Dave Ramsey (ELP) Services Are Now Available

Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider (ELP)

Wathen, DeShong & Juncker, LLP is proud to announce our Partner Michael Kiefer, CPA has been personally vetted and chosen to be a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider (ELP). Congratulations Michael, on your selection. Dave Ramsey ELP’s are held to a high standard of excellence and recommended because of their track record for being known as one of the best in their industry.

As Dave’s ELP, Michael and his team are committed, just as Dave is, to providing a faith-driven and ethical approach for solving the tax, financial, and accounting challenges of today’s marketplace to everyone from the financially independent to the financially distressed.

No matter your situation, Michael will make sure your taxes are done properly to minimize your tax liability and get every deduction you deserve. You can trust his expertise in the industry and know he will answer any questions you have with the heart of a teacher.

Contact Michael today to take a step in the right direction toward achieving your financial goals.

       

 

 

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Hiring Experienced Tax Accountants

Professional Staff:

WDJ is seeking a full-time Tax Accountant with strong knowledge and experience in individual, corporate, and partnership return preparation, tax planning, and research. If you are tired of working excessive work hours during the busy tax season, then consider joining our firm. Our goal is to provide our clients with extraordinary service while being flexible enough to allow a good balance between work and home life for our staff.

Experience Desired:

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Accounting
  • CPA or CPA Candidate with significant progress toward a CPA or scheduled to take the CPA exam
  • Minimum 3 years’ tax preparation experience in a public accounting firm
  • Experience in preparation of business and high-end personal tax returns
  • Team player who works well with others
  • Strong computer skills: proficiency preferred in Lacerte, Excel, QuickBooks, and other MS Office products

Wathen, DeShong & Juncker, L.L.P. offers excellent benefits to its professional employees:

  • Competitive salary
  • Comprehensive benefits
  • Stable work environment
  • Minimal travel requirements
  • Private workspaces
  • Up to 4 weeks of vacation
  • Flexible work hours
  • Continuing education
  • Professional organization memberships
  • Opportunities for community involvement
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Welcome Lindsey Fontenot

Ms. Regina Rogers presenting Lindsey with The Ben J. Rogers Outstanding Student of 2018 award.

Wathen, DeShong & Juncker LLP is pleased to announce the recent addition of Lindsey Fontenot to our Professional Staff. Lindsey graduated, summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA  from Lamar University in May 2018, earning a BBA in Accounting. She is a member of two honor societies, Beta Alpha Psi and Beta Gamma Sigma. Lindsey will be working part-time at the firm and completing her Master’s Degree over the next year.

Lindsey has several accomplishments and honors to be proud of:

The Financial Executives International Scholarship which honors twelve accounting or finance students attending accredited colleges and universities in Southeast Texas annually with a scholarship award and an Academic Honors Program. Lamar honors one student each year with the FEI award.

The Ben J. Rogers Outstanding Student of 2018 is a prestigious award given to college of business graduating seniors with the highest overall GPA. This award honors the late Ben J. Rogers, a Beaumont business leader and philanthropist. He was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1991.

The Plummer Award honors the top male and female graduates with the highest GPAs of the graduating class. Plummer Awards honor the late Otho Plummer, who was chairman emeritus of the Lamar board of regents and a longtime board member. This year Lindsey is one of four students to receive this honor.

The College of Business Excellence Award recognizes students scoring in the 90th percentile or higher on the ETS Business Test which measures a student’s subject knowledge and ability to apply facts, concepts, theories and analytical methods.

Lindsey has lived in Southeast Texas all of her life. She enjoys spending time with her family and her Welsh Corgi named Winston, spending time in the outdoors, reading, and playing the piano and violin.

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Harvey Tax Relief

by MICHAEL W. KIEFER, CPA


Michael W. Kiefer, CPA and partner at WDJ recently appeared as a guest writer for the Jefferson County Bar Association and was published in their most recent newsletter.

Tax-Relief-Article
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7 Fun Accounting Facts

Who said accounting can’t be fun!

Do you think of accountants as serious suit-wearing, pen-wielding number-crunchers? A bit dull and gray maybe? Think again! Accountants are an eclectic bunch of smart, interesting people, who are passionate about making your money work for you.

  1. Bubblegum was invented by an accountant, Walter Diemar in 1928. It was bright pink in color because that was the only dye he had to hand at the time.
  2. It was accountants who brought down Chicago crime boss Al Capone. Although believed to be guilty of everything from bootlegging to murder, he was ultimately arrested and convicted of tax evasion.
  3. The word “accounting” comes from the French “compter” meaning to count or score. Other accounting terms are derived from Latin, such as “debit” – “he owes” and “credit” – “he trusts”.
  4. St. Matthew the Evangelist is the patron saint of accountants, as well as bookkeepers, tax collectors, bookkeepers, stockbrokers and bankers. 
  5. Mick Jagger, Janet Jackson and author John Grisham are just a few of the famous names who worked in accounting before their showbiz careers took off.
  6. The FBI employs more than 2,000 accounting special agents who use their mad math skills to solve crimes.
  7. Every year since 1935, a team of CPAs has spent over 1,700 hours prior to Oscar night counting the Academy Awards ballots by hand. You may not have noticed, but members of the Academy’s accounting firm traditionally make an appearance during the broadcast.

