retirement funds is an important part of tax planning as well as future planning. For small business owners or independent contractors, setting up a SEP IRA (an alternative to a 401(k) with similar benefits) may be beneficial. This plan allows employers to contribute up to 25% of employee’s salary up to the annual maximum which was $56,000 this past year and has increased to $57,000 in 2020. By financially preparing to contribute the maximum amount, you can ensure that you are taking advantage of the benefits being offered. For independent contractors or those who are self-employed with a SEP IRA, it is a bit harder to pinpoint the exact limit, but on average the limit is around 20% after self-employment taxes. For individuals, reviewing your retirement account contributions whether it be a 401(k) or a similar retirement plan can result in tax benefits. Contributing to traditional retirement accounts is tax free and can make reaching your retirement goals much easier to reach. For more help on retirement planning, click here.

Finally, hiring a trusted accountant is the best way to ensure that you plan for the upcoming tax season. Businesses should consider reviewing their business structure, especially if they are not already incorporated. Asking an accountant to help you review your business structure can help you decide if becoming an LLC, an S, or a C corporation makes the most sense for you. Even independent contractors can benefit from this type of review and deciding to create an LLC or corporation. Different entities and classifications grant different benefits depending on the businesses needs so by picking the right structure, you can maximize your benefits for the tax year. Businesses should also plan their write-offs. The more big-ticket purchases that can be planned in advance, the more saving become available. By checking with your accountant before you make these large purchases can ensure that your expenses have a positive impact on your tax returns. Another tip for planning that you should discuss with an accountant is setting up estimated tax payments for 2020. Due to any number of situations or circumstances, your tax obligations can shift. In order to avoid a big tax bill at the end of any tax year, the IRS requires you to make payments four times a year. And not paying estimated taxes or underpaying can lead to penalties, something which must be avoided!  Until you prepare your 2019 or at least an accurate draft tax return, it is not feasible to pinpoint your estimated taxes for 2020.  You can make a reasonable estimate by first figuring out your adjusted gross income, taxable income, deductions, and credits and then split that number into four estimated payments to pay through the year. Using the numbers from the previous tax year can provide a solid base for these estimations but the more thorough you are with your documentation the more accurate your estimated payments will be and the less likely you are to owe more money at the end of the year.

One final tidbit of advice:  if you know that you can’t meet the Wednesday April 15, 2020 filing deadline, prepare a Form 4868 extension and make a payment.  Remember, the IRS and all states will allow extensions until October 15, 2020, but these jurisdictions will his you for interest and possibly late payment penalties for shortages not received by April 15!

We at Mazur & Associates, Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors are here to assist you with your tax return preparation and make it a stress-free endeavor.  We have the knowledge and experience to ensure that you maximize your deductions and credits while minimizing the amount you owe. Call us at (732) 936-1230 and make us your trusted CPAs and Business Advisors!  Together let’s create a custom tax plan that you can feel good about.

Empowering Women in the Workplace


Did you know that companies that actively prioritize gender representation are 15 percent more profitable than the median of their industry? 15 percent is a big number and for those companies that are not prioritizing gender diversity, it’s a lot of extra profit that they are missing out on. The best way to ensure that your business isn’t letting that 15 percent slip by is simple: ensure that women are empowered and represented within your workplace! In honor of Women’s Equality Day celebrated on last August, we at Mazur and Associates would like to address the hot-button issue of female empowerment in the workplace. While we have done research on how to specifically empower women for this post, applying these tips to any group of employees–whether they be classified by a gender, sexuality, or race–is sure to make them feel welcomed, included, valued, and empowered as well.

There are some really simple ways to ensure that your workplace is one that empowers women. First, it is important to be aware of your representation at the higher responsibility levels of your business. Promoting women and allowing them to succeed in positions of leadership and power will not only empower them individually, but will empower the employees whom they supervise by demonstrating that there are opportunities for them to excel as well. Promotion can take place at any level, from team leadership to C-level leadership. Letting women stand at the helm of new projects and initiatives provides a vote of confidence as well, causing a positive ripple effect for women throughout the office. Actions speak louder than words!

We do know that is isn’t possible to promote everyone all the time. When promotion is not an option, we advise you to take the opportunity to focus on training and developing women in your office so that they are ready for a promotion when one comes along. It is crucial that you as an employer or as a senior coworker create and connect women to opportunities for them to improve upon and expand their skillsets. By providing these opportunities for growth, you show your investment in them as employees and in their success within their career. Mentorships are the best way to connect women to these opportunities. The one on one guidance and continued relationships that mentorships provide are invaluable. Creating both in house and outside mentorship programs to pair female employees with trusted senior colleagues within your networks will ensure that your female employees have access to opportunities to learn and expand their success. It would also be helpful to refer women on your team for new projects that you’re aware of. While men are usually chosen for roles based on their potential, women are typically chosen for their prior experience. By leveraging your leadership, you can create opportunities for women to expand their experience and to prove themselves, even if they have not had that type of experience before.

