Hot Topic Articles & News

2016 IRA contributions - it's not too late!

Mar 21, 2017 – Yes, there’s still time to make 2016 contributions to your IRA. The deadline for such contributions is April 18, 2017. If the contribution is deductible, it will lower your 2016 tax bill. But even if it isn’t, making a 2016 contribution is likely a good idea

Deduct all of the mileage you're entitled to - but not more

Mar 8, 2017 – Rather than keeping track of the actual cost of operating a vehicle, employees and self-employed taxpayers can use a standard mileage rate to compute their deduction related to using a vehicle for business. But you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes, including medical, moving and charitable purposes.

Can you pay bonuses in 2017 but deduct them this year?

Dec 8, 2016 – You may be aware of the rule that allows businesses to deduct bonuses employees have earned during a tax year if the bonuses are paid within 2½ months after the end of that year (by March 15 for a calendar-year company). But this favorable tax treatment isn’t always available.

A brief overview of the President-elect's tax plan for individuals

Nov 22, 2016 – Now that Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States and Republicans have retained control of both champbers of Congress, an overahul of the U.S. tax code next year is likely.  President-elect Trump's tax reform plan, released earlier this year, includes the following changes that would affect individuals:

3 strategies for tax-smart giving

Sep 2, 2016 – Giving away assets during your life will help reduce the size of your taxable estate, which is beneficial if you have a large estate that could be subject to estate taxes. For 2016, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $5.45 million (twice that for married couples with proper estate planning strategies in place). Click here for more information.

There’s still time for homeowners to save with green tax credits

Jul 12, 2016 – The income tax credit for certain energy-efficient home improvements and equipment purchases was extended through 2016 by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act). So, you still have time to save both energy and taxes by making these eco-friendly investments.

Finding the right trax-advantaged account to fund your health care expenses

Jun 14, 2016 – With health care costs continuing to climb, tax-friendly ways to pay for these expenses are more attractive than ever. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) all provide opportunities for tax-advantaged funding of health care expenses. But what’s the difference between these three accounts? Here’s an overview: click here

3 income-tax-smart gifting strategies

Mar 15, 2016 – If your 2015 tax liability is higher than you’d hoped and you’re ready to transfer some assets to your loved ones, now may be the time to get started. Giving away assets will, of course, help reduce the size of your taxable estate. But with income-tax-smart gifting strategies, it also can reduce your income tax liability — and perhaps your family’s tax liability overall:

Make a 2015 contribution to an IRA before time runs out

Mar 9, 2016 – Tax-advantaged retirement plans allow your money to grow tax-deferred — or, in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free. But annual contributions are limited by tax law, and any unused limit can’t be carried forward to make larger contributions in future years. So it’s a good idea to use up as much of your annual limits as possible. Have you maxed out your 2015 limits?

2 benefits-related tax credits just for small businesses

Mar 1, 2016 – Tax credits reduce tax liability dollar-for-dollar, making them particularly valuable. Two valuable credits are especially for small businesses that offer certain employee benefits. Can you claim one — or both — of them on your 2015 return?

2016 Schmidt Westergard Promotions

Feb 18, 2016 – Mesa, Arizona – February 1, 2016 – Schmidt Westergard & Company, PLLC promotes Christopher A. Jones to audit partner and Kelly M. White and Daniel J. Evans to director positions.

 

Protect your deduction: Verify that a charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions before you donate

Nov 10, 2015 – Donations to qualified charities are generally fully deductible, and they may be the easiest deductible expense to time to your tax advantage. After all, you control exactly when and how much you give. But before you donate, it’s critical to make sure the charity you’re considering is indeed a qualified charity — that it’s eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. Click here for more information.

Should you "bunch" medical expenses into 2015?

Oct 7, 2015 – Medical expenses that aren’t reimbursable by insurance or paid through a tax-advantaged account (such as a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account) may be deductible — but generally only to the extent that they exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. Click here for more info.

Exporters and others: Save taxes with an IC-DISC

Aug 27, 2015 – If your business exports American-made goods or performs architectural or engineering services for foreign construction projects, an interest-charge domestic international sales corporation (IC-DISC) can help slash your tax bill. Click here to find out more.

