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Your Responsibilities for W-4 Collection

Posted Friday, February 3, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Its a new year and around the time your employees want to adjust their W-4s. Here’s some advice from PrintNorthwest to make sure your employees are filling out their W-4s correctly.

Source: PayNorthwest Newsletter, January 31, 2017

Employees don’t always take the task of filling out their W-4 forms seriously. They may write “exempt” on the withholding portion of the form, or even claim a false high number of withholding allowances to ensure that no federal or state tax is withheld.

When Employees Ask Your Advice

The W-4 form itself offers some guidance. Here are some questions to help the employee determine if he or she can legitimately claim to be exempt from withholding:

  1. Did the employee have a tax liability in the previous year? If the employee received a refund of all federal income tax paid (or had a right to a refund), he or she may be able to claim exempt, depending on the answer to the next question.

  2. Does the employee expect to have a tax liability this year? To determine the answer, ask these questions:

    • a. Can the employee be claimed on someone else’s income tax return this year (such as a parent)?
    • b. Will the employee’s income for 2017 exceed $1,050 and include more than $350 in unearned income (such as interest or dividends)? If the answers to both a and b are yes, the employee may have a tax liability for the year, and cannot claim to be exempt from withholding.

In order to legitimately claim to be exempt, the employee must be able to state that he or she had no tax liability last year, and does not expect to have a tax liability this year.

Important: An “exempt” W-4 is only valid for one year and expires in February of the following year. If your payroll includes employees who claim to be exempt, require them to fill out new W-4 forms annually.

DID YOU KNOW? In many cases, your employees can complete their W-4 forms directly in Lumina, your current payroll system. You reduce paper, yet can also access the information at any time. Please check with your Client Service Representative for more information on this great time-saver.

Questionable W-4s

The IRS classifies “questionable” W-4 forms as those which claim more than 10 withholding allowances, or claim to be exempt from withholding when the individual’s taxable wages would normally exceed $200 per week. Several years ago, when employees submitted questionable W-4s, employers were required to submit the forms to the IRS for possible review by the agency.

At one time (before April of 2005) there was an automatic requirement to send these forms to the IRS. W-4 forms are still subject to review by the IRS. Current procedure: Based on other available information, the IRS may determine that an employee has authorized inadequate withholding and may request the employer send the questionable W-4. If an employee is found to have a serious under-withholding problem, the IRS will instruct the employer to withhold at a more appropriate rate.

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IRS Sets 2017 Mileage Rates

Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

From PPI Partners FalcoSult LLC

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

As of Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016.
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Source: Hutchinson Leader

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SGP Sets Ambitious Environmental and Sustainability Goals for the Printing Industry

Posted Monday, January 30, 2017 by Jules VanSant.

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Fairfax, VA - The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), the leading authority in sustainable printing certifications for print manufacturers, has elected a new board of directors and hired Brittany Sutphin as Executive Director to help the organization achieve an ambitious set of objectives for 2017. SGP anticipates certifying more than 50 new facilities this year, doubling the number of certified sustainable printers in the United States and Canada and continuing the Partnership’s drive toward a fully sustainable future for the industry.

Supported by patrons including 3M, International Paper, and Hewlett-Packard, SGP is recognized as a global leader in eco-friendly innovation and best practices for the printing industry. In addition to certifying printers who comply with rigorous environmental best practices, the organization conducts conferences, seminars, academic studies, and sharing sessions to help print manufacturers and print buyers create sustainable supply chains. The newly elected board is made up of print professionals from all backgrounds, including:

  • Technical Committee Chair Marci Kinter, SGIA
  • Secretary Jodi Sawyer, FLEXcon
  • Treasurer Doreen Monteleone, FTA
  • SGP Foundation Chair, Jonathan Graham, TE Connectivity
  • Chair Lynn Krinsky, Stella Color (PPI MEMBER)
  • And 14 other professionals from respected corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions

At the helm is Brittany Sutphin, Executive Director. Brittany launched her career in the printing industry five years ago at the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), where she assisted printing facilities with identifying and implementing sustainable best practices. In 2014, Brittany began volunteering with SGP as the Program Manager and participating on SGP’s Technical and Marketing Committees. With its new board and Executive Director, SGP is committed to aggressive goals this year. At its December meeting, the Board resolved to double the number of facilities it certifies and increase engagement with suppliers, retail brands, and other organizations that commit to working with certified facilities to create a sustainable printing supply chain. While each print facility is unique, certification will help these 50 new printers achieve similar environmental impact of existing SGP certified facilities. Based on the Board Report of the SGP Certified Facility Survey, certified facilities could get similar environmental impact. If SGP succeeds in reaching these goals, the impact on the environment will be significant. Currently, certified facilities benefit the environment in the following ways:

