What a Wonderful Vacation!

8 08 2018

Everyone loves a vacation.  Some are more special or unique than others.  That would certainly describe the most recent vacation taken by RBSK’s own Bob Blankman along with his wife Carol and daughters, Lisa and Megan.  They traveled to Italy for a very special purpose.

They left Indiana on June 30th arriving in Rome on July 1st.  The first part of the trip was devoted to excursions and sightseeing trips.  While in Rome, they visited the Catacombs, the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Forum, the Spanish steps and the Trevi Fountain.  A side trip to Assisi was also included.

Then it was off to Tuscany for a wine tasting lunch on July 4th.  From there, they visited Sienna before traveling to Florence.  One of the highlights of the stay in Florence was touring galleries which included the original statue of David by Michelangelo.

Arriving in Florence was the ultimate goal of the trip.  For you see, Bob’s wife Carol is a two-time breast cancer survivor.  Almost 3 years ago she joined the Indy SurviveOars Dragon Boat Racing Team whose home is located at Geist Reservoir in Indianapolis.  This team traveled to Florence, Italy for an international festival for breast cancer survivors hosted by the International Breast Cancer Paddler’s Commission (IBCPC) on July 6th through July 8th.

The IBCPC Dragon Boat Festival is held every four years and is a non-competitive event geared toward teams of breast cancer survivors using dragon boat activities as post-operative rehabilitation.  Canadian sports medicine doctor Don McKenzie introduced dragon boat paddling as a form of rehabilitation after surgery about 20 years ago.  The IBCPC has a total of 129 teams from 17 countries spanning every continent.

The festival was held at Cascine Park, which is the largest public park in Florence and dates back to the 16th century.  The races took place on the Arno River which runs through the outskirts of the park.

sDSCN0878

Following a couple of practice sessions and similar to the Olympics, the festivities began the evening of July 6th with a parade of nations through the streets of Florence.  The Blankman family can be seen wearing their parade shirts in the picture above.  A woman from each country carried their nation’s flag followed by the teams participating in the festival from that country.  Each team carried a banner indicating who they were.  A woman from the Indy SurviveOars group had the honor of carrying the American flag followed by 42 teams from the United States.  She was the youngest woman from the United States participating in the festival having survived breast cancer twice at the age of 29.  Pictured below are the Indy SurviveOars participating in the parade.

sDSCN0949

The dragon boat races then took place on July 7th and 8th.  Dragon boats are over 40 feet long propelled by a coordinated crew of 20-22 paddlers, a drummer who keeps the pace, and a steerer who guides the craft.  There were enough women who made the trip to Italy for the Indy SurviveOars to field one full team but not enough for two teams.  So, some of the women were part of “composite” teams joining other women from other states or countries to form a full team for the races.  The Indy SurviveOars were a part of 3 “composite” teams joining other women from New York, Vermont and Australia.  Carol and 4 other Indy SurviveOars women joined a team from New York for their races.  Thus, there were 4 teams that included women from the Indy SurviveOars.

It really didn’t matter to the women which team they were on.  Their motto is “One Team, One Blade” with the blade representing the paddle.  This basically means that it doesn’t matter which boat you are in or where you are, we are all in this together.

sRSCN1032

Each race consisted of 5 boats racing against each other in a heat.  Carol Blankman (second from the back on the left) can be seen in the picture above paddling with her team in one of the heats.  Each team raced twice each day.  Although this was a non-competitive event, as mentioned previously, once the women were in their boats and racing in their heats, it was very competitive.  Each woman in each boat gave their best effort to not only win their heat, but to also have the best overall time for the two days of racing.  The team consisting of all women from Indy SurviveOars finished 30th out of approximately 125 teams, 11th out of 42 US teams and 2nd among US Midwest teams.  This was their best showing in any of the 3 such festivals in which they have participated.  The picture below shows the view as the boats approach the finish line.

sDSCN1124

The most beautiful and meaningful part of the festival occurred at the end of the second day of the races.  Every dragon boat racing event, including festivals, ends with a rose ceremony.  All the boats are linked together in the water, and each woman on the boats holds a rose while a brief talk is given or a short prayer is being said.  Then the roses are tossed in the water to commemorate and remember those women who have lost their battle with breast cancer or have had a reoccurrence, as well as all of those who have had the disease.

sDSCN1149

For this ceremony at the festival, music was also playing in the background.  All 4,000 women in attendance wore the same pink T-shirts for the ceremony.  The women who were standing on the side of the river and not in the boats also tossed roses in the water.  It was a very touching and beautiful way to end the festival.

sDSCN1136

What a wonderful vacation!!!