And as a special bonus…

National Accounting Day is on May 14th this year. It’s a great day to recognize the special accountant(s) in your life! Mark your calendars now!

 

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Lost Tax Documents

If you lost your tax documents in the Harvey flood, you can obtain your tax transcript directly from the IRS website. It’s very easy! You will need access to your cell phone and email when registering so your identity can be verified. Visit the IRS website for more information. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/get-transcript

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CPA Month of Service

WDJ – Well Done Jobs

The Texas Society of CPAs hosted the statewide 2017 CPA Month of Service during the month of November. As a result, volunteers from CPA firms across the state of Texas assisted various charitable organizations. Activities included stocking food pantries, cleaning up local parks, participating in charity run/walk events and various other community-oriented events.

Wathen, DeShong & Juncker, LLP is proud to have partnered with Beautify Beaumont on Friday, November 17th for our community service day. There were 21 firm members on-site to volunteer. We started the day at 7:30 a.m at the Maree Calcote Greenway. Tasks included trimming rose bushes, weeding flower beds, in addition, to planting and clean up. The WDJ team had a fun time but most of all loved giving back to the community.

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System Review Report

System-Review-Report
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Fiscal Cliff Tax Act

Summarized from an AICPA article by Paul Bonner and Alistair M. Nevius

With some modifications targeting the wealthiest Americans with higher taxes, the American Taxpayer Relief Act  permanently extends provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), and Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA). It also permanently takes care of Congress’s perennial job of “patching” the alternative minimum tax (AMT). It  temporarily extends many other tax provisions that had lapsed at midnight on Dec. 31 and others that had expired a year earlier.

Among the tax items not addressed by the act was the temporary lower 4.2% rate for employees’ portion of the Social Security payroll tax, which was not extended and has reverted to 6.2%.

Here are the act’s main tax features:

Individual tax rates – All the individual marginal tax rates under EGTRRA and JGTRRA are retained (10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, and 35%). A new top rate of 39.6% is imposed on taxable income over $400,000 for single filers, $425,000 for head-of-household filers, and $450,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

Phaseout of itemized deductions and personal exemptions – phaseout is reinstated at a higher threshold of $250,000 for single taxpayers, $275,000 for heads of household, and $300,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

Capital gains and dividends – 20% rate applies to capital gains and dividends for individuals above the top income tax bracket threshold; the 15% rate is retained for taxpayers in the middle brackets. The zero rate is retained for taxpayers in the 10% and 15% brackets.

Alternative minimum tax – exemption amount permanently indexed for inflation. For 2012, the exemption amounts are $78,750 for married taxpayers filing jointly and $50,600 for single filers.

Estate and gift tax – exclusion amount is retained at $5 million indexed for inflation ($5.12 million in 2012), but the top tax rate increases from 35% to 40% effective Jan. 1, 2013. The estate tax “portability” election was made permanent by the act.

Permanent extensions of various temporary tax provisions

  • Marriage filing jointly penalty relief
  • The liberalized child and dependent care credit rules
  • Expanded adoption credit and adoption-assistance program amounts
  • The higher contribution amount to Coverdell education savings accounts
  • The employer-provided child care credit
  • Others (see original AICPA article)

Individual credits expired at the end of 2012

The American opportunity tax credit for qualified tuition and other expenses of higher education was extended through 2017 as well as enhanced provisions of the child tax credit under and the earned income tax credit. In addition, the bill permanently extends a rule excluding from taxable income refunds from certain federal and federally assisted programs.

Individual provisions expired at the end of 2011

The act also extended through 2013 a number of temporary individual tax provisions, most of which expired at the end of 2011:

  • Deduction for educator expenses
  • Exclusion of discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness
  • Mortgage insurance premiums treated as qualified residence interest
  • Deduction of state and local general sales taxes
  • Special rule for contributions of capital gain real property made for conservation purposes
  • Above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses
  • Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes
  • Others (see original AICPA article)

Business tax extenders through 2013

  • Credit for increasing R & D activities including modification for more inclusion
  • Increased expensing amounts under Sec. 179
  • 50% first-year bonus depreciation
  • Work opportunity tax credit
  • Enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory
  • Temporary exclusion of 100% of gain on certain small business stock
  • Basis adjustment to stock of S corporations making charitable contributions of property
  • Reduction in S corporation recognition period for built-in gains tax
  • Fifteen-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant buildings and improvements, and qualified retail improvements
  • Others (see original AICPA article)

Energy tax extenders extended through 2013

  • Credit for energy-efficient existing homes, new homes and appliances
  • Alternative fuels excise tax credits
  • Incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel
  • Others (see original AICPA article)

New taxes – took effect Jan. 1 as a result of 2010’s health care reform legislation.

