Why Estate Planning Matters for Everyone

Ask the average person about estate planning, and they may think “Well, that’s for the rich!” That’s not true, and at some level, estate planning is necessary for everyone. Here are just 5 areas of your life that estate planning impacts: 1.   Your assets. What will happen to your assets when you die? Planning for death […]

Why Estate Planning Matters for Everyone

Ask the average person about estate planning, and they may think “Well, that’s for the rich!”
That’s not true, and at some level, estate planning is necessary for everyone.
Here are just 5 areas of your life that estate planning impacts:
1.   Your assets. What will happen to your assets when you die? Planning for death doesn’t bring it closer, but it does ensure you can dictate how these assets will be passed on.
2.   Your wishes. Among other scenarios, if you can’t make your own medical decisions, for example, who will act in your interest? You can also have someone who can act in your financial interest if you can’t do so for yourself.
3.   Your children. If you have minor children, do you know what would happen if you were to die? You can name guardian(s) to ensure your children are taken care of.
4.   A blended family. A will brings great clarity to what can be a complex situation in your family.
5.   Your adult family members. You can put your intentions for certain heirlooms and other items of value to you and your family in your will. This can also help prevent future misunderstandings or conflict.
Want to learn more about estate planning? We’re here to answer your questions and help you plan for the future. Give us a call today: (513) 576-1989.

Retirement Revised

What exactly are the aspects of retirement that you should be aware of?

The list is much longer than this, but here are just a few factors that are great to be aware of, no matter your age:

We’ve living longer. The average life expectancy is now around age 79! Being that it’s an average, you may live past this age—which is great—but that also means you’ll need more savings. It also means you may work longer, which can help bump up the potential for savings, too. Either way, it needs to be accounted for when looking at retirement.

Healthcare costs are rising. Healthcare is expensive, and in many cases, is more expensive as you age. All in all, there is also a great deal of uncertainty about the future of healthcare-related costs. For now, it’s likely that you’ll want to plan and save for expensive healthcare.

Work your plan. Successful retirement saving is most effective when you have a plan and when you start as early as possible with those strategies. But, consider how it’s never too late to start planning for your retirement!

Reach out to us for more information on how to create or modify your retirement plan, including how you can overcome common retirement savings obstacles. Give us a call today: (513) 576-1989.

Source: ClientLine Newsletter.

Tax Implications of Selling Your Home

Tax aspects of selling your home

Selling your home?

Did you own and live in the home for two of the last five years? If the answer is yes, there are some tax benefits if you make a profit on the sale.

If you fit the criteria described, you’ll be able to exclude up to $500,000 of the gain from your income if you file a joint tax return, in most cases. You can exclude up to $250,000 from your income if you are single, in most cases.

Keep good records (including capital improvements made to your home, which you can subtract from the selling price) and be sure to contact us for specifics on your home and location.

Source: ClientLine Newsletter.

Have questions? Give us a call today: (513) 576-1989.

Get to Know Twyla Bradshaw, Tax Preparer

Get to Know Twyla bradshaw at orcutt financialTwyla Bradshaw, an individual tax preparer at Orcutt, celebrates 20 years with us this month. Twyla, who specializes in ministers’ tax return preparation, says she enjoys helping clients with the entire tax planning process, among other things she enjoys in her role.

“I enjoy helping relieve clients’ anxiety they have regarding filing their tax returns. I also really enjoy when I am able to help save them a lot of money through tax planning or through tax strategy,” she explains.

Keep reading to learn something clients may be surprised to learn about her, and to see who inspires her.

What was your first job? I worked at a clothing store at the Flea Market.

What’s your favorite food? Pizza and pasta.

Can you tell us about your family? I have been married for 23 years and we have two children. Our daughter, Leyah, is 20 years old and our son, Avery, is 16.

Twyla celebrates 20 years with us this monthWhat’s something clients might be surprised to learn about you? I have been on multiple mission trips. I have served in Russia, Poland, Florida, Arizona, and Haiti. I took my daughter on her first mission trip when she was only two years old. I took both of my kids on one last year. I also was a pretty accomplished musician.

I went on tour with my college playing the piano and I played a concerto for my senior project. The funny part is that I haven’t played since I had my children. Now I put all of my time and effort into them instead of my music.

