Today's Features

The Latest Rules on Charitable Donations

5 guidelines.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Charitable contributions are deductible, says the IRS, only if you itemize deductions.

MORE: Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment | 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible | Social Security Hike the Largest in 7 Years | How to Talk to Clients about ‘Basis’ | Basis: Turning a Common Client Question into New Business | The W-4 Time-Bomb and What To Do About It
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But how do your clients know that the charity they are donating to is qualified?
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BUSY SEASON: Accountants Worry for U.S. Economy

CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer: The Business & Economic Outlook

But upbeat on their clients', their firm's, and their families' outlook.

Today's Bonus Question:
The TCJA Impact on Your Practice and Your Clients
Join the Survey: Get the Results.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

Tax and accounting professionals are headed into the jaws of Busy Season 2019 fairly confident in the business and economic outlook for their clients, their firms and themselves – except they are distinctly negative on the direction of the nation's economy as a whole, according to the latest readings from the annual CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer.

More on BUSY SEASON:  Tax Shops Bulk Up for Big Busy Season  |  BUSY SEASON: The Busiest Ever?  |  Survey: Tax Season Launches with a Whimper16 Big Questions for Tax Season   |  SURVEY: Tax Accountants Alarmed by TCJA & Shutdown | Shutdown: What to Tell Tax Clients During “The Lapse”Beware the Leeches and Consultants | Charitable Giving under TCJA | Why Padding Tax Deductions Is a Risky Proposition |  Handling the Delay in 199A Regs |  Survey: Clients Rush for TCJA Answers |

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FREE TO PRO MEMBERS: Busy Season 2019 Trend Report (log-in required)

With more than 475 practitioners reporting, 52 percent expect better times ahead for their firms, 37 percent see no change, and only 10% are bracing for declines, yielding a weighted average of about 2.4 on a five-point scale. READ MORE →

How Google Maps Can Help You Avoid Speeding Tickets

Screenshot of speed functionUser report results finally make their way into the app.

By Rick Richardson

Drivers will soon have an extra set of eyes on the road, courtesy of Google.

MORE TECH THIS WEEK: IBM’s New Quantum Computer Could Make History | 5G is Coming: Ford Leads the Way | RCS: What It Is and Why You Might Want It | Vaporize Invisible Smartphone Filth | 190 Universities Launch 600 Free Online Courses | Can a New Font Boost Your Memory?
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Google’s navigation app, Google Maps, is starting to roll out speed limit and speed trap features.
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When to Keep Some Plans to Yourself

Smiling woman meeting with man in officeLeave room to be surprised.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Call Me Before You Do Anything: The Art of Accounting

Planning is a trait of most accountants, including me. Maybe that is one reason we become accountants. I always seemed to write out plans – for myself, partners, staff and sometimes personal activities.

MORE: The Art of the Deal: Starts with Listening | Fired from My First Job | Staffers Need to Speak Up with Clients | Bored by CPE? You’re Missing Out! | Clients Buy Solutions, Not Hours | Roger Is My Only Client | Blown Loan Covenants and How to Recover from Them | Beyond the Numbers: Be a Friend | Perception Becomes Reality
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One time I had a plan for a new staff person who became our tax manager and eventually ran our firm’s tax department.
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2019: When CPAs Go Extinct

Firms turn to mergers to solve problems.

By August Aquila
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

This may well be the year that the dinosaurs become extinct.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: 2019: Appetite for Growth Unabated | 2019: Doing More With Less | 2019: Tech Isn’t the Problem. It’s the Solution | 2019: Using M&A to Launch Consulting | 2019 Trends: Client Service Changes | Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring
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Because profitability is still somewhat strong, partners are less likely to embrace change. The reaction is “Why change, things are going well?” This is a false sense of security.

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Reality Check: Can You Hit Your Goals?

Businessman pole vaulting toward his goalAn exercise to help you perform a seelf assessment.

By Bill Reeb

Everything in my posts is designed to help you become more aware of yourself, more aware of how you both propel and sabotage your own desires and efforts, and how to better harness the power of momentum into progress.

MORE: Aligning What We Think with What We Do | Don’t Be Someone Else’s Rug | Are You a Box or a Funnel? | Tension Impacts Performance | Your Perception Will Shape Your Experiences | For CPAs: The Road to Wisdom Is Paved with Failure | Being Judgmental Is Self-Destructive | 3 ‘Letting Go’ Actions to Help You Get Unstuck | Get Better, Work Better, Right Now | Constantly Build on the Basics | From Martial Arts to Business: 5 Steps of Evolution | Expect and Embrace Failure Anytime You Do New Work | Determining Your Desires Should Be an Active Process | Know Where You Are Running To | Let Go of What You Think You Know
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These articles are meant to facilitate the building of your self-evaluation and reaction skills to the point that when you determine you are feeling unsuccessful or unhappy about your progress or priorities, you can call upon the process and its techniques at a high level allowing you to alter your desires, plans, tactics, priorities, the way you work and the way you are thinking to quickly resolve your dissatisfaction and find the success and happiness you are attempting to achieve.
READ MORE →

Tax Shops Bulk Up for Big Busy Season

Wages hit new highs.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines

New hiring in the tax and accounting industry may be slowing in many areas, but the latest CPA Trendlines Jobs Report finds gains overall. Up is up and we'll take it.

MORE ON JOBS: Jobs Report: 43,000 New Hires | Tax Shops Cut 6,200 Jobs | Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay | Accounting Wages Set New Record | All Staffed Up? New Tax Prep Hiring Stalls on Eve of Busy Season | The Myth of the Staff Shortage
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Payroll agencies continue to show strong growth year over year on three fronts: employees at all levels, particularly women. And just in time for busy season, tax prep has good news to report. But CPA firms account for 1,200 of the 2,200 jobs lost in the latest month.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally-adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

READ MORE →

Medical and Dental Expenses: What Can You Deduct?

Man taking medication from caretakerInsurance premiums can be deducted ... in part.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Can your clients deduct medical and dental expenses? That's a complicated question.

MORE: Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment | 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible | Social Security Hike the Largest in 7 Years | Basis: Turning a Common Client Question into New Business
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To start with, their deductions must exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. And they have to fall into an IRS-approved category.
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BUSY SEASON: The Busiest Ever?

Tax professionals expect a very busy Busy Season.

Today's Bonus Question:
The TCJA Impact on Your Practice and Your Clients
Join the Survey: Get the Results.

Busy Season Barometer: 63 percent expect an increase in clients this year, and 78 expect higher revenues.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

One thing’s certain about the 2019 tax season: Nothing’s certain.

The early results from the 16th annual CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer show tax practitioners hopeful but nervous.

More Busy Season:  Tax Season 2019 Launches with a Whimper  | 16 Big Questions for Tax Season  |  SURVEY: Tax Accountants Alarmed by TCJA & Shutdown  |  Shutdown: What to Tell Tax Clients During “The Lapse”   |  Beware the Leeches and Consultants   |  Charitable Giving under TCJA  |  Why Padding Tax Deductions Is a Risky Proposition  |  Handling the Delay in 199A Regs |  Survey: Clients Rush for TCJA Answers |GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

For many, the season seems to be shaping up for more clients and increased revenues. At the same time, however, practitioners are showing unprecedented concerns that instead of success, they could end up with a mess.

And mess or success, they’re in for a lot of work. READ MORE →