Tips for Making Year-End Charitable Contributions

It’s a critical time of year for the not-for-profit sector. Historically, a significant amount of charitable donations occur in the last weeks, days and even hours of the year. In fact, many charities are using “Giving Tuesday” on December 1, 2015, as a catchy way to launch their year-end fundraising campaigns. (more…)

Identity Theft Concerns

by Ben Stokes – Senior Accountant

The thought of one’s identity being compromised or stolen weighs heavily on the minds of many Americans. As fast as security measures are implemented to prevent data breaches, hackers find ways to circumvent them. An area of major concern for many is tax related identity theft. In recent years, fraudulent tax reporting has been on the rise, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. (more…)

6 Ways to Avoid the Probate Process

Life is busy. If you’re like most people you have a long list of things to do. However, it’s critical to make time regularly to consider whether you’ve set up your estate in a way that will result in your wishes being eventually fulfilled. (more…)

KWC Spotlight: Ellie’s Hats

by Sarah Holloway, EA – Senior Accountant

KWC Manager Jennica Whitfield is the proud mother of a beautiful little girl named Ellie—who has been in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Ellie began to complain of pains in her legs and arms during the spring of 2013. That Memorial Day weekend, when Jennica was 37 weeks pregnant with the Whitfield family’s third child, Ellie was diagnosed and immediately admitted to the hospital for further testing and treatment. (more…)

Passing the Public Support Test: Why 33.3% Matters to Your Non-Profit

by Kimberly Zingale, CPA – Senior Accountant

As a requirement for maintaining tax-exempt status, non-profit organizations complete an annual informational return entitled Form 990 that’s available to the public. In addition to the twelve-page core form, the 990 has a number of supporting schedules that provide more detail and disclosure about topics that would interest potential donors, such as lobbying, grant-making, and fundraising activities. Publicly supported organizations that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code must complete Schedule A, sometimes referred to as the public charity or public support test. Schedule A has several parts (including a new Part V for 2014), and the focus of this article is Part II, which applies to organizations that “normally receive a substantial part of support from a governmental unit or from the general public.” (more…)

Best Practices When Selecting a Trustee

One of the more critical decisions you’ll make when setting up a trust is selecting a trustee. Depending on the trust’s provisions, the trustee can serve for decades, with broad discretion in managing assets and distributing income and principal. The trustee’s performance can significantly impact your beneficiaries’ distributions. (more…)

KWC Named to Equity Leadership List for Women in Accounting

Move_bestfirm_EL_2015small2Kositzka, Wicks and Company (KWC) has been named to the second Accounting MOVE Project Equity Leadership List. The list, which is co-sponsored by the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accounting, recognizes firms with high proportions of women partners and principals.

KWC is a firm of Certified Public Accountants founded in 1983 on a desire to provide only the highest level of service in a consistent, timely manner. Close personal service on a prompt basis remains our number-one priority. “We are honored to be included in this list along with other progressive firms in our industry,” said Amy Walsh, KWC Principal. “We have always approached our work with the underlying premise that our firm is based on the shared values of our principals and staff. We are all stewards of the firm’s reputation and are proud to be recognized for our diversity.”

The Accounting MOVE Project evaluates CPA firms across the nation based on percentage of women in leadership roles of various levels. The 2015 Accounting MOVE Project reports a significant boost in the proportion of women partners and principals at the 47 CPA firms participating in the project—an average of 22%, up from 17% five years ago.

About the Accounting/MOVE Project Partners

The Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance promotes the professional growth of women in accounting and finance. Members of the association benefit from opportunities to connect with colleagues, advance their careers, and become industry leaders. For 75 years, the organization has proudly upheld its mission to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full personal, professional and economic potential, and to contribute to the future development of their profession. Visit www.afwa.org for more information.

American Women’s Society of Certified Public Accountants is a national organization founded in 1933 dedicated to serving all women CPAs. The AWSCPA provides a supportive environment and valuable resources for members to achieve their personal and professional goals through various opportunities including leadership, networking and education. As the only resource exclusively for women CPAs and those aspiring to become certified, the society provides information as well as scholarships to those in the profession. The society is a leader in addressing concerns such as gender equity, the glass ceiling, and work and family issues. AWSCPA members—from individual practitioners to professionals in industry, academia, and government, as well as partners in all of the largest firms—work in all segments of the accounting and financial professions. Visit the AWSCPA website at www.awscpa.org or call the society’s office at 800-AWSCPA1 (800-297-2721).

Strategic communications firm Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., has been designing and managing national research projects that measure the progress of women in the workplace since 1998. Its methodology pivots on factors proven to remove barriers so that women can fully participate in driving business results. Led by veteran business journalist Joanne Cleaver, its existing and past clients include Women in Cable Telecommunications, the Women’s Transportation Seminar, the Alliance for Workplace Excellence, SitterCity, Ebyline.com and many others. Please see Wilson-Taylor’s portfolio of work at www.wilson-taylorassoc.com.

Tax Planning Tips for This Summer

Brenda E. Curtis, C.P.A., C.S.E.P – Manager

Like the many tax professionals around the country, individuals and business owners typically breathe a sigh of relief during the summer months. However, as the article below suggests, this may be an excellent time to take advantage of some great tax planning tips that could ease your tax burden during the next filing season. (more…)

Planning for Social Security Benefits Upon Retirement

Get the most from Social Security. Younger retirees face a harsh penalty for working part-time. For every $2 earned over $15,720 in 2015, you lose $1 in Social Security benefits (up from $15,480 in 2014). In the year you reach full retirement age, a higher earnings threshold applies. Your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 of earnings only when earnings exceed $41,880 in 2015 if you reach full retirement age (up from $41,400 in 2014).

After you reach full retirement age, you can earn unlimited amounts and still qualify for full Social Security benefits. (See the right-hand chart to determine what “full retirement age” means for you.)

However, that’s only earned income. You can have unlimited unearned income from sources like retirement plans, pensions, annuities, interest, dividends and capital gains without losing any Social Security benefits.

This “Social Security Earnings Test” only applies to people below the normal retirement age.

With some advance planning, you might be able to reduce earned income and make up the shortfall with unearned income with a deferred compensation plan. That is, you receive money that you earn one year in a later year, perhaps in retirement.

For income tax purposes, taxes are due when money is received. For Social Security purposes, though, deferred compensation is counted when it’s earned — not when it’s received. So any money you receive from a deferred compensation plan while you’re between age 62 and your full retirement age doesn’t count against Social Security retirement benefits. In other words, you can defer compensation from ages 55 to 61 and receive that money while you’re between 62 and full retirement age.

To do this, the details of your deferred compensation plan should be recorded in the corporate minutes for your company if you’re an owner or part owner. You should also include the appropriate reasons. For example, “the company needs cash now, for expansion purposes, so current compensation is being deferred.”

Then, when you decide to semi-retire, you can work just enough to earn the allowable amount for that year. (The 2015 allowed amount of $15,720 will generally increase annually.) This way, you receive full benefits from Social Security.

In addition to Social Security and deferred compensation, your income can be supplemented by retirement plan payouts and perhaps the sale of company stock shares to your company. You may also have an expense account that can be used as a part-time employee to help offset expenses.

All of these methods help preserve your Social Security benefits and retirement dollars. Your tax adviser can provide more information.