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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day 2018

Although the wind didn't cooperate for our photo, we're proudly flying the stars and stripes today for Flag Day!
Did you know?.... 
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th because it commemorates the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress signed a resolution that finalized the flag's design.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Continue Using your 2017 Form W-4 for Montana Withholding

Although the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act has significantly changed the federal tax code, the Montana Department of Revenue has not announced any major reform.  Many employers have recently requested employees to complete the new 2018 W-4 but if you've made changes in your withholding allowances to reflect federal tax changes, it could have an undesirable impact on your state withholding. The below is information from the MT Dept of Revenue website with advice to employees and employers for handling MT income tax withholding.  

We recommend that employees continue to use the number of allowances calculated on their 2017 (or older) Form W-4 for Montana withholding. A newly hired employee should also use the 2017 federal Form W-4 to calculate the number of allowances for Montana.

The IRS recently released a new federal Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, for 2018 to reflect the recent federal tax reform provisions. As a result, employees may revise the number of federal allowances on the new Form W-4, which will reduce the tax withheld from their wages for federal purposes. Montana requests that employees keep using the 2017 federal Form W-4 because the recent federal tax law changes have no impact on the number of exemptions or the amount of standard deductions a taxpayer may claim on the Montana return. Therefore, there is no related reason to change the number of allowances for Montana withholding purposes.

When calculating their withholding allowances, an employee should further consider the following:

  • Montana does not allow the federal child tax credit nor the exemption from withholding.
  • If more than 10 allowances are reported on an employee’s federal Form W-4, the employer must continue to submit the form to the Department of Revenue for review. If the department determines it is not correct number of allowances for state withholding purposes, we will contact the employee and employer with the revised number. If necessary, employees can then contact the department to justify an increased amount of allowances.
We recommend consulting with a tax preparer to determine if your state taxes are impacted by any of the federal tax changes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Summer Hours

Summer is here!
We are now operating on summer hours.
Our office will be closed on Fridays during the months of June, July & August. 
Wishing you all a wonderful summer!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Congratulations Class of 2018!


CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2018
from Gardner & Billing CPAs! 
And Happy Last Week of School 
to students, teachers and faculty! 
Wishing you all a wonderful summer. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tax Reform and What it Means for Your Personal Taxes


 

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed the first major tax reform in 31 years into law. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes many changes to the tax code and every taxpayer is impacted. 

A highlight of some of the changes are as follows: 

  • Tax rates: Tax rates are reduced. The top rate is reduced from 39.6% to 37%. Lower rates are also reduced. 
  • Exemptions and the child tax credit: The deduction for personal exemptions is eliminated. An expanded child tax credit will help make up for the loss of personal exemptions for some families. The credit is increased to $2,000 (from $1,000) for qualifying children under 17. For children 17 and older and for other dependents, the credit is $500.  
  • Standard deduction: The new tax reform law doubles the standard deduction. The higher standard deduction ($12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married filing joint) means that fewer taxpayers will benefit from itemizing deductions. 
  • Itemized deductions: Itemized deductions for all state and local taxes, including property taxes, are capped at $10,000. The limit on mortgage debt for purposes of the mortgage interest deduction is reduced from $1,000,000 to $750,000 for loans made after December 15, 2017. Loans made before December 15, 2017 are grandfathered at the $1,000,000 debt limit. The interest on home equity borrowing is no longer deductible. The threshold for medical expense deductions is lowered to 7.5% of adjusted gross income (from 10%) for tax years 2017 and 2018. Miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% of AGI limitation are not allowed. Miscellaneous itemized deductions lost because of the new law include employee business expenses, investment adviser fees, union dues, and tax preparation fees. Personal casualty losses are not allowed unless the losses were suffered in a federally declared disaster area. 
  • Alimony: The new tax reform law eliminates the alimony deduction for agreements signed after December 31, 2018. Alimony income is not taxable for agreements signed after December 31. 2018. There is no change to the law for agreements signed before January 1, 2019. 
  • Moving expenses: The new tax reform law eliminates the moving expense deduction and makes employer reimbursement of moving expenses taxable to the employee beginning in 2018. 
  • AMT: The new tax reform law temporarily increases the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption for tax years 2018 through 2025. The increase in the exemption, as well as the elimination of major tax preferences (including exemptions, state taxes above $10,000 and miscellaneous itemized deductions), means that fewer people will be subject to AMT under the new law. 
  • Roth IRA conversions: The new tax reform law repeals the special rule permitting re-characterization of Roth IRA conversions. A conversion of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA may still be advisable, but once the conversion is completed, it can’t be undone. 
These are just a few of the changes included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Your 2018 taxes will be affected; that’s guaranteed by the scope of the changes, but the degree of impact depends on your personal situation. 
Questions we can answer for you. 
  • Will the new tax reform law help me or hurt me? 
  • Is my withholding enough so that I won’t have any surprises next April 15th? 
  • Is there anything I can do now that will make my taxes less under the new tax reform law?
Gardner & Billing CPAs, PLLC will be providing articles throughout the summer that discuss the new Tax Act and the resulting changes that may have an impact on you and your family. We encourage you to please call us at 406-436-2583 for answers and planning suggestions.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Springtime is here



