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Happy Retirement, Bob Wamhoff!

44 years ago, my brother, Bob Wamhoff, started an accounting firm in Florissant, Missouri to help clients in the area provide a high level of service and advice. I joined him, just a few years later, while I was still in my teens, helping him to crunch numbers and prepare forms. That first day on the calculator, I was so excited to be working with my big brother. Today, with a tear in my eye, I’m a proud little sister as I look back on his career and congratulate him on his retirement.

This tax season, we’ve had the privilege to serve many clients who have been there with us since those early days of Wamhoff Accounting. As they’ve come in for their tax appointments, we’ve reminisced about years Bob spent preparing returns on their kitchen tables and washing machines, and recalled the many locations the firm has called home since 1975. Bob led us all on that journey, always making sure that each client and each member of our staff was cared for and felt supported.

In the 44 years since Bob founded the firm, he built an amazing full-service financial planning and accounting business, and team of individuals that’s become well-known across the St. Louis region. He often jokes that he can’t even go to the grocery store without someone recognizing him from television! His hard work, dedication to his craft and his clients, and willingness to give back have brought him much success, and has made an indelible mark on the community.

I am honored to have the opportunity to carry his legacy forward, leading Wamhoff Accounting into the future but always maintaining the vision Bob set forth. He taught me everything I know, and I would not be the person I am today without him. Bob is someone I will always turn to for advice, even in his retirement, and I know he’ll be there to lend a helping hand or compassionate ear to anyone who might call upon him.

From your little sister, and the entire Wamhoff Accounting team — Happy Retirement, Bob!

Each month, St. Louis Small Business Monthly, publishes a list of companies in the Best in Business section which feature St. Louis area firms that “won’t settle for just good enough” in their approach to business. The companies are nominated by Small Business Monthly readers in a variety of categories, with the February issue featuring those who are best in customer service. Wamhoff Accounting is pleased to announce that the firm has been named to the list for the second year in a row.

“Since 1975, we’ve prided ourselves on providing the highest level of client service,” said Sandy Furuya, president of Wamhoff Accounting Services. “We always go the extra mile in supporting our clients, whether its full-service tax and accounting work for small businesses, or tax filings and preparation of returns for individuals. Clients know they can count on us for service they can’t get elsewhere.”

Wamhoff Accounting not only has made the Best in Customer Service list for the last two years, but for nine consecutive years now, the firm has been chosen as one of Small Business Monthly’s Best Accounting Firms in St. Louis.

“We’re honored to be included on these lists for multiple years, and are grateful to the readers and editorial staff of Small Business Monthly who have recognized our hard work and commitment to clients,” said Furuya.

Wamhoff Accounting assists clients with tax and accounting work, as well as with bookkeeping, financial statements, and establishing new businesses. Free initial consultations are available upon contact, and individual tax returns can be completed within the day.

With its many changes to individual tax rates, brackets and breaks, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) means taxpayers need to revisit their tax planning strategies. Certain strategies that were once tried-and-true will no longer save or defer tax. But there are some that will hold up for many taxpayers. And they’ll be more effective if you begin implementing them this summer, rather than waiting until year end. Take a look at these three ideas, and contact us to discuss what midyear strategies make sense for you.

  1. Look at your bracket

     
    Under the TCJA, the top income tax rate is now 37% (down from 39.6%) for taxpayers with taxable income over $500,000 (single and head-of-household filers) or $600,000 (married couples filing jointly). These thresholds are higher than for the top rate in 2017 ($418,400, $444,550 and $470,700, respectively). So the top rate might be less of a concern.

    However, singles and heads of households in the middle and upper brackets could be pushed into a higher tax bracket much more quickly this year. For example, for 2017 the threshold for the 33% tax bracket was $191,650 for singles and $212,500 for heads of households. For 2018, the rate for this bracket has been reduced slightly to 32% — but the threshold for the bracket is now only $157,500 for both singles and heads of households.
    So a lot more of these filers could find themselves in this bracket. (Fortunately for joint filers, their threshold for this bracket has increased from $233,350 to $315,000.)

    If you expect this year’s income to be near the threshold for a higher bracket, consider strategies for reducing your taxable income and staying out of the next bracket. For example, you could take steps to accelerate deductible expenses.

    But carefully consider the changes the TCJA has made to deductions. For example, you might no longer benefit from itemizing because of the nearly doubled standard deduction and the reduction or elimination of certain itemized deductions. For 2018, the standard deduction is $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of households and $24,000 for joint filers.

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  3. Incur medical expenses

     
    One itemized deduction the TCJA has retained and — temporarily — enhanced is the medical expense deduction. If you expect to benefit from itemizing on your 2018 return, take a look at whether you can accelerate deductible medical expenses into this year.

    You can deduct only expenses that exceed a floor based on your adjusted gross income (AGI). Under the TCJA, the floor has dropped from 10% of AGI to 7.5%. But it’s scheduled to return to 10% for 2019 and beyond.

    Deductible expenses may include:

    • Health insurance premiums,
    • Long-term care insurance premiums,
    • Medical and dental services and prescription drugs, and
    • Mileage driven for health care purposes.

    You may be able to control the timing of some of these expenses so you can bunch them into 2018 and exceed the floor while it’s only 7.5%.

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  5. Review your investments

     
    The TCJA didn’t make changes to the long-term capital gains rate, so the top rate remains at 20%. However, that rate now kicks in before the top ordinary-income tax rate. For 2018, the 20% rate applies to taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $425,800 (singles), $452,400 (heads of households), or $479,000 (joint filers).

