May was Record Month for Cargo Volume at Port of Charleston

The State Ports Authority announced that the 204,457 containers moved through the Port of Charleston in May broke a record from a year ago. Port Authority president and CEO Jim Newsome said he expects a continued surge as the port ends its fiscal year through June. With around 2.2 million containers moving through the terminals since July, fiscal year cargo container traffic is up 9.7%. The National Retail Federation points to a trend where U.S. customers want to avoid upcoming tariffs of 25% on $200 billion in goods from China that take effect after Saturday, resulting in an increase in Chinese shipments nationwide. The report did not set numbers for exported containers, imported containers or empty containers moved overseas.

DOR Announces Arrests of Construction Contractors on Tax-Related Charges

The SC Department of Revenue has announced the arrests on tax-related charges of three businessmen with ties to construction work in separate cases since the start of June. Charged with four counts of attempting to evade or defeat a tax is Horry County contractor Nick Angelo Kaltsunis, 50, of Loris. SCDOR agent affidavits state Kaltsunis underreported $492,266 in gross income on his tax returns, and he is accused of evading $14,797 in taxes due. Stacey Martin Fields, 52, of Gray Court, owner of Fields Specialty Contractors Inc. that was located in Greenville County but is now in Laurens, did not file state withholding tax returns for the years 2011-2018 and failed to pay $134,823 in withholding tax due, according to an arrest warrant for the eight counts. Charged him three counts of failure to collect, account for or pay Withholding Tax is Gregory Scott Merritt, 41, of Piedmont, owner of Crown Grading Services Inc. in Anderson County. By not collecting, accounting for or paying taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks for 2015-2017, Merritt failed to pay $38,283 in taxes, according to an arrest warrant.

Richland County Road Projects Face Threats as Penny Tax Program Construction Overruns Pegged at $154M

A monthly progress report from the private companies that oversee the Richland County’s penny tax roads program pegs the gap between spending plans and what money need to be collected at $154 million. The 22-year penny tax, approved by voters in 2012, is facing cost increases of 15% above projections and that could mean either new money must be sought or certain projects could get crossed off the wish list or remain unfinished. An example of rising costs from the report is a widening of North Main Street that began in 2017 that now is priced at $63 million at the start of 2019 even though it was slated in 2012 for $30 million. Richland County Council has scheduled a June 18 work session on the penny program’s direction as the county is slated to begin managing it this November when the contract with the consortium of private companies expires.

DOR Releases Interest Rates for Tax Underpayments, Overpayments

The Department of Revenue released Information Letter #19-15, which concerns the interest rates to be applied to underpayments and overpayments of taxes from July 1-Sept. 30, 2019. Budget Provisos 41.2 and 117.85 direct the DOR to reduce the rate of interest paid on eligible refunds by 3 percentage points from the listed rates for fiscal year 2019-2020.

You’ve Got ‘.cpa’ Email: New Internet Domain is on the Way

The AICPA is in the “contract execution phase” to secure the internet domain “.cpa,” the Association announced Monday. The move to a “restricted top-level domain” is intended as a way for CPAs and firms to build trust that their online information is authentic. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversses internet naming protocols, has in recent years OK’d more than 1,200 specialized domain extensions in addition to familiar designations such as .com, .edu and .org with entities including KPMG (.kpmg), Major League Baseball (.mlb), and New York City (.nyc). Registering for a .cpa domain name is still several months away, but you can sign up for notifications at domains.cpa.com.

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

“We also want the public to have confidence that someone using a .cpa domain address for email or a website is affiliated with the CPA profession.”

Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA president and CEO, on how the upcoming domain address will promote CPAs’ visibility and protect their professional standing in cyberspace.