Friday, July 22nd, 2016
M&J has introduced the Summer Leadership Program, a 2-day program where potential future M&J’ers have the opportunity to hear about our Firm’s culture, M&J success in the profession, and the various programs available to help our younger staff grow in their accounting careers. This invitation only program will be offered each summer to potential interns we’ve met at recruiting events, future interns who have accepted an offer and past interns.
Our first Summer Leadership Program took place the week of July 18th. We met some talented accounting students and we hope they will consider a promising career with M&J!
Friday, July 22nd, 2016
The M&J LEAP Conference attendees were put to the test at Escape the Space in Athens. Teams were put to the the test and had to solve several puzzles to unlock the door and escape the rooms! Only one team did not succeed…can you guess which one??
Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Bradenton Partner Dianne Kopczynski is featured in the June/July “Women of Influence Issue” of 941CEO Magazine. You can find her listed among her fellow female Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance (LWRBA) peers, here.
She was also featured in the April/May issue of 941CEO in the “Meet the Members of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance” section. (Issue not available online). Dianne had this to say about the Alliance:
“The LWRBA is about more than just showing up to events. It’s about the excellent long-term relationships I have built. Fellow members are also eager to make those connections. It’s local businesses helping each other to become successful.”
Recently, she joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors.
Way to go Dianne!
Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
It’s common for parents, grandparents and others to make gifts to minors and college students. Perhaps you want to help fund education expenses or simply remove assets from your taxable estate. Or maybe you’re hoping to shift income into a lower tax bracket. Whatever the reason, beware of the “kiddie tax.”
What is the kiddie tax?
For children subject to the kiddie tax, any unearned income beyond $2,100 (for 2016) is taxed at their parents’ marginal rate (assuming it’s higher), rather than their own likely low rate.
For example, let’s say you transferred to your 16-year-old some stock you’d held for several years that had appreciated $10,000. You were thinking she’d be eligible for the 0% long-term gains rate so could sell the stock with no tax liability for your family. But you’d be in for an unhappy surprise: Assuming your daughter had no other unearned income, $7,900 of the gain would be taxed at your rate (15% or 20%, depending on your bracket).
Thursday, July 14th, 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.
The credit is for expenses related to your principal residence. It equals 10% of certain qualified improvement expenses plus 100% of certain other qualified equipment expenses, subject to a maximum overall credit of $500, which is reduced by any credits claimed in earlier years. (Because of this reduction, many people who previously claimed the credit will be ineligible for any further credits in 2016.)
Examples of improvement investments potentially eligible for the 10% of expense credit include:
- Insulation systems that reduce heat loss or gain,
- Metal and asphalt roofs with heat-reduction components that meet Energy Star requirements, and
- Exterior windows (including skylights) and doors that meet Energy Star requirements. These expenditures are subject to a separate $200 credit cap.
Examples of equipment investments potentially eligible for the 100% of expense credit include:
- Qualified central air conditioners; electric heat pumps; electric heat pump water heaters; water heaters that run on natural gas, propane, or oil; and biomass fuel stoves used for heating or hot water, which are subject to a separate $300 credit cap.
- Qualified furnaces and hot water boilers that run on natural gas, propane or oil, which are subject to a separate $150 credit cap.
- Qualified main air circulating fans used in natural gas, propane and oil furnaces, which are subject to a separate $50 credit cap.
Manufacturer certifications required
When claiming the credit, you must keep with your tax records a certification from the manufacturer that the product qualifies. The certification may be found on the product packaging or the manufacturer’s website. Additional rules and limits apply. For more information about these and other green tax breaks for individuals, contact us.
Friday, July 8th, 2016
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who was able to come out to Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center yesterday!
Our group conquered several large projects that Reflection Riding had been delaying plus one time sensitive project. We cleaned and straightened up the downstairs visitors’ center, including some window washing. We cleared out and organized the upstairs office/storage area plus the attic. We planted and watered almost 500 butterfly bushes. And we even weeded a few sections of greenhouse plants!
Everyone we helped was absolutely blown away by the quality and quantity of our work! And they were so appreciative of having each and every one of these projects taken off of their to-do lists!!!
While we were there, we enjoyed lunch in the Discovery Forest Treehouse during which the Wildlife Director brought a female hawk by to tell us more about the breed and about the various wildlife programs the Center has. We concluded lunch with a visit to the Wildlife Wanderland where we saw the opossum, red wolves, and several birds & owls.
For anyone who wasn’t able to make it yesterday, I encourage you to go and visit the Center. Please see the brochures in the break room for information about several fun events coming up. Any one of these would be a great time to see what all they have to offer our community!
Tuesday, July 5th, 2016
Investing in mutual funds is an easy way to diversify a portfolio, which is one reason why they’re commonly found in retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s. But if you hold such funds in taxable accounts, or are considering such investments, beware of these three tax hazards:
- High turnover rates.Mutual funds with high turnover rates can create income that’s taxed at ordinary-income rates. Choosing funds that provide primarily long-term gains can save you more tax dollars because of the lower long-term rates.
- Earnings reinvestments.Earnings on mutual funds are typically reinvested, and unless you keep track of these additions and increase your basis accordingly, you may report more gain than required when you sell the fund. (Since 2012, brokerage firms have been required to track — and report to the IRS — your cost basis in mutual funds acquired during the tax year.)
- Capital gains distributions.Buying equity mutual fund shares late in the year can be costly tax-wise. Such funds often declare a large capital gains distribution at year end, which is a taxable event. If you own the shares on the distribution’s record date, you’ll be taxed on the full distribution amount even if it includes significant gains realized by the fund before you owned the shares. And you’ll pay tax on those gains in the current year — even if you reinvest the distribution.
If your mutual fund investments aren’t limited to your tax-advantaged retirement accounts, watch out for these hazards. And contact us — we can help you safely navigate them to keep your tax liability to a minimum.
Friday, July 1st, 2016
We are pleased to announce M&J’s newest promotions! We thank you for all the hard work and long hours you have dedicated to Mauldin & Jenkins.
Friday, June 24th, 2016
The top alternative minimum tax (AMT) rate is 28%, compared to the top regular ordinary-income tax rate of 39.6%. But the AMT rate typically applies to a higher taxable income base and will result in a larger tax bill if you’re subject to it.
Midyear is a good time to check on whether any events in your financial life during the first six months of the year make it likely you’ll owe the AMT when you file your 2016 return.
Friday, June 17th, 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:
HSA. If you’re covered by a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can contribute pretax income to an employer-sponsored HSA — or make deductible contributions to an HSA you set up yourself — up to $3,350 for self-only coverage and $6,750 for family coverage for 2016. Plus, if you’re age 55 or older, you may contribute an additional $1,000.