    If you’ve realized, or expect to realize, significant capital gains, consider selling some depreciated investments to generate losses you can use to offset those gains. It may be possible to repurchase those investments, so long as you wait at least 31 days to avoid the “wash sale” rule.

    You also may need to plan for the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). It can affect taxpayers with modified AGI (MAGI) over $200,000 for singles and heads of households, $250,000 for joint filers. You may be able to lower your tax liability by reducing your MAGI, reducing net investment income or both.

Each year, St. Louis Small Business Monthly polls its readers to compile a list of the region’s best accounting firms. Wamhoff Accounting is honored to announce that, for the ninth year in a row, the firm has been named to the 2018 list of St. Louis’ Best Accounting Firms.

“We have always been committed to serving our clients, not only at tax time, but all year long,” said Sandy Furuya, president of Wamhoff Accounting Services. “Whether it’s an individual or a small business looking for tax or accounting support, we are here to help. We are honored to have been nominated and chosen as one of the Best Accounting Firms for nine years in a row. We are proud of the service we provide our clients, and look forward to continuing that service so they can meet their goals.”

Wamhoff Accounting not only has made the list of Best Accounting Firms for nine consecutive years now, but has also recently been chosen as one of Small Business Monthly’s Best in Customer Service. The professionals at Wamhoff Accounting have been serving business and individuals since 1975.

Services extend beyond taxes and accounting. Wamhoff Accounting also assists with bookkeeping, financial statements, and establishing new businesses. Free initial consultations are available upon contact, and individual tax returns can be completed within the day.

The Best Accounting Firms in St. Louis were announced in the May, 2018 issue of St. Louis Small Business Monthly.

 

About Wamhoff Accounting
Since 1975, the staff at Wamhoff Accounting Services has provided exceptional service to individual, business, and non-profit clients.  The firm prepares over 850 tax returns each year, and provides a wide range of services including accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, financial statements, tax filings, and tax return preparation. Wamhoff Accounting is located at 1520 South Fifth Street at Streets of St. Charles. For more information, call 636-573-1212 or visit WamhoffAccounting.com.

Wamhoff Accounting Best in Customer Service

Wamhoff Accounting Services has once again been named one of the Best in Customer Service for 2018 by St. Louis Small Business Monthly. This is not the first time Wamhoff Accounting has received this award, as they were also on the list for 2017 and several previous years, as well as being named among the Best Accounting firms for a number of years.

St. Louis Small Business Monthly chooses the best companies across multiple industries by polling CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, to identify the best in each field.  Wamhoff Accounting was part of a select group chosen from the numerous nominations.

“We are honored to be named one of the Best in Customer Service again,” says Sandy Furuya, president of Wamhoff Accounting Services. “We are passionate about helping clients, and we recognize our services go far beyond paperwork. When we help them with accounting, or with starting a business, or any of our services, we are helping them prepare for their future and achieve their dreams.”

To put clients first, Wamhoff Accounting Services offers free initial consultations, and completes individual tax returns within the day. Beyond taxes, Wamhoff Accounting also assists with bookkeeping, and financial statements and establishing new businesses.

 

About Wamhoff Accounting
Since 1975, the staff at Wamhoff Accounting Services has provided exceptional service to individual, business, and non-profit clients.  The firm prepares nearly 900 tax returns each year, and provides a wide range of services including accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, financial statements, tax filings, and tax return preparation. Wamhoff Accounting is located at 1520 South Fifth Street at Streets of St. Charles. For more information, call 636-573-1212 or visit WamhoffAccounting.com.

The Future of Interest Rates

In December of 2015, the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the first time since 2006. While that hike was modest, many believed it to be the first of many that would take place over the next couple of years. In light of Brexit and weaker than expected jobs reports, that may no longer be the case. Sandy Furuya, Senior Accounting Manager at [Wamhoff Accounting Services] explains.

About Interest Rates and the Fed:

  • After the economic crisis of 2008, the Fed adopted a policy of lowering interest rates as a way to help the economy as interest rates have an impact on the stock market, bond markets, inflation and consumer spending.
  • We’re currently at near-zero interest.
  • In December when the economic outlook appeared more favorable, the Fed made a modest increase in rates. Many anticipated that those increases would continue.
  • In fact, any announcements or anticipation of interest rate changes can impact the overall economy.

Interest Rates – Going up or down?

  • Many analysts predicted at least two more rate hikes in 2016. The markets were operating in anticipation of these hikes.
  • In May, 2016, a weak jobs report, stating that only 38,000 jobs had been added to the economy created uncertainty. On June 23rd, the UK voted to exit the European Union, sending an impact to US and global markets.
  • Economists now believe that the Fed will revert back to a state of “inaction,” neither raising or cutting rates in the foreseeable future.
  • Many are pointing to 2018 as being the first possible point at which rates may rise.
  • Some are anticipating that the Fed will cut rates again, although since we’re near zero, it will be minimal.

What is the impact of cutting the interest rates to the average investor?

  • Lower interest rates can be a good thing in the short term. It’s makes borrowing money to buy things more accessible, which stimulates the economy.
  • Mortgage rates are at an all-time low. This makes investing in real estate – residential or commercial – favorable. It’s a good time to buy a new home, a second home, investment property, commercial property, or even refinance to do home improvement project or pay off higher interest debt.
  • On the flip side, bank accounts, pension funds and investments don’t grow as quickly as they would in normal economic conditions, which impacts savings and retirement funding.
  • Your savings (especially long term savings) must at least keep up with the rate of inflation. The Fed has some control in that changing interest rates can impact inflation, much as it did in the early 80s when inflation was at 14%. They raised interest rates to 20%, which caused a recession but halted the inflation.