Weekly Letter

Traveling- November 30, 2018

Hello, my friends, After a full week back in the office I can truly say that I loved having 4 days off. During my staycation, I re-started my 55-gallon fish tank adding just the (as my daughter Marissa used to say when she was younger) “prettiful” lights and plants. In my rush for instant gratification, I seemed to have added too many fish and now have only 5 freshwater fish left, and they are hard at work building up the [...]

Thanksgiving- November 23, 2018

Hello, my friends, It’s Friday morning, and you are all probably bursting from all the food that you “stuffed” yourselves with yesterday. I know I am. Ali and I have a tiny family that resides in Florida, so it was just Dad, our daughter Marissa, and Austin, her significant other that joined us. As many have seen in our newsletters, Ali loves to cook (and I like to eat so what a match), and Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday to prepare [...]

Patience- November 16, 2018

Hello my friends, Patience. Weren’t we taught as a child that patience is a virtue? I am sitting at the airport in DC (actually Virginia) waiting to head home after spending 2 days in IRSAC meetings (Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council), and all I can say is “the heck with that.” I’ll admit that I did arrive at the airport a bit early…hotel check out was at 1PM and the weather was snowy, wet, dank, and cold. I left the hotel directly [...]

Family- November 8, 2018

Hello my friends, The elections are finally over which means the annoying ads and bad mouthing will stop. Well, maybe. Of course, there will still be the President’s tweets, and soon enough we will begin hearing the ads for the 2020 elections, so say the news pundits. I really wish there was a law preventing negative political ads. I was taught that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. However, it all comes down to the [...]

Maternity Leave- November 2, 2018

Hello my friends, Owning a business comes with a mass of responsibilities including awareness and understanding of all the new tax law changes and the residual impact they will have on you and your employees. Are you aware of the Credit for Maternity Leave? Last week I wrote about my love for reading, but not everyone or every business owner shares my passion. They depend on me, or their tax pro to keep them “in the know.” I am sharing the [...]

Education- October 26, 2018

Hello my friends, The dictionary defines education (noun) as: “Education is the process of acquiring the body of knowledge and skills that people are expected to have in your society. A good education develops a critical thought process in addition to learning accepted facts.” It can also be defined as “Education is measured by the growth of a student into a true human being and a perfect man, not measured merely by the marks scored. The word Education is derived from the Latin [...]

Procrastinator- October 19, 2018

Hello, fellow taxpayers, Tax season 2018 is finally over!! (with the deadline for the extended returns being this past Monday, October 15th.) I have about 10-15 current year returns to be finished (not including late prior years), but I am still waiting for lots of missing (and requested) information. If you are a procrastinator and are expecting a refund on the late return, penalties or interest for late filing or paying will not be assessed. However, if you are one of [...]

“Cyber-Safe” October 12, 2018

Hello, fellow computer users, I was recently on a refresher webinar about cybersecurity regarding what must be done to secure our computers and by extension our company. There are several points that I need to talk to you about, especially if you own a business: There is a federal law that can hold all business liable of up to $100,000 per company and $10,000 per officer if the firm does not have various security measures in place or a cyber-security plan in [...]

Go Yankees!- October 5, 2018

Hello, my fellow taxpayers, I am writing this email on Thursday night, while I watch the Yankees play the A’s. Right now, they are winning 2-0, thanks to an Aaron Judge home run. By the time you read this, we will know if your friendly neighborhood Enrolled Agent will be depressed or ready for the Red Sox on Friday night. In any case, it really is just a game and it does not have any effect on me personally. What I’m [...]

Fall is here! September 28, 2018

Hello, my fellow taxpayers, Now that it is officially Fall (actually, it began on the 21st), Autumn, or the Autumnal Equinox (“mid-autumn”) and if you are like me, you are wondering where the cooler weather is. Today, on the east coast, we reached the low 90’s while it feels like it is 100+ with the humidity. I was hoping to wear a “fallish” sports coat and suit for my two speaking engagements on the west coast of Florida this weekend. [...]

Crypto- September 21, 2018

Dear Fellow Taxpayers, Cryptocurrency, virtual currency, bitcoin, etherium. What do these terms mean? They are part of the new world of paying for things or investing in the new millennium. So why is your friendly, neighborhood Enrolled Agent talking about this? Should this not be coming from a financial advisor? The answer, as with anything relating to investments, the answer is yes. A financial advisor should be always be consulted. However, like most anything, there are tax consequences to this new avenue of investing. I am [...]

Hurricanes and taxes, oh joy!

Hello, Fellow Floridians (and those that are not). We hope that all of our friends, family, business associates that live or have family and friends in the Carolinas are safe and that Hurricane Florence is not impacting them too severely. Though it was downgraded one level as of this writing on Thursday, the storm surges are expected to be robust and dangerous as Florence is now the size of both of the Carolinas. All of us at SFS are hoping [...]

Meet our new staff member Sam!

Good Afternoon to All, It has been a short week and I just returned from attending IRSAC meetings in Washington D.C. However, I do want to take a moment to mention that Ali’s assistant Carol has moved on and Samantha Braun has signed on as our new Marketing and Social Media Specialist. Sam is a great addition to the SFS Team and will serve as Ali’s new right hand.   She has been working in the design and marketing industries for about [...]

