January 2, 2018
Dear Clients & Friends:
We hope that you enjoyed the holiday season and were able to spend time with your family as we head into the New Year. As 2017 has come to an end and a new year begins, it’s important to think about tax planning and the various tax rules, tax breaks and deductions that could affect you. If you find a minute during the Holiday hustle, please read the enclosed newsletter.
In the newsletter, you will find details on the various natural disaster relief tax codes available. Did you know that if you’re an unlucky victim of a natural disaster, you may be able to take an itemized deduction for part of your loss?
If you’re an owner in a business with multiple owners, please read page 3 of the newsletter. This page covers the importance of a buy-sell agreement. A buy-sell agreement is basically a will for the business owners that describes how assets and other business interests will be distributed should an owner leave the business or in the event an owner becomes disabled or passes away.
We all have New Year’s resolutions. The back page of the Newsletter offers goals for expanding your wallet. Creating a financial strategy and sticking to it is a great way to start of the New Year.
The Affordable Care Act mandates are still effective for the tax year 2017. The Affordable Care Act requires that every individual is required to maintain at least the minimum essential health insurance coverage or be penalized on your income tax return. The penalty for not having insurance in 2017 is either 2.5% of your income or a flat fee of $695 per adult and $347.50 per dependent.
If you earn more than $100,000 a year, it’s important to note that the wage base for withholding social security tax from wages has increased from $127,200 to $128,700 for 2018.
As a reminder, for individuals, if you have estimated tax payments for the 2017 tax year, please make sure you have made your payments, including the last installment due on January 16. If you believe your taxable income has changed for 2017, please contact our office today so we can revise your estimates.
In firm news, you may have noticed one or more of us are out of the office occasionally in December. We were attending seminars and keeping abreast of any new tax provisions for 2017. For 2018, there is a brand new set of rules to digest thanks to the new tax bill enacted just before Christmas. We are attending a tax seminar the first week of January to get the inside scoop of what it is all about and how it will affect your situation.
We would like to take a minute to thank you for your past patronage and we look forward to assisting you with your future tax and financial needs.
Happy New Year,
Starkey & Company, PA
August 25, 2017
Dear Clients and Friends:
We hope your summer has been enjoyable. The kids are headed back to school in the coming weeks and fall is right around the corner. Hopefully the mild summer we have had isn’t a sign of a harsh winter to come.
Enclosed, please find the fall edition of our quarterly newsletter. On the cover page of the newsletter, you will find important information on filing an amended tax return. There are essential things to know when deciding if amending your return is the right option. Typically amended returns are required if you are correcting an error that will yield a significant refund or an additional tax due. If the IRS discovers the error before an amended return is filed, you could face interest and penalties on the additional tax. In the event an error is discovered, please call our office so we can decide the best approach.
On Page 2 of the newsletter, you will find valuable information about home office deductions. Did you know if you have office space and work from home, you can deduct a variety of expenses? These expenses include portions of your rent or mortgage, insurance, utilities and improvements and repairs among other potentially deductible expenses. The Home Office Deduction is a tricky provision in the tax code. Although many believe it can increase your chances of being audited and may be too complicated for what it’s worth, there are simple methods available. Please call our office to find out about deducting your home office expenses.
Also in our newsletter you will find suggestions for parents of young adults that are affected by the high levels of unemployment and college debt and are struggling to make it on their own. As parents, we are ready and available to help our kids. With our experience, we can offer advice and help set expectations. Additionally, the last page of the newsletter discusses things to know and questions to ask about paying your mortgage off early. Before making the decision to pay off your mortgage early, please call our office to decide if this is the best decision for you. While it may seem like an easy choice, will it earn you the highest return for the money spent?
Important dates to note on your calendar in the coming months include the September 15 due date for the third estimated tax payment for 2017. September 15 is also the deadline to file extended tax returns for S-Corporations and Partnerships. October 16 is the deadline to file all extended Individual returns and C-Corporation returns on extension and the deadline for characterizing a Roth to a regular IRA contribution.
With the filing deadline fast approaching, we are working diligently to complete the returns that are on extension. If you have not dropped off all of your 2017 information, please do so as soon as possible.
The months of November and December are a great time to evaluate your tax situation and review the options you have. If you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to call our office. We look forward to meeting with you in the coming months to discuss tax planning for 2017.
Please call our office today to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions regarding the information contained in this letter. As always, we appreciate your continued patronage and welcome the referrals of your friends and associates.
Starkey & Company, P.A.
June 14, 2017
Dear Clients & Friends:
School is letting out and the tourists are arriving, a definite sign that summer is upon us. If you get a free moment between the hustle and bustle of kid’s activities and work, please take a few minutes to read the enclosed summer edition of our quarterly financial planner.
