THE 2011, 56TH ANNUAL CONVENTION WAS A HUGE SUCCESS
The PSOC convention held at the Doubletree Resort in San Pedro, California was an overwhelming success based upon feedback from all of our sponsors, members and general attendees totaling over 100 participants!
Technical training from major manufacturers, service management seminars given by industry professionals along with the great location, food and entertainment, made for one of the best PSOC conventions in recent times.
The convention was kicked off with a spectacular vendor reception sponsored by Encompass. It was held in the ballroom overlooking the beautiful harbor. The menu consisted of a Mexican buffet. You can always tell how well these events go by the attendance at the meal functions the following day.
Technical training was provided by Barry Kokot from Sharp Electronics, Don Dellario with Whirlpool, John Stanton and Jerry Doubrava from LG Appliance and Electronics, Erik Aaron from Mitsubishi, Steve McNiel from NEW, Cesar Perdomo from Panasonic, Ross Mobbley from Electrolux, Bill Jurney from General Electric, Pete Zellman from Sony and Larry Chatfield and Juan Rodriguez from Purcell Murray.
Service management and customer service seminars were conducted by Jim Rushton from Encompass Service Solutions. Sam Sieben from In-Home TV Repair, Tim Ory from Paul’s Certified Appliance, James Smith from the National Service Alliance, Chris Figueroa from ServicePower, Robert Gaitan from Warrantech and by our executive director, Charlene Moreno. A great discussion was held with various industry leaders and servicers on key issues facing the service industry and an informative software users groups was conducted by Karie Spaet of Rossware. Based upon the feedback of the attendees the business classes were outstanding this year.
The association was also successful in selling a large quantity of fund raising raffle tickets and many great prizes were won. The raffle prizes were donated by In Home TV Repair, Coast Appliance Parts, GE, LosMedanos College, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Purcell Murray, Sharp Electronics, Encompass, Subzero/Wolf, Panasonic, Reliable Parts, SpectraCal and WL May.
Our function sponsors that supported all of the great food, reception, drinks and entertainment included Encompass, Electrolux, Panasonic, Andrews Electronics, Rubin Insurance, Coast Appliance Parts, ServiceNet and In-Home TV Repair.
Friday evening we held a great dinner sponsored by Mitsubishi and tremendous entertainment by a band named The Topics sponsored by NEW. It was very exciting!
After the Saturday morning breakfast held a well attended feedback meeting to solicit ideas for future conventions.
Plans are currently in process for next year’s convention. We will let you know as soon as they are firmed up.
On behalf of the PSOC board of directors and members, I would personally like to extend a hearty thanks to all of the 2011 sponsors, trainers and attendees.
We all look forward to seeing you next year!
Be all you can be for a better industry!
Watch for pictures to be posted on your web site soon . www.psoca.org
Viking Range Corporation will now include a
three-year warranty on all Viking Professional Series indoor major appliances
purchased on or after May 1.
Previously Viking offered a one-year warranty for appliances. The new three-year warranty is the most extensive program from a major appliance manufacturer, and will cover all Viking Professional Series indoor major appliances except for undercounter refrigeration.
“As a result of our ongoing commitment to quality, the Viking Signature Warranty shows our customers and the appliance industry the confidence that Viking Range Corporation has in its products,” Bob Pavy, Viking Vice President-Product Service said in a statement. “We are continuously incorporating enhancements in our product lines. This full three-year warranty provides consumers peace of mind knowing that we stand behind the products that are proudly made in Greenwood, Mississippi.”
Distributors Fill the Service Gap
We recently asked some of the industry’s top distributors if their dealer customers are asking for any specific support or services that they are not receiving from vendors or buying groups. For the full roundtable, please see the April issue of Dealerscope.
