3 high impacts business owners should do today!

Delta Airlines.  Harley Davidson.  Starbucks.  Hewlett Packard.  Household names in wildly different fields, but each with the same key to success – managing indirect costs.


Business is built on tension between driving revenue and improving efficiency.  The systems underlying financial success tend to be hidden, sometimes dull, often tedious…and critical.  However, there’s some good news – small, simple tweaks can impact the overall financial health of your business.


Just like a household budget, start with cost reduction.  Think about your last balance statement.  Odds are, credit card transactions now make up the majority of your sales, and you’re by no means alone.  On average, businesses in the U.S. spend between 2%-5% of their annual revenue on credit card processing fees, and this doesn’t account for the added costs of machine rentals, contracts, and hidden fees. Most businesses are overpaying on transaction fees, and can partner with specialized organizations to negotiate lower rates on multiple charges without changing processors.  Imagine the savings!


Now, let’s talk cost segregation. Chances are you’ve probably heard about those who use it successfully – in a nutshell, it’s accelerated depreciation to get enhanced tax breaks for your business, allowing you (as a franchise owner) to benefit from bigger tax write offs, sooner.


Engineered cost segregation is a specialized engineered study, that seeks to accelerate depreciation of each building component for both an owned new build  or renovation or a build out or renovation for a leased property.  For example each loses value at a different rate; cost segregation allows you to claim deductions based on these accelerated depreciation schedule vs straight line depreciations schedule and reduce your tax burden.


Last but not least is hiring incentives.  Most employers know the basic math – the more employees hired, the bigger the tax burden.  BUT WAIT – there’s an alternative to that inevitable equation – the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, or WOTC for short.  Maybe only 1/3 of companies use WOTC, but claim $1B in savings each year because of it – in short, WOTC rewards employers for hiring the right people!


Employers who hire WOTC qualified candidates (for example, a veteran, a returning citizen, or a person with cognitive impairments, to name a few) can receive between $2,000-$9,600 in tax credits per employee, with no limit on how many employees they can hire.  Plus, there’s a simple, free calculator online to help find all the tax breaks you might be missing.  Human resources becomes a profit center, your business gets more quality candidates, and our entire community grows.


At the end of the day, the health of your business is the health of your bottom line.   Now is the time to build a plan for the year ahead; check your credits, use these resources, and you’ll be well on the way to great success.


Jim Stowe runs FreshHR , a Macomb Township Michigan consulting organization helping coach companies get better HR systems, and vendors, saving money in unexpected areas.  Jim has an extensive background in HR services including 15 years at ADP among others and holds a Master’s Degree in International Business from Central Michigan University.


Click here for more about cost segregation:  Click to estimate your benefit


Click here to read more about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC): http://myfreshhr.com/business-tax-reductions/new-hire-tax-credits/


Click here to learn more about Fresh HR & how we can help your business: http://myfreshhr.com/hr-services/

Can you pass up $10,000 per hour?

Can you you pass up $10,000 per hour?  As I’ve worked with many companies over the years I know that managing their business can be challenging. I was thinking thru the math of one client who couldn’t find the time to take advantage of work opportunity tax credits. She hired a lot of hourly employees and in her industry about 1 out of 2 generally qualify for employer tax credits  at an average of $2,400 each.

So I did the math on the 3 steps it takes to manage the process to get the credits.

  1.  It takes less than one minute to send the screening link to applicants prior to their interview,
  2.  Once the decision to hire is make, it takes another minute to log in and convert the applicant to “hired” along with the hire date
  3. She just needs to update payroll information to verify that the employee hours worked, maybe 5 minutes

So for 7 minutes work, to get $1,200 (1 of 2 qualify for $2400) is just over $10,000 an hour!  Can you pass up $10,000 an hour?

#wotc #payroll

Little known job seeker strategy

As a job seeker you can really benefit from providing a tax credit to the potential employer. They want to fill a position with the best candidate as quickly and cost effectively as possible. One way to get a leg up on the competition for the job is to present you (your resume) with a special bonus for the employer. In some cases the employer may not even know about what you are giving them until you provide them with a certificate that you are pre-qualified for tax credits that the employer will receive for hiring you. Not all employers know about the credits. Employers love these credits because it reduces their tax bill to Uncle Sam.

