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six new hires

Six New Hires Join WFY Team

Wright Ford Young & Co. is proud to announce we are adding six new hires to our team. We have Cheryl Shelton joining our estates & trusts department, and Brody Alcanter, Marzeh Khanjari, Rajbir Singh, Linh Trinh and Diane Waxler-Milne joining our tax department. WFY is pleased to welcome these new hires to our team.

Cheryl Shelton

In January, Cheryl Shelton started with WFY as an Estates & Trusts Supervisor in our estates & trusts department. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton and continued her education at Western State Law School. Cheryl has worked in accounting for over 15 years. In her spare time, she volunteers with a local dog resue doing adoption events and fostering dogs.

Brody Alcanter

Brody Alcanter joined WFY in January as a Tax Senior. He graduated from Northwood University with a Bachelor’s degree for Business Administration, Accounting, and moved to Orange County shortly after graduating. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf.

Marzeh Khanjari

In January, Marzeh Khanjari started with WFY as a Tax Senior.  She received her degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Accounting, and has been working as a tax professional for almost 15 years. While she’s away from the office, she likes to travel, watch movies, and play ping pong.

Rajbir Singh

Rajbir Singh joined WFY as a Tax Staff in January.  He graduated from University of California, Riverside, with a degree in Business Administration and Psychology. Rajbir’s hobbies are working out and traveling with his family.

Linh Trinh

Joining us again at WFY as a tax intern is Linh Trin.  She is graduating from Cal State Fullerton this Spring and will become a full-time Tax Staff at WFY after she graduates.  During her free time, she likes to play the piano.

Diane Waxler-Milne

Diane Waxler-Milne joins WFY for this upcoming tax season as a tax intern.  She is currently attending Cal State Fullerton as a senior and will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance. When she’s out of the office and away from school, Diane enjoys time with her husband and three daughters.

 

Interested in joining WFY in one of our departments? f you are interested and qualified for the position above, please email your resumes careers@cpa-wfy.com or go to our Careers page.

 

bruin professionals

Tax Director Melodie Reguero on Tax Planning at Bruin Professionals

On Wednesday, November 20th, our WFY Tax Director Melodie Reguero presented at the Orange County Bruin Professionals meeting.

Ms. Melodie Reguero spoke on tips about year-end tax planning along with Cheryl Gee from UBS. Year-end tax planning is especially critical this time of year to proactively reduce a taxpayer’s risk exposure and tax liability before the new year. If you are interested in tips about year-end tax planning, read our article on Year-End Tax Saving Moves for Individuals.

Reguero regularly attends Bruin Professionals meetings, which is diverse group of UCLA alumni who are established in business. The group focuses on commerce, camaraderie, and community. They have several chapters spread all over California. If you are interested in learning more about Bruin Professionals, click here.

 

planning

Year-End Tax Planning Strategies

As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to think of planning moves that will help lower your tax bill for this year and possibly the next.

We have compiled a checklist of actions based on current tax rules that may help you save tax dollars if you act before year-end. Not all actions will apply in your particular situation, but you will likely benefit from many of them. We can narrow down the specific actions that you can take. In the meantime, please review the following list and contact us if you would like additional advice on which tax-saving moves to make:

