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How to keep track of small tools and equipment

You probably wouldn’t have found this technology on sale on Cyber Monday, but your savings from using it could well make it worth investing in.

Whether it’s hard hats and drills on a jobsite, iPads in an office or RFID readers in a warehouse, small tools and equipment have a tendency to disappear at many companies. The cost of lost, damaged and stolen items can quickly add up, consuming profits and cash flow. What can you do to manage these items more effectively and create accountability among workers?

Technology to the rescue

Electronic bar-code technology that’s used to track inventory can also be used to label, coordinate, trace and catalog fixed assets in real time. These systems usually involve bar codes displayed on polyurethane labels on each tool or machine. The labels are designed to hold up under repeated on-the-job wear and tear.

These systems come with handheld devices that you can use to scan the bar codes when assigning tools and accepting returns. Tracking software sends the pertinent information to a database that can also be used for browsing, billing and running reports. In addition, the program records repair histories and maintenance schedules.

The cost of bar-code technology varies, depending on the number of features included in the system configuration. How complex a system you’ll need will depend on the number of items you’re looking to track. But if you’re already using this technology to manage inventory, there may be economies of scale by choosing a system that can handle both types of assets.

Improving efficiency

Bar-code technology also has the power to improve management efficiency. How? You can let employees know that, if the system shows that the tools they’ve checked out haven’t been returned, the employee or the job they’re working on could be charged for the missing item. Thus, employees will more closely monitor and protect these items to avoid paying for lost items or having a project go over budget.

The right system may also reduce your legal liability. In some industries, federal regulations or union rules may require workers to wear safety gear, such as goggles, hard hats and respirators. A formal tracking system allows you to show that you issued employees the proper equipment, which could in turn limit your accident liability.

Creating accountability

To take bar-code tracking to the next level, integrate it into your accounting system. For example, you might assign tools by employee name, job code, project number, date, time, location or other criteria. Then you can generate a report of employees or projects where specific tools are being used.

In turn, you’ll foster an atmosphere of accountability by making managers and employees more responsible for these assets. There’s no better way to drive home a point about wasted assets or money than to sit down with employees and show them, in dollars and cents, how a tool is being misused.

Bottom line

Bar-code technology isn’t new, but it’s become more cost effective and robust. Even if you’ve been working with this technology for several years, it’s time to consider upgrades that you might have missed — or new vendors with tighter security measures or innovative features.

For help evaluating your current system or investing in a new one, contact Patrick & Raines CPAs. We know industry best practices and potential pitfalls to avoid. Find us at or 904-396-5400,

© 2019

Most IRS Regulations Exempt from President’s “2-for-1” Executive Order

President Trump recently signed an Executive Order (EO) aimed at reducing regulation. One of the main provisions of this EO requires two existing regulations be cut in exchange for every new regulation introduced.

Interim guidance on implementing this “2-for-1” rule appears to limit its power to “significant” regulatory actions, a category not inclusive of most IRS regulations.

The determining factor for whether a regulatory action qualifies as significant depends on EO 12866, signed by President Clinton. It defines a “significant regulatory action” as “any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may:

  • Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;
  • Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;
  • Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or
  • Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive order.”

Per the Government Accountability Office, tax regulations seldom prove “significant” by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, thus only few become subject to additional review and analysis under EO 12866.

IRS and Treasury officials rarely designate tax regulations as economically significant since any financial impact generally stems from the underlying statute, not the regulation.

In fact, between 2013 and 2015, only one of more than 200 tax regulations issued fell under the category of significant.

By limiting the EO to “significant” regulatory actions, most IRS regulations remain excluded from its requirements, including the 2-for-1 rule.

For help in tax planning, or business and personal income tax returns, the experienced accounting team at Patrick & Robinson CPAs is always here for you.  Contact us at, or 904-396-5400.

Wondering about reporting your health care on your tax return?

Recent news reports highlight the likely repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; i.e., “Obamacare”) with the inauguration of President Trump. Whatever changes occur will likely not affect your need to report your health care coverage on your 2016 tax return.

The IRS provided an easy-to-understand If/Then chart for reference:


Are a U.S. citizen or a non-U.S. citizen living in the United States


Must have qualifying health care coverage, qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make a payment when you file your income tax return.