The Financial Meltdown in the mid 2000’s brought about a renewed focus on Job Creation. With this we saw massive expansion of Federal Tax Incentives for creating, and maintaining jobs. This was done through the Small Business Jobs Act, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Numerous Job Creation and Protection Acts, and most notable the PATH Act signed by President Obama for effective changes in 2016 through 2022.

The pattern in the last decade is that with the passing of each Act, more and more companies are eligible for Employee based Tax Incentives that broaden not only WOTC itself, but hundreds of programs that surround it.

Virtually any business can now benefit from Employer Based Tax Incentives because even candidates that don’t qualify for WOTC often qualify for other tax incentives.
rom the 1940’s through the 1990’s:

Although many of these programs started out as programs specifically designed for Veterans, they were expanded in the 80’s and 90’s to include broader groups such as TANF Recipients, SNAP (Food Stamp) Recipients, Residents living in Empowerment Zones or Rural Renewal Counties), Employees receiving certain types of vocation training, Ex-Felons, Supplemental Security Income Recipients, Summer Youth Employees, and Seasonal Workers.
Some credits are designed specifically for hiring 18-24 year olds, and the largest credits are for hiring Veterans.

Knowing this information and getting pre-screened for free at


will give your resume a “spark” with cool technology, social media integration and likely a certificate to present to employers either electronically or hard copy. Employers generally go over dozens of resumes to hire one person. Stand out with cool technology that integrates your resume with social media sites and Indeed.

This is a great way to set yourself apart from others and bring a “gift” to the interview. #wotc #jobs

Bad news from your CPA?

Bad news from your CPA? Sure the tax reform seemed great until your CPA informed you of most the past tax deductions you took are gone! Work Opportunity Tax Credits are easy and can be a game changer, calculate yours now, 10’s of Thousands  is not unusual.http://ow.ly/82kA30ivTo3

“He is still trying to figure out why his sister has 2 brothers and he only has 1”

“He’s trying to figure out why his sister has two brothers but he only has one.”

That was how a senior sales rep on my team described a new sales guy’s knowledge after finishing a 4 week PEO sales training class a number of years ago. PEO or Professional Employee Organizations are a comprehensive Human Resources out sourcing provider and can be complex to understand. Just consider how complex this may seem to a business owner who really wants to focus on making widgets and not HR and compliance. click for an overview

#peo, #payroll, #HR #,

WOTC Tax credits

Hiring Veterans gets you more than built in leadership and organizational skills. They can come with some great tax credits thanks to Uncle Sam.  Veterans tax credits are just a small part of the nearly 100 possible credits commonly called WOTC, or Work Opportunity Tax Credits. FreshHR is helping clients get some serious credits without the paperwork hassles. Calculate your potential credits here.

Payroll lessons from Goldilocks

What Goldilocks and the Three Bears might tell you about your team’s Human Resources Department?

Just as Goldilocks was unsure of various chairs, beds and porridges. You may have put the same trial and error into the model, products, technologies, and vendors that you have selected in for your HR department.

Sure the next time you meet a potential vendor who has the “latest and greatest” pitch you may ask yourself …

What temperature do I like my porridge? Or how robust to I like my payroll technology?

How hard or soft do I like my bed or how complicated or simple do I like my benefits technology?

And what is a comfortable  chair to  me or the best Benefits Broker for my needs?

FreshHR helps organizations understand what they have today and what could more fully help them reach their goals by choosing the best “porridge”. #payroll #HR #peo #payroll #

HR misunderstanding of Benefits Summary Plan Description

Many organizations use a health agent who is still just delivering health quotes and answering employee questions and some basic service functions. It is at this level of vendor relationship that compliance becomes reactive instead of proactive.


One commonly missed item is the Summary Plan Description of commonly known as SPD. Even licensed agents are confused about this and think of this as the same as a “Benefits at a Glance” or BAG document that many health carriers provide, it is not the same. The Summary Benefits Coverage or SBC is yet another document that employers and even agents often confuse with a SPD. Neither of these will meet the ERISA compliance needs and may result in fines of up to $1000 per day.
The good news for employers is that solutions to providing an SPD is not expensive or particularly hard to obtain. Fresh HR can point you to a service where employers can provide these for under a $100 and only have to answer 20 questions.