Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

401(k) retirement plan contribution limit increases for 2018; most other limits are stagnant

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low, most of the limits remain unchanged for 2018. But one piece of good news for taxpayers who’re already maxing out their contributions is that the 401(k) limit has gone up by $500. The only other limit that has increased from the 2017 level is for contributions to defined contribution plans, which has gone up by $1,000.

Type of limit 2018 limit
Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2)
and 457(c)(1) plans
Contributions to defined contribution plans $55,000
Contributions to SIMPLEs $12,500
Contributions to IRAs $5,500
Catch-up contributions to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2)
and 457(c)(1) plans
Catch-up contributions to SIMPLEs $3,000
Catch-up contributions to IRAs $1,000

If you’re not already maxing out your contributions to other plans, you still have an opportunity to save more in 2018. And if you turn age 50 in 2018, you can begin to take advantage of catch-up contributions.

Higher-income taxpayers should also be pleased that some limits on their retirement plan contributions that had been discussed as part of tax reform didn’t make it into the final legislation.

However, keep in mind that there are still additional factors that may affect how much you’re allowed to contribute (or how much your employer can contribute on your behalf). For example, income-based limits may reduce or eliminate your ability to make Roth IRA contributions or to make deductibletraditional IRA contributions.

If you have questions about how much you can contribute to tax-advantaged retirement plans in 2018, check with us.

© 2017

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Birmingham’s Christmas Party

The Birmingham team gathered at The Club on Thursday December 14th where they enjoyed each other’s company, delicious food and beverages. Everyone had a great time. Don’t they look great?!


Friday, December 15th, 2017

Columbia’s Christmas Party

The Columbia team is looking festive! Check out the fun pictures at their office Christmas party held last Friday at The Palmetto Club in downtown Columbia.


Thursday, December 14th, 2017

How nonprofits can successfully execute a capital campaign

When your not-for-profit desperately needs a new facility, costly equipment or an endowment, a capital campaign can be the best way to raise funds. But to be successful, a campaign requires strong leadership, extensive planning and dedicated participants.


Leading the troops

Capital campaigns generally are long-term projects — often lasting three or more years. To carry out yours, you need a champion with vision and stamina. Consider board members or look to leaders in the greater community with such qualifications as:

A fundraising track record,
Knowledge of your community and local issues,
The ability to motivate others, and
Time to attend planning sessions and fundraising activities.
Most capital campaigns require a small army to raise funds through direct mail, email solicitations, direct solicitations and special events. In addition to staff and board members, reach out to current volunteers, like-minded community groups and clients who’ve benefited from your services.

Approaching donors

Identify a large group — say 1,000 individuals — to solicit for donations. Draw your list from past donors, area business owners, board members, volunteers and other likely prospects. Then narrow that list to the 100 largest potential donors and talk to them first. Secure large gifts before pursuing anything under $1,000.

Be sure to train team members on how to solicit funds and provide them with sample scripts. To help volunteers make effective phone solicitations, record a few calls and play them back for the group to critique.

Focus on execution

It’s important to ensure that key constituents share your fundraising vision and strategies for reaching the campaign’s goals. Break down your overall goal into smaller objectives and celebrate when you reach each one. Also regularly report gifts, track your progress toward reaching your ultimate goal and measure the effectiveness of your activities.

Also pay attention to how you craft your message. Potential donors must see your organization as capable and strong, but also as the same group they’ve championed for years. Instead of focusing on what donations will do for your nonprofit, show potential donors the impact on their community.

Many measures of success

You’ll know you’ve reached your goal when you’ve raised a certain dollar amount. But don’t forget about other measures of success, such as return on investment or percentage of past donors contributing. We can help you identify the most valuable metrics.

© 2017

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Bradenton’s Daniel Anderson is a Graduate of the FICPA’s Emerging Leaders Program

Daniel Anderson head shotWay to go Daniel! Your M&J family is proud of you!  Click here to read the announcement published by Accounting Today.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Bradenton’s Christmas Party

For the 3rd year, the Bradenton team gathered at O’Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar on Friday, December 8th to celebrate a successful 2017. Everyone enjoyed a night out and catching up. And, like always, the food and service was excellent. Check out the pictures captured throughout the evening.