Tax deadline coming up, do you have to file?

Hello Clients, Friends and Business Associates, I am here in my office this entire week, can you believe it? This email is a final reminder to those businesses that have not filed their 2017 partnership or corporate (S or C) return. Your due date is September 15th. If you do not file that return, there are penalties for late filing a partnership or S-corporate return, even when there is no tax due. The same can be said for a C-corporation when there is [...]

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act- August 24th

  Dear Clients and Friends, In late 2017 Congress passed a significant tax bill called the TCJA, (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) which resulted in lower total Federal income taxes for many Americans. Most Americans pay their Federal income tax through withholding taxes taken out of your check every pay period. At the end of the year, many people find that they have overpaid and receive a nice Federal tax refund.   The law changed this year will result in less total tax, but [...]

IRC §199A- August 10th

   Hi, my friends,   I am still alive and kicking. Why do I say that? It is because I have been in the office all week and my staff has not murdered me, yet. Also, I have been moaning and groaning the last 18 hours as the IRS issued three documents of 184 pages, 14 pages, and two pages respectively related to an important part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which was 11,000+ pages itself. This part called IRC §199A relates [...]

Ramblin’ Man- July 27

Hi Folks, “Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can And when it’s time for leavin’ I hope you’ll understand Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man” A great song from the Allman Brothers Band that you can watch here: Ramblin’ Man. And that is just how I felt since May with all the traveling and teaching I have been doing. I want to again thank all of you for your patience and understanding while I have [...]

Education- July 20th

Hi Folks, As many of you know from chatting with me, or you have read my posts on social media, I have been traveling to various tax professional groups teaching and educating on a variety of subjects. The topics range from the new tax law, or ethics – how to pay less than what you owe, to how much the shareholder of an S-corp should pay themselves (I call this reasonable comp). Depending on the topic, I spend 2-4 hours [...]

Tax Form Updates- July 13th

Hi Folks, It’s Monday, and I am watching the Yankees get beat up in the make-up game against the Orioles. I have to see what happens tonight in the regularly-scheduled game. This is the time to play catch-up in wins. Playing Catch-up, that is the point of this email. Unless you have been living in a cave, you should know that Congress passed the first massive tax code changes since 1986 and it is called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. [...]

Independence Day- July 6th

To My Fellow Taxpaying Americans, As I write this email, I am watching the Yankees play the Braves. The great American pastime! I hope you all had a wonderful July 4th celebration. It was on this day that we celebrated our independence from the Redcoats across the pond. It was at this time that our founding fathers set up a government to serve the people. However, serving the people costs money, and that’s where taxes came in. Yeah, yeah, taxes are too high, [...]

“Postcard” Tax Return- June 28

Hi Folks, As I am 40,212 feet, just north of Savannah Georgia, travelling home from Bow, Washington, through Seattle with a stop in New York City (JFK Airport to be exact) before landing in Orlando, then driving home (all after sitting in the Seattle airport for 6.5 hours waiting to catch a red-eye), I realized that I did not write my weekly email. I humbly apologize, pilgrims, as I know how you hold your breath waiting for the words of wisdom [...]

Enrolled Agents- June 22

Hello folks, As you all know, I am an Enrolled Agent and very proud of that fact. I am also a member of the Florida Society of Enrolled Agents or FSEA and the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the NAEA. In fact, I am the current Education Chair and a Past President of the FSEA. This past Thursday – Saturday, the FSEA held their annual convention. I joined my fellow Enrolled Agents and other tax professionals for 18 hours of continuing education [...]

Marriage June 1, 2018

Hi Folks, As I was reviewing the newsletter that you received yesterday, it prompted the topic for my weekly email. The question in the newsletter was from an unsolicited call I received from folks that found me on Google. She was worried about her soon to be husband’s tax issues (it always seems to be the guy that has the problems). They came in, we got him compliant and filed all his past due tax returns. He owed on some and [...]

Always Traveling….and Jeff’s big ask!

Hi Folks, As most of you know, after tax season and a few days of well-deserved R&R I traveled to DC for IRS meetings. I then left for San Antonia and Georgia to teach at two affiliates of the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA)and then it was off to LA for business meetings. I’m traveling to Louisiana, Atlanta, San Antonio (again), Orlando, Washington State, and Mississippi and that gets me through July 6th. Ali and I have a cruise booked [...]

HSA- May 3, 2018

Hi Folks, I am here in DC for the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) meetings. Even in my travels, I try to stay on top of all current events and most especially tax matters, that will affect my clients. If you have a Health Savings Account or HSA, either through work, your business or personally, this is important news. Before the new law, The Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA), was passed in January, the 2018 contribution limit for a [...]

2 New Associates- April 27

Good Afternoon to All, I am pleased to introduce our new Associates, Diana and Carol. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their individual areas of expertise. Diana’s fluency in Spanish allows us to offer our services to the Spanish speaking population and some of our clients have already had the opportunity to work with her in their native tongue. If you are in the area stop by and say hello to the ladies. Diana Machado is our Accounting Associate. She has [...]