What you need to know before donating collectibles

Aug 25, 2015 – If you’re a collector, donating from your collection instead of your bank account or investment portfolio can be tax-smart. When you donate appreciated property rather than selling it, you avoid the capital gains tax you would have incurred on a sale. And long-term gains on collectibles are subject to a higher maximum rate (28%) than long-term gains on most long-term property (15% or 20%, depending on your tax bracket) — so you can save even more taxes. Click here to find out more.

Teens in your family with jobs? Set up IRAs for them!

Aug 18, 2015 – Teenagers’ retirement may seem too far off to warrant saving now, but IRAs can be perfect for teens precisely because they’ll likely have many years to let their accounts grow tax-deferred or tax-free.The 2015 contribution limit is the lesser of $5,500 or 100% of earned income. A teen’s traditional IRA contributions typically are deductible, but distributions will be taxed. Roth IRA contributions aren’t deductible, but qualified distributions will be tax-free. Click here for more information.

Act soon if you want to help your child buy a home

Aug 11, 2015 – Mortgage interest rates are still at historically low levels, but they’re expected to go up by year end. So if you’ve been thinking about helping your child — or grandchild — buy a home, consider acting soon. There also are some favorable tax factors that will help: click here to find out more.

Tread carefully when determining compensation for S corp. shareholder-employees

Aug 4, 2015 – By distributing profits in the form of dividends rather than salary, an S corporation and its owners can avoid payroll taxes on these amounts. Because of the additional 0.9% Medicare tax on wages in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers and $125,000 for married filing separately), the potential tax savings may be even greater than it once would have been. (S corporation dividends paid to shareholder-employees generally won’t be subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax.) Click here for more information.

Married with a large estate? Why your estate plan still needs to include a credit shelter trust.

Jun 26, 2015 – Even though portability now allows married couples to use up both spouses’ estate tax exemptions without having to make lifetime asset transfers or set up trusts, this “easier” path isn’t necessarily the better path. For couples with large estates, making lifetime asset transfers and setting up trusts can provide benefits that exemption portability doesn’t offer. Click here for more information.

Why the details matter when selling investments

Jun 10, 2015 – If you don’t pay attention to the details, the tax consequences of a sale may be different from what you expect. For example, if you bought the same security at different times and prices and want to sell high-tax-basis shares to reduce gain or increase a loss to offset other gains, be sure to specifically identify which block of shares is being sold. Click here to find out more.

Now's the time to start your 2015 tax planning

Apr 22, 2015 – Whether you filed your 2014 income tax return by the April 15 deadline or filed for an extension, you may think that it’s a good time to take a break from thinking about taxes. But doing so could be costly. Now is actually the time you should begin your 2015 tax planning — if you haven’t already. Click here for more information.

Facing an unexpected bill for the additional 0.9% Medicare tax?

Apr 14, 2015 – The additional 0.9% Medicare tax applies to FICA wages and self-employment income exceeding $200,000 per year ($250,000 for married filing jointly and $125,000 for married filing separately). Unfortunately, the withholding rules have been tripping up some taxpayers, causing them to face an unexpected tax bill — plus interest and penalties — when they file their returns. Click here to find out more.

A net operating loss on your 2014 tax return isn't all bad news.

Apr 9, 2015 – When a company’s deductible expenses exceed its income, generally a net operating loss (NOL) occurs (though of course the specific rules are more complex). If when filing your 2014 income tax return you’ve found that your business had an NOL, there is an upside: tax benefits. Click here to find out more.

Still filing a paper return?

Apr 3, 2015 – The IRS considers a paper return that’s due April 15 to be timely filed if it’s postmarked by midnight on April 15. But dropping your return in a mailbox on the 15th may not be sufficient. To find out more click here

Yes, there's still time to make a 2014 IRA contribution

Mar 25, 2015 – The deadline for 2014 IRA contributions is April 15, 2015. The limit for total contributions to all IRAs generally is $5,500 ($6,500 if you were age 50 or older on Dec. 31, 2014).If you haven’t already maxed out your 2014 limit, consider making one of these types of contributions by April 15: Click here to find out more...

