TASC in the News

The media has been talking about TASC a lot recently. TASC is working on some big changes, has signed up some large clients, continues to good things in our communities, and just keeps on growing. All of this has led to an unpresented number of press clippings. Here is a list of our recent mentions. Click where indicated below to read some of the articles.

  • In Business September issue-TASC is featured prominently in an article about local companies that hosts their own trade shows. Click here to read this article
  • In the same issue, TASC is listed in the top 100 employers in Dane County. We came in at 56.
  • July issue of In Business-Dan appears in the Think Tank feature. Click here to read this article.
  • In August, TASC was featured in the Biz Report regarding the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).Office of Personnel Management (OPM) contract. Click here to read this article.
  • And for the second year in a row TASC is listed in the Wisconsin top 75 privately held businesses.

Watch for more good news from TASC soon!

Jason Lewis

Jason Lewis is host of the nationally syndicated Jason Lewis Show and a published author. In 2011 Jason was named as one of the “Heavy Hundred” most important talk radio show hosts in the nation by Talkers magazine. He writes a monthly column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and has written editorials for newspapers throughout the country, including the Wall Street Journal. Jason has appeared on nationally broadcast television programs, such as NBC’s Today Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC.

Jason Lewis is also a BizPlanNOW Client.

By his own account, Jason has been interested in healthcare for a long time. He says our current healthcare system can be traced back to World War II when, in an attempt to slow inflation, the government implemented wage controls prohibiting employers from increasing employees’ pay. To get around the rule, employers started providing healthcare as a form of bonus. Soon after, the tax code was amended to allow employers to deduct the cost of the healthcare they provided for employees. As a sole proprietor Jason was looking for a way to make the cost of healthcare deductible.

“When I went on my own a couple of years ago I sure didn’t want to pay my healthcare bills with after-tax dollars,” Jason remembers. “I did some research and came across TASC and BizPlanNOW. I talked to my accountant and he gave your firm a high recommendation.”

In order to qualify for BizPlanNOW, Jason hired his wife to produce his show, a role that entails scheduling guests, following up on leads, and handling other production elements. “It’s a tough, time-consuming job,” he says.

After hiring his wife, Jason set up a private, high-deductible healthcare plan, which means that he pays a lot of his family’s medical expenses out of his own pocket. “You can deduct your insurance premiums if you are a sole proprietor, but to handle out-of-pocket expenses appropriately you’ve got to go to the experts at TASC,” Jason says. “It’s a wonderful way to save small businesses a whole lot of money. I am a big fan.”

For Jason and his wife, managing their Plan online couldn’t be easier. “TASC makes it simple,” Jason notes. “I just enter my expenses online on a quarterly basis and the system generates a year-end report of my deductions. I take that to my accountant who puts it as a line item deduction and we are ready to go. It’s nice, it’s sweet.”

Although he has never had the need to contact TASC’s Customer Care Department with a service-related question, Jason is impressed with the service he has received from his sale representatives. “The attention to the customer is top-notch and they have been a joy to work with,” he says.

According to Jason his biggest concern with TASC and BizPlanNOW is that not enough people know about them. To rectify that, he has featured BizPlanNOW on his radio program and on his website. “A lot of people are going to higher deductible plans because premium costs are going up,” he notes. “BizPlanNOW offers a wonderful tax advantage that more people could benefit from.”

Circuit Court overrules IRS attempt to deny a Kansas farmer’s AgriPlan deduction!

Milo and Sharlyn Shellito operate a family farm in Kansas, where they raise cattle and grow wheat, corn and soybeans. Like every hardworking farm family, the Shellitos are always looking for ways to run their farm more cost-effectively, and to that aim they set up an AgriPlan in 2001. For ten years they’ve been enjoying the many benefits made possible by this medical reimbursement program which allows qualified farmers to deduct 100% of their federal, state and FICA taxes for family medical costs. Average Plan savings are $4,000 a year!

AgriPlan includes comprehensive instructions that walk farmers through the steps needed to ensure compliance with employment and tax rules—issues that can be especially tricky when a self-employed individual hires a spouse. For the Shellitos this included establishing that as the farm’s owner and operator, Milo makes all decisions regarding farm operations and directs his wife’s work on the farm, and that Sharlyn is a farm employee who works about 40 hours a week.

To implement AgriPlan, the Shellitos created and signed an employment agreement for Sharlyn. She opened an individual checking account in her name, and used this account to pay family insurance premiums and medical bills not covered by insurance for the couple and their two children. Besides reimbursing her for these expenses, Milo paid her $100 per month in wages.

Following the rules of AgriPlan closely, Sharlyn kept a daily log of her hours spent on farm work, and the couple kept tax records that reflected this arrangement, deducting and reporting payroll taxes and issuing IRS W-2s. Each year the Shellitos provided TASC with a detailed year-end accounting of amounts claimed for medical expenses and insurance premium reimbursements. TASC in turn provided them with a report indicating the total allowable benefit amount, which they then reported as a business expense deduction.

