Five Great Tax Strategies for Saving Money

Let Us Help You Decrease Your Tax Liability

Not many people look forward to tax season. Most people don’t really want to find out how much money they owe the state and the government. It can understandably cause a lot of stress and anxiety. But here at Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, we help both individuals and businesses in Twin Falls, ID and the surrounding areas save as much money as possible by decreasing their tax liability.

Tax liability is the amount of money you are responsible for paying in taxes. There are lots of strategies for decreasing your tax liability and saving money come tax season. Below are five of the most popular strategies. But we work closely with each and every client to come up with a customized plan that meets your needs and saves you as much money as possible.

#1: Invest in Your Retirement

Investing in a retirement contribution fund will not only help you in the future, but did you know that you can deduct the amount you invested from your annual taxable income? Plus, your contributions aren’t taxed until your retirement. So if you haven’t already started a 401(k) or IRA account, you should definitely do that to help you save money in the short and long term. Not sure how much you should be investing, or which contribution funds you should choose? Our accountants can help you weigh out the options.

#2: Donate to Charity

Donating to charity isn’t always a selfless act! Not only can you help others, but you can actually save some money while doing it. That’s because you can deduct your charitable contributions from your taxable income, decreasing your tax liability. Whether you are passionate about helping the homeless, the environment, children, or animals…no matter the cause, go ahead and get generous. Be sure to keep track of how much you donate, whether it be money or items, so you can deduct them come tax season.

#3: Open Up a Health Savings Account

Prepare for any future costly health expenses, and reduce your tax liability, with a health savings account. A Health Savings Account is a fund that you contribute to if you have a high-deductible insurance plan, to help you cover medical bills until you have reached that deductible. You can detract the amount you invest in your HSA from your total taxable income, meaning you spend less on taxes.

#4: Invest in Your Child’s Education With IDeal

If you plan on sending your child or children to college, starting a college saving fund is a great way to not only ensure they will have the funds to be able to afford tuition, supplies, and other educational costs, but to take a load off of your taxable income. A popular option in Idaho is an IDeal account. This won’t save you money on your federal taxes, but it can give you a deduction for Idaho state taxes. Want to learn more about how to invest in an IDeal account? Our accountants can help!

#5: Own a Business? Work From Home

If you have your own business and use part of your home or apartment for your home office, you’re in luck! You are able to qualify for certain deductions from your rent, utilities, and more for that office space. Under the simplified method put in place starting in the 2013 tax year, you can deduct $5 for every square foot of your home office, up to 300 square feet. However, you have to meet certain qualifications in order to qualify for this deduction. If you are a business owner working from home, our accountants can help you figure out how you can capitalize on deductions.

There’s no need to stress come tax season when you have Stevens Pierce & Associates on your side! We are here to help you tax plan in advance, so you can save as much money as possible. Whether you decide to put aside those savings or put them towards a vacation to reward yourself for what a great decision you made by choosing us, is up to you. Contact us today at 208-734-8662 to schedule an appointment!

How to Calculate Your State Withholding Tax

Make Sure Your Paycheck is Reflecting the Correct Withholdings

With recent changes in tax laws at both the federal and state levels, it is important that Idaho citizens understand how to calculate how much they will owe in state income taxes. This is especially important if your paycheck is not reflecting the correct amount of withholdings, because you will have to be prepared to pay a tax bill when you file your 2018 income tax return.

At Stevens Pierce & Associates in Twin Falls, ID, we are here to help our clients ensure their paychecks reflect the correct withholdings and to help them understand the new federal and state tax rules and regulations. Our experienced accountants understand that taxes can be tricky, but with us, you don’t have to do it alone!

How to Figure Out How Much You Owe

According to the Idaho State Tax Commision, the first step is to calculate your total income, and from that amount, subtract your standard deduction, whether you filed as single, head of household, or married. This is your taxable income. You can then check the 2018 individual income tax tables and use your taxable income to determine how much you will owe in taxes.

What is Different This Year from Last Year?