How do you spend time outside of work? My kids are very active in sports. I’ve spent a lot of time watching their games (tennis, soccer, softball, and volleyball). When I am not doing that, I enjoy playing tennis, walking my two dogs (Piper & Bullet), boating, and hanging out by the pool.

What or who inspires you? My parents inspire me. My mom is a two-time breast cancer survivor and my dad has survived lung cancer once, and he is currently battling it again. They have been married almost 50 years which is a standard that I hope to live up to.

Twyla Bradshaw Orcutt Financial in Cincinnati OhioWho is someone you look up to? My dad. He is the most Christ-like person that I know. He decided several years ago to practice instant forgiveness. Through his efforts, I can see why Christ calls us to forgive one another. It is not for the other person—it is for us. It is amazing to see how little he is affected by things that he cannot control because he freely loves other people.

What’s your favorite vacation destination? I love the beach! I love clear water so that I can snorkel. I also love the waves!

What’s a book you’d recommend? More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell; this book really made me own my own relationship with God.

Tips to Help You Improve Your Business’ Financial Health

financial tips for your businessEven with good intentions, this is the time of year in which some of us start to give up on our personal resolutions to become healthier…

Whether or not you’ve been successful at losing weight or eating healthier so far this year, you can still work on the financial health of your business.

Here are 5 tips to help you do just that:

Stay aware of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Your AGI, or your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) can bring tax breaks, limitations, or have other implications on your taxes, so you want to keep an eye on it.

Be strategic about business expenditures. Whether it be depreciation, timing for purchases, or timing for claiming certain losses, be sure to sit down with us to go over ways we can help you reduce your taxable income this year and next.

Take advantage of fringe benefit plans for employees. You may be able to setup or implement tax-free fringe benefits such as medical coverage, certain retirement plans, disability insurance, educational assistance, transportation benefits, and more. These can be appealing because it can reduce your taxable income.

Remember to reward or reinforce your key team members. An effective way to retain your top talent is to make sure they feel valued. Acknowledge their value through word and if appropriate, be open to increasing their compensation. That can help keep them as engaged as possible, and can reduce potential hiring and training costs in the future.

Ask us if you’d like to learn other vehicles and ways to compensate and/or financially incentivize your top talent.

Meet with us. We want to help you throughout the year, but right now is another time you can be planning for the future. Meeting with us to go over these tax moves can help keep your company as healthy as possible. It can also potentially save you significant amounts of money.

Source: SmallBiz Ahead.

Have questions or want to set up an appointment with us? Give us a call today: (513) 576-1989.

New Changes on Benefits Limits

update on benefits limitsDo you have a retirement plan for your employees? Here are the contribution limits for the 2019 tax year to be aware of:

For defined contribution plans—such as 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans—the contribution limits have increased to $19,000, up $500 from last year.

The catch-up contribution limit remains at an additional $6,000 for participants at least age 50. Total contributions by an employee and employer rise from $55,000 to $56,000. SEP-IRAs, profit sharing and money purchase plans have the same limit increase to $56,000.

The elective contribution limit for a Simple IRA rises to $13,000, with employer non-elective contributions capped at 2% of compensation up to $280,000, up from $275,000. The $3,000 catch-up contribution remains the same.

The contribution limit for defined benefit pension plans increases to $225,000 from $220,000. For tax year 2019, HSA contributions have also increased again. Employees can contribute up to $2,700 into their health flexible spending accounts. Social Security income limits may require an adjustment on your part, too.

The Social Security wage base is now up to $132,900 for 2019, up from $128,400. Ask us if you have any other questions specific to you including salary and compensation limitations, which aren’t described here.

Source: ClientLine Newsletter.

Have questions?

We’d love to hear from you! Give us a call today: (513) 576-1989.

This Ruling Belongs to the Reds

reds bobblehead rulingDid you hear about the court case involving the Cincinnati Reds and whether or not the franchise needed to pay sales tax on bobbleheads they give away to fans at games?

How the Case Came About

The reason this case was in court was because the Ohio Department of Taxation told the Reds that they owed about $88,000 in taxes for bobbleheads and other items that had been given out to fans between 2008 and 2010.