Having followed AgriPlan to the letter, the Shellitos had few concerns when they learned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) planned an audit of their income taxes.

The IRS audit
The audit commenced in 2004 and looked at tax years 2001 and 2002.  During this time, the family’s non-taxable medical expenses were $15,593 and $20,897 (for 2001, 2002, respectively) resulting in savings of $3,995 and $6,947 respectively. According to the Shellitos’ accountant, Geran Kuhlmann, the IRS agent on the case had disallowed the medical insurance premium deductions because they had been established in the name of the taxpayer instead of the employee.  “That was an oversight on the part of their insurer,” said Kuhlmann.  “The Shellitos had alerted the insurance company, and when they started getting billings in the spouse’s name, they assumed that ownership had been changed.”

Kuhlmann advised the Shellitos not to accept the IRS’s decision—a choice which resulted in unexpected consequences. “The agent not only disallowed the health insurance, she pretty much disallowed everything on the medical,” said Kuhlmann.

Fortunately, the Shellitos had a backup plan: the AgriPlan Audit Guarantee. “TASC appointed one of its lawyers to take over and all we had to do was supply him with proof that we’d complied with the Plan,” said Sharlyn.

The IRS built their case on the assertion that Sharlyn was not a bona fide employee of her husband. As evidence, the IRS cited that before 2001 Sharlyn had worked on the farm without compensation for about 20 years, and that on their IRS Form 1040 for the years in question, Sharlyn’s occupation was listed as housewife.  The fact that Sharlyn’s wages originated from the couple’s joint checking account was also a sticking point for the IRS.

TASC turns case around
After losing two Tax Court appeals, the case was sent to the Tenth Circuit Court.  “Without TASC we would have never gotten this far,” says Sharlyn.  “We would have had to hire an attorney on our own and that would have cost us a lot of money—probably more than we owed.”

A three-member judicial panel unanimously reversed the Tax Court’s decision. One major issue was the faulty reasoning used to determine whether Sharlyn was Milo’s employee. The Tenth Circuit didn’t dictate Sharlyn’s employment status, it simply required the Tax Court to examine the issue again, this time using the common law tests to determine if Sharlyn was—or was not—Milo’s employee.

The Court of Appeals also dismissed the argument that funds for medical reimbursement must be paid from a separate account—that such reimbursements cannot be paid out of a joint checking account—saying the argument that Sharlyn owned half of the funds in the joint checking account did not withstand scrutiny. Lastly, the Tenth Circuit Court emphasized that no minimum wage must be paid in these situations—and that there was nothing wrong with Sharlyn’s compensation combination of small cash wages and relatively large fringe benefits!

AgriPlan makes it easy to stay on the right side of tax laws
In handing down their ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court stated that the Shellitos had “crossed all of the t’s and dotted all of the i’s with respect to the employment relationship.” “It was 100 percent important,” said Kuhlmann.  “If they hadn’t followed AgriPlan’s instructions so closely, I think they would have lost this case.”

“The Shellitos did so well in the Court of Appeals because of the instructions, advice and support from TASC,” added tax expert Vern Hoven.  “And their entire legal defense didn’t cost them a dime!”

The Shellitos continued using AgriPlan throughout the audit and are using the program to this day.  Their advice for other family farmers: “Join it!”

“It’s easy, it works, and you can count on TASC to stand with you if you run into problems,” said Sharlyn. “I can’t recommend it enough.”

MyTASC Login Assistance

Sometimes, just getting started is the hardest part of a new endeavor.  We regularly receive calls from new customers with problems logging into their MyTASC account.  Most often the main hurdle is understanding that when asked to enter a Username, we are actually asking for your 12-digit TASC ID number.

We have just added a Help Indicator with instruction to enter your 12-digit TASC ID.  Located just to the right of the Username, this extra instruction should help users successfully navigate the login process. This quick snapshot spells out the MyTASC login process.

  • An email address is required to access MyTASC.
  • From www.tasconline.com, click MyTASC Login in the upper right corner of the page.
  • Enter your 12-digit TASC ID as your username.
  • Enter your 6-digit PIN as your password.
  • Enter your username and password carefully. After five failed login attempts, users will be locked out of the system and must call our Customer Care Center to reset.

In addition, the Frequently Asked Questions offer great guidance, and (among other topics) provide instruction for how to change your Username to something of your own choosing.  (To access the FAQs simply click Unable to Login?)   

NOTE: these instructions will work only if you know your current TASC ID and PIN.  To obtain these numbers, contact our Customer Care Center M-F 8am-5pm except W 9am-5pm (1-800-422-4661).