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NEWSLETTERS

January 2022

The new year is upon us and so is another tax filing season.With all the late breaking tax law changes, advance payments of the child tax credit, and several stimulus payments, this year's tax return may be a bit chaotic. But your situation does not have to be. Included in this month's newsletter are some tips to help your tax journey be a smooth one.Also included is a great reminder for all of us to be prepared in case of fire. With the busy nature of our lives, this is an area that can be easily overlooked. There are also timely updates to retirement plan contribution limits for 2022 and a great list of ideas to help your small business prepare for the upcoming tax season.Please enjoy the information, and pass along articles of interest to all your family and friends. And as always, please call if you have questions or need help. Read more

The Twelve Days of Taxmas

Every year, PNC Bank publishes its "Christmas Price Index" to track the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas. For 2021, it's a hefty $41,206 — up 5.6% since we looked two years ago. (Have you heard about the "supply chain"?) The index may not be completely accurate — for example, the ten lords-a-leaping are valued using the cost of male ballet dancers rather than board-certified British lords. As for the eight maids-a-milking, well, "cows not included." But still, it got us wondering . . . what sort of taxes are we looking at on the whole affair? Twelve drummers drumming and eleven pipers piping make quite a racket every holiday season. Hiring all that help will stir up a cacophony of FICA taxes! Ten lords may look perfectly happy while they're leaping. But surely they must pay a king's ransom in inheritance taxes — after all, they are lords! Nine ladies dancing make a lovely sight at Christmas time, especially if they're Rockettes. They also pay a cabaret tax for the privilege of displaying their talent. Eight maids-a-milking make sure we have plenty of tasty eggnog to drink. Good thing so many states offer dairy tax credits to squeeze the cows on to higher holiday production! Seven swans-a-swimming? Six geese-a-laying? If we accept the rule of thumb that two birds per acre of pond is a manageable number, then we're looking at some serious property taxes to host our holiday flock! Who doesn't want five gold rings under the tree? But selling those rings can be an expensive proposition. Remember, jewelry held for personal use is still subject to 28% tax on long-term capital gains, plus an extra 3.8% net investment income tax! Four calling birds use a lot of cell phone minutes over twelve days. (They're calling birds, so unlimited texting won't help.) Naturally, that means a 5.82% federal excise tax, plus state and local sales tax, too. Three French hens add a sophisticated "continental" touch to anyone's holiday festivities. But don't forget the import duties you pay to bring foreign livestock into the country! Two turtle doves are famed among bird watchers for forming strong pair bonds, which makes them a symbol of devoted love. (That's why they're in the song.) Too bad that means they pay that pesky marriage penalty that hits high-income couples who file jointly! (Look, we know this one's a stretch. But we've got twelve days of taxes to fill here, so cut us some slack.) Nothing says "Christmas" like a partridge in a pear tree. And our tax code is full of juicy incentives for growing pear trees. You can deduct operating expenses associated with your crop; you can depreciate equipment and land improvements you use to manage your groves; and you can even take generous charitable deductions for rights you give up for conservation easements. Why the tax savings alone should be more than enough to pay for the partridge! Yes, even Twelve Days of Christmas just means twelve more opportunities for the taxman. So here's wishing you and your family the best this holiday season. We'll be back in 2022 to make sure you pay as little tax as possible, not just during the holidays but all year long! Read more

December 2021

To help celebrate this holiday season and momentarily forget about potential supply shortage frustrations you may encounter while shopping, this month’s newsletter features a fun quiz about toy crazes from the past. This fun trip down memory lane is sure to be a crowd pleaser!Also read about recent tax court cases that have great tax messages for all of us, five great money tips, and ideas to help your business prepare for surprise expenses.Please call if you would like to discuss how this information could impact your situation. If you know someone who could benefit from this newsletter, feel free to send it to them. Read more

Gobble Gobble

Four hundred years ago, a group of 50 pilgrims sat down with 100 Wampanoag guests for a three-day feast that we now celebrate as the first Thanksgiving. It was a mostly young, mostly male group that survived the colony's harsh initial year in New England. The menu featured venison and shellfish — while Governor William Bradford reported sending four men "fowling" to stock up for the meal, there's no evidence actual turkeys ever made it to the table. There were no potatoes or pumpkin pie, and Thanksgiving football didn't appear on TV until 1953. (The Lions actually beat the Packers!) Today, Thanksgiving marks the "official" start of the winter holiday season. But the real action kicks off later that weekend with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. (Although, the peculiar thing about that holiday is, there's no Charlie Brown Black Friday special. Can you really call it a "holiday" if there isn't a Charlie Brown special?) Millions of bleary-eyed shoppers will suit up early and brave the predawn traffic to line up outside their favorite big-box store to compete for doorbuster specials. With any luck, they'll avoid those occasional Black Friday riots! You're probably not thinking about taxes when you hit your local outlet mall to load up your sleigh with presents. (This year, you're probably worried the gifts you want are stuck on one of those container ships you've seen anchored just off Los Angeles!) But read on, and you'll see why tax collectors across the country get excited about Black Friday, too. The term "Black Friday" refers to the day when retailers see their books move from red (losses) to black (gains). The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday sales should hit $850 billion for 2021, or about 10% above last year. Holiday sales typically make up about 19% of the total for the year. Retailers will hire between 500,000 and 665,000 seasonal workers this year, assuming they can find enough people to work! Love it or hate it, Black Friday has become as important a part of the holiday weekend as carving the turkey and finding the wishbone. Naturally, the bargain hunters at the IRS are delighted to see retailers making all that money. If there isn't any income, there won't be any taxes to pay. Uncle Sam also collects income and payroll taxes on everyone involved in moving your presents from those container ships to warehouses to retailers to their final destination under your tree. Higher wages this year should mean even higher collections, too — a welcome development after nearly two years of pandemic-fueled disruptions. State and local governments love Black Friday, too. States collect their own share of income taxes on those earnings. Sales tax revenues typically spike at the end of the year, too. That means places like Texas and Florida that don't levy income taxes get to join the celebration, too — even if we all know it's a big commercial racket. ("It's run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.") Speaking of Black Friday, did you know the IRS offers a "Black Friday" sale on tax bills? Well, not really . . . but proactive planning lets many of our clients save huge amounts on their taxes! If you're willing to wake up early and fight the crowds instead of enjoying leftover turkey, then why wouldn't you be willing to call us to save even more! Read more

November 2021

Time is running out to minimize your tax obligation before the end of the year! This month’s newsletter features several tax moves to consider making by December 31st to lessen the amount of money you owe the IRS.Review the Social Security benefits and their recent changes, plus learn about the greatest, unreported theft in America - and you are a victim! All this and ideas for your business are outlined in this month's newsletter.Please call if you would like to discuss how this information could impact your situation. If you know someone who could benefit from this newsletter, feel free to send it to them. Read more