Idaho has decided to conform its tax law changes to those implemented by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). According to the Idaho State Tax Commission, changes in the tax law include:

  • Standard deductions have increased:
    • Single = $12,000
    • Head of Household = $18,000
    • Married & Filing Jointly = $24,000
  • Personal exemptions have been eliminated
  • Dependent exemptions have been eliminated
  • Many itemized deductions have been eliminated or capped
  • Idaho has implemented a nonrefundable child tax credit of $205 for every qualifying child
  • The individual income tax rate in Idaho has been reduced to 0.475%
  • The New Child Tax Credit

    Not everyone will benefit from the new state tax laws. Unfortunately, many low- to middle-class families will be paying higher taxes because of the new child tax credit. That’s because Idaho did not utilize a child tax credit at all until after the federal TCJA passed. Originally, Idaho implemented a $130 nonrefundable tax credit for all qualifying children, but they increased it to $205. However, even this increased tax credit is not enough to make up for the personal exemptions that families used to be able to take advantage of but no longer can. In fact, the Idaho Legislative Services Office says the child tax credit would have to be at least $287 in order to make up for lost personal exemptions.

    For more information about the Idaho child tax credit, click here.

    If you have questions about how much should be withheld from your paycheck, or about any of the new state tax laws, please contact us today at 208-734-8662 and we will be happy to help you navigate the changing regulations. We look forward to working with you!

How Hiring an Accountant Can Benefit Your Business

Bookkeeping & Payroll Services to Save You Time & Stress

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Your employees, your customers, and the success of your business all depend on you. So why should you be spending your precious time on tedious, complicated administrative tasks? At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, we are proud to work with local business owners throughout Twin Falls, ID and the surrounding areas. Our bookkeeping and payroll services are designed to help you handle the complicated duties, so you can focus on your productivity. Our professional accountants know how to ensure your bookkeeping and payroll are accurate, precise, and tax-compliant.

What is Bookkeeping & Why is it Important?

Bookkeeping is the creation and maintenance of documentation regarding a business’s financial transactions. This documentation can include:

  • Receipts
  • Billing
  • Invoices
  • Payroll
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Balance Sheets
  • Income Statements
  • And More

Our accountants utilize state-of-the-art technology in order to make the bookkeeping process efficient and accurate.

But why is it so important for your business to have meticulous financial records? For one thing, it is impossible to do your taxes if you don’t have all of your financial information readily available. Even if you hire a professional to do your taxes, they will require this information. Proper bookkeeping ensures you won’t have to go scrambling for records last minute. Plus, it’s always important to understand how your business is doing financially and to understand your cash flow. This helps you to make informed decisions that will help you continue to succeed and maintain profit.

And, at the end of the day, there are laws in place that require businesses to maintain accurate financial records. So, why trust anyone but professionals with a task that is so vital to your business? Our accountants are highly trained and experienced for services you can trust.

Streamlining the Payroll Process

Making sure your employees are paid the correct amount, on time, and that the correct taxes, withholdings and deductions are taken out is an extremely time-consuming and difficult task. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, our accountants take care of these matters, as well as handle direct deposit, employee tax forms, and more. We utilize state-of-the-art technology to ensure all payroll information is organized and accurate.

Sometimes, business owners feel hesitant about outsourcing their payroll services. But this is a smart business move, because if you aren’t 100% accurate with your payroll, you risk an audit from the IRS, as well as anger from your employees, who want to be paid what they deserve. Plus, with our team managing your payroll, you enjoy the freedom to focus on other important tasks to ensure your business thrives.

Our payroll services include:

  • Managing employee tax forms
  • Creating accurate employee paychecks
  • Direct deposit
  • Handling business taxes and withholdings
  • Payroll tax deposits
  • Payroll tax reports
  • And more

When it comes to your business’s accounting, trust the professionals who have the reputation, experience, and knowledge you can trust. Contact Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S today at 208-734-8662 for more information on how we can help you. Our team looks forward to helping you save time and stress with our bookkeeping and payroll services!

Is it Time for a Mid-Year Checkup of Your Withholding Taxes?

It’s Important to Make Sure Enough of Your Income Taxes are Being Withheld

One of the most common questions we were asked last tax season here at Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, was: “How will the new tax laws impact me?”