Year-End Tax Planning Moves for Individuals

  • If you expect to owe state and local income taxes when you file your return next year, consider making an estimated tax payment before year-end to pull the deduction of those taxes into 2017 if you won’t be subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) in 2017. Pulling state and local tax deductions into 2017 would be especially beneficial if Congress eliminates such deductions beginning next year.
  • Take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA or 401(k) plan (or other employer-sponsored retirement plan). RMDs from IRAs must begin by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70-½. That start date also applies to company plans, but non-5% company owners who continue working may defer RMDs until April 1 following the year they retire. Failure to take a required withdrawal can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount of the RMD not withdrawn. Although RMDs must begin no later than April 1 following the year in which the IRA owner attains age 70-½, the first distribution calendar year is the year in which the IRA owner attains age 70-½. Thus, if you turn age 70-½ in 2017, you can delay the first required distribution to 2018, but if you do, you will have to take a double distribution in 2018—the amount required for 2017 plus the amount required for 2018. Think twice before delaying 2017 distributions to 2018, as bunching income into 2018 might push you into a higher tax bracket or have a detrimental impact on various income tax deductions that are reduced at higher income levels. However, it could be beneficial to take both distributions in 2018 if you will be in a substantially lower bracket that year.
  • Make gifts sheltered by the annual gift tax exclusion before the end of the year and thereby save gift and estate taxes. The exclusion applies to gifts of up to $14,000 made in 2017 to each of an unlimited number of individuals. You can’t carry over unused exclusions from one year to the next. Such transfers may save family income taxes where income-earning property is given to family members in lower income tax brackets who are not subject to the kiddie tax.
  • If you were affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria, keep in mind that you may be entitled to special tax relief under recently passed legislation, such as relaxed casualty loss rules and eased access to your retirement funds. In addition qualifying charitable contributions related to relief efforts in the Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria disaster areas aren’t subject to the usual charitable deduction limitations.

Year-End Tax Planning Moves for Businesses & Business Owners

Businesses should consider making expenditures that qualify for the business property expensing option. For tax years beginning in 2017, the expensing limit is $510,000 and the investment ceiling limit is $2,030,000. Expensing is generally available for most depreciable property (other than buildings), off-the-shelf computer software, air conditioning and heating units, and qualified real property—qualified leasehold improvement property, qualified restaurant property, and qualified retail improvement property. The generous dollar ceilings that apply this year mean that many small and medium sized businesses that make timely purchases will be able to currently deduct most if not all their outlays for machinery and equipment. What’s more, the expensing deduction is not prorated for the time that the asset is in service during the year. The fact that the expensing deduction may be claimed in full (if you are otherwise eligible to take it) regardless of how long the property is held during the year can be a potent tool for year-end tax planning. Thus, property acquired and placed in service in the last days of 2017, rather than at the beginning of 2018, can result in a full expensing deduction for 2017.

Businesses also should consider making buying property that qualifies for the 50% bonus first year depreciation if bought and placed in service this year (the bonus percentage declines to 40% next year). The bonus depreciation deduction is permitted without any proration based on the length of time that an asset is in service during the tax year. As a result, the 50% first-year bonus writeoff is available even if qualifying assets are in service for only a few days in 2017.

Businesses may be able to take advantage of the “de minimis safe harbor election” (also known as the book-tax conformity election) to expense the costs of lower-cost assets and materials and supplies, assuming the costs don’t have to be capitalized under the Code Sec. 263A uniform capitalization (UNICAP) rules. To qualify for the election, the cost of a unit of property can’t exceed $5,000 if the taxpayer has an applicable financial statement (AFS; e.g., a certified audited financial statement along with an independent CPA’s report). If there’s no AFS, the cost of a unit of property can’t exceed $2,500. Where the UNICAP rules aren’t an issue, consider purchasing such qualifying items before the end of 2017.

Businesses contemplating large equipment purchases also should keep a close eye on the tax reform plan being considered by Congress. The current version contemplates immediate expensing—with no set dollar limit—of all depreciable asset (other than building) investments made after Sept. 27, 2017, for a period of at least five years. This would be a major incentive for some businesses to make large purchases of equipment in late 2017.

If your business was affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria, it may be entitled to an employee retention credit for eligible employees.

A corporation should consider deferring income until 2018 if it will be in a higher bracket this year than next. This could certainly be the case if Congress succeeds in dramatically reducing the corporate tax rate, beginning next year.

These are just some of the year-end tax planning steps that can be taken to save taxes. If you would like us to start planning particular steps that will work best for you, contact us here.

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