phi-lan-thro-py
/fe ‘lanTHrepe/
Noun
Definition:  “The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money or other resources to good causes.”

Ahh, yes. We love when we can wrap a good Latin word around something that’s a passion of ours. And philanthropy is a big one for us.

At this time of year, before we fall into our food & holiday inspired coma, we also find time to look back over the year and find the nuggets of thankfulness that we have experienced. We are thankful for our amazing work family, the communities that surround us, and life in general in our little corner of paradise. And because we love where we live and work, we are passionate about giving back. There are so many ways to do this, and it’s not always about how many zeroes there are on the donation check. Supporting and giving, whether with our time, talent or treasure, is a big deal to all of us at bartonCPA. Making a real difference in the lives of others is something we discuss, plan and make happen. And we hope that you will share your favorite cause here on our blog page, expanding the message of being thankful and giving back.

So why this blog? As a CPA firm, we’d be remiss if we didn’t also give you a little tax tip about giving. The IRS considers charitable giving to be gifts made to qualified charitable organizations, operated exclusively for charitable purposes.  Your charitable contributions can be monetary, or donations of property. We know that you support various causes because of your compassion and enthusiasm, but we want you to know that you can also get a little offset from those pesky taxes. If this is confusing, or you need a little input, let us help you uncover the financial benefits while you give until it hurts.

barton w daughter“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
barton mlk quoteWe’re so proud of our founders, Dee Dee and Greg Barton, and the advice they passed on to their two daughters. When the girls were younger, the family had a ritual with their allowance money, teaching the girls the four basics of properly distributing any money that came their way: save, spend, donate, and invest. Teaching them to be philanthropic while saving money and buying stuff is a concept that can take a little training. Both girls embraced it, most of the time, with only a few eye rolls as they put $5 in the “donate” jar, rather than in the Barbie Dream House fund.

At bartonCPA, choosing how best to allocate our charitable donations comes straight from our heart. We believe in the old adage “do three things well, not 12 things poorly,” so we come together to discuss where the need is, or where our involvement will elevate and help people in our community. For example, when Dee Dee and Greg’s oldest daughter was 16, she proudly came out as a lesbian. She’s an amazingly brave and accomplished young woman, and we’re all proud of her honesty and ongoing commitment to the LGBT community. She has inspired us as a company to support several causes, including Palm Springs Pride, Stonewall Humanitarian Awards, Transgender Coalition, and the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast. We love the work these remarkable organizations do to support all ways of living and loving.

barton dee dee harvey milk

“People who are homeless are not socially inadequate. They are people without homes.”
Homelessness in this Valley is prevalent and heartbreaking. It is an area we feel strongly about, as we know many may not have families to support them in the most rudimentary of functions. We want to help in ways that resonate, such as food donations, time and financial support to CV Rescue Mission, Well in the Desert, and Point in Time Homeless Count.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”
As small business owners, we believe that each and every effort we participate in makes a world of difference. Giving back as a company is rewarding, and giving back personally touches those in need on a deeper level and is the best gift of all.  We encourage our staff and clients to give time, treasure or talent to whatever cause touches their heart. In addition to the groups we’ve mentioned, we also support local schools, our great city of Palm Springs, Toys for Tots, and LunaFest.

barton piggy bankOur Dee Dee sums it up the best: "Our reasoning for giving…maybe it's obvious. We are all about elevating people to be the best they can be. Whether it's something to eat, or a place to stay, or a world that accepts them and celebrates them for who they are, we can all make a difference in people’s lives. Okay, let me step off my soapbox now. I don't want to break a hip."

Happy Thanksgiving, and season of giving, from all of us at bartonCPA!barton money cornucopia

barton kitty blogYou’ve seen them. Those cheesy motivational posters with sayings like, “Hang in there!” with a kitty dangling from a tree branch. While we’re all about motivation, we’re less about looking at a poster for inspiration, and more about actually doing. Instead of telling you, “Hang in there!” and sending you off – we sit with you and help you off the tree branch. At bartonCPA, we have our own “successories” – if you will - a list of core values we infuse in all that we do, and we’d like to share them with you.

barton dee dee necklace.JPGTEAMWORK. Our team is all about collaboration and participation. We’re better together. We love coming to work, as there’s always something unexpected around the corner. A lot of times it’s Dee Dee’s obnoxiously-loud jewelry, but sometimes it’s a spontaneous taco lunch brought into the office, or a walk-in visitor who ends up becoming a cherished client.