When Congress and the President enacted tax law changes in the 11th hour of 2017, it was one of the largest reforms passed since the major tax overhaul of 1986. In short, there were changes to the standard deduction, child tax credits, and a shifting of most of the tax rates, among other changes.

Earlier this year, the IRS updated the withholding tables for wage earners and you may have noticed that your take-home pay may have increased. In the short term, that may sound like a good thing. However, it might be worth your time to double check that you are having enough income taxes withheld to cover your taxes. You still have about six months to make changes so you don’t wind up with a balance due that you did not expect.

How Should You Approach Checking Your Withholding Taxes?

There are a few strategies you can choose from.

  • You may just leave it to your trained tax professional – that’s the kind of answer professionals like me enjoy hearing – we have software and templates that we use to project what your earnings will look like in 2018.
  • OR
  • If you are feeling adventurous, you can use some of the tools that the taxing authorities have put together to help you determine if your withholding will be sufficient to cover your taxes.

The IRS Withholding Calculator

The IRS has published a withholding calculator on their website to help you determine if your withholding is sufficient under the new tax law. Click here to access the calculator.

Keep in mind that you will need some information to go through this process. A few things that you might need to proceed using the IRS calculator are:

  • Your most recent pay stub
  • Most recent income tax return to help estimate 2018 taxes
  • Consider things that will be different for you in 2018 – you can make some modifications as you go

Also, keep in mind the calculator will only be as accurate as the information you put into it.

At the end of the process, the calculator will suggest what you should claim on your W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, as well as provide a link for you to complete a new W-4 and provide it to your employer.

Be Sure to Check Your Idaho Taxes, Too

After going through the IRS withholding calculator, it might make sense to look at your Idaho withholding. Earlier this year, our Idaho legislators adopted many of the Federal tax law changes and introduced a few changes, most notably, an Idaho child tax credit. The Idaho State Tax Commission has put together a statement regarding changes that may be necessary to make to your W-4 for Idaho purposes.

The Idaho instructions for the W-4 can be found here by clicking here or by going to the Idaho State Tax Commission website and clicking on the Tax Reform button on the home page.

Tax law changes happen and it is important to make sure that you pay in enough tax through your income tax withholding. Whether you have a trusted tax professional or not, there are tools available to make the process easier. Take some time now to make sure you are paying enough taxes to avoid a surprise balance due next filing season. Have questions? Contact us today at 208-734-8662. Our accountants are highly experienced in tax preparation and planning and look forward to helping you!

How Divorce Affects Your Income Tax Return

Just When You Thought Divorce Wasn’t Difficult Enough

Going through a divorce can be intensely emotional, stressful and overwhelming. It often comes with significant changes to your lifestyle, as well as financial burdens. However, did you know that divorce can impact your income tax return as well?

Even when you hire a professional accountant to prepare your tax return, it is important that you understand how your return will be affected by your divorce. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S in Twin Falls, ID, our team is here for you to help you with your taxes during this difficult time and to ensure your tax return is compliant.

Do You Qualify to Claim Your Child as a Dependent?

You can’t rely on your divorce decree to give you guidance as to how your taxes will be affected. This is because often, judges and attorneys don’t have the required knowledge of IRS requirements. Therefore, even if it is stated that your child will remain your dependent and that you can claim your child for tax purposes, this might not always be accurate. An accountant will need to know with which parent the child spend the most nights over the past year. This will determine custody for tax purposes. If you are the non-custodial parent and both parents contributed at least 50% of the child support last year, your former spouse will need to sign a Form 8332.

What is Form 8332?

By filling out and signing Form 8332, the custodial parent releases their claim to the child as a dependent and to claim the child tax credit. However, it does NOT allow the non-custodial parent to claim:

  • The child and dependent care credit
  • Head of household filing status
  • Earned Income Tax Credit
  • The income exclusion of employer-provided dependent care assistance

Information We Need From You

We will need to know with which parent the child spent the most nights, and we will need sufficient proof that the child did in fact spend more time with you than the other parent. You cannot claim your child as a dependent without this information, as you cannot depend on the divorce decree to give you this right. If you are the custodial parent, in order for your former spouse to be able to claim the child as a dependent, you will need to sign a Form 8332, which releases your claim to the child as a dependent.