Had coverage or an employer offered coverage to you in the previous year


Will receive one or more of the following forms;

This information will help you complete your tax return.


Received health coverage through an employer or under a government program – such as Medicare, Medicaid and coverage for veterans – for the entire year


Just check the full-year coverage box on your Form 1040 series return and don’t need to read further.


Did not have coverage for any month of the year


Should check the instructions to Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, to see if you are eligible for an exemption.


Were eligible for an exemption from coverage for a month


Must claim the exemption or report an exemption already obtained from the Marketplace by completing Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, and submitting it with your tax return.


Did not have coverage and were not eligible for an exemption from coverage for any month of the year


Are responsible for making an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your return.


Are responsible for making an individual shared responsibility payment


Will report it on your tax return and make the payment with your income taxes.


Need qualifying health care coverage for the current year


Can visit to find out about the dates of open and special enrollment periods for purchasing qualified health coverage.


Enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace for yourself or someone else on your tax return.


Might be eligible for the premium tax credit.


Received the benefit of more advance payments of the premium tax credit than the amount of credit for which you qualify on your tax return


Will repay the amount in excess of the credit you are allowed subject to a repayment cap.


Did not enroll in health insurance from the Marketplace for yourself or anyone else on your tax return


Cannot claim the premium tax credit.


Are eligible for the premium tax credit


Can choose when you enroll in coverage to get premium assistance sent to your insurer each month to lower your monthly payments or get all the benefit of the credit when you claim it on your tax return.


Are claiming the premium tax credit and did not benefit from advance payments of the premium tax credit


Must file a tax return and IRS Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC) and claim the credit on the line labeled – Net premium tax credit.


Choose to get premium assistance when you enroll in Marketplace coverage


Will have payments sent on your behalf – to your insurance provider. These payments are called advance payments of the premium tax credit.


Get the benefit of advance payments of the premium tax credit and experience a significant life change, such as a change in income or marital status


Should report these changes in circumstances to your Marketplace when they happen.


Get the benefit of advance payments of the premium tax credit


Will report the payments on your tax return and reconcile the amount of the payments with the amount of credit for which you are eligible.


We can only wait to see what will happen in 2017, and you can trust the experienced tax team at Patrick & Robinson CPAs to stay current on the developments that will affect you.

We’re here to help! Contact us at: or 904-396-5400.

Are You Eligible for the Premium Tax Credit?

The premium tax credit (PTC) can be claimed on the individual income tax return of people who are enrolled in a qualified health plan through a Health Insurance Marketplace.

If this scenario describes you, you may be eligible for the credit. To find out, access the IRS’ website and answer a series of yes-or-no questions. You may wonder if your household income is at least 100% but not more than 400% of the federal poverty line; the IRS offers a chart with guidelines for the federal poverty line for different sized families. (You may have to scroll down to see it.)

Reaching the end of the questions does not ensure you will receive a credit. You must then review the instructions and complete Form 8962. File it with your 2016 income tax return.

An alternative to using the yes-or-no flowchart is to use the Interactive Tax Assistant. Be sure to assemble all the information the site says is needed before beginning.

If you’re not yet signed up for a health plan, the Health Insurance Marketplace is currently in open enrollment season. Hurry though, because it’s available only through Jan. 31, 2017. (If you need coverage to start Jan. 1, sign up by Dec. 15.)

This information is provided as a service from the healthcare accounting team at Patrick & Robinson CPAs, which has served the business community and individuals with complex tax needs since 1982. We can be reached at or 904-396-5400.

From your CPA team, Happy Independence Day!

As we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, let’s remember the courage of those who paved the way for a new Nation and those today who sacrifice everything for our freedom.

Despite the complex tax code, the American story is simple: our bravery, resiliency and enterprise remain unmatched. We face new challenges, but our history shows when we act as “one nation” and we unleash our unmatched spirit, we persevere and grow stronger every time.

On our country’s birthday, let’s celebrate and honor our heroes in all areas: military, emergency service personnel, commerce, statecraft, religion and nonprofits. Thanks to them, we’re blessed with unmeasurable opportunity, freedom and pride.

From your tax accountants at Patrick & Robinson CPAs, Happy Independence Day!

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