Contractor Community

December 2018

 

ASA Names Government Relations Expert Mike Oscar as Chief Advocacy Officer

ASA has named Mike Oscar, managing partner, Gray & Oscar, LLC, a government relations consulting firm with offices in Alexandria, Va., and Philadelphia, Pa., as its Chief Advocacy Officer, effective Dec. 5. Oscar will lead ASA’s government and industry advocacy programs, including federal legislation, government regulations, and industry collaboration and coalitions. He will also work closely with ASA chapters to establish and maintain effective grassroots advocacy programs.

“The ASA Search Committee—composed of ASA Executive Committee members—conducted an exhaustive, six-month search for the right person to direct the Association’s advocacy initiatives into the future,” said 2018-19 ASA President Courtney Little, president and general counsel, ACE Glass Construction, Little Rock, Ark. “Certainly, Oscar has big shoes to fill, and the ASA Executive Officers and Board of Directors are confident that Oscar and his team will successfully execute our strategic legislative action plan and accomplish our advocacy goals, including cultivating and establishing new industry alliances.”

Oscar has nearly 20 years of experience in government affairs and 12 years of service on Congressional staff. During his tenure on Capitol Hill, Oscar worked in both Republican and Democratic offices in the U.S. House and Senate, giving him rare institutional knowledge of both chambers and caucuses. His bipartisan experience in Congress has equipped him with a unique set of contacts and networks to access on behalf of ASA. In both public and private practice, Oscar has been deeply involved in key construction subcontractor issues, including prompt payment, the mechanic’s lien law, government procurement, funding for apprenticeship training programs, public-private partnerships, and worker misclassification. His regulatory experience spans multiple federal and state agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (lead paint remediation), International Trade Commission (tariff), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (workforce safety and silica and beryllium exposure limits), and the U.S. Department of Labor (bid solicitations, worker misclassification, overtime regulations and National Labor Relations Board rulings), Commerce (economic development), and Agriculture (risk management and international trade). As a representative for a national construction trade association, Oscar successfully spearheaded an effort to secure a U.S. Court of International Trade decision regarding aluminum extrusions for curtainwall units.

At Gray & Oscar, Oscar has represented major construction trade associations for over a decade. The team at Gray & Oscar includes government relations experts with broad and extensive background in local, state and federal government, as well as judicial and executive branch and political and non-profit campaign experience.

Oscar has a successful track-record on implementing ASA priorities at the state level. In Pennsylvania, Oscar was instrumental in developing a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to implement the state’s prompt pay law, as well as an update to the mechanic’s lien law. The Pennsylvania Prompt Pay law was enacted under divided government with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

“It’s truly an exciting time for ASA as we chart a new path and look to the future,” said ASA Chief Operating Officer Richard Bright. “We now have an entire team devoted not only to our advocacy and industry initiatives, but also our growing Chapter Network. Oscar and his team will be a tremendous resource and advocacy coach for our 30-plus chapters across the country and will work closely with our chapters to establish and maintain effective grassroots advocacy programs.”

 

ASA Taps Verbalocity Founder Clint Swindall as SUBExcel 2019 Keynote Speaker

ASA has selected Verbalocity founder Clint Swindall as its keynote speaker for SUBExcel 2019 in Nashville. Swindall will share his inspiring and educational message of employee engagement in the opening general session, “The Power of Personal Engagement—Our Daily Contribution to a Culture of Employee Engagement,” from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

SUBExcel 2019, themed “Technology—for Millennials to Dinosaurs,” will take place March 6-9, 2019, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Register online, make your hotel reservations, explore the program, and read about the speakers at www.subexcel.com. The early-bird deadline ends Feb. 1, 2019, and the hotel cutoff date is Feb. 6.

The engagement of employees continues to be a top priority for business leaders—and for good reason, Swindall says. Research indicates a highly engaged workforce can increase productivity, profitability, and innovation, while reducing costs associated with attracting and retaining new employees. In a nutshell, engaged employees are good for business, Swindall explains. With research also showing that less than one-third of employees are truly engaged, an ongoing effort must be made to build a culture to overcome employee disengagement. “While we work to engage employees, we must first consider our own level of engagement,” he says. “Every day we walk through the doors of our office we are either adding to or taking away from the culture of the organization. There is no middle ground. Our personal engagement is our daily contribution to a culture of employee engagement.”

In his keynote presentation, Swindall will take a look at personal engagement and the impact it has on the engagement of those around us. “Often our biggest obstacle to building a strong culture of employee engagement is standing in our shoes,” he says. Swindall will identify some simple steps to focus on personal leadership and discuss how small adjustments can positively impact the engagement of those around us.

Swindall is the president and CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. These solutions include leadership development programs, training, speaking and general consulting. The SUBExcel 2019 keynote speaker is sponsored by Commerce Bank.

 

Free Jan. 8, 2019, ASA Webinar Examines Work-In-Progress Reporting

Inaccurate, overly optimistic or overly conservative WIP reporting can have negative repercussions, including tax penalties, added costs for lines of credit, increased bonding rates, and unpleasant surprises to a contractor’s bottom line. In the Jan. 8, 2019, ASA webinar, “Work-In-Progress Reporting,” presenter Stephen Blankenship, Ennis Electric, Manassas, Va., will discuss challenges and techniques for obtaining high quality data from operations personnel for use in decision-making by all the parties that have a financial stake in the success of the company. This webinar will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. Registration is complimentary. Register online directly at GoToWebinar.

 

Some S Corporations May Want to Convert to C Corporations, IRS Says

After last year’s tax reform legislation, some S corporations may choose to revoke their S election to be a C corporation because of the new, flat 21 percent C corporation tax rate, the Internal Revenue Service said in a Nov. 20 “Tax Tip.” Before taking any action, S corporations should consult their tax advisors.

S Corporations and C Corporations are among the types of business structures. A C corporation is taxed on its earnings, and then the shareholder is taxed when earnings are distributed as dividends. S corporations elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes. Shareholders of S corporations report the pass-through of income and losses on their personal tax returns and are assessed tax at their individual income tax rates. This allows S corporations to avoid double taxation on the corporate income. S corporations are responsible for tax on certain built-in gains and passive income at the entity level. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes two changes that affect a corporation’s revocation of an S election to be a C corporation:

  • The corporation should report net adjustments attributable to the revocation over six years. For more information see Revenue Procedure 2018-44.
  • Distributions of cash following the post-termination transition period may be treated as coming out of the corporation’s accumulated adjustments account and accumulated earnings and profits proportionally resulting in part of the distributions being non-dividend distributions from the C corporation. The non-dividend distributions may not be subject to tax at the shareholder level if the shareholder has sufficient stock basis. Additional guidance will be coming.

These law changes only apply to a C corporation that:

  • Was an S corporation on Dec. 21, 2017,
  • Revokes its S corporation election after Dec. 21, 2017, but before Dec. 22, 2019, and
  • Has the same owners of stock in identical proportions on the date of revocation and on Dec. 22, 2017.

For more information, see the Corporate Methods of Accounting topic on the Tax Reform – Businesses page.

 

Interest Rates Increase for the First Quarter of 2019

The Internal Revenue Service announced that interest rates will increase for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1, 2019.  The rates will be:

  • 6 percent for overpayments [5 percent in the case of a corporation];
  • 3.5 percent for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000;
  • 6 percent for underpayments; and
  • 8 percent for large corporate underpayments.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis.  For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points. Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

The interest rates are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during October 2018 to take effect Nov. 1, 2018, based on daily compounding. Revenue Ruling 2018-32, announcing the rates of interest will appear in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2018-51, dated Dec. 17, 2018.

 

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