Tag Archives: prescott taxes

Recent Tax Law Changes

Schutte & Hilgendorf, PLLC has been tracking the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act very closely. We believe your knowledge of these changes and how they affect you and/or your business is very important.  Following are a few of the main components of the bill that may affect your tax returns. Most of the provisions of the bill go into effect for 2018 tax returns, but there are couple changes that will go into effect for 2017 tax returns.


Individual Tax Law Changes

Individual mandate

The act removed (by reducing it to zero) the penalty for not obtaining qualified health insurance, effective after 2018.


A top individual tax bracket of 37%

The top tax bracket for individuals has been reduced from 39.6% to 37%. Many of the other brackets have been reduced as well.


Standard deduction: The act increased the standard deduction to $24,000 for joint returns and $12,000 for single individuals. The additional standard deduction for elderly and blind taxpayers was not changed by the act. The personal exemptions of $4,050 per person were repealed.


Itemized deductions

  • Overall limitation: The act repealed the overall limitation on itemized deductions.
  • Mortgage interest: The home mortgage interest deduction was modified to reduce the limit to $750,000 of acquisition debt (from the limit of $1 million) on mortgages created or modified after December 15th, 2017.
  • Home-equity loans: The home-equity loan interest will no longer be deductible. 
  • State and local taxes: Individuals will only be allowed to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local income or property taxes.
  • Miscellaneous itemized deductions: All miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor under current law will no longer be allowed, including common deductions like employee business expenses, tax preparation fees, investment fees, safe deposit box fees.
  • Medical expenses: The threshold for deduction of medical expenses was reduced to 7.5% from 10% of adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018.


Individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The act increased the thresholds for when AMT will apply to individuals.


Child tax credit

The act increased the amount of the child tax credit to $2,000 per qualifying child. The maximum refundable amount of the credit is now $1,400. The act also created a new nonrefundable $500 credit for qualifying dependents who are not qualifying children. The threshold at which the credit begins to phase out was increased to $400,000 for joint returns and $200,000 for other taxpayers.


Education provisions

The act modifies Sec. 529 plans to allow them to distribute up to $10,000 in expenses for tuition at an elementary or secondary school. This limitation applies on a per-student basis, rather than on a per-account basis.



For any divorce or separation agreement executed or modified after Dec. 31, 2018, the act provides that alimony and separate maintenance payments are not deductible by the payer spouse. Payments to the recipient spouse are also no longer taxable.


Business Tax Law Changes

 Corporate tax rate of 21%

The act replaced the prior-law graduated corporate tax rate, with a flat rate of 21%. The new rate took effect Jan. 1, 2018.


Pass-through income deduction

For tax years after 2017, individuals may be allowed to deduct 20% of “qualified business income” from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship, as well as 20% of qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends, qualified cooperative dividends, and qualified publicly traded partnership income.


The deduction can be phased out based on W-2 wages above a threshold amount and for “specified service businesses” when the taxpayer has taxable income in excess of $315,000 for a joint return and $157,500 for single individuals.


Bonus depreciation

The act extended and modified bonus depreciation, allowing businesses to immediately deduct 100% of the cost of eligible property in the year it is placed in service. It also removed the rule that made bonus depreciation available only for new property.


Sec. 179 expensing 

The act increased the maximum amount a taxpayer may expense under Sec. 179 to $1 million and increased the phaseout threshold to $2.5 million. These amounts will be indexed for inflation after 2018.


Like-kind exchanges 

Under the act, like-kind exchanges under Sec. 1031 will be limited to exchanges of real property that is not primarily held for sale. This will affect the trade in of company vehicles when purchasing a new company vehicle.


Domestic production activities

The act repealed the Sec. 199 domestic production activities deduction.


Entertainment expenses

The act disallows a deduction for (1) an activity generally considered to be entertainment, amusement, or recreation; (2) membership dues for any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purposes; or (3) a facility or portion thereof used in connection with any of the above items.


Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The act repealed the corporate AMT.