For anyone who may be interested in seeing dragon boat racing in person, the White River Alliance in Indianapolis is sponsoring an inaugural White River Dragon Boat Race on Saturday, September 29th.  The White River Races will begin at 8:30a.m. and should end mid-afternoon.  We hope to see you there.

 

 





Free HRA Event – June 28th

22 06 2017

deadline

A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) commonly referred to as a health reimbursement account, is an IRS-approved, employer-funded, tax-advantaged employer health benefit plan that reimburses employees for out-of-pocket medical expenses and individual health insurance premiums.

Group plans don’t always fit small businesses. We have a better solution.

find out more

Join us, and our partners, TASC, on June 28th for an HRA Event. Learn more about how these plans could save you money on your taxes.

 

Register today!

 

Event to Take Place:

Wed, June 28, 2017

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT

 

RBSK Partners PC

224 N Broadway Street

Greensburg, IN 47240

 





RBSK partners with Chamber for “Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Final Rule” Seminar

26 10 2016

Thursday, October 20th, RBSK Partners PC had the pleasure of partnering with the Greensburg Decatur County Chamber of Commerce to host a presentation on the “Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime Final Rule” to more than 30 local Chamber members.


Mr. Steve Garrett, Senior Investigator with the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, served as our presenter. Mr. Garrett is currently assigned a temporary duty station in the Indianapolis District Office with 20+ years with the US Department of Labor. Mr. Garrett delivered an informative presentation allowing for questions to be answered throughout. He also allowed for more personal one-on-one questions following the presentation.


A big thank you to the Decatur County Schools Administration for the use of their facilities. And a big shout out to Corner Store Deli & Catering for providing the lunch and snacks during the event.

 





Tressler Receives Health Care Reform Certification

30 06 2016

RBSK Partners is pleased to announce that Lisa Tressler, CPA, a partner at RBSK, recently received a Health Care Reform Certification, by successfully completing nearly 30 hours of continuing professional education focused solely on the Affordable Care Act.

The program provides in-depth knowledge and helps practitioners develop expertise related to the legislative and tax implications of health care reform. This program arms practitioners with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure client compliance with health care reform legislation.

The passage of ACA has created new mandates for individuals and businesses. Tax practitioners face an obligation to provide their clients with information and advice on complying with the new mandates.

Applicable large employers are now required to offer affordable health coverage that provides minimum value to their full-time employees and their dependents. They need to know how to calculate which employees are included in their employee count, the options for the state exchanges, and the penalties that are assessed if they do not comply.  All of this information, including how to fill out the related tax forms, is fully covered by the Checkpoint Learning Health Care Reform Certificate Program.

“2015 was a key year for health care reform, with regulations taking effect for the first time and requiring strict attention from both businesses and individuals,” said Ken Koskay, CPA, CFP, and senior vice president of learning solutions with the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. “Participants in this certificate program are better suited to serve clients that need assistance with the Affordable Care Act.”

This certification provides practitioners with the expertise necessary to provide guidance to their clients on the Affordable Care Act, including employer and individual mandates, the net investment income tax, reporting requirements, understanding compliance, completion of forms and calculations, and health insurance marketplaces. It prepares professionals to consult with clients on health care reform issues – both tax and non-tax.

If you need assistance with any of the complexities introduced by the ACA, please call Lisa at 812-222-1510, or toll free at 800-676-7567.

LisaSM





Work Opportunity Tax Credit

25 05 2016

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is available for wages paid by employers who hire individuals from certain targeted groups of hard-to-employ individuals. The targeted groups are:

  1. Qualified members of the families receiving assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program,
  2. Qualified veterans,
  3. Qualified ex-felons,
  4. Designated community residents,
  5. Vocational rehabilitation referrals,
  6. Qualified summer youth employees,
  7. Qualified members of families in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP),
  8. Qualified Supplemental Security Income recipients,
  9. Long-term family assistance recipients, and
  10. Beginning January 1, 2016, long-term unemployed individuals.

An employer must obtain certification that an individual is a member of a targeted group before the employer may claim the credit. An eligible employer must file IRS Form 8850 along with ETA Form 9061 with their respective state workforce agency within 28 days after the eligible worker begins work.