barton tacoINTEGRITY. We hold each other to a high standard. We are honest and ethical in all that we do. Honesty and “account”-ability (get it?) are at the core of bartonCPA. For example, if you (unnamed coworker) wear that hideous shirt to work one more time, we’re going to have to get really honest with you. And for our clients, the same principle applies (usually in a much softer tone).  We’re going to tell you honestly what we need to make sure we’re both working together towards a shared goal...with integrity.barton puffy shirt

RESPONSIBILITY. We keep our commitments. We take full responsibility for our decisions, actions and results, as they are exceedingly important to us. We never waiver from being there as your trusted guide, helping you through all the new tax laws and changes happening in today’s world. The only thing we can’t fully be responsible for is our laughter level at times.

RESPECT. We respect our clients. We respect each other. We respect that we all have different and unique ways of seeing things, of hearing things, and of processing things. We respect that the late, great Aretha Franklin wrote a song about it. It’s all about *fist-bump-to-chest* R-E-S-P-E-C-T.  Can I get an AMEN?!barton aretha

CLIENTS. You! You make us run, and get us excited to want to work every day. We truly find joy in helping you understand (or, not – which is why we’re here) what can be done to help you have a successful tax season and profitable company, year after year. We love when you spontaneously stop in to say hi. We hope you brought brownies. But we won’t hold it against you if you didn’t, because we love our clients too much. (We like any kind of baked goods, actually, especially if the key ingredient is chocolate. Just FYI.)

In the end – having these core values is what keeps us motivated, on track, and zeroed-in on your happiness and success when it comes to your accounting and money. We may not have photos of a kitty, or a cloud-covered rainbow sky with a trite saying on our walls, but we live by these values each and every day.

And always remember: the journey is the destination. (insert eye-roll here).
barton journey 2

barton blog sept seinfeldSome people hear “Certified Public Accountant,” and the title tends to have a little “yada, yada, yada” to it. We get that. But this blog is the place where we endeavor to help you understand the importance of having a partner in your financial needs, and to be a valued part of assisting you in understanding all the ever-changing nuances in the world of taxes and finances. So – in the words of Kramer – “giddy up!” barton blog sept yada 2

If you look up CPA in the dictionary (which – by dictionary, we mean google it), here’s what you will find:

“A CPA – or Certified Public Accountant – is a trusted financial advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals.”

What exactly does this mean? Let’s put it into some real life situations (with a nod to our everlasting obsession with Seinfeld):

You are self-employed or own your own business. Maybe you’ve just started a new product line called “The Bro.” You may be an expert at marketing this new, umm, garment – but…did you know there are several ways you as a business owner can lower your taxes? There are big write-offs for self-employed and small business owners. We can help you, bro!

barton baily grad

You have kids and want to contribute money to a college savings account, or a trust. Especially for the good kids. ;) We can help you set all that up, and make sure your hard-earned money translates into an educational and successful future for your children, rather than ending up being tossed into some random’s man hands. 

Grandpa Joe just passed away and left you a pretty sizable inheritance. Don’t run to the nearest travel agent and book your Hawaiian vacation just yet…inheritance taxes can be costly if you don’t navigate through the specifics. We love helping with the fine print, so let us be your guide. Grandpa Joe would be so proud of you, and wouldn’t judge if you double-dipped a chip.

The IRS called you and said you’re going to jail if you don’t pay $10,000 in back taxes. RED FLAG. The IRS NEVER makes phone calls, they only communicate through written documents. So if you get this type of call, just tell the caller to “get OUT!,” hang up, and call us. This is a scam, and there are several more out there. We can help educate you to understand real vs. fake. 

barton blog nigerian prince

(That Nigerian Prince guy? Also not real. Don’t accept his call either).

There are many more ways we can be of financial assistance, we’re just giving you a taste to understand some of what we do in this bizarro world of CPA’ing. It’s what we love to do, and we are the masters in this domain. Call us today! We’ll be friendly and helpful – even if you’re Newman.

professor and gingerJust sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of the changing rules. 2018 tax laws get confusing, but we’ve got your back. Yes, we’ve got your back.