That’s where the dispute arose, with both sides having a compelling argument in their favor.

The Reds Come Away with the Win

Ultimately, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the Reds do not have to pay taxes on items like bobbleheads, t-shirts, player cards, tote bags, and other trinkets given to fans at games.

The reasoning: the Reds were able to show that the cost of the items were factored into ticket prices.

The ruling also made it clear that this was no “bobblehead loophole” when it comes to paying taxes. If, for example, other teams discount ticket prices, they may still need to pay taxes on such promotional items.

See the source of this news and find out more details here.

Gift Ideas that Help to Teach Kids the Value of Money

orcutt financial blog gifts that can help educate our children about moneyAs the holiday season approaches, consider celebrating the season while teaching loved ones a lesson on finances and money. These educational gift ideas can even help to establish good money habits for the future.

Consider the following ideas:

  • Buy a small Certificate of Deposit (CD) and watch with your child as interest grows over time; Buy a real piggy bank and match a portion of what your young child contributes from an allowance;
  • Introduce your child to stocks and then buy a few shares of a company that they know of, such as a favorite game or restaurant they enjoy;
  • Open an IRA for your children with part-time jobs and match their contributions. Then you can illustrate how a dollar (or more) can grow over many years.

(Source.)

All in the Family (Business)

All In the Family

If you’re a family business owner, how do you maintain harmony within the family, while at the same time grooming family members to succeed you? You can start by getting clear on expectations for everyone involved in the family business.

Let’s take a closer look.

Help Your Small Business Thrive

The leader of a family business should be proactive about communication.

More specifically, they can clearly define and communicate the responsibilities of family members. As hard as it might be at first to do so, you’ll need to hold family accountable for their work performance.

Put job descriptions, expectations and feedback in writing, just as you would for any other non-family employee. To prevent business disagreements from spilling over into family life, consider setting times when you’ll discuss each.

Talk about work at work and as much as possible, keep the personal issues outside of work.

Looking at the Future

If you hope to have the next generation take over the business, it’s never too soon to start to plan.

Put together a formal succession plan that include timelines, expected progression in the business, and duties involving every aspect of your company. Some small businesses find success in rotate assignments, perhaps not only with family member employees, but also with other non-family member employees in the business, too.

Some Fortune 500 companies do this because it gives rotating employees a good overview of what’s involved with the business, not to mention flexibility when they can do more than one job.

You’ll want to enlist the help of tax, legal and banking professionals to put everything you need for business succession in writing while addressing both tax and legal issues that you should know about.

Are you considering any kind of business transition or succession? It’s never too soon to start planning for the future. Give us a call today: (513) 576-1989.

(Source.)

Q & A With Debbie Brady

Meet Our New Individual Tax Manager, Debbie Brady, CPA

Question: Debbie, tell us a bit about yourself and your new position.

Answer: I’ve been at Orcutt & Co. for about 11 years, and have over 20 years experience in accounting and tax engagement. My experience has been in both the private sector and public accounting. So I have a pretty diverse, well-rounded sense of tax preparation.

Q: What initially drew you to accounting—particularly tax management?

A: I always wanted to be an accountant and started in the audit field, later focusing on tax. The organized nature of accounting drew me in, as well as helping clients understand tax—a foreign concept, to some—in an ever-changing world.

Q: Say a bit more about clients and organizational relationships, i.e., their value and importance, especially at Orcutt & Company.

A: I think most everyone wants an accounting firm they can trust. That’s why our clients choose Orcutt: they depend on our professional competence and integrity. After all, there are a lot of firms that prepare tax returns. At Orcutt & Co., we want a relationship with our clients; to truly be a valued business partner.

For individual clients, partnering can mean helping them through marriage, divorce, children, education, investing, business ownership and even death. These are the things that keep people up at night. And having someone they trust with these issues is important.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? Why?

This is a hard one. I like interacting with my clients, and I like the work environment here. The people at Orcutt are some of the best I have ever worked with! They genuinely care and want to help others.

Q: Any other thoughts, i.e., what’s trending in tax management?

A: We will soon have a new administration in Washington. I think the biggest questions on people’s minds are: “What will change, and how is it going to affect me?” Staying on top of those changes, and how they will directly affect our clients, is my job.

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