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According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, there were more than 18,000 financial institutions in the 1980s compared to just over 6,400 in the first quarter of 2015. Many critics blame the Dodd-Frank Act and the substantial regulatory burden that came along with its adoption as the root cause for the decline of small banks. However, looking at historical statistics of Bank closures (which are relatively steady over the last couple decades), it is difficult to determine whether the troublesome new rules imposed by Dodd-Frank are solely responsible for bank closures or mergers as of late.

There are other hurdles facing small banks such as difficulties surrounding the Basel III capital standards, fair lending/mortgage requirements and the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s proposed current expected credit loss model, to name a few. With increasing regulatory changes and interrelated factors hitting the industry (Dodd-Frank of course among them), some community banks are struggling to compete in today’s ever-growing financial markets. However, many small banks still feel confident in the strength of their relationship-based banking model which can provide them with success in the small business lending arena.  

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Congress has recently enacted the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 which addresses the basis reporting requirements associated with estates. Specifically, the Act now requires an executor to report consistent reporting of basis information between an estate and anyone inheriting the property from the decedent. Further, the Act created a new Internal Revenue Code Section 6035 which now imposes a reporting requirement by the executor to furnish a statement to the IRS and to each beneficiary inheriting an interest in the decedent's estate.

The statement must identify the value of each property reported on the estate return and any other information the IRS may require which is not clearly defined by the IRS at this time. This reporting requirement is effective July 31, 2015 and requires the executor to provide this information within 30 days of the estate tax return's due date or 30 days after the estate tax return is filed, whichever is earlier. 

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Conditions in the real estate markets can have a major impact on real estate assessments, and ultimately the tax bills property owners must pay. Commercial properties, vacant land, apartment buildings, marinas, office buildings, and even newly purchased residences and newly constructed residences are impacted by the current economic climate. But because property assessments are based upon a just value at January 1, they could still be higher than actual market values for their respective areas.

Whether you pay property taxes for your business or your residence, those property taxes are generally one of the larger annual expenses. Taxpayers may have received or will soon be receiving their notices of 2015 proposed assessments/taxes, commonly known as "TRIM" (Truth in Millage) notices. According to the county websites, "TRIM" notices of proposed taxes for Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties should be on their way to taxpayers in the middle or late part of August. 

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With ICD 10 arriving soon , many questions exist on proper use - here are a few good answers.

Q: An 18-year-old female patient is seen for an ankle sprain. What ICD-10-CM diagnosis code(s) are assigned?  

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes annual information reporting requirements on issuers of health insurance, including employers with self-funded plans, under IRC section 6055, and applicable large employers under IRC section 6056. Health plan issuers generally report using forms 1094-B and 1095-B, while applicable large employers use forms 1094-C and 1095-C. An applicable large employer with a self-funded plan can satisfy its reporting obligations under both sections by filing forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

The ACA rules for applicable large employers are generally effective for 2015. Several transition rules provide a delay in the responsibility for the employer “shared responsibility payment” (i.e., the employer mandate penalty) until 2016 for those meeting certain requirements. However, this does not exempt such employers from their obligations to file the ACA information returns for the 2015 tax year.  

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On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid into law, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) projected today that the average premium for a basic Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2016 will remain stable, at an estimated $32.50 per month.

“Seniors and people with disabilities are continuing to benefit from stable prescription drug premiums and a competitive and transparent marketplace for Medicare drug plans,” said acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. “While this is good news, we must ensure that Medicare Part D remains affordable for Medicare beneficiaries so that they can have access to the prescription drugs that they need.” 

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Total health care spending growth is expected to average 5.8 percent in aggregate over 2014-2024, according to a report published today in Health Affairs authored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT). The authors noted that this rate of growth is still substantially lower than the 9 percent average rate seen in the three decades before 2008.
“Growth in overall health spending remains modest even as more Americans are covered, many for the first time. Per-capita spending and medical inflation are all at historically very modest levels,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “We cannot be complacent. The task ahead for all of us is to keep people healthier while spending smarter across all categories of care delivery so that we can sustain these results.”

In 2014, health spending in the United States is projected to have reached $3.1 trillion, or $9,695 per person, and to have increased by 5.5 percent from the previous year as millions gained health insurance coverage and as new expensive specialty drugs hit the market. Prescription drug spending alone increased 12.6 percent in 2014, the highest growth since 2002. While more people are getting coverage, annual growth in per-enrollee expenditures in 2014 for private health insurance (5.4 percent), Medicare (2.7 percent) and Medicaid (-0.8 percent) remained slow in historical terms.  

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final notice establishing the methodology for determining federal funding for the Basic Health Program in program year 2016. The Basic Health Program provides states with the option to establish a health benefits coverage program for lower-income individuals as an alternative to Health Insurance Marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This voluntary program enables states to create a health benefits program for residents with incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid through Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, but are in the lower income bracket to be eligible to purchase coverage through the Marketplace. This final notice is substantially the same as the final notice for program year 2015.

Today CMS announced, Covered California announced a modest proposed 4 percent statewide weighted average rate increase for plans offered in 2016 on their Health Insurance Marketplace, which is lower than last year’s increase of 4.2 percent. This is the second year in a row that Covered California has achieved single-digit rate increases. As of earlier this year, Covered California accounted for more than one out of every eight Marketplace enrollees who paid for coverage nationwide. 

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The Senate has passed the short-term highway funding bill, providing a three-month extension of general expenditure authority for the Highway Trust Fund. This bill was signed by President Obama on July 31, 2015.

Included in the bill are a number of significant tax compliance provisions, which the Congressional committees estimate will raise about $5 billion in revenue. 

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