July is a time for sun, fun, and vacation. Put stress on the back burner, and know that our barton CPA staff is constantly finding ways to take care of your tax questions. As we all navigate through the unchartered waters of the new 2018 tax laws, we want you to learn a few things along the way. We don’t want you to get lost on a three-hour-tour…that could mean years of confusion! So let’s put ourselves in the trusty Barton Minnow – ala Gilligan’s Island – and let our fearless leader, Professor Greg Barton, guide us through some important facts:

  1. There are still seven tax brackets and tax rates for 2018: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24% 32% and 37%.
  2. Standard Deduction Amounts will increase to $12,000 for individuals, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  3. There is an additional Standard Deduction amount of $1,300 for aged or blind spouses and $1,600 for each elderly or blind person who is unmarried.
  4. Vacationing in the mountains can sometimes lead to spiders, which can then lead to cutting vacation time short. (This might have a little Ginger – aka Dee Dee – written all over it.)spider
  5.  You can gift your child or grandchild $15,000 tax-free.  Did you hear that? TAX-FREE. Get that college fund started off right, or help pay down those student loans. We can help!
  6. Have you seen the new sample tax return? It’s super cute. Meaning super tiny. The Hubble telescope is still trying to find it.
  7. The new tax code makes a big change to the way pass-through income is taxed – including sole proprietorships, LLCs, partnerships, and corporations. In other words, if you own a small business and it generates $100,000 in profit in 2018, you may be able to deduct $20,000 of it before the ordinary income tax rates are applied. Certain businesses that have over $157,500 ($315,000 for a joint return) are subject to special rules that limit this deduction.
  8. Untitled 2If you decide to get a new dog, there’s a 75% chance it will eat all your expensive pillows and patio furniture.
  9. Mortgage interest payments are deductible on acquisition mortgage debt of up to $750,000 – formerly it was $1,000,000. Still waiting for the numbers on stress medication deductibles.
  10. Reminder: if your business is a Partnership, S Corporation, or LLC your taxes are due September 17. If you are a C Corporation, sole proprietorship or SMLLC, your taxes are due October 15. Mark your calendar, and we’re here for you!

tax reform barton CPABe aware… your 2018 tax returns will look very different from previous years! This year has ushered in the United States’ biggest tax reform law in more than thirty years. The team at barton CPA has been studying and delving deep into the new tax reform bill and here is an overview of the areas that might affect you.

TIP: Don’t try to do your taxes alone! These changes are multi-leveled and tricky. Let our team help you through the process for one low rate. Call today and schedule your appointment!

Tax rate changes: Both individual and corporate rates have changed. The maximum individual rate is reduced to 37% and the corporate rate is now a flat 21%. The rate change could benefit you, or in some cases, raise your tax liability.

Standard deduction increases: Personal exemption deductions have been eliminated.

Increased Child Tax Credit and new Dependent Credit: The credit has increased for each child to $2,000, of which $1,400 per child is now refundable. In addition, each non-child dependent can now receive a $500 credit. You, however, will have no exemption credit or deduction for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents.

The phase out thresholds for these credits have drastically increased. Married taxpayers filing a joint return can claim the full credits if their adjusted gross income is $400,000 or less ($200,000 for all others). The credits are fully phased out for married taxpayers filing a joint return when their adjusted gross income reaches $440,000 ($240,000 for all others). This means more taxpayers will be able to claim these credits in 2018.

questioDisappearing deductions: Beginning with the 2018 tax year, you will no longer be able to deduct:

  • State income tax and property taxes above $10,000 per year in total;
  • Moving expenses (with an exception for certain military);
  • Employee business expenses such as mileage, travel, entertainment, home office expenses, union dues, tax preparation fees, and investment fees, among others;
  • Mortgage interest beyond interest on $750,000 of acquisition debt, if you purchase a new home; and
  • Mortgage interest paid on equity debt

Some new benefits for individuals: These new benefits include:

  • The medical expense AGI threshold will temporarily drop to 7.5% of AGI for 2017 and 2018;
  • The AMT threshold is increased, so fewer middle-income taxpayers will be subject to AMT;
  • The estate tax exclusion has nearly doubled to $10 million; and
  • The annual gift tax exclusion remains the same ($14,000 for 2017 and $15,000 for 2018), but the maximum rate on gifts is 35%.

TaxdogBartonSmall business benefit: Beginning in 2018, there will be up to a 20% deduction from net business income for a sole proprietorship, LLC (excluding those taxed as a C corporation), partnership, S corporation, and rental activity. The new rules are complex and barton CPA is prepared to help you maximize this deduction.

Barton CPA is staying current and up-to-date on all changing tax laws. Set up your appointment today.

Contact us via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 760.969.6499 so we can help you navigate these complex changes.

 

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