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
1/16/17 - Martin
Luther King Day - became a National Holiday in 1983.
Compliment Day - great opportunity to say something positive to the peope you
come in contact with.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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:
Risk – A fixed indexed annuity is not directly invested
in stocks and does not lose money due to market declines.
– Your principal can grow tax-deferred until withdrawal.
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.
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.
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.
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