End of Tax Season- April 19, 2018

Hello to all, Tax day has come and gone. I am at home recharging my batteries and energizing my brain after putting in long hours preparing and filing as many tax returns as possible as well as a ton of extensions. I want to give heartfelt thanks to all of you who made a conscious decision to allow me to prepare your tax return; business, individual, trust, and partnerships. And to  those of you that are on extension, I will be working [...]

Paycheck Checkup- April 12, 2018

Hello Fellow Taxpayers, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made major changes to the tax law. Because of this, you should do a paycheck checkup using the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and, if necessary, complete a new W-4 form. The calculator will help determine the right amount of withholding and can help prevent having too little (or too much) tax withheld. Recent changes affecting withholding include: Reduced tax rates Elimination of personal exemptions Increased standard deductions: $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of households [...]

Tax Beak?- April 5, 2018

Hello Fellow Taxpayers, I am taking a short break to share some information with you that could affect your tax return. “I take an RMD. And I heard there is a potential tax break when donating, even if I don’t itemize.” What is an RMD (yes, another acronym)? Required Minimum Distributions, often referred to as RMDs, are amounts that the US federal government requires one to withdraw annually from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans once they reach a certain age. What is a [...]

Missing PoPo- March 29, 2018

Hello Fellow Taxpayers, This will be a very brief email. Ali and I want to thank you for the heartfelt wishes everyone posted on our Facebook pages over the past few days on the loss of our 12½-year-old Golden – Chow, PoPo-Lito. It still hurts. Boodah, our 14-year-old Yorkie is acting, well, like a lost puppy. He keeps looking around for his brother, and when he doesn’t find him, he just lays down. He is moping. By the time you read this, [...]

Between Appointments- March 22, 2018

Hello All, What Does Jeff do between tax appointments? Provided by the “current” staff at SFS Tax & Accounting Services… It’s 26 days until the tax deadline, and our Enrolled Agent has been working non-stop and coping the best way he knows how… by singing about his feelings! (Often to our chagrin!!) Get an inside look at our tax professional blowing off steam between tax appointments and preparing returns. As an added bonus, you get to enjoy Jeff’s solid baritone vocal stylings. Here are [...]

FOF?!?- March 15, 2018

Hello Ali, Happy Ides of March! Julius Cesar’s last act was not to heed the warnings of his impending assassination that was prophesied by a seer, and you know how that story ended. About the subject line FOF. You know how we tax people like our acronyms. IRS, OIC, IA, PPIA, IRM, IRC and on and on it goes. Now I have another one: FOF… What is FOF? It is Fear of Filing!!! What does FOF have to do with Julius Cesar? A [...]

Death and Taxes- March 8, 2018

Hello All, As you may or may not know, my younger sister recently passed away. Ali and I just returned from the funeral in New York. Thank you to those of you that expressed your well wishes to us. On that sad note, I want you to know that even when there is a death in the family, there may be tax filings, from final 1040s to estate tax returns and the estate’s income return. I am an expert on the preparation [...]

Spring is in the Air- March 1, 2018

Hello All, Well, my friends, it is now March, and baseball spring training is back in full (ahem) swing. Not sure why they still call it spring training since most of the time it begins in late winter. As most, if not all of you who know us, know we are die-hard Yankee fans (some more than the other!). I have been a Yankee fan since 1963. My Dad, may he rest in peace, was a staunch Brooklyn Dodger fan back [...]

Persistence- February 22, 2018

Hello All, Have you ever started a project that seemed to go smoothly and quickly, then it hits a snag? Well folks, I wrote my first book called, “Now What? I Got a Tax Notice from the IRS. Help!” It is now available on Amazon, will be on Kindle in March and as an audiobook in June. What does this have to do with persistence? Well, I wrote the book over a Saturday and Sunday in August. You heard that right, [...]

Feeling the Love- February 15, 2018

Hello All, I hope you had a great St. Valentine’s Day and enjoyed a meal in a nice restaurant. Ali and I love Asian food and decided to go to a Japanese Steak House, Fujiyama in Stuart that was recommended by some networking friends. Next week I will let you know about our experience. This brings up recommendations and reviews. I am sure you have all heard of Yelp. It was originally a “site” where consumers could place and read reviews [...]

Full Tax Season Mode- February 8, 2018

Hello All, Welcome to tax season, 2018. I finally recovered from a sore back which I believe was a precursor to coming down with the flu. I was out of the office all last week and Monday, was my first day back. A little tired, but no real worse for wear. Have you seen the papers? This is the worse flu season in years, and the flu shot is not as effective as everyone thought. In the past 20 years, I [...]

Oh, My aching back!- February 2, 2018

Hello, All I am back from my freezing “winter experience” in DC. Saturday morning I woke up only to find that my back was out. I toughed it out and spent the day in the office playing catch up. Sunday, which during tax season is a workday, I was in so much discomfort that I could not go to the office. I stayed home, couch-bound with a heating pad on my back. Ali and I vegged out and caught up with [...]