Stephen M. Bodnarchuk, Associate Vice President/National Sales, M. Rothman:Dealers are continuing to challenge us to provide drop-ship/dot.com fulfillment services. This includes assistance with website construction, development and systems integration. With gas approaching $4 a gallon and consumers shifting how and where they buy products, the Internet is becoming an even more important part of our dealers’ overall business. The drop-ship model not only provides convenience, but also a tactical and strategic approach to expanded assortments. Minimizing risk while attempting to increase business is an alternative strategy they find very appealing. These types of services, along with supply-chain management and reverse logistics capabilities, are at the forefront of dealers’ planning processes.
We’re taking our line card and giving them the ability to have more products than they have in their storefronts. It’s a great investment for them because there’s no inventory risk; they use our inventory so they don’t have to worry about the products being out of stock. If items are purchased off their website, we do all the logistics for them on the back end. For 2011, it’s huge, as online becomes stronger and stronger, especially with products like headphones and photo/video. We also provide dealers with merchandising for their websites in the form of content, things like high-resolution photos and teaching connectivity. We’re helping with functional web attributes as well, while giving them a broad line card of products that differentiate their stores for them, and then providing the back-end logistics of shipping one box at a time to a customer.
Dean Cornacchia, Executive Director, Product Management, WYNIT: Bandwidth drains have taken a toll on both small and large retailers over the past few years. Requests for support and services vary across our customer base but include new-product training, technical certifications, SKU setup and marketing content, merchandising displays, customized advertising and marketing vehicles, custom logistics flexibility and marketing support accruals. Effectively, resources have been constrained across the channel, and our dealer partners recognize the significance of our contribution, and reward our support with loyalty.
John Alifano, Director, Consumer Products Div., D&H:Some dealers have been asking for co-op marketing opportunities or participation in a marketing plan. We like to connect our retailers with manufacturers that can facilitate this process, making them aware of any advantageous programs and passing that benefit along.
IRS Identifies Organizations that Have Lost Tax-Exempt Status; Announces Special Steps to Help Revoked Organizations
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced that approximately 275,000 organizations under the law have automatically lost their tax-exempt status because they did not file legally required annual reports for three consecutive years. The IRS believes the vast majority of these organizations are defunct, but it also announced special steps to help any existing organizations to apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status.
Congress passed the Pension Protection Act (PPA) in 2006, requiring most tax-exempt organizations to file an annual information return or notice with the IRS. For small organizations, the law imposed a filing requirement for the first time in 2007. In addition, the law automatically revokes the tax-exempt status of any organization that does not file required returns or notices for three consecutive years.
For several years, the IRS has made an extensive effort to inform organizations of the changes in the law through multiple outreach and education avenues, including mailing more than 1 million notices to organizations that had not filed. In addition, last year the IRS published a list of at-risk groups and gave smaller organizations an additional five months to file required notices and come into compliance. About 50,000 organizations filed during this extension period. Overall, the IRS believes the vast majority of small tax-exempt organizations are now in compliance with the 2006 law.
“During the past several years, the IRS has gone the extra mile to help make tax-exempt groups aware of their legal filing requirement and allow them additional time to file,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “Still, we realize there may be some legitimate organizations, especially very small ones, that were unaware of their new filing requirement. We are taking additional steps for these groups to maintain their tax-exempt status without jeopardizing their operations or harming their donors.”
As part of this, the IRS issued guidance today on how organizations can apply for reinstatement of their tax-exempt status, including retroactive reinstatement. In addition, the IRS announced transition relief for certain small tax-exempt organizations – those with annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less for 2010 – that were made subject to the new “postcard” filing under the PPA. The relief allows eligible small organizations to regain their tax-exempt status retroactive to the date of revocation and pay a reduced application fee of $100 rather than the typical $400 or $850 fee. Full details are available in Notice 2011-43, Notice 2011-44 and Revenue Procedure 2011-36, issued today.
If an organization appears on the list of organizations whose tax-exempt status has been automatically revoked it is because IRS records indicate the organization had a filing requirement and did not file the required returns or notices for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The list of organizations whose tax-exempt status has been revoked for failing to meet their filing requirement, which will be available on the IRS website at www.IRS.gov, includes each organization’s name, Employer Identification Number (EIN) and last known address. It is searchable by state. It also includes the effective date of the automatic revocation and the date it was posted to the list. The IRS will update the list monthly to include additional organizations that lose their tax-exempt status.