Why is All of This Important?

It is necessary for your tax return preparer to gather sufficient, accurate information from you in regards to child custody, because each non-compliant occurrence in your tax return will cost the preparer $510 for failing to adhere to standards. Therefore, asking certain questions is a required part of the process for the preparer.

When you are going through (or have already gone through) a divorce, the last thing you want to worry about is submitting a non-compliant tax return by improperly claiming your child as a dependent. Let our accountants at Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S give you the peace of mind of knowing your taxes are being done right. For any questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 208-734-8662!

Why Does the IRS Need to Validate Your Tax Return?

What to Do if the IRS Requests More Information From You

Have you received a letter from the IRS requesting you to verify your identity so your tax return can be processed? The IRS and Idaho State Tax Commission are doing everything they can to prevent tax identity theft. This is when someone steals your social security number and uses it to file a tax return. Verifying your identity allows you to protect yourself from tax identity theft.

At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S in Twin Falls, ID, we understand that it can be alarming to receive a letter from the IRS. Below is information on what you should do. And if you have more questions or concerns, our accountants are here to work with you!

Methods of Verifying Your Identity

The Idaho State Tax Commission has three different methods of verifying your identity, and they will send you one of three letters to request the needed information.

  • A letter with a PIN you will enter to verify that you filed the tax return they have under your social security number
  • A letter with a quiz that asks questions to prove your identity
  • A letter that requests you to send document copies that allow them to verify your identity

If you receive more than one letter, please complete the instructions in each letter.

When Should You Suspect You Are a Victim of Tax Identity Theft?

There are a few situations you should watch out for. Did you receive a tax return or get charged for additional taxes during a year for which you didn’t even file a tax return? That is a major warning sign. Or, if you learn that multiple tax returns were filed under your social security number, or that your records with the IRS or Idaho State Tax Commission show you earning incomes from jobs that you didn’t work, you may be a victim of tax identity theft.

Helpful Links

Below are useful resources when it comes to verifying and protecting your identity on your tax returns.

What if You Didn’t File a Tax Return This Year?

Did you still receive a letter from the IRS or Idaho State Tax Commission? You should contact whoever sent the letter and have them help you verify your identity, to make sure that your social security number hasn’t been stolen.

Looking for More Blog Posts on Tax Returns?

Check out our previous blog posts on the following topics:

For any questions regarding preventing tax identity theft and protecting and verifying your identity to the IRS or Idaho State Tax Commission, contact Stevens Pierce & Associates today at 208-734-8662. Our knowledgeable team can provide you with the guidance and advice you need in this important process!

Paying Your Income Tax When You Work Out of State

You Still Have to Pay Idaho State Taxes

If you live in Idaho but work in a different state, the rules surrounding paying your taxes can be confusing. You may be wondering if you still have to pay Idaho state taxes, or why you still have to pay them if you are spending so much time outside of the state. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S in Twin Falls, ID, we are here to help you navigate this complex issue. If you are an out-of-state worker, read below for the guidelines on paying your taxes.

Are you domiciled in Idaho?

Idaho taxes residents based on their domicile. If you maintain a home in the State of Idaho that you intend to make your residence, or you continue to return to, the government considers that your domicile for Idaho State Tax purposes. If you have an Idaho Driver’s License, title or license your vehicles in the State of Idaho, vote in an Idaho election, or own an Idaho residence, the government considers you to be domiciled in Idaho.

How are you taxed?

If you are an Idaho resident, the State of Idaho taxes your worldwide income, including income earned in another state or country. Part-year residents are taxed on all income received while living in Idaho, plus any income received from Idaho sources while living outside of Idaho. Nonresidents are taxed only on income from Idaho sources.

If you work in a different state but live in Idaho, Idaho will tax that income. If the worker has expenses for out-of-town stay, some of those expenses may be allowable deductions for being away from home. These can be deducted on both your Federal and Idaho State Income Tax returns on Form 2106 and Schedule A.

