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mailNewsletter 41 | January 2017 | Archives | Services

 

 

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mark your calendar

1/1/17 - New Year's Day - seeing the old out and ringing in the new.  The first ball dropped in 1908.

1/6/17 - Cuddle Up Day - perfect chance to cuddle with your spouse, kids, pets, a good book or a warm blanket.

1/16/17 - Martin Luther King Day - became a National Holiday in 1983.

1/24/17 - Compliment Day - great opportunity to say something positive to the peope you come in contact with.

 

 

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·         A Note From Scott

A Note From
Scott

Happy 2017!  I have a couple of announcements to share with everyone.  First, as you can see, we have changed the format of our newsletter.  We are excited about this change and look forward to giving you relatable information each month along with some “fun” stuff.  If you have any suggestions for articles that you would like to see in future editions, please email them to

 We are happy to announce that we now have an office in Springfield, Missouri, formally known as Preston & Nacy, CPAs.  We gained seven experienced staff members.  The new office is located at 1557 E Primrose, Suite 108.  Feel free to stop by and say “Hi”!

Wow, 2016 flew by and now tax season is upon us.  Here are a few updates:

    • The first day we can e-file 2016 Tax Returns will be January 20th, 2017, but keep in mind that the IRS will hold all Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit refunds until February 15, 2017, as a safeguard against identity theft and tax fraud.
    • The new minimum wage in Arkansas will be $8.50 per hour effective, January 1, 2017. The minimum wage in Missouri will change to $7.70, which is also effective January 1, 2017.
    • The proposed Department of Labor overtime rule has temporarily been blocked by a Federal judge. Currently, employers may continue to pay employees according to the existing regulations. However, if this ruling is upheld, there is a possibility that rule would be retroactive to December 1, 2016. For information about overtime you can visit the Department of Labor (DOL) website at: https://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime/.

As always, my staff and I are here to answer any questions that you may have, so do not hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to working with you in the year ahead.

I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2017 year.


·         Attention: New Deadline for W2's and 1099-Misc Forms

Attention:
New Deadline for W2's and 1099-Misc Forms

A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, will accelerate the W-2 filing deadline for employers up to January 31st.  The penalties for filing late have been increased, so please be sure these forms are filed in a timely manner.


In the past you have typically had until the last day of February to file your copies, but employers are now required to file their copies of form W-2 and W-3 with the Social Security Administration by January 31st. This filing deadline also applies to 1099-MISC forms reporting non-employee compensation.  

The January 31st deadline still stands for employers to have the W-2 and 1099-MISC mailed to employee/contractor.  This new accelerated deadline will help the IRS improve its efforts to spot errors on returns filed by taxpayers.


·         How can I pay off the credit card debt I racked up over the holidays?

How can I
pay off the credit card debt I racked up over the holidays?

It's a common occurrence once the holiday season winds down — you reluctantly look at your credit card statement and wince at all the purchases you made over the holidays. Fortunately, there's no need to panic. Consider using one of the following strategies to help pay it off.

Make a lump-sum payment. The best way to pay off credit card debt is with a single lump-sum payment, which would allow you to pay off your balance without owing additional interest. Look for sources of funds you can use for a lump-sum payoff, such as an employment bonus or other windfalls. However, most individuals find themselves getting into credit card debt due to a lack of cash on hand in the first place, so this may not be an option for everyone.

Pay more than the minimum due. If it's not possible for you to pay off your balance entirely, always be sure to pay more than the required minimum payment due. Otherwise, you'll continue to carry the bulk of your balance forward without actually reducing your overall balance. You can refer to your monthly statement for more information on the impact that minimum payments will have on your credit card balance.

Prioritize your payments. If you have multiple credit cards that carry outstanding balances, another payoff strategy is to prioritize your payments and systematically pay off your credit card debt. Start by making a list of your credit cards and prioritize them according to their interest rates. Send the largest payment to the card with the highest interest rate. Continue making payments on your other cards until the card with the highest interest rate is paid off. You can then focus your repayment efforts on the card with the next highest interest rate, and so on, until they're all paid off.

Transfer your balances. Another option is to transfer your balances to a card that carries a lower interest rate. Many credit card companies offer highly competitive balance transfer offers (e.g., 0% interest for 12 to 24 months). Balance transfers may enable you to reduce interest fees and pay more against your existing balance. Keep in mind that credit cards often charge a fee for balance transfers (usually a percentage of the balance transferred).


·         Markets at an all time high: Help safeguard your savings

Markets at
an all time high: Help safeguard your savings

Are you prepared for the ups and downs of the future economy? Do you want to participate in the increase of the market, but can't afford the risk of loss?  Are you afraid of outliving your money? A Fixed Indexed Annuity (FIA) can help you protect a portion of your retirement assets by participating in the potential upside of a market index, but not the downside.

 If you are looking for:

    • Low Risk – A fixed indexed annuity is not directly invested in stocks and does not lose money due to market declines.
    • Tax-Deferral – Your principal can grow tax-deferred until withdrawal.
    • Lifetime Income – Fixed indexed annuities provide the option to purchase additional riders that can offer guaranteed income for your life and the life of your spouse.
    • Principle Protection – Lock in gains you have earned, protect against future losses, and create a predictable income during retirement, no matter how many years it lasts.
    • Death Benefit – If you pass away before receiving payment or benefits, those benefits can be passed on to your loved ones.

Talk to a Stone Financial advisor about how an annuity might fit into your overall retirement picture!

1 “Calculators: Life Expectancy.” Social Security Administration, 2015. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html#&sb=-1

2 “The Current State of Retirement: Pre-Retiree Expectations and Retiree Realities.” Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 2015.

https://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/retirees-survey/retirees_survey_2015_report.pdf

Guarantees apply to certain insurance and annuity products (not securities, variable, or investment advisory products), including optional benefits, and are subject to product terms, exclusions, limitations, the insurer's claims-paying ability, and the financial strength of the issuing insurance company. Although the contract value may be affected by the performance of an index, it is not a security, and the contract does not directly or indirectly participate in any stock or equity investment, including, but not limited to, any dividend payment attributable to any such stock or equity investment. Withdrawals/surrenders have the effect of reducing the contract value and death benefit. Withdrawals/surrenders of taxable amounts are subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59½, an additional 10% federal penalty tax.


 

 

 

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A New Year's resolution is a tradition in which a person make a promise to accomplish an act of self-improvement.  Did you know that only 8% of resolutions make it all year?  If your resolution is to "Spend Less & Save More", we can help you with that.  Don't put it off any longer, your future self will be glad you didn't! 

 

 

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