The vast majority of tax-exempt groups file their required returns and are unaffected by the revocation listing. In addition, the IRS believes the vast majority of the newly revoked groups are no longer in existence and need to be removed from the tax-exempt listing as the 2006 law requires.
This listing should have little, if any, impact on donors who previously made deductible contributions to auto-revoked organizations because donations made prior to the publication of an organization’s name on the list remain tax-deductible. Going forward, however, organizations that are on the auto-revocation list that do not receive reinstatement are no longer eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions, and any income they receive may be taxable.
Publication on the list of organizations whose tax-exempt status has been revoked serves as notice to donors and others that they may no longer rely on a prior listing in IRS Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations, as an indication of an organization’s tax-exempt status or its eligibility to receive tax-deductible contributions. An updated version of Publication 78 with current listings will be published on the IRS website later this week. Nor can donors rely on an IRS determination letter issued to the organization prior to the date of automatic revocation.
Existing organizations that seek to have their tax-exempt status reinstated must complete an application and pay a user fee regardless of whether they were originally required to file such an application. More information on the reinstatement process, including retroactive reinstatement, can be found on IRS.gov.
Fisher & Paykel Appliances Stresses Technology
China, the world’s biggest growth market, is well down on Fisher & Paykel’s priority list.
That may sound odd for a company whose cornerstone shareholder, Haier, is one of China’s biggest manufacturers, but the whiteware maker’s managing director Stuart Broadhurst is at pains to explain why.
After barely mentioning China once in presenting his company’s full year results – a net profit of $33.5 million – Broadhurst said the low profile was deliberate.
“We’re just trying to reflect the emphasis we put on it internally,” he said.
“With a partner like Haier it will give us a base [in China]. But we’re not going to do much work on the development of product for that market because we’ve got better opportunities elsewhere.”
Much of that opportunity is focused not on Fisher & Paykel’s branded products – washing machines, dishwashers and fridges – but on the technology that makes them tick, or rather, hum quietly.
“Fisher & Paykel spent decades trying to make sure they’ve got a point of difference with our competitors – and that is making sure we give customers a better product,” said Broadhurst.
With greater legislative and consumer demand for efficiency, “most manufacturers in the world are going to need to put in solutions we’ve had in our product for 20 years.
“We know we’ve got a couple of years head start on everybody else and a lot of patents in this field. We feel we can get a better return if we put our capital and our people focused there.”
As he told analysts in a conference call yesterday, this means selling components and technology to the likes of Haier, Whirlpool and other competitors.
“It will mean some of the systems we have developed for our own product, we will make available to our competitors and we will want a return on that technology we do sell. We are confident we can continue to innovate those products and keep the Fisher & Paykel brand ahead of the competition despite doing that.”
So will the company morph from a manufacturer and marketer of upmarket brands into a technology-focused component maker?
“I don’t think we can do one without the other,” said Broadhurst. “Certainly the integration of that system into a product is why those customers come to us in the first place.
“There’s technology we’ve had in our washing machines for 20 years. We just just had a training session with Harvey Norman proprietors from around the globe who happen to be in Auckland this week, just invigorating their enthusiasm for the world’s leading technology they’ve had for the last 20 years and they’re astounded with what that machine actually does.
“You just have to remind people sometimes – maybe we forget to tell them how good it is.”
While F&P takes it slow on selling its brand in China, it has agreed a contract to supply components worth $20m-$35m a year once the first orders start shipping next year.
Details of that deal were part of an overall results presentation investors found encouraging. Earnings at the appliances business were depressed but not as bad as they could have been, coming in at the top end of the company’s guidance in December.
The company’s finance business, including brands such as Q Card and Farmers Finance, delivered earnings before interest and tax of $34.7m, well above manufacturing’s $23.7m.
