S&T Making Cents newsletter: November 2019

November 20, 2019

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Tweaking the TAR

When the beginning of the calendar year rolls around, the SMART Constitution requires the Treasurer’s Annual Report (TAR) to be presented to the membership and then filed.

The procedure kicks off when trustees assemble in January for this annual audit of a Local’s finances and review the receipts and disbursements for the prior year before signing the report. The report is then presented at the local’s next meeting and copies are filed and submitted to the SMART TD offices before a Feb. 20 deadline.

With the implementation of WinStabs-NMR, the TAR will be undergoing changes effective with the 2019 report. Historically, the TAR simply generated a high-level financial overview of the Local’s books, but over the last several years the Field Audit Support Team has seen an increase in locals that get behind on other required business-related duties. This revised TAR will flag items that are not getting completed.

Local Treasurers can work along with Local Trustees to review these items and formulate a plan for fixing them as part of the report to the SMART TD office. Additionally, this will allow the Field Audit Support Team to identify Locals needing additional support at an earlier stage so that catching up and getting into compliance is not a monumental undertaking.

The revised TAR will be more detailed and include other action items that should be reviewed and signed off on by Local Trustees. The new report will show a better, more detailed position of the Local’s fiscal outlook along with its compliance with SMART constitutional and federal requirements.

With the addition of these changes, more information will be necessary to gather to generate the 2019 TAR. Treasurers can start preparing now by reviewing or gathering the following:

  • The revised TAR will only be available via the next WinStabs-NMR version release. There is no longer a paper form. If you have not yet started using WinStabs-NMR, contact the Field Audit Support Team IMMEDIATELY.
  • Prepare a list of all meeting dates: Was there a quorum? Were minutes recorded?
  • Prepare a list of physical assets that belong to the Local: e.g. computers, file cabinets, desks, etc.
  • Have the Local’s EFTPS PIN handy. The IRS prefers Locals to deposit federal taxes through EFTPS.gov. If the local doesn’t already have an account, there is a guide here to assist with enrolling.
  • Check that the Treasurer information in WinStabs-NMR is accurate and current.
  • Review LCA Maintenance under Process eBill in WinStabs-NMR. There should be one or more entries for each LCA for each eBill worked.
  • Update the Task List which can be found in the Reports Tab in WinStabs-NMR.
  • Keep checking statements and savings statements, if applicable, reconciled monthly in WinStabs-NMR.
  • Keep current with eBill submission. eBills that remain late as of Dec. 31 will be documented on the revised TAR.

IMPORTANT: Closing out
the 2019 eBill

All treasurers should make every attempt to complete all 2019 eBills before December 31, 2019. All bill adjustments to ANY 2019 eBill must be made prior to March 31st, 2020. Treasurers will not be able to add any dues to collect or dues to return after March 31st.

On April 1, 2020, treasurers will be locked out of making any additional adjustments to 2019 eBills.

Important dates

• Nov. 20 — Monthly billing due to SMART TD office.

• Dec. 14 — Deposit CT-1 and Form 941 taxes. Quarterly 940 taxes (FICA only) also must be deposited.

• Dec. 20 — Monthly billing due to SMART TD office.

• Dec. 27 — Deadline to reserve discounted room rate for K.C. workshops.

• Jan. 20 — Registration deadline for Kansas City, Mo., workshops.

• Jan. 27-29 — S&T workshop in Kansas City, Mo.

• Jan. 30 — Local president/trustee workshop in Kansas City, Mo.

• By January 31 — Quarterly Form 940 (FUTA) taxes must be deposited (FICA only).


For more info: SMART TD guide to paying and reporting Form 940 tax

• By Feb. 20 — Treasurer’s annual report (TAR) for 2019 and Local President Financial Oversight forms are due to the TD office.

about the S&T’s roles and responsibilities?

Visit the S&T Tools page on the SMART TD website for guidance on getting the job done!

Still not sure?

Call the Field Support Help Desk at 216-227-5444. Drop-in help desk hours are 9a-5p (Central Time) M-W-F. Help desk appointments can be scheduled in advance for Tuesdays, Thursdays, weekends, and evenings. Call or email fieldauditor@group.
to schedule an appointment.

Training opportunities for Local officers

Workshop offerings are being finalized for S&Ts who are interested in learning the ins-and-outs of running the finances of your Local.

Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • Using TD Connect
  • WinStabs
  • Creating required reports
  • Financial pitfalls to avoid

The first workshops will take place in Kansas City from Jan. 27 to 30, 2020. The first workshop — Jan. 27 to 29 — is intensely focused on the role of the Secretary, Treasurer or S&T in managing a Local’s finances. A second workshop on Jan. 30 is for Local Presidents and Trustees to better understand their role in the Local from a fiscal perspective.

Additional workshops in 2020 are in the process of being finalized in Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and New Orleans as well as one planned during the Cleveland Regional Meeting in August.

Details and registration information for all workshops will be posted to the SMART TD website as well as emailed out. Don’t miss out on this chance to expand or refresh your knowledge of the duties of your office!

About the Field Audit Support team

So what’s the Field Audit Support Team about?

We’ve been conditioned throughout our lives to tighten up anytime the word “audit” is used because it brings up thoughts of sitting across from an IRS tax collector being hassled and then owing gobs of money if our personal returns are reviewed.

And yes, IRS audits can bring stress and the possibility of penalty because of financial missteps.

But even though you see “Audit” in our name, the SMART TD Field Audit Support Team is in your corner. Our mission is to help you to get your Local’s books in order, to keep accurate records and to help your Local’s finances stay out of the crosshairs of any number of agencies: the IRS, the Department of Labor or the Railroad Retirement Board.

We realize the kind of stress that these responsibilities can create, and we are here to SUPPORT you if you need assistance in working through any fiscal concerns or difficulties.

“The big thing is that we want all of the locals to establish compliance with all federal regulations and with the requirements set forth by the SMART Constitution,” Field Auditor John Purcell says.

If the SMART requirements are followed, then it stands to follow that state, local and municipal tax regulations will be complied with as well as those on the federal level, Purcell said.

“We’re here to help you deal with the headaches and the heartaches that come with all of these scattered compliance issues with the end goal of getting your local into 100% compliance,” he said. “The message is — we’re here to help.”

The Field Audit Support Team is on your side and we’re here to provide financial help FAST to your Local. Call us at 216-227-5444 or email fieldauditor@group.smart-union.org for any assistance you might need.

Ask an Auditor

Q: WinStabs is giving me a message to reconcile my bank statement before I print my OE1a. I have already reconciled my statement — why is it telling me to do that?

A: It is simply a reminder to make sure you have reconciled your statement and that it is balanced before you print the report to assure the information on the report is accurate.

If you have reconciled your statement, simply ignore the message and continue.

Note that you will get a similar message when you pull up your IRS Form 941 worksheets.

To submit a question for the Ask an Auditor feature, email the Field Audit Support Team at fieldauditor@group.smart-union.org.