Additional hospital insurance tax on high-income taxpayers –employee portion of Medicare withholding which is normally 1.45% of wages, is increased by 0.9% on combined wages that exceed the $250,000 threshold amount for joint or surviving spouse filers and $200,000 for single filers.

For self-employed taxpayers, the same additional hospital insurance tax applies to the hospital insurance portion of SECA tax on self-employment income in excess of the threshold amount.

Medicare tax on investment income. Sec. 1411 imposes a tax on individuals equal to 3.8% of the lesser of the individual’s net investment income for the year or the amount the individual’s modified adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds a threshold amount. For estates and trusts, the tax equals 3.8% of the lesser of undistributed net investment income or AGI over the dollar amount at which the highest trust and estate tax bracket begins.

For married individuals filing a joint return and surviving spouses, the threshold amount is $250,000 and it is $200,000 for singles and head of households.

Net investment income means investment income reduced by allowable deductions. Investment income includes income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents, and net gain from disposition of property, other than such income derived in the ordinary course of a trade or business.

Medical care itemized deduction threshold –threshold for the itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses has increased from 7.5% of AGI to 10% of AGI. There is an exemption from the 10% floor for taxpayers turning 65 in the years 2013–2016.

Health flexible spending arrangement. Effective for cafeteria plan years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, the maximum annual amount of salary reduction contributions that an employee may elect to have made to a flexible spending arrangement is $2,500.

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12 Tasks to Finish Before Noon

Summarized from an article by Jada A. Graves, U.S. News and World Report.

A recent study published in an American Psychological Association journal, Emotion, suggests that early birds are generally happier than night owls.

Self-professed “morning people” reported feeling happier and healthier than  night owls. Researchers hypothesize that one of the reasons could be because society caters to a morning person’s schedule.

Those who like rising with the sun are also the most productive employees in the office.  Take note of the tasks these high-functioning, productive, and more awake employees have completed before lunch:

1. Make a work to-do list the day before.  The opportune time to plan a day’s tasks is the night before. If you make your to-do schedule in the morning, you will lose office time writing it. Doing it the night before will also help you sleep better.

2. Get a full night’s rest. Lack of sleep affects your concentration level, and therefore, your productivity. Most health experts advise getting a  minimum eight hours of shut-eye each night.

3. Avoid hitting snooze. Petitioning for nine more minutes, then nine more, then another nine is a slippery slope that leads to falling back asleep and falling behind on your morning prep.  Ultimately it also leads to lateness. Set your alarm clock a little bit earlier and get out of bed on the first alarm.

4. Exercise. Schedule your Pilates class for the a.m. instead of after work. Exercise improves mood and energy levels and there have been studies done on employees who’ve exercised before work or during the work day.  Those employees have been found to have better time-management skills, an improved mental sharpness and be more patient with their peers.

5. Practice a morning ritual. Institute a morning routine aside from your exercise routine.  Whether you opt to meditate, read the newspaper, or surf the Web, it’s important to have that quiet time with just you.

6. Eat breakfast. Food provides the fuel you’ll need to concentrate, and breakfast is particularly important since it recharges you after you’ve fasted all night. Try munching on something light  and healthy in the morning, and avoid processed carbs that could zap your energy.

7. Arrive at the office on time. If you’re not a new employee, then you’ve already figured out the length of your average commute.  Allot a safe amount of time to make it to work on schedule.

8. Check in with the boss and/or employees. If your closest work associates aren’t productive, then neither are you. Good workers set priorities that align with their company’s goals, and they’re transparent about their progress.

9. Tackle the big projects first. You can dive right into work upon arriving in the office, since you made your to-do list the night before. Start with the hardest tasks.  Don’t jump into meaningless projects when you’re at your mental peak for the day.

10. Avoid morning meetings. If you have any say on meeting times, schedule them in the afternoon.  You should use your prime skills during the morning which is most productive time of the day. Scheduling morning meetings could rob employees of their peak performance, and ultimately cost the company.

The exception to this is if your meeting is the most important task of the day. Sometimes you have to schedule a crucial meeting, or a client meeting, in which case you’d want to plan for a time when employees are at their peak.

11. Allot time for following up on messages. Discern between mindless email/voicemail checking and conducting important business. Checking your inbox every couple of minutes takes time away from important tasks. Instead, set a schedule to check and respond to email in increments.  Consider doing so at the top of each hour, to ensure that clients and colleagues receive prompt responses from you.

12. Take a mid-morning break. Get up and stretch your legs or stay seated and indulge in a little Internet surfing.  Don’t abuse this privilege. You should take 10-minute breaks occasionally. Companies that ban any kind of social media use, texting, or personal calls will find it to be detrimental.

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