It seems like everyone is outside enjoying the springtime, so it might be hard to think about book work, but this is actually the perfect time of year to get your 2017 adjusting entries into QuickBooks or get some business consulting done. We can schedule on-site consulting to review your business cash flow management, office processes, business plan and what it will take to get you on track for 2018 to achieve your goals.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Powder River Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum



The Powder River Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring a Candidates Forum at the High School Auditorium on May 24th from 7p.m. to 9p.m. The candidates are those running for local government positions in the June 5th, 2018 election.  Dave Gardner of Gardner & Billing CPAs will once again be the moderator of the event. 

In order to accommodate those unable to attend the forum, the Chamber will go LIVE via Facebook. Just as those in attendance will have the opportunity to be better informed, those attending live on Facebook will have the same opportunity.

The Forum has proven to be a great opportunity for candidates and the voters to better communicate about the issues facing our community. We are looking forward to the event, and the participation by the community in the process of electing our local government officials.

Check out the Chamber Facebook page for more details on the event or to post questions for the candidates to be asked at the forum!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Montana Secretary of State Annual Report Filing

To conduct business in the State of Montana, business entities such as limited liability companies and all types of corporations are required to register with the Montana Secretary of State.  Following initial registration, you must file an annual report for your business entity each subsequent year to retain active standing.  If you lose active standing, you may find it difficult to obtain financing, order inventory or continue to conduct business.  

There is a $20 annual filing fee and reports must be submitted by April 15th.  Reports filed after April 15th will pay an additional $15 late penalty.  If the annual report is not submitted by September 1st, the entity may be involuntarily dissolved by the Secretary of State and you will lose your authority to conduct business in Montana. 

Filing your annual report must now be done online via the Montana Secretary of State's Business Services page.  Paper filing is no longer accepted.  In order to log in to Business Services, you will need a Montana ePass login.  If you do not already have an ePass account, you can visit their website and "Create an Account." For step by step instructions on ePass and filing your annual report, we recommend this tutorial.  If you prefer to have an authorized agent complete your report, you may need to sign an authorization form.  

We are happy to assist you with your annual reporting or if you have questions on the new filing system.  


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tax Season Update & Where's My Refund

We're entering the final weeks of our busiest season at the office and counting down the days until the deadline.  

If your return has been filed and you're wondering when your refund will come in, the IRS and MT Dept of Revenue both have online refund tools. Use the following links to check your 2017 refund status.  
IRS Where's My Refund
MT DOR Where's My Refund

If we're missing information needed to complete your return, the sooner we receive it the better. 

If you're waiting on us to finish your return, we thank you for your patience as we make our way through the files.  You should be hearing from us soon!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tips to Keep Off Winter Weight


Tax season often has us battling the urge to soothe our stress with comfort food. Here's some tips to fight winter weight!
https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/5-tips-to-keep-off-winter-weight-gain

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2017 Entity Return Filing Dates


Just a reminder that the IRS instituted new entity filing dates last year, which means that 1065 Partnership returns and 1120-S Corporation returns must be filed by March 15th.  1120 C Corporation returns have a new filing date of April 15th.  Extension Form 7004 should be filed if you do not plan to file your completed return by the due date. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Livestock & Personal Property (Business Equipment) Reporting Deadline


Just a reminder that the Montana Department of Revenue deadlines for Livestock and Personal Property (Business Equipment) Reporting are March 1st.  Reporting forms for Personal Property were not mailed out this year and filing must be done online via TAP to avoid a 20% penalty on the tax due.  

We are happy to assist you with filing or with any questions you may have. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

MT DOR Personal, Business & Commercial Property Reporting

The Montana Department of Revenue has mailed several notices in recent weeks related to property reporting.  Many taxpayers have found these notices confusing.  It's important to know which of these reporting types apply to you and what your requirements are in order to avoid either unnecessary reporting or penalties for failure to report.  

PERSONAL PROPERTY (BUSINESS EQUIPMENT)
If you received a letter that indicates you need to "report your personal property (business equipment)" then this is mandatory reporting and must be submitted online by March 1st to avoid a 20% penalty on the tax due.  Personal property taxes (separate from real estate property tax) are billed and collected by the country treasurer.  This tax essentially replaces sales tax on items such as business equipment, machinery, agricultural implements and equipment, furniture, fixtures and all other personal property.  