The strong cash flows helped the company reduce net debt to $100m, down from $173m last year and “a significant step change from the $500m we had around our neck only a couple of years ago,” said Broadhurst.
F&P shares were up 10 per cent yesterday at 61c.
No dividend was declared but one would be paid “as soon as financial and operating conditions permit.”
Sales of plasma HDTVs grow
By Steve Smith — TWICE, 6/21/2011
New York – The Plasma Display Coalition is reporting that with the second quarter ending, sales trends for plasma HDTVs are on the upswing.
In a statement, the Coalition quoted improved sales reports from several statistical houses and added that plasma is doing better due to 3D features in more models and “value for the inch” as compared with competing technologies such as CCFL and LED-backlit LCD products. Improved energy efficiency is also having a positive effect.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) CE MarketMetrics program, “U.S. shipments of plasma TV sets between January and May 2011 topped 1 million units at a faster clip than last year. CEA’s shipment data reports also show the exceptional strength of high-definition 720p technology, which currently accounts for nearly two-thirds of overall plasma sales,” said Steve Koenig, industry analysis director for CEA, which tracks sales from manufacturers into retail stores.
Tamaryn Pratt, principal at Quixel Research, noted, “Consumers continue to benefit from the affordability of plasma models, in particular the very large 60-inch-and-larger category. The percentage of HDTV sets sold with plasma technology is growing, not shrinking, with plasma sales achieving a 12 percent year-over-year revenue gain in the first quarter. In fact, plasma sales in the first quarter of 2011 rose to almost 900,000 units, with particular strength in 720p models.”
The NPD Group, which tracks sell-through data at retail, agreed. NPD tracking of January through April data shows steady growth for plasma. When rounded off, NPD data shows a sell-through of 1 million units as opposed to 805,000 for the same period in 2010. This represents a growth of 25 percent. In contrast, NPD reported that LCD units grew 2 percent in the same period.
Ken Park, DisplaySearch senior analyst for Korea TV market research affirmed the positive results. “With 3D functionality, plasma can re-position itself as a lasting technology in the TV industry.”
Jim Palumbo, president of the Coalition, said in a statement, “While plasma displays have long been the preferred screens in the test labs of industry reviewers, many home entertainment specialists also agree that plasma HDTV provides outstanding picture performance through superior picture contrast, exceptionally deep black levels, and crisp resolution even in fast-motion scenes.”
Palumbo added, “With the introduction of lifelike 3D plasma displays coupled with more affordable products, plasma HDTV is continuing to top the large-screen sales charts. Several 2011 plasma HDTVs also meet the new more stringent Energy Star 5.3 requirements, which recognize top performers in their size classes,” he added.
For example, a new high-performance 42-inch plasma is Energy Star rated at 69 watts, as compared with a similar model in the same screen size that drew 158 watts in 2008 — a reduction of nearly 60 percent in power usage. Several 2011 plasma HDTVs meet the new more stringent Energy Star 5.3 requirements as top performers in their size classes.
“The Plasma Display Coalition and its members welcome and support the new EnergyGuide yellow labels that are required on all TVs starting this spring. The familiar guide, which can already be found on home appliances, now shows apples-to-apples comparisons for all types of TV technologies,” Palumbo said.
The Plasma Display Coalition (PDC) promotes the growth of plasma HDTV in the United States and encourages the understanding of the benefits and future potential of plasma HDTV. Founding members are LG Electronics USA and Panasonic Corporation of North America.
Sharp Suspends Factories in Japan
Sharp has announced plans to suspend operations at two LCD panel plants in Japan- not due to earthquake damage, but rather due to lack of demand.
According to a Reuters report, the earthquake in Japan has suppressed demand in that region, leading to less need for new supply. Therefore, the two facilities have shut down since early May.
National debt in terms of seconds
The amount of seconds in:
1 Million: 12 Days
1 Billion: 31 Years
1 Trillion: 31,688 Years
National Debt: 195,628 Years
Enjoy your 4th of July – be safe and remember why we are celerating!