Taking advantage of tangible property safe harbors

Mar 11, 2015 – If your business has made repairs to tangible property, such as buildings, machinery, equipment and vehicles, you may be eligible for a deduction on your 2014 income tax return. But you must make sure they were truly "repairs," and not actually "improvements."  Click here to find out more.

Make sure you have proper substantiation for your 2014 donations

Feb 27, 2015 – If you don’t meet IRS substantiation requirements, your charitable deductions could be denied. To comply, generally you must obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity stating the amount of the donation, whether you received any goods or services in consideration for the donation, and the value of any such goods or services. Upon audit, both the IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue have been consistent in denying deductions over $250 that do not have contemporaneous documentation. Please click here for more information.

Schmidt Westergard Brings on New Tax Partner

Feb 11, 2015 – Todd M. Trendler, CPA has joined Schmidt Westergard as a Tax Partner.  Todd joins the firm after spending the past 17 years at a "big four" accounting firm, focused on middle market companies.  He brings with him a wealth of experience dealing with the complex tax issues of corporations, partnerships and individuals.  Todd is experienced in serving a range of industries including retail operations, technology, manufacturing, entertainment and energy.  Click here to learn more.

Don't procrastinate filing your taxes

Jan 28, 2015 – If you’re like many Americans, you may not start thinking about filing your tax return until the April 15 deadline is just a few weeks — or perhaps even just a few days — away. But there’s another date you should keep in mind: Click here to learn more, or contact a Schmidt Westergard tax professional at (480) 834-6030.

Tax Law Change Provides Retroactive Relief

Dec 22, 2014 – On Dec. 16, the Senate passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (TIPA), which the House had passed on Dec. 3. The act extends through Dec. 31, 2014, certain tax relief provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Several of these provisions can produce significant savings for taxpayers on their 2014 income tax returns, butt quick action (before Jan. 1, 2015) may be needed to take advantage of some of them. Click the link above for a brief summary of the extended tax beaks that may be most likely to benefit you or your business.

Mesa Chamber Golf Tournament Sponsor

Sep 23, 2014 – Schmidt Westergard team members had the honor of sponsoring the first hole and playing in the Mesa Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament. Click the link above to view a photo from the event.

Senior Tax Manager Kelly White Featured in Arizona Republic

Jul 1, 2014 – Congratulations to one of our Senior Tax Managers, Kelly White, who was featured in the Arizona Republic's "Who's Who" business column for her outstanding work at Schmidt Westergard.

Check out the article to see how her career path led to us here.

 

Events

Mesa United Way Award

May 16, 2017 – Congratulations to Jackie Jones for being presented the Employee Campaign Leader of the Year Award at the Mesa United Awards Luncheon.  Jackie feels the firm is fortunate to have partners who support giving back and employees who are very generous during campaigns.

 

SW Team Gives Back

Feb 21, 2017 – 

Our SW Team Gives Back – Excited to donate the books collected for the Mesa United Way 12Books Program.  Always thankful for the generosity of our employees to support our community!

We are so proud of our team at Schmidt Westergard

Dec 8, 2016 – 

We are so proud of our team here at Schmidt Westergard.  Everyone is in the holiday spirit as we exceeded our goal in collecting food for AZ Brainfood as well as donating gifts for JaKelle’s Christmas Box. The gifts were delivered to the awesome volunteers at Helen’s Hope Chest.  These gifts will brighten the holidays for foster children and those brought up in kinship families.

We are very thankful for everyone’s generosity!

NAU Career Exploration Day

Sep 26, 2016 – 

We are excited to see everyone at this year’s NAU Career Exploration Day on Friday, October 7th

International Tax Seminar

Jul 17, 2014 – Tax Partner Jeff Bither recently presented a great luncheon program about International Tax and IC-DISCs. To learn more about future seminars presented by Schmidt Westergard, follow us on LinkedIn.