Employer credit for paid family or medical leave

The act allows eligible employers to claim a credit equal to 12.5% of the amount of wages paid to a qualifying employee during any period in which the employee is on family and medical leave if the rate of payment under the program is 50% of the wages normally paid to the employee. The credit is increased by 0.25 percentage points (but not above 25%) for each percentage point by which the rate of payment exceeds 50%. The maximum amount of family and medical leave that may be taken into account for any employee in any tax year is 12 weeks. However, the credit is only available in 2018 and 2019.


Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a broad range of professional accounting, tax, and audit services to individuals and businesses throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona.   With over 40 years combined certified public accounting experience, we specialize in providing services to numerous industry specific areas, including non-profit organizations, homeowner’s associations and construction contracting.  We also provide tax planning and preparation, sales tax and payroll tax return preparation, ongoing accounting/bookkeeping, live payroll, and QuickBooks setup and training (QuickBooks Proadvisors).  Given our small size, we can still provide a personal touch with professional expertise. Come in and see us anytime at 2086 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, Arizona or call us at 928-778-0079.

IRS Warns of Latest Tax Scam Involving Bogus Federal Student Tax

Go to the following link:


IRS Warns of Latest Tax Scam Involving Bogus “Federal Student Tax”


If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.

Health Care Act: Tools and Answers for Employers and Individuals


We are receiving information daily regarding the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Also called “ObamaCare”), which is scheduled to phase in starting in 2014. Here’s some important information that will effect both individuals and employers before then:

For Individuals: The Individual Insurance Exchanges will be open for enrollment in October 2013.

For Employers: The scheduled Employer side of it has been delayed until 2015. However, there is a requirement for ALL Employers to post a notice for all new and existing employees (both full and part time) by October 1, 2013

The attached templates can be used by Employers for posting and handouts (click on the link that applies):

Template A_withoutplans: For employers who DO NOT offer a health plan
Template B_withplans: For employers who offer a health plan to all or some of their employees

In addition, we’re excited to announce a new, streamlined health care tool , housed at Business USA, to help you find out exactly what you and your employees need to know about the Affordable Care Act. In a few quick steps, you’ll understand the essentials of new insurance options and other health care changes. We tried it and think it will help you work through all of the options. Click on the link below to access the tool (if the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the URL to your browser):


Rest assured, we will pass on all final, relevant information, links and tools for both individuals and employers, as it becomes available. We at Schutte & Hilgendorf CPAs are trying to keep in front of the information to answer your questions as you begin to contemplate what this means for you individually and as a business owner or manager. Look for announcements and new developments either through direct mailings or email. All content will also be posted on our website, www.prescottaccountants.com.

To find more information directly, go to https://www.healthcare.gov/ , the official website for the ACA.

If you have questions, call us today!

Schutte & Hilgendorf CPAs is a full service public accounting firm, providing tax preparation, planning, audit, accounting, and QuickBooks set and consulting to Prescott and the great Yavapai and Northern Arizona region.  Call us for more information at 928-778-0079

Are my Social Security Benefits Taxable?

We get a lot of clients that ask us when their Social Security Benefits become taxable.  The following information is provided bythe Social Security Administration and clearly explains when your Social Security Benefits become taxable.  This is also available by




Should you need assistance or have questions about your Social Security Benefits and their taxability, contact Schutte & Hilgendorf, CPAs, providing tax planning and preparation, auditing, accounting and QuickBooks consulting to the greater Yavapai County. Call us at 928-778-0079 or email at info@prescottaccountants.com

Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.

No one pays federal income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her Social Security benefits based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. If you:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
    • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
    • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
    • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
    • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.


Your adjusted gross income

+ Nontaxable interest

½ of your Social Security benefits
= Your “combined income

Each January you will receive a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099) showing the amount of benefits you received in the previous year. You can use this Benefit Statement when you complete your federal income tax return to find out if your benefits are subject to tax.

If you do have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits, you can make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS or choose to have federal taxes withheld from your benefits.

For more information about taxation of benefits, see IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.

Questions and Answers for the Additional Medicare Tax – Effective January 1, 2013

The following link will take you to questions and answers that will  provide employers and payroll service providers information that will help them as they prepare to implement the Additional Medicare Tax which goes into effect in 2013. The Additional Medicare Tax applies to individuals’ wages, other compensation, and self-employment income over certain thresholds; employers are responsible for withholding the tax on wages and other compensation in certain circumstances. The IRS has prepared these questions and answers to assist employers and payroll service providers in adapting systems and processes that may be impacted.