  • 62% of certified facilities divert a higher volume of materials from landfills and incineration by increasing recycling.
  • 62% of certified facilities significantly reduce VOC emissions.
  • 52% of certified facilities report reduced energy consumption, lowering operating costs and waste.“Our 2017 objectives are challenging,” says Sutphin. “We are committed to creating a more sustainable supply chain for print buyers and helping print facilities grow by becoming certified sustainable printers.”

Print facilities interested in eliminating waste, reducing energy consumption, transitioning to sustainable materials, and winning new business from organizations that require sustainable printing practices from their suppliers should visit www.sgppartnership.org/certification/ to learn more about becoming SGP certified in 2017. To learn more about working with SGP as a patron or Brand Leader, please contact Brittany Sutphin directly at brittany@sgppartnership.org or 703.359.1376.

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Sales Tips with Leslie

Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2016 by Leslie Groene.

Sales Tips With Leslie: Qualities of a Consummate Sales Professional

Years ago I put together a list of qualities that I thought made up the consummate sales leader and they still hold up in today’s competitive marketplace.

1. Desire
a.) You have to want it
b.) Passion for your industry
c.) Ambition to succeed

2. Good Mentors
a.) People to emulate
b.) Successful leaders
c.) People to tell you the truth
d.) Surround yourself with winners

3. Give back
a.) Skill to Adapt

b.) Learn from success
c.) Learn from failure
d.) Ability and desire to accept and deal with change
e.) Understand and Embrace your weaknesses
f.) Grow and mature in the process

4. Team Player
a.) Care about the people that you work with
b.) Care about your clients
c.) Say Thank You! OFTEN!
d.)Be proud of your company

5. Focused
a.) Stay focused on the goal … your goals
b.) Get re-focused when hurdles come
c.) Keep a positive attitude

6. Persistence
a.) Stay in the game
b.) Keep working on your prospects
c.) Keep prospecting
d.) Use positive things/people to get you to the next place
e.) Don’t give up

7. Believe in Yourself
a.) Fake it at first if you have to
b.) Celebrate wins
c.) Use your strengths
d.) No negative talk

8. Desire is Imperative to Your Success!
a.) It all comes down to desire
b.) This can help us overcome all obstacles

If you’d like to improve your sales and learn hands on from Leslie, sign up for her Power Selling Program. For the top management of a commercial print service provider that wants to increase sales, the Power Selling Program is a turnkey training package, combining online classes, printed content and live coaching sessions that benefit the company through accelerated and effective on-boarding of new sales professionals and increasing the results of existing sales staff. This is a comprehensive package, minimizing lost sales time and offering live and tailored coaching and consulting by a printing industry veteran, Leslie Groene.

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Financial Momentum- Know (and Hit) Your Numbers!

Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2016 by Bob Lindgren.

One of the key numbers in your firm is the “hit ratio” - the percentage of quotes that turn into orders. It’s obvious that if it’s 20 percent, your pricing system is out of sync with reality and a lot of money is being wasted giving quotes to prospects who won’t buy.

On the other hand, is there a concern that if it’s high, say 60 percent, that your prices may be too low? First of all, if your system were perfect (it knew with certainty the maximum amount that a client would pay) your hit ratio would be 100 percent!

Consider also that every job sold almost certainly generates a contribution to overhead and gets you closer to profit for the month. The reality is that busy shops are profitable and slow ones aren’t. Consider also, that the dollars spent to produce a job (paper, buy-outs, factory wages, commissions) average around 60 percent of sales. Would you be better off selling a $1,000 job for $900 and getting a $300 contribution to overhead or not selling it and getting nothing?

Bob Lindgren is the President and CEO of Printing Industries Association of Southern California, the largest affiliate of PIA. Mr. Lindgren has more than 40 years of experience in the industry and is an expert in the area of print finance.

Want to get an objective, industry specific handle on the economics of your business? Consider our new Financial Performance Assessment in partnership with PIA. Learn (and earn) more today! Information at http://www.printing.org/fpa

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