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Posted on Friday, March 22, 2019
Now that we are deep into tax season, it is becoming apparent that when people heard about tax simplification being passed under Trump they didn’t really pay a great deal of attention.  I guess the constant headlines of change to everything could have made it hard to focus, but we tax planners had a lot to learn and we dug in.  In March of last year we thought we had completely lost the business meal and home equity mortgage deductions and a bunch of other “Oh no, not that” items.  Over the summer, more details and clarification came out on each item and it became apparent that the cuts were more and more targeted and not as broad as first though....

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Posted on Monday, March 18, 2019
This tax law became permanent but it’s still very underutilized. Many others are as well! I know on first read this probably sounds complicated, but it’s very simple. It’s better to take the income off your tax return than to take the deduction. It’s a win and it’s now permanent. There are numerous other items which we’ll partiality list below as well. To utilize these deductions properly does take some forethought and planning. Permanent, now in the tax code; · Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from IRAs · Deduction for state/local sales tax is limited · Even higher education credits (American Opportunity Tax Credit) · Teachers’ classroom expense deduction · Code Section 179 deduction is even bigger Because these have been...

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Posted on Friday, March 15, 2019
The deadline to file pass through entity business tax returns is today, and unless they are ready and filed by midnight, they will be subject to penalties and fees. An extension will allow an additional six months to file the business return, so it will not need to be filed until September 15th, 2019. The extension does not change when the actual taxes are due.  Since the taxes resulting from a pass through entity will ultimately be due on the personal return, the payment of the taxes is due no later than April 15th, 2019. You can prevent the late filing fees and penalties by submitting an extension request for the business return today (and if applicable, for the state...

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Posted on Friday, March 08, 2019
At this time of year many people who were getting a refund have already filed their tax return.  It leaves the remaining majority of folks who, despite having withholdings, are still going to owe additional tax.  We talk a great deal about tax planning and changing behaviors to achieve better outcomes in the future, but many are faced right now with a tax bill for the past (2018 tax year).  So what can be done?  Anything?  The answer is YES!  It’s actually simple and easy for most folks to substantially reduce the tax liability they are facing by opening a prior year IRA!  It is one of the very few ways the IRS allows you to retroactively affect your taxes....

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Posted on Friday, March 01, 2019
Many people think of the IRS filing deadline as April 15th.  Simple right?  In fact, there are deadlines all year long, something different every month.  IRS Publication 509 has the outlines, if you want a quick search to look something up.  If you are in certain industries, you likely know you have different deadlines; like farmers and fisherman must file by March 1st (yes, today) each year in 48 states (Maine and Massachutes have until April 15th).  The deadlines for pass through business entities is March 15th.   If you think about it, that deadline makes sense, as an S Corporation or a Partnership return is prepared so that a K-1 from the entity can be issued to the owners, with...

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Posted on Friday, February 22, 2019
In the great Northeast, three quarters of the way through February, the snow piles are getting higher and higher in the mall parking lots and at that intersection you can’t see around that everyone hates.  It didn’t happen all at once.  Our first snow was in October this year.  It didn’t stay, but it set the pace for five months of winter.  As each storm leaves it’s trace, some melts away, some gets rained away, but overall it accumulates.  We might get ten inches, but only three really ends up on the pile.   Then another five inches, but this time all five end up on the pile, etc.  Your tax burdens build up the exact same way.  And there isn’t some magical button you...

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Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019
Ever had a “light bulb” moment?  I have been driving for many years.  I’ve driven at least a million miles and I own a few cars (I collect certain types), and when driving my spouse’s car or one from the collection that I haven’t driven in a while, inevitably it’s time to gas up.  I pull up to a pump and get out and realize that the gas cap is on the other side, back up the car, turn it around with a sigh and fill it up. Then this year the “light bulb” moment.  While trying to figure out the dashboard “iPhone” charger fuse location, I happened to be looking at the diagram of the fuel gauge in the manual...

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Posted on Friday, February 08, 2019
Not that we get much surfing here in the Northeast, but we have seen plenty of footage all the way back to the competitions on ABC’s Wild World of Sports.  Yup I’m that old.  The surfers sit and look at the horizon and anticipate the size of the waves.  It’s not an exact science, but they make their choice and then, the most important part, the proactively paddle like crazy toward the oncoming wave crest well ahead of its arival.  This allows them to meet the wave on their own terms, rather than seeing what they get when it gets to them, as they sit and do nothing.  Because of this action, they turn in time to ride the wave, and show off...

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Posted on Friday, February 01, 2019
In the “old days”, you went to the general store for your dry goods, the blacksmith for your horse shoes or tool repair and likely had your own cow and chickens for milk and eggs.  Fast forward, you went to a lawyer to get a will, an insurance man to get a policy and an accountant to get your taxes done.  There was no internet, so information was something you had to gather and organize yourself.  You would talk to a few co-workers, a family member, a mentor and then take actions based on the limited intel.  Back then, you would sit with a financial advisor, and if they were a big deal they might have a globed ticker pumping out...

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Posted on Friday, January 25, 2019
There are many types of taxpayers, but three common categories are: A. Those who are getting a refund which is “our money” back. B. Those who are getting their own money back and think it’s a refund but it’s really not. C. Those who are paying in, and not getting a refund. The first are the group of Americans we support as a society and for whatever reason, and whether they are hard working or not are earning under a livable wage, so we supplement their annual income with credits. Depending on the number of children and other factors, we give them more back than they have paid or had withheld. The next group have worked and had withholding or...

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