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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The tax extension deadlines are approaching more quickly than you might realize!  It's time to start thinking about getting your information together and to help avoid the stress of the last minute rush, we're sharing this interesting article from Psychology Today about how and why to avoid procrastination.  

Recent research suggests procrastination is linked to difficulty managing distress. Specifically, it seems that task aversion is to blame — that is, when people view a task in an unpleasant manner, they are more likely to put it off.

We know most people hate to think about taxes, it's distressing.  But ultimately it ends up being more stressful the longer you wait.  We're here to help, so give us a call if you need answers to get you kick-started. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Calling All Local Artists!

As you're preparing your creations for the Powder River County fair, don't forget about our Local Artist's Forum!  Gardner & Billing CPAs are proud to support and showcase the work of the many artists in our community.  We have revolving displays in our front office and up currently are works by Wally Badgett, Lana Kay Smith, Ronda Gatlin and Gaylene Fortner.  

We welcome the participation of all amateur and professional artists in all mediums, from watercolor, to photography, to pottery!  The pieces are strictly on loan during exhibition, so consider dropping in with your display-ready creation to share with us.  

For more information, please contact our office at 406-436-2583.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Scramble 4 a Cure!

Many of you are aware that the local Cancer Fund is a cause very near to the hearts of Dave and Pat Gardner, and for years the Scramble 4 a Cure has been a a great fundraiser for this charity. This weekend marks the 14th annual golf tournament benefiting our Broadus Cancer Fund.  

The raised and donated funds from this charity all go to people in our area that have been affected by cancer.  The money often helps cover medical and travel costs incurred during treatment and so often people who at one time receive funds, end up becoming donors themselves in later years.  Since its inception, over $220,000 has been given back to touch the lives of our neighbors and loved ones!  Last year alone, 20 different families each received $1,200.  The volunteers and recipients of the Cancer Fund are continually overwhelmed by the incredible support shown in our small community. 

The Scramble 4 a Cure is surly one of the premier events held each year at the Rolling Hills Golf Course and, like always, the 36 tee box sponsors this year have shown amazing support.  The tournament takes place this Friday and Saturday, August 3rd and 4th.  Each day will be played as an individual tournament with 18 teams on Friday and 20 on Saturday.  Lunch and snacks are provided each day by Tracy Vail and Saturday morning rolls by Tammy Schoenbeck.  The Rolling Hills greenskeepers and clubhouse staff go to great lengths to ensure the course is in tip top shape and that everyone involved has an incredible weekend.  

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

IRS Working on New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season


 IRS-2018-146, June 29, 2018
WASHINGTON – As part of a larger effort to help taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season.

The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version -- would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ.  The IRS circulated a copy of the new form and will work with the tax community to finalize the streamlined Form 1040 over the summer.

This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form consolidates the three versions of the 1040 into one simple form. At the same time, the IRS will still obtain the information from each taxpayer needed to determine their tax liability or refund. 

The new Form 1040 uses a “building block” approach, in which the tax return is reduced to a simple form. That form can be supplemented with additional schedules if needed. Taxpayers with straightforward tax situations would only need to file this new 1040 with no additional schedules.

Since more than nine out of 10 taxpayers use software or a tax preparer, the IRS will be working with the tax community to prepare for the streamlined Form 1040. This will also help ensure a smooth transition for people familiar with software products and the interview process used to prepare tax returns.  

For more information, visit irs.gov

Thursday, June 21, 2018

It's Paycheck Checkup Time!



The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed the way that your income tax is calculated. The IRS encourages taxpayers to perform a quick “paycheck checkup” by using the Withholding Calculator to check if they have the right amount of withholding for their personal situation.  The Calculator helps you identify your tax withholding to make sure you have the right amount of tax withheld from your paycheck at work.  Mid-year is the perfect time for a checkup because you still have time to make a change that will give you the result you want at tax time.

There are several reasons to check your withholding:
  • Checking your withholding can help protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time next year. 
  • At the same time, with the average refund topping $2,800, you may prefer to have less tax withheld up front and receive more in your paychecks. 
If you are an employee, the Withholding Calculator helps you determine whether you need to give your employer a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. You can use your results from the Calculator to help fill out the form and adjust your income tax withholding.

Plan Ahead: Tips For Using This Program

The Calculator will ask you to estimate values of your 2018 income, the number of children you will claim for the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, and other items that will affect your 2018 taxes. This process will take a few minutes.
  • Gather your most recent pay stubs.
  • Have your most recent income tax return handy; a copy of your completed Form 1040 will help you estimate your 2018 income and other characteristics and speed the process. 
  • Keep in mind that the Calculator’s results will only be as accurate as the information you provide.  If your circumstances change during the year, come back to this Calculator to make sure that your withholding is still correct.
  • The Withholding Calculator does not ask you to provide sensitive personally-identifiable information like your name, Social Security number, address or bank account numbers. The IRS does not save or record the information you enter on the Calculator.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This Withholding Calculator works for most taxpayers. People with more complex tax situations should use the instructions in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. This includes taxpayers who owe self-employment tax, alternative minimum tax, the tax on unearned income of dependents or certain other taxes, and people with long-term capital gains or qualified dividends.

It's also important to check your state withholding separately, since the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act has not changed the Montana withholding tables.  

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