Click on the link below to be taken to the IRS Q&A:

Questions and Answers for the Additional Medicare Tax – From the IRS

For further tax planning considerations and questions, contact Schutte & Hilgendorf, pllc – CPAs.  We offer free initial consultations.  Schutte & Hilgendorf, pllc – CPA’s, is a full service public accounting firm providing tax planning, preparation, audit, accounting, and QuickBooks consulting to individuals, small businesses, non-profits, and homeowners associations in the Prescott and greater Yavapai County area.  Call us at 928-778-0079 or visit www.prescottaccountants.com

IRS Net Investment Income Tax – Effective January 1, 2013 – FAQs

The Net Investment Income Tax is imposed by section 1411 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). The NIIT applies at a rate of 3.8 percent to certain net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts that have income above the statutory threshold amounts. The Net Investment Income Tax goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

For more information directly from the IRS, click on the link below for a FAQ page.


For further tax planning considerations and questions, contact Schutte & Hilgendorf, pllc – CPAs.  We offer free initial consultations.  Schutte & Hilgendorf, pllc – CPA’s, is a full service public accounting firm providing tax planning, preparation, audit, accounting, and QuickBooks consulting to individuals, small businesses, non-profits, and homeowners associations in the Prescott and greater Yavapai County area.  Call us at 928-778-0079 or visit www.prescottaccountants.com

IRS/DOL Crackdown on Independent Contractor vs. Employee

IRS/DOL Crackdown

If you classify any workers as “independent contractors”—or have plans to do so—2013 is the year to make sure you get that classification correct.

Below is Topic 762 – Independent Contractor vs. Employee provided by irs.gov to help in identifying which classification a worker falls:

To determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee under common law, you must examine the relationship between the worker and the business. All evidence of control and independence in this relationship should be considered. The facts that provide this evidence fall into three categories – Behavioral Control, Financial Control, and the Type of Relationship.

Behavioral Control covers facts that show whether the business has a right to direct or control how the work is done, through instructions, training, or other means.

Financial Control covers facts that show whether the business has a right to direct or control the financial and business aspects of the worker’s job. This includes:

  • The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed business expenses
  • The extent of the worker’s investment in the facilities used in performing services
  • The extent to which the worker makes his or her services available to the relevant market
  • How the business pays the worker, and
  • The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a loss

Type of Relationship covers facts that show how the parties perceive their relationship. This includes:

  • Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intended to create
  • The extent to which the worker is available to perform services for other, similar businesses
  • Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation pay, or sick pay
  • The permanency of the relationship, and
  • The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company

For more information, refer to Publication 15-A (PDF), Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide, or Publication 1779 (PDF), Independent Contractor or Employee. If you want the IRS to determine whether a specific individual is an independent contractor or an employee, file Form SS-8 (PDF), Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding.

Contact Schutte & Hilgendorf with your questions related to independent contractor vs. employee.  Schutte & Hilgendorf, CPAs, is a full service public accounting firm providing tax planning, preparation, audit, accounting, and QuickBooks consulting to individuals and small business in the Prescott and greater Yavapai County area.  Call us at 928-778-0079 or visit www.prescottaccountants.com

Business Personal Property Taxes

Arizona businesses are required to file a Business Property Statement if they currently own any business personal property. This generally includes assets or equipment used to operate a business, but does not generally include, land, buildings, or vehicles. Many of our clients have not been receiving reports from Yavapai County over the past several years or were never setup to receive them. We wanted to make sure you are aware of your requirement to file these reports with Yavapai County.

The Arizona exemption for business personal property tax for 2012 is $68,079. Even if your total business personal property is under the exemption amount, you are still required to file the annual report. If you fail to file the annual report by the due date, you are no longer eligible to receive the exemption for that tax year. So, if the county were to audit your records for a year you did not file you would be required to pay tax on the total business personal property you owned, in addition to a 10% penalty. The County has informed us, if a business completes a report for 2012, they will not be going back to assess tax on prior years you did not file. Their goal is to get businesses on the correct path starting now. This may not be the case in future years.