Professional Servicers Organization of California
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY
If you are interested in serving on our board please let us know. We have advisory positions available and would welcome the opportunity to speak to you!
Should I take early Social Security retirement or wait until age 66 (when I am eligible for my full retirement benefit)?
SUBMITTED BY SAM SIEBEN,
IH-HOME TV SERVICE
The Social Security website www.socialsecurity.gov contains discussion on this subject: “If a worker begins receiving benefits before his/her normal (or full) retirement age, the worker will receive a reduced benefit. A worker can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as 30 percent.” And “If you are younger than full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 in earnings you have above the annual limit which is approximately $14,160.” After age 66 one can supplement their income without a penalty (reduced benefit).
Depending on one’s circumstances, there is a side to early retirement that might be worth considering. Let’s say your yearly net income at age 62 is $14,000 (which is under the $14,100 limit) and for the sake of discussion let’s use the following amounts: early benefit: $1150/month, full retirement benefit: $1450/month.
By taking early retirement and having your Social Security payments deposited into a savings account, at zero% interest (in four years when we turn 66) those accumulated payments would total $55,200. At 2% interest that total would grow to $58,664 which includes $2314 in interest. And from then on at age 66, by withdrawing $300/month from the amount saved and adding it to the ongoing paid benefit of $1150 (to equal the full retirement amount), you could continue withdrawing $300/month from your savings for twenty years until age 86 when the savings account would finally be depleted!
In addition, your accumulated savings would amount to an additional death benefit for your survivors, which would not be the case if you waited to take retirement at age 66. Of course, this is dependent on your individual circumstances, your net income between your 62nd and 66th year, and your ability to remain disciplined in savings management.
IRS 2012 BUDGET PROPOSAL
The Administration’s FY 2012 budget request for the Internal Revenue Service is nearly $13.3 billion, a $1.1 billion increase from the FY 2010 budget. Because of the IRS’s unique function as the revenue center of government, this budget increase actually reduces the deficit through increased tax enforcement revenues.
The IRS plays a unique role in government. In FY 2010, the IRS collected $2.345 trillion in taxes, representing 93 percent of federal government receipts. The IRS processed 141 million individual tax returns in 2010 and issued 109.5 million in refunds worth $366 billion.
The IRS 2012 funding request reflects a continued commitment to balance taxpayer service with fair enforcement of the tax laws. The IRS will also continue to invest in its service program, with particular emphasis on online services.
At the same time, the IRS continues to run a disciplined operation, identifying more than $188 million in cost-savings in 2012, coming on top of similar efficiency savings in 2010 and 2011.
The FY 2012 budget includes $339 million in new IRS enforcement initiatives, which raise $1.3 billion in revenue annually at full performance. This is a return on investment (ROI) of 4.5 to 1 when new hires reach full potential in FY 2014.
Prior investments in IRS enforcement programs have yielded significant increases in enforcement revenue. In FY 2010, enforcement revenue reached nearly $58 billion, exceeding the previous year by 18 percent.
The proposed FY 2012 funding will enable the IRS to continue to strengthen enforcement efforts and reduce the tax gap in several areas, including:
- Increasing compliance by addressing offshore tax evasion through several initiatives. The budget will help the IRS to conduct more examinations and implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA).
- Implementing information reporting requirements approved by Congress in 2008 to validate income reported by businesses by reconciling their income with their payment card receipts and third party transactions.
- Improving tax debt collection coverage and improving collection processes.
The IRS will also continue to focus on compliance issues and new responsibilities arising from recent tax law changes included in major legislation, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act.
Return Preparer Initiative
The FY 2012 budget request includes nearly $17 million to increase oversight of tax return preparers. This initiative will help ensure uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax return preparers by enforcing preparer compliance with IRS rules, increasing preparer examinations and pursuing preparers engaged in fraudulent activities.