In the past, this reporting has been mailed to taxpayers including a list of equipment previously reported.  The MT Dept of Revenue is no longer mailing these forms and reporting must be submitted online via TAP (TransAction Portal) .  If you have not previously used TAP, select the sign up now button.  You will need your personal property reporting account ID (found at the top right of your letter) and your EIN or SSN to set up your account.  Select either Business or Individual and then Personal Property Reporting (PPR) from the drop down list.  More information and tutorial videos can be found at https://mtrevenue.gov/property/property-types/personal-property/

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY INCOME & EXPENSE DATA 
If you received a notice that "commercial property owners will need to report their income and expense data"  then this is voluntary reporting. MT DOR requests commercial property owners to report their rental income and expense information in order to collect data and develop typical rent ranges, expense percentages and capitalization rates for use in income models.  They DO NOT use this information to value your property individually, therefore you are not required to submit this reporting.  However, if you choose to submit this data, I could benefit your ability to appeal property tax values in the future.  More information and instructions for submitting this report online can be found at https://mtrevenue.gov/property/property-types/commercial-property/

Gardner & Billing CPAs are happy to be of assistance if you have questions related to these reporting requirements or if you need help with the online submission. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"A Visit to Ireland"
An experience of Irish history and culture 
will be presented by Jessica Malone at the 
Broadus Senior Center at 1pm 
on Wednesday, February 21st.
All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

News from the Montana Dept of Revenue on Tax Reform Changes


The Montana Department of Revenue and the Office of Budget and Policy Planning are reviewing the federal tax reform bill (HR1) and its potential impacts on Montana’s tax system. With HR1 being the most significant federal tax reform in 30 years it will take additional time to sort through the bill.
One key provision of HR1 establishes a 20 percent deduction of “qualified business income (QBI)” from certain pass-through businesses. The department has determined that the QBI deduction is not an eligible deduction for Montana individual income tax purposes.
Individual Income Tax Return Changes

We have made changes to our Form 2 for the new Federal Tax Reform. 


The following changes were made to the 2017 Montana Individual Income Tax Return (Form 2) due to the recently passed federal tax reform bill (HR 1):

  • The department voided and reserved for future use:
    • line 35 on Form 2 (Tuition and Fees)
    • line 14 (Qualified Mortgage Insurance Premiums) on Schedule III (Itemized Deductions) because these two federal provisions expired at the end of 2016.
  • Line 3 of Schedule III (Itemized Deductions) was updated to reflect the new limitation used to calculate allowable medical and dental expenses. Medical and dental expenses are allowed for tax year 2017 to the extent if they exceed 7.5% of the taxpayer adjusted gross income.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

IRS Announces Tax Filing Season & Certain Refund Delays



IR-2018-01, Jan. 04, 2018                                                                            
WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the nation’s tax season will begin Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 and reminded taxpayers claiming certain tax credits that refunds won’t be available before late February.

The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 29, with nearly 155 million individual tax returns expected to be filed in 2018. The nation’s tax deadline will be April 17 this year – so taxpayers will have two additional days to file beyond April 15. 

Many software companies and tax professionals will be accepting tax returns before Jan. 29 and then will submit the returns when IRS systems open. Although the IRS will begin accepting both electronic and paper tax returns Jan. 29, paper returns will begin processing later in mid-February as system updates continue. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically for faster refunds.

The IRS set the Jan. 29 opening date to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems in advance of the opening and to assess the potential impact of tax legislation on 2017 tax returns.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that, by law, the IRS cannot issue refunds claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. While the IRS will process those returns when received, it cannot issue related refunds before mid-February. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2018, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that they should keep copies of their prior-year tax returns for at least three years. Taxpayers who are using a tax software product for the first time will need their adjusted gross income from their 2016 tax return to file electronically. Taxpayers who are using the same tax software they used last year will not need to enter prior-year information to electronically sign their 2017 tax return. Using an electronic filing PIN is no longer an option. Taxpayers can visit IRS.gov/GetReady for more tips on preparing to file their 2017 tax return.


April 17 Filing Deadline

The filing deadline to submit 2017 tax returns is Tuesday, April 17, 2018, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2018, April 15 falls on a Sunday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday – April 16. However, Emancipation Day – a legal holiday in the District of Columbia – will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.

The IRS also has been working with the tax industry and state revenue departments as part of the Security Summit initiative to continue strengthening processing systems to protect taxpayers from identity theft and refund fraud. The IRS and Summit partners continued to improve these safeguards to further protect taxpayers filing in 2018.

Refunds in 2018

Choosing e-file and direct deposit for refunds remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. The IRS expects more than four out of five tax returns will be prepared electronically using tax software.
The IRS still anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, but there are some important factors to keep in mind for taxpayers.
By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit before mid-February. This applies to the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC.
IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2018, if those taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return. This additional period is due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits.

After refunds leave the IRS, it takes additional time for them to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products. The IRS reminds taxpayers many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving Presidents’ Day may affect their refund timing.

The Where's My Refund? ‎tool on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go phone app will be updated with projected deposit dates for early EITC and ACTC refund filers in late February, so those filers  will not see a refund date on Where's My Refund? ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where’s My Refund? remains the best way to check the status of a refund.