If you work in another state and pay tax to that other state, you are allowed a credit on your Idaho State Tax return.

Do you need to fill out an Idaho tax return?

A resident, single person is required to file a file an Idaho tax return if they have more than $10,350 of gross income. A resident, married (filing jointly) couple would be required to file if their gross income exceeded $20,700.

Idaho has a graduated tax rate of between 1.60 and 7.40 percent of Idaho Taxable Income. The Internal Revenue Service has a data matching and data sharing system with the 43 states that have income tax.

If you use an Idaho address on your Federal Form 1040 and do not file an Idaho 40, the State of Idaho has an aggressive department of tax specialists that are charged with identifying non-filers and bringing them into compliance.

Paying state taxes can be a complex issue when you are an out-of-state worker. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, we are here to help to ensure that you pay your taxes correctly, saving you time, stress and trouble in the future. We are proud to work with individuals and small businesses in the area for all of their accounting needs! Contact us today at 208-734-8662 for a consultation.

Don’t Delay: Get Started on Your W-2s and 1099s Today!

Keep in Mind the Earlier Deadline!

January 31, 2018. Keep that date at the front of your mind if you are an employer, employee or contractor. Because that is the date your W-2s and 1099s need to be filed. As a note, the W-2 is for employees, while the 1099 is for contracted workers. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S in Twin Falls, ID, we work with both individuals and small business owners, and we provide experienced assistance with filing W-2s (which go to the SSA) and 1099s (which are submitted to the IRS). It is very important that the information in these reports be accurate and timely in order to avoid penalties, so it is helpful to hire an accountant to help you ensure everything is done correctly!

When did the deadline change?

This earlier deadline was enacted by the 2015 PATH Act, which was put into place on December 18, 2015. Before this act, the deadline for submitting the W-2 and 1099 in paper form was the end of February, and if you were submitting electronically, the date was March 31. However, this act made the deadline for submitting, both in paper and electronic form, January 31. The deadline for employers providing their employees and workers with their W-2 or 1099 is still the same: January 31. However, now that the filing deadline is also January 31, it is helpful to provide employees and contractors with these reports as early as possible.

What is the purpose of setting the deadline earlier?

An earlier deadline is helpful for IRS. This is because, when the reports are submitted earlier, they have more time to catch errors, detect fraud, and to potentially prevent fraud as well. Plus, if you are expecting a tax refund, you will receive that refund earlier. Who wouldn’t like to have some extra cash earlier rather than later?

Will you get in trouble if you don’t meet the deadline?

There are penalties if you don’t file your W-2 and 1099 on time. This penalty increases the longer you wait to submit. For large businesses, if you submit within 30 days of January 31, your penalty is $50 per return/statement you submit, with a maximum of $536,000. This penalty increases to $100 per return/statement, with a maximum of $1,609,000, if you submit between 31 days after the deadline and August 1. If you file after August 1 (or you don’t file at all), you are subject to a fine of $260 per return/statement, with a maximum of $3,218,500. However, for small businesses (businesses with gross receipts under $5,000,000 for the past three years), the penalty per statement remains the same, but the maximum penalties are decreased. For statements filed within 30 days of January 31, the maximum penalty is $187,500. If the statement is filed between 31 days and August 1, the maximum penalty is $536,000, and the maximum penalty is $1,072,500 if filed after August 1.

No one wants to face fines and penalties that are completely preventable! So make sure you are getting your W-2s and 1099s submitted on time. Contact our accountants today at 208-734-8662 if you have any questions, and for all of your tax planning and preparation needs. With us, you will find that you no longer have to dread tax season!

How to Prepare if Congress Passes a New Tax Reform Law

Let Stevens Pierce & Associates Help You with Your Tax Planning

At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPAs, our goal is to help you take control of your taxes and to save you money. Congress is currently working on a tax reform plan that could have major repercussions on the amount you will pay in taxes. Now more than ever, it is important to tax plan. Tax planning helps to decrease your tax liability, or how much you will need to pay in taxes. With smart tax planning, you may save a significant amount of money. Tax planning is even more important now that major tax reform legislation will be passed. Our CPAs are here to help you save as much money as possible in taxes.