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Albany’s Christmas Party

Albany’s Christmas party was once again hosted at the beautiful Shackleford House (It’s a tradition).  The staff had a wonderful time celebrating and mingling.  Look at all the fun pictures!


Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

A Pie to the Face for the Kids!

M&J Albany employees raised funds to donate to Toys for Tots with a little extra fun wagered in.  The managers in the office agreed to put themselves on the line to encourage more giving.  When a donation was made, a manager’s name was selected.  The manager with the most money in their name had to get pied in the face!  The drive culminated with a happy hour & dinner at Locos on 11/28 with live music provided by Kyle Nichols.

Going into the night, the top three managers were Jay Shirah with $385, Rob Douglas with $310, and Kyle Nichols with $295.  Emily Dent and Aubrie Trotter also had amounts in their names but were unable to attend the event due to work.  As the night went on, more donations were collected.  An early donation of $100 to Rob put him in the lead.  An answering donation to Jay made it a neck and neck race.  The lead went back and forth until the final minutes, when Hays Lacey dropped $100 on Rob to seal his fate, and earn her the right to throw the pie.

After a few failed attempts to sufficiently deliver the pie (due to carrying a toddler that was not impressed by the whole deal), Kyle had to pinch hit and throw the pie for Hays.  After all was said and done, M&J had raised $1,763 for Toys for Tots.  A special thanks goes to Locos for hosting this event and also contributing $400 bringing the total to $2,163.


Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

What you need to know about year-end charitable giving in 2017

Charitable giving can be a powerful tax-saving strategy: Donations to qualified charities are generally fully deductible, and you have complete control over when and how much you give. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind this year to ensure you receive the tax benefits you desire.

Delivery date

To be deductible on your 2017 return, a charitable donation must be made by Dec. 31, 2017. According to the IRS, a donation generally is “made” at the time of its “unconditional delivery.” But what does this mean? Is it the date you, for example, write a check or make an online gift via your credit card? Or is it the date the charity actually receives the funds — or perhaps the date of the charity’s acknowledgment of your gift?

The delivery date depends in part on what you donate and how you donate it. Here are a few examples for common donations:

Check. The date you mail it.

Credit card. The date you make the charge.

Pay-by-phone account. The date the financial institution pays the amount.

Stock certificate. The date you mail the properly endorsed stock certificate to the charity.

Qualified charity status

To be deductible, a donation also must be made to a “qualified charity” — one that’s eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.

The IRS’s online search tool, Exempt Organizations (EO) Select Check, can help you more easily find out whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. You can access EO Select Check at Information about organizations eligible to receive deductible contributions is updated monthly.

Potential impact of tax reform

The charitable donation deduction isn’t among the deductions that have been proposed for elimination or reduction under tax reform. In fact, income-based limits on how much can be deducted in a particular year might be expanded, which will benefit higher-income taxpayers who make substantial charitable gifts.

However, for many taxpayers, accelerating into this year donations that they might normally give next year may make sense for a couple of tax-reform-related reasons:

  1. If your tax rate goes down for 2018, then 2017 donations will save you more tax because deductions are more powerful when rates are higher.
  2. If the standard deduction is raised significantly and many itemized deductions are eliminated or reduced, then it may not make sense for you to itemize deductions in 2018, in which case you wouldn’t benefit from charitable donation deduction next year.

Many additional rules apply to the charitable donation deduction, so please contact us if you have questions about the deductibility of a gift you’ve made or are considering making — or the potential impact of tax reform on your charitable giving plans.

© 2017

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Sharing a Little Christmas Cheer!

M&J’s Atlanta office was thrilled to partake in an Angel Tree once again this year! The toys, clothes, bikes and tons of Christmas cheer were gifted to numerous families through Midtown Assistance Center. This event brought so much joy to our office, and we hope it will bring just as much joy to the recipients!