Taxpayer Service Program
The FY 2012 request provides funding for initiatives to increase taxpayer access to telephone assistance, strengthen compliance and meet the growing demand for electronic services.
This initiative will provide additional staff to improve telephone level of service, as well as enhance automated self-service applications that allow taxpayers to obtain information on basic issues such as refund inquiries.
The budget request also includes $33 million to improve the IRS website and provide new online services. Last year, there were nearly 305 million visits to www.IRS.gov and nearly 76 million taxpayers checked the status of their refund by accessing “Where’s My Refund?” on the IRS website.
Business System Modernization
The request provides funding to continue the implementation of the core taxpayer account database, Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2), and the expansion of Modernized e-File (MeF).
The budget request will enable the IRS to continue the migration of applications to CADE 2. CADE 2 allows the IRS daily processing capabilities, which will result in faster refunds. Additionally, it will allow IRS personnel quicker access to data for customer service inquiries.
Modernized e-File provides electronic filing and payment options for individuals and businesses. The FY 2012 MeF request will allow the IRS to add the 125 remaining forms and schedules to the IRS MeF system and expand the reach of MeF to all of the e-File population, nearly 100 million individual filers.
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The 2012 funding request reflects the IRS cost for administering the tax provisions included in the Affordable Care Act. This funding request will be used to administer a number of new provisions that come into effect over the next several years. Some – such as the small employer health care tax credit – are in effect already. Others, such as the premium assistance tax credit and the individual coverage requirement, are not in effect until 2014.
More than 80 percent of the IRS ACA request is devoted to building Information Technology systems and other infrastructure activities.
Health Coverage Tax Credit Administration
The health coverage tax credit (HCTC) pre-dates the Affordable Care Act and was created by the Trade Act of 2002. The credit pays 80 percent of a qualified health plan premium for eligible trade-affected workers, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) payees and their families. Individuals can receive the credit either as their monthly health plan premium becomes due or when they file their federal tax return. The FY 2012 budget request includes $18 million to administer this program.
Having attended several of the annual training conventions of the Professional Servicers of California, once again this year’s convention was no disappointment.
This professional servicer’s organization attracts skilled servicers who are serious about how they approach their businesses and their trade. From the manner of attire to the attention and respect given to their peers and trainers during the training seminars, one cannot help but construe that they are amongst quality folks.
I appreciate the ability for an attendee to be present at each training seminar in their respective area of interest (appliance, electronics, and business) because each seminar is held in the same applicable room. I also appreciate the informal atmosphere at the meal and social events which makes it easy to get to know peers and trainers. But most importantly I appreciate networking with folks so when I go back to my business I know I have friends I can contact for support should the need arise.
If you feel as I do, that having resources for learning and an opportunity to interact with peers is important, be sure to attend an upcoming PSOC’s professional servicer’s convention.
Sam Sieben, Director
Owner, In-Home TV Repair
My Fellow Servicers,
I look around and wonder where the appliance and electronics industries are taking us? I joined the association many years ago and have seen several changes taking place. I’m not so sure that these changes are for the good of the servicer and the industries. The intent of the association is to better the servicer and the industries. Some manufactures and TPA’s have stepped up and are paying a fair wage for quality work while others are not.
I would like to pose this challenge to all of our fellow Servicers.
What changes would you like the Board of Directors to address? We got some feedback on Saturday at the convention, but for those who couldn’t attend please respond to this challenge. Some were not comfortable in speaking up in a meeting. Please contact a board member and express your opinions and concerns. Your concerns will remain confidential. The board is here to do what the majority of the membership directs us to do.
We need input but we also need a support group in order to achieve the goals set forth by the membership. We need members in good standing so if you have not sent in your membership dues, please do so. Unfortunately, it takes money to run an organization. We, the Board of Directors know that there are benefits to being a member of an association. We gladly give our time, expertise, and pay our membership dues and convention fees out of our own pockets.
I urge all of you to get involved with your Association and let’s make a difference!
Tim L Ory