Of course, the tax reform bill may not pass, but this blog post is designed to help keep you prepared in case it does, so that you don’t face significant tax increases in 2018.

The Main Idea

In short, you want to make sure that you defer any additional income until next year, and that you take advantage of deductions this year while you still can. This is because tax rates may decrease next year, and many popular deductions may be eliminated.

Decreased Tax Rates

If this bill passes, individuals will enjoy lower tax rates. Businesses may also be paying less in taxes. So, if you are expecting any extra end-of-year income, you should try to defer it to the beginning of next year. That way, that extra income will be taxed less than it would be this year. So ask your boss if you can receive that Christmas bonus after New Year’s, wait until January to work on decreasing your debt (make it your New Year’s resolution!), or if you own a business, don’t bill your clients until 2018.

Goodbye Deductions…

The new tax bill will get rid of or decrease many deductions, although there will be an increased standard deduction.

Popular deductions that will be eliminated include nonbusiness for state and local income, real estate tax and sales tax (instead, you will be allowed an up to $10,00 real estate tax deductible). Therefore, it might be a good idea to ask your employer to increase the state and local income taxes taken out of your paycheck until the end of the year, so that they will be deductible in 2017. For the same reason, you should also try to pay the rest of your state and local taxes for this year by the end of the year, as well as pay ahead on your real estate taxes.

If you contribute to charity, consider making your donations before the end of this year, because the deduction for charitable contributions could disappear come 2018. In addition, the reform might get rid of medical expense deductions, so try to get any needed medical procedures or services done before the end of this year, so you can receive your deduction.

Although the tax reform may eliminate the estate tax, this is uncertain, and it is uncertain how it will affect clients. Therefore it isn’t recommended you take any action on it at this point.

Our experienced accountants are here to help you, so please contact us at 208-734-8662 if you have any questions, or to schedule an appointment! Let us help you navigate the proposed tax reform laws so you can best prepare yourself or your business in case it passes.

What You Should Know About President Trump’s Newest Tax Reform Plan

Tax Laws are Complicated. We are Here to Make it Easier.

President Trump’s Administration has developed a more cohesive tax reform plan over the last couple of months. Although there are still details that need to be worked out, at Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPAs in Twin Falls, ID, we want you to be prepared. In this blog post, we will discuss the changes that have been proposed so far that could affect you, your family or your small business, and what you should know about them.

Individuals

Decreased Tax Brackets

Currently, there are seven tax brackets. The Trump Administration intends to decrease the tax brackets to three. Each of these three tax brackets would have a reduced lower income tax rate. The lowest bracket would have a 12% income tax rate, the median bracket a 25% rate, and the highest bracket a 35% rate.

Standard Deduction & Itemized Deductions

When you file your taxes, you can choose to provide itemized deductions, or opt for the standard deduction, which is a flat amount of deduction you can receive off of your taxes. Under the new plan, for married couples, the deduction would about double to $24,000, while for single filers, it would double to about $12,000. The plan also aims to eliminate the ability to itemize deductions, except in the case of home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

No Personal Exemptions

Current personal exemptions allow tax filers to subtract $4,600 from their taxable income per person claimed on their return. The Trump Administration plans to get rid of personal exemptions. In addition, blind taxpayers and those over 65 will not receive the standard deductions they currently receive.

No Alternative Minimum Tax

The Alternative Minimum Tax was originally designed to prevent the wealthy from abusing deductions and not paying a fair amount of taxes. Those subject to the AMT submit their taxes once using standard income tax rules and then again using AMT rules. They then pay the higher amount of taxes. The Trump Administration plans to get rid of the AMT.

Increase Child Tax Credit

The Child Tax Credit allows families to gain a credit of up to $1,000 per child, depending on your income. The Trump Administration plans to increase this credit, the amount by which it has not been determined. as well as the income level that can benefit from it.

Estate Tax & Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

The estate tax is a tax you pay on the amount of an estate you inherit if it exceeds a certain amount. The generation-skipping transfer tax is a tax on property given to an unrelated person over 37.5 years younger than the giver, or to grandchildren or great-children. The Trump Administration plans to repeal both of these taxes.