Yavapai County will be mailing out the Business Property Statement reports in mid to late January 2013 and you should have one by February 1, 2013, if you are already established in their system. If you have not received a report before or in the past couple years, you can contact them at (928) 771-3220 before December 31, 2012 to be added to the reports mailed in January. If you have received the report in the past or have requested it before the end of the year, but have not received it by February 1st, you can contact the County to request a report be mailed to you.

If you would prefer to have us contact the County for you, please let us know. We will be happy to help you complete the reports to make sure your business is in compliance with the reporting requirements.

Should you have questions regarding this or any other tax and accounting services, give us a call.   Schutte & Hilgendorf is a full service CPA firm, providing auditing, accounting and tax services for individuals, small businesses, non-profits and homeowners associations throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona. Call us at 928-778-0079 or email info@prescottaccountants.com

Exempt Organizations Annual Reporting Requirements – Annual Electronic Notice (Form 990-N) for Small Organizations: Information Reported

From www.irs.gov

Exempt Organizations Annual Reporting Requirements – Annual Electronic Notice (Form 990-N) for Small Organizations: Information Reported

What information do I need to provide on the e-Postcard?

The e-Postcard is easy to complete. All you need is the following information:

  • Organization’s legal name –
    • An organization’s legal name is the organization’s name as it appears in the certificate of incorporation or the organization’s application for Federal tax-exempt status, unless a request was previously submitted to the IRS to have the name officially changed.
  • Any other names your organization uses – If the organization is known by or uses other names to refer to the organization as a whole (and not to its programs and activities), commonly referred to as Doing-Business-As (DBA) names, they should be listed.
  • Organization’s mailing address – The mailing address is the current mailing address used by the organization.
  • Organization’s website address (if you have one).
  • Organization’s employer identification number (EIN) –
    • Every tax-exempt organization must have an EIN, sometimes referred to as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), even if it does not have employees. The EIN is a unique number that identifies the organization to the Internal Revenue Service. Your organization would have acquired an EIN by filing a Form SS-4 prior to requesting tax-exemption.  The EIN is a 9-digit number and the format of the number is NN-NNNNNNN (for example:  00-1234567). 
    • If you do not know your EIN, you may be able to find it on the organization’s bank statement, application for Federal tax-exempt status, or prior year return.
    • Please note that the EIN is not your tax-exempt number.  That term generally refers to a number assigned by a state agency that identifies organizations as exempt from state sales and use taxes.
    • If you do not have an EIN, see the Instructions for Form SS-4 for different ways to apply for an EIN.  DO NOT use the EIN of a parent or other organization.
  • Name and address of a principal officer of your organization –
    • Usually president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer – often specified in the organization’s by-laws.
  • Organization’s annual tax year –
    • Like any taxpayer, exempt organizations must keep books and reports and file returns based on an annual accounting period called a tax year.  A tax year is usually 12 consecutive months that can be either calendar year or fiscal year and is often specified in the organization’s by-laws.
  • Answers to the following questions:

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: September 21, 2011


Schutte & Hilgendorf, CPAs, a Prescott accounting firm, specializes in auditing, accounting and tax preparation and planning for non-profit Organizations throughout Yavapai County and Northern Ariziona.  Should you need assistance with filing a non-profit information return (990) or notecard, please call us at 928-778-0079.  We can e-file 990-e postcards (990-N) for you from our office for a nominal fee.  Call us today!

Schutte & Hilgendorf Featured in How-To Guide

HOW-TO Choose A Good CPA and Relieve Year End Stress

What you do now: Wait until the day before your tax appointment and throw all your receipts in a box. You show up at the tax office stressed and worried.
With a Good CPA, you will: Meet with your CPA and talk about the weather and brag about your grandchildren because you are so prepared that you already know what you’ll owe and everything is organized. Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a full range of accounting and tax services during the year to avoid surprises. We provide you with tax strategies that you can implement BEFORE your taxes are due.

What you do now: “Wing it” -This means that you categorize 80% of your expenses for your business into “ASK ACCOUNTANT”