In this edition of our quarterly newsletter, you will find 5 tax planning strategies to keep in mind for 2017. Half-way through the year is a good time to consider any changes that you can make to your tax situation for the year. Some of the advice offered in our newsletter is to analyze your deductions and credits, study your investment portfolio, consider boosting your retirement plan contributions, study the education credits available and update your estate plan. Did you know that you can claim higher education credits even if you graduated this year?
On Page 2 of our newsletter, you will find important information on working while collecting Social Security benefits. There are important tax effects to consider if you choose to work while collecting Social Security.
Also on Page 2 are important reminders for parents who claim their kids as dependents. If you pay for childcare and claim the Dependent Care Credit, the credit is no longer available when your child turns 13. Once your child reaches the age of 17, the Child Tax Credit is also no longer available. Additionally, the Earned Income Tax Credit is no longer available for children over the age of 19 unless they are full-time students then the age for exemption is 24.
Be very careful when answering the phone or checking your email when you don’t recognize the number or the email address. On Page 3, the latest scams are discussed. One in particular is very worrisome. The Federal Communications Commission is calling it the “yes scam.” The scammer will ask you questions to get a voice-recorded “yes” with your voice signature. Have you been receiving a lot of phone calls from other states or telephone numbers you don’t recognize? Think twice before you answer and never give away your personal information or answer any questions.
Lastly, are you tempted to apply for and use credit cards that offer rewards? It’s important to read the fine print. While reward cards that offer points and miles seems impressive, you typically have to pay a sizeable annual fee for the credit cards with rewards. There are also important questions to ask, like, do the rewards expire?
Important dates to remember for the third quarter of the year are June 15, July 31 and September 15. June 15 is the due date for the second installment of 2017 individual estimated tax, July 31 is the due date for filing 2016 retirement or employee benefit plan returns and September 15 is the due date for extending Corporate and Partnership tax returns and the third installment of estimated individual tax for 2017.
We are working faithfully to complete the tax returns we have on extension. If you have not dropped off your 2016 information, please do so as soon as possible. During the busy tax season, we sometimes forget to tell our clients how much we appreciate their patronage. We enjoy interacting and assisting you with your individual and business tax and financial needs. We appreciate any comments you have on the services we provide and welcome any referrals. If you haven’t already, please check out our website. We have recently made changes and welcome your feedback.
Starkey & Company, CPA’s
March 3, 2017
Dear Clients & Friends:
Here it is already March and we are well into tax season. We are meeting with our business clients to get the information we need to complete Corporate and Partnership returns. Our individual clients have received their information and are starting to come in as well. In January, we mailed organizers to our individual clients. If you didn’t receive one but would like to, please call our office today.
Enclosed, please find the spring edition of our quarterly newsletter. The spring edition, released during tax season, contains quite a bit of beneficial information. On the cover page, you will find useful information about several education tax breaks for current college students and for those who graduated and are paying student loans. If you are currently attending college, you could be eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is only available for the first four years of college or the Lifetime Learning Credit which has no limit on how many years it can be taken. Did you know that qualified student loan interest, up to $2,500, can be deducted depending on your income and filing status?
For our clients who are business owners looking for advice for retaining employees, Page 2 offers great tips to reduce employee turnover. Also for our business clients, the due dates to file corporate tax returns for calendar-year Corporations and Partnerships has shifted this year. Partnerships and S-Corporations must file by March 15th and C-Corporations have been given an additional month to file their tax returns, which are due on April 18th this year.
Page 3 of the quarterly newsletter discusses new foreign asset reporting requirements. If you hold assets in foreign accounts, you may need to file a FATCA Form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets). The timing of the annual filing disclosure has changed from June 30 to April 18, 2017 and failing to meet the filing requirement can be expensive.
Lastly, the back page of the newsletter discusses facts and changes regarding Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Did you know you have until the tax return filing date to contribute for the prior year? That means you have until April 18th this year to contribute to your IRA and possibly reduce your taxable income for 2016.
The decrease in the cost of fuel caused the standard mileage rate for business use of vehicles to go down from 54 cents to 53.5 cents per mile in 2017. Also on the inside of the newsletter, you will find the 2017 tax numbers. Standard deductions, exemptions and maximum contributions will remain about the same as 2016.
As always, let us know of any home improvements you made. With the residential energy credit, you can claim up to 10% of qualified expenses subject to overall lifetime limits.
Please call our office for an appointment as soon as you receive all of your tax information. We try to use the first-in, first-out method when preparing returns, so the sooner you bring in all your information, the sooner we will be able to prepare your return and get it back to you. We are looking forward to meeting with you in the coming weeks and assisting you with your financial and tax preparation needs.
Thank you for continued patronage. As always, we welcome any feedback you may have on the services we offer and we also welcome any referrals you may have.
Starkey & Company, PA