Businesses

Corporate Taxes

The plan reduces the maximum corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, meaning corporations will be paying less in taxes.

Small Business Taxes

The maximum tax rate for small businesses will be lowered to 25%. However, most small businesses do not meet the earning requirements for the maximum rate, so this cut will not affect most small businesses.

Full Expensing

Full expensing means that the government invests in capital expenditures made by businesses. Trump’s plan is to allow full expensing, except in the case of purchasing structures, for five years. The intention in allowing businesses to do full expensing is to increase willingness to invest.

C Corporations

Trump intends to partially limit the deduction on C Corporation net interest expenses, which would in turn raise the cost for banks to borrow, lend and invest, which may result in a decrease in stock prices.

Deductions & Credits

The Trump Administration wants to repeal the majority of deductions and credits for businesses, except for credits for both research and low-income housing.

Business in Other Countries

The plan would decrease taxes on foreign profits made by U.S. multinational corporations, as well as provide a 100% tax exemption for income that businesses make overseas. If you have any questions about how this proposed tax plan would affect you, your family, your small business or your investments, please contact us today at 1-208-734-8662 and our experienced accountants will be happy to assist you. We are proud to help individuals and small businesses with tax planning and preparation as well as with all of their accounting needs!

The Equifax Data Breach: What Do You Need to Know?

What Happened, and Where We Go From Here

You’ve probably been hearing a lot in the news recently about the Equifax data breach, and that millions of Americans have been affected. This is, understandably, unnerving and frightening for anyone concerned about protecting their data and identity. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, we have years of experience helping individuals and small businesses manage their finances and accounting. We are here to help you understand what happened and learn what steps you can take the minimize the damage.

What Happened?

Equifax is a consumer credit reporting company. They compile financial and credit information about consumers, and this information determines your credit score. On July 29, Equifax discovered that information hackers had gained access to the personal information of 143 million Americans, as well as some people in Canada and the UK. The hacking was due to a mistake in one of their website applications, called Apache Struts. Through this application, hackers were able to access names, Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth, and in some cases, even driver’s license numbers. They were able to access this information from the middle of May through the end of July. Recently, Equifax released that the chief information officer and chief security officer of Equifax will be retiring.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are one of the 143 million Americans whose personal information has been stolen, this means that hackers are able to steal your identity. They can open up new credit cards in your name. They can spend your money. They can apply for jobs or attempt to get loans, all while pretending to be you. All of this activity will drain your credit score, which can hold you back from getting a loan, making large purchases, etc. This is especially damaging for younger people or those with lower incomes, who don’t have the financial history or the finances in general to offset the consequences.

How to Protect Yourself

Unfortunately, if your information has already been stolen, the incurred damage cannot be reversed. However, there are steps you can take to determine if you have been affected, and then to minimize any further damage. First, you should go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. You can enter your name and the last six numbers of your Social Security Number, and you will find out if your information has been exposed in the breach. Then, to receive a free credit monitoring service through Trusted ID Premier for a year, Equifax will give you a date on which you can enroll. Americans have access to free enrollment until November 17.

You should pay careful attention to your credit reports. Keep a lookout for any suspicious spending. You can freeze your credit, which will stop a thief from opening a new credit account in your name. You can also sign up for fraud alerts, which will let you know if someone may be using your information.

At Stevens Pierce & Associates, we understand that having your information stolen makes you feel violated, anxious and angry. Contact us today at 208-734-8662, and we will work with you to help you gain control over your personal data. Our accountants truly care about each individual client, and we want to help you have as much peace of mind as possible in the wake of this data breach.

So What Does An Accountant’s Day Look Like?

An accountant’s day begins like any other. Our alarm goes off, and we hit snooze once (or twice). We eat a hearty breakfast to prepare for the day. Oatmeal, eggs, bagels, or the oh-so-trendy avocado toast, are great choices for keeping us full or satisfied until lunch break. We brush our teeth, put on our suits and are out the door. Back to the place we know and love: the office.