For each group listed above, there are specific criteria that must be met in order to be certified as a member of that targeted group. The second page of the instructions to Form 8850 include these criteria. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8850.pdf

Recently enacted legislation extends the time for employers to submit these forms for various targeted groups who began working during various time periods as follows:

  1. An employer who hired or hires a member of a targeted group other than qualified long-term unemployment recipients (groups 1 through 9 above) and who began or begins work between January 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016 has until June 29, 2016 to file Form 8850 with their state workforce agency.
  2. An employer who hired or hires an individual who is a long-term unemployment recipient (group 10 above) who began or begins work between January 1, 2016 and May 31, 2016 has until June 29, 2016 to file Form 8850 with their state workforce agency.
  3. An employer who hires a member of any of the targeted groups who begins work after June 1, 2016 is not eligible for the transition relief and must file Form 8850 with their state workforce agency within 28 days after the eligible worker begins work.

 

If you have any questions concerning the WOTC, or if you feel that you may have an employee who qualifies for the credit especially during the transition relief period, we encourage you to give us a call.





End of Tax Season Note from RBSK

21 04 2016

April 18th has arrived!  RBSK would like to take a minute to thank our colleagues, clients and friends for allowing us the opportunity to serve your needs.

We would also like to let everyone know that our offices will be closed Friday, April 22nd to allow our staff a well-deserved break.  We will be back in the office bright and early Monday morning.

Break





Did you say RBSK IT Road Show?

27 01 2016

Yes, that is what we have taken to calling our group of individuals in the IT Department here at RBSK Partners, PC. Ok, so it is really just a fun name we have given ourselves.  Our IT Department is actually made up of four individuals.  Three IT Consultants: Andy Koetter, Barry Bailey & Brian McReynolds; and our IT Administrative Assistant: (Me) Jennifer Gunter.

The members of our IT Department have been making appearances all month. We began our “Road Show” by speaking at the Optimist Club Breakfast on January 7th.  Our next engagement was at the Rotary Club Luncheon Meeting on January 18th.  Our most recent appearance was on the WTRE Chamber Chat January 25th.

We are having a great time meeting new people and getting the chance to inform everyone that we at RBSK Partners do more than the typical Accounting firm. You might be surprised to know that we offer computer services as well.  Our IT Department can help with all your computer needs.

During our Road Show we have had a few questions that have been asked frequently. People want to know how long your computer should last.  Obviously not all PC’s are the same.  As a general rule of thumb, a PC used in the business world should be replaced after 4 or 5 years.  Yes, they may still be running at that time, but probably not at their top speed or as well as they once did.  The fact of the matter is that technology changes and the needs of the software running on your PC requires more resources than they used to.

RBSK IT Road Show 2Another question we were asked on our Road Show was what we thought of Windows 10. With the release of Windows 10, we see good things.  The main thing you want to think about when considering upgrading to Windows 10 is to be sure the software you use for your business is compatible.  Software companies are not always on the cutting edge as you would think.  If the software you use is compatible, you are probably safe to move up.  Microsoft brought back a lot of the look and feel of Windows 7 that we like and some of the new features offered by Windows 8 that went over well.  As with any Windows upgrade there is a bit of a learning curve.  Overall, we like it.  We would caution you to be sure to take a look at the privacy settings while upgrading to Windows 10.  With the introduction of Cortana, Windows is asking for more approval to monitor how you use your PC to better assist you.  You do have the option to restrict that monitoring.  We recommend restricting that information.

We were also asked about backups and the cloud. There was a movie preview not long ago where the couple are discussing “The Cloud”.   One of them says “Nobody understands the cloud.  It’s a mystery.”  Well, that about sums it up for most of us.  We all know it is important to back up our data.  But do we want it in the illusive cloud?  The answer to that is “Yes”!  Backing up to the cloud is actually a good thing.  If you are running a business, the safest way to be sure your business can stay up and running in the case of a disaster is to backup to the cloud.  Backing up to the cloud means you are saving your data to another location.  So if your building blows away, you can still access your data.  Your building may be gone, but not your business.  You can breathe a little easier knowing that your data is not just out there in La La Land.  The backup software companies actually go to great lengths to keep your data safe by encrypting it so that no one can just happen across it.  Only you have the ability to access your data.

The last thing on everyone’s minds was about us individually. Who we are?  What is our background?  How long have we been in the technology field?  Well I mentioned at the beginning we are calling ourselves the RBSK IT Road Show.  If you have more questions, we can bring our Road Show to you.  We would love to hear from you!

SM Jennifer

Submitted by: Jennifer Gunter