Christmas and Tax Time in July – Why Wait?

Christmas and Tax Time in July – Why Wait?

Christmas in July? Yes! Millions of us are turning down the air conditioning, lighting a pine tree candle and watching the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas Movie Marathon! (Pro Tip: They are playing just Christmas movies for the last two weeks of July. You can thank me later.)

Tax Time in July? Yes! Now is the time to check your stock portfolio and consider taking some gains as the stock market is at an all-time high. I also recommend that you do some mid-year “tax loss harvesting” on the stocks that are under water to offset those gains. Remember that if you have a loss stock that you like you can still sell, take the loss and reinvest in the same stock 31 days later to avoid the “Tax Wash Loss” rules.

Why wait until December to do some tax planning and hang out with Jolly Old St. Nick? Give the experts at Berman Hopkins a call. We’d love to talk to you (about taxes or Hallmark movies.)

Jim LaHam

Written by

Jim LaHam, CPA

Senior Tax Partner


What the SECURE Act Means for You

In May 2019, with a 417-3 vote, the House of Representatives passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE). SECURE is a bipartisan bill designed to aid Americans' ability to save for retirement and improve the country's retirement prospects. What’s in the bill that could get both parties to agree?  Most would think nothing of interest considering the sharp divide between parties right now,but there is good news: There are some actual items of significance! 

Below are some highlights of the ways this Act impacts individuals and businesses. 


  • Raising the required minimum distribution age to 72 from 70 ½

  • Allowing penalty-free withdrawals (up to $5,000) from retirement plans for the birth or adoption of a child

  • Removing maximum age limits on retirement contributions, formerly capped at age 70 ½

  • Allowing penalty-free withdrawals (up to $10,000) from 529 education-savings plans for the repayment of certain student loans

  • Decreasing the distribution period of an inherited IRA from the lifetime of the beneficiary to a period of just 10 years



  • Allowing retirement benefits for long-term, part-time employees (E.g. an employee that works at least 500 hours over three consecutive years)

  • Offering employers a tax credit (up to $5,000) if they are a small business and start a retirement plan, plus an additional $500 if their employees are automatically enrolled in the plan

  • Simplifying rules and notice requirements related to qualified non-elective contributions in safe harbor 401(k) plans

The House of Representatives produced a six-page summaryof all proposed revisions. We consider those outlined above to be the most pertinent and impactful. If the Senate passes the bill and it is signed into law, changes will be made that impact you. 

Our team of experts is ready to speak with you about your options and help you navigate the new Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act. Give us a call to schedule a meeting. 


Written by

Jason Berry, CPA

Tax Manager


Give Your Construction Company the Credit It Deserves

Recently there has been a steady increase in utilization of the Research & Development (R&D) credit within the construction industry. While the R&D credit has not been a slam dunk for all contractors, it makes sense to take another look at this increasingly applicable tax savings opportunity.


The R&D credit can be a powerful tax incentive worth the investment to evaluate its applicability to your business. Our goal is to help you identify the types of activities that qualify and be positioned to take full advantage of this potentially generous incentive.  Projects that push boundaries can frequently qualify for R&D tax credits, but it is important that the qualified activities and expenses are correctly identified and properly documented to support the credit. The overarching fact is that a broad range of increasingly common construction industry practices will qualify for the credit under the Internal Revenue Code’s definition of R&D.



These credits may be available to you based on the work that your teams are doing each day to design new projects, implement new construction processes or improve existing ones. The following are examples of activities performed by contractors that could be considered qualifying activities for the R&D credit:

  • Designing LEED/green initiatives

  • Analysis of structure and facility design for constructability

  • Exploring, developing and improving construction techniques and equipment

  • Research and design new electrical system designs or HVAC systems

  • Utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM)

  • Analyzing designs to improve performance, efficiency, reliability, quality, safety or lifecycle costs

  • Improving mechanical equipment sizing



The R&D tax credit allows companies to realize tax savings, increase cash flow and stay competitive in the marketplace. If your company performs activities and services similar to those noted above, there is a strong chance that you could benefit from an R&D tax credit evaluation. Berman Hopkins partners with consultants that specialize in performing these highly technical evaluations and studies to help navigate through the substantiation and documentation process, ultimately maximizing the available credits for your business.  Our team of experts are here to help and welcome the opportunity to discuss this topic with you further.

Ron Longman

Written by

Ron Longman, CPA

Tax partner