A Normal Day’s Tasks

On a normal day (so not during tax season…) we will work on a wide range of tasks. These can include working on a client’s tax returns, bookkeeping, bank reconciliation, payroll, and other fun stuff. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, we work with a lot of small- and medium-sized businesses, so we are generally helping them with their accounting, saving them time and money so they can focus on their company.

Other times, we might be providing expert witness testimony. This involves defending our clients if need be. Providing testimony involves gathering a lot of evidence and information and can be a very involved and time-consuming task, but it is worth it to gain the trust of our clients and make sure they are protected.

We also provide assistance with transactions. If a client is trying to buy or sell a property or a business, we will handle the documentation regarding the purchase and make sure all of the information is accurate.

Outside of tax season , how busy we are during the day really depends. During this time, we usually work a normal number of hours. Some days the phone may not ring at all, and we will just work on the tasks we already have on our plates. Other days, work is steady. A client may call with an emergency, and we will address that immediately. Here, we base our priorities on whoever is screaming the loudest!

Our New Clients

This year our work has been steadier than usually outside of tax season. This is because a local firm recently closed, and they referred all of their clients to us. At Stevens Pierce & Associates, CPA’S, we never say no to a challenge. We decided to see what we can handle, within reason of course! We accepted all of these new clients and are really enjoying the business they bring. Plus, we love forming new relationships and helping even more individuals and businesses in the area with their accounting. We provide professional work, but we like to have fun, and it’s exciting to show even more clients when they work with us why accounting can actually be fun!

During Tax Season…

It is pure chaos! We are generally doing our regular tasks, bookkeeping and preparing tax returns and handling payroll and all that good stuff, but on a much larger scale. During tax season, we gain a lot of new business. Understandably, many people don’t want to have to do their taxes themselves. Therefore, by the end of January, we are handling W2 and 1099 forms, payroll reports, and more. Work becomes a lot more intense. Our team works for five hours on Saturdays from January to April to accommodate the increased workload. We always ensure that our clients’ tax returns are correct. Inaccurate tax returns can lead to lawsuits, which nobody wants to deal with. That’s why it is so beneficial to simply hire an accountant to do your taxes for you, so you can rest assured that your taxes are done correctly.

Please Excuse This Interruption

Like any other industry, accountants often deal with technological difficulties. This year, during tax season, we had a fun couple of days when our server went down. A few weeks ago, the internet stopped working for a portion of the day. Although these challenges are difficult, we believe that you just have to make the best of what you have.

Another Day Comes to an End

Suddenly, we look at the clock and it’s 5 o’clock! It’s been a busy day, so we pack up our things and head home. After dinner and a glass (or two) of wine, we put on our pajamas and head to bed to get a good night’s rest, so we can continue to provide excellent work for our clients tomorrow.

An accountant’s day is really never the same. Although we handle many of the same tasks everyday, there is always something new to address, especially when we have so many new clients coming in. We love our jobs and are always looking forward to helping you. Contact us at 208-734-8662 to schedule an appointment with us. If you didn’t think accounting could be fun, give us a chance to prove you wrong.

Computer Accounting & Bookkeeping Services

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE


With ever changing federal and state tax laws, planning and then accurately preparing and filing your tax returns can be onerous. Together, we will work with you to navigate the most current tax codes to understand which rules and regulations apply to you and lend an experienced, professional eye to ensure you maximize your tax benefits. Monitored and executed all special billing arrangements for groups as required to ensure postings are align with contract. Liaise with Front Office, Sales & Events, and guests regarding disputed invoices, making necessary adjustments and updating of invoices. Performed month end closing procedures. Responsible for clearing and cancellation/attrition accounts and providing back-up for any variances.

  • Provided trainings to managers in MA, NY and TX on Deloitte & Touche’s Risk Control Tracking System.
  • Pioneered web-based filing of Sales and Use Taxes resulting in improved efficiency and reduced workload.
  • Managed month end close processes streamlining the process from 4 to 2 days to meet corporate requirements.
  • Prepared, analyzed and presented financial statements to management team including SEC required 10K package.
  • Developed budget estimates and prepared monthly analysis detailing variance between budget and actuals.
  • Completed monthly reconciliations including all bank accounts, inter-company and accrual accounts.