Day to day work experiences cannot be overlooked either. While granting promotions and increasing mentorship and learning opportunities are big picture goals for empowering women, their daily work experience has a significant impact on how they feel about their career within your company. Reviewing what your workplace has in place for women as far as policies on harassment, discrimination and bias is something that you should do often as an employer. Having a plan when offenders are identified is also a large part of ensuring that women feel empowered within the workplace. The corrective measures taken to handle offenders quickly and definitively will show women that they are supported, valued, and included in their work environment. This support will allow them to focus their energy into their work which in turn will help your business overall. This kind of support doesn’t stop once your female employees leave the office, either. It is important to support parents and their need for parental leave. Reviewing your parental leave policies to ensure that parents are given ample time off to make sure their new family duties are taken care of will help reduce the stress of returning to work that often plagues new mothers and hinders their productivity. Consider creating a policy that allows women to work from home or outside of regular business hours to help them balance their duties at home and at work. This flexibility will give them peace of mind and allow them to meet all of their responsibilities to the fullest.

Another great way to empower women in your workplace is to celebrate and acknowledge their strengths. Give praise when it is well deserved to not only empower women but to retain valuable employees. This is especially helpful to other women looking to increase empowerment within their business. Recognizing other women will create a positive feedback loop of growth and empowerment. It is also important to support and amplify women in meetings and discussions on any level from the boardroom to team discussions. Success is about confidence just as much as it is about competence. Having support or at the very least respect in public spaces where women are presenting themselves and their opinions will create more spaces for them to feel comfortable speaking openly on an equal level.

Speaking openly about trials and tribulations as someone in a position of power is also extremely helpful, especially if you are a woman in a position of power. This takes away the illusion for women that in order to be successful they need to do everything right every time. Setting measurable targets and goals can also help with fighting this illusion. When women reach these goals, they will have something concrete to show for their efforts and use that evidence to boost themselves up to the levels that they need for pay raises and promotions. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can help ensure that women are being recognized for their efforts as well as when discussing promotion opportunities.

Lastly, openness about salaries is a requirement if you intend to participate in fair pay structures. The concept that discussing salaries is “unprofessional” or “inappropriate” is a rouse companies use to hide their unfair payment structures. To empower women and to show that you as an employer are treating all employees equally, it is important to be as transparent as possible when it comes to salaries. “Equal pay for equal work” should be more than a slogan for each and every employer!

We here at Mazur and Associates strongly believe that all marginalized groups of employees must be empowered and supported in their workplace. Not only is this movement for empowerment supportive of human dignity, but it can also improve your businesses productivity and profitability! There is no down side to recognizing and implementing these strategies within your organization. As always, at Mazur & Associates, CPAs and Business Advisors, PC, we are here to counsel your team and answer any questions pertaining to your business operations. Please call us at (732) 936-1230 to speak with a CPA business advisor or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!

Safeguarding Your Internet Passwords


In this day and age of technology, just about everyone has some sort of online account that requires a password. Whether it be a streaming site like Netflix, a shopping site like Amazon, or an email provider like Google or Yahoo, they all use accounts with usernames to identify individual users and passwords to protect that user’s personal information stored within the account. Passwords are a necessary protective layer for all users in order to keep their personal information from prying eyes with mal-intent. However, there are many questions that arise for account users regarding security. What makes a good password? How else can I protect my accounts and information? How am I going to remember all of my passwords? Can I use a password more than once if it is secure enough? We have the answers here.

What makes a good password?

Secure passwords are difficult for hackers to guess or figure out, which makes them an excellent layer of protection. It is important to create secure and unique passwords for each of your personal and business accounts. It is recommended that your passwords be long, but not necessarily too complex. Remember that while you want your password to be complex enough to secure your account, you also don’t want it to be too difficult to remember that you lock yourself out of your account as well. It is important to also keep your passwords unique. Try to avoid generic things such as sports teams, pop culture icons or references, and common phrases. It is best if the password is seemingly random. It is common for people to stack their upper and lower case letters and special characters in certain spots in their passwords as well. This trend weakens a password. Most people capitalize letters in the beginning, use lowercase letters in the middle, and special characters or numbers at the end of their passwords. By breaking out of this trend, your password becomes harder to guess for hackers. Spread out the capital and lower-case letters as well as the special characters and numbers in your password to ensure a more secure password. There are tools available to help you create secure passwords that are long and complex enough, yet still easy enough to remember.

If I have a secure password that I can remember, can I use it or multiple accounts?

The short answer is “NO”. It is not a safe practice to repeat passwords on different accounts. No matter how secure your password is, there is always the possibility that someone will be able to figure it out and gain access to your account, and once they have done so, they will be able to access any other account with that password. To mitigate breaches in your accounts, it is important to create one of a kind secure passwords for each individual account that you have, both business and personal.

How often should I change my passwords?

It is common practice for people to routinely change their passwords for an extra layer of security, however research indicates that there is no significant reduction in risk by changing passwords frequently. In fact, it only makes it more difficult for the user to keep track of their passwords. By creating a singular secure password, your accounts will be protected and accessible to you. This is why it is so imperative to create a secure password in the first place.

How can I remember my secure passwords?

If you have a good memory, then it should be easy for you to create secure passwords for each of your accounts and remember them. However, many people do not have a perfect memory and find it difficult to juggle multiple long and complex passwords. There are options! You can purchase or find a free password manager to maintain your passwords for you. There are many free and self-operated programs offered.  Many web browsers like Google Chrome and Fire Fox offer a basic password manager that will store and sometimes even create secure passwords for your accounts that you frequently access. While these are convenient and free, they are very limited in their storage and password generating abilities. For a few dollars a month, you can buy a password manager dedicated solely to the security of your passwords.

What is a password manager?

A password manager is like a vault for your accounts and their individual passwords. Many programs require you to create one secure password for the vault that contains all of your other passwords. This way, you only need to remember the vault password to gain access to the rest of your passwords. Having one password for all of your other passwords is much easier to remember than each individual one, however, this master password must be all the more secure. Some of the top paid password manager programs available are 1Password ($3 a month) and Dashlane ($5 a month). LastPass is a free password manager and KeeppassXC is a free self-operated management system.

How else can I protect my information?

Passwords are a great layer of protection for your account information, but they are not the only thing you can use. A commonly used additional layer of security is authentication. Authentication security comes in many forms from codes sent to your phone or mobile devise via text message, call, or email to security questions with preset answers by the user. These additional layers are often offered by sites to their users and can also be added with extensions/add-ons or settings within the account. These additional layers can be added and adjusted by the user depending on the server the account is on. Another additional yet extremely simple layer of security can be found in the settings of most accounts that require a password.  This feature is often ignored. Usually, there is an option for users to elect for the account server to remember their user name and password on a particular device or website. By selecting this option, the server or device stores your login information so that there is no need to manually enter your information to log in each time. Do NOT select this. If anyone has access to the devices that you frequently use or if you select this option while using a public device, people can easily access your account, perhaps even without your knowledge. To avoid someone gaining access to your account without your knowledge, it is possible for a user to create an alert system for their accounts. An alert system will notify the user via email or text message when a login attempt is being made and will sometimes ask for the user to verify if the attempt was valid. An example of this can be found with Google accounts. Their systems will notify the account user via email if a suspicious attempt was made to access their account from an area that they are not normally in or if a certain number of log in attempts were made incorrectly. Additional layers of protection like this are always recommended to ensure security.

Can I ever not use a password?

Yes and no. Strides have been made towards developing password-less accounts, but there are no current options available for a truly password-less account. Examples of these strides are biometrics or SMS operated accounts. Biometric accounts use things like fingerprints or facial recognition software to verify a user. Day to day examples of biometric accounts are the latest iPhones and Android models. However, these devises still require a PIN number or password to access the phone if the biometric software fails to recognize the user. SMS operated accounts are accounts that use the user’s phone number as a user name and instead of a set password, the system sends a generated code to the mobile devise via SMS to gain access to the account. Though there is no set password to remember, there is still a code required. This can be not only a hassle but also unsafe. It is easy enough for an unauthorized user to gain access to a designated mobile device and log in using the verification code sent to it. There are also physical keys being used rather than passwords to gain access to online accounts. Keys and codes are stored in devices like USBs, NFCs, and even over Bluetooth that can be used to log into accounts by connecting or plugging in the key. None of these options truly replace passwords, however, as they all require additional keys or security measures to enter into accounts. For the near future, there will always be a password for accounts somewhere, even in the background, for security purposes.

At Mazur & Associates, Certified Public Accountants and Business Advisors, we understand the importance of internet security.  Like you or your Company, our firm has multiple business accounts, client accounts, and personal accounts that must be kept secure with passwords and other levels of security. If you have any other questions or need more details on this subject, please call us at (732) 936-1230 to schedule a meeting or telephone conference. We are here to help! Safeguarding your personal information should be a top priority and by working with our firm and other experts you can prevent your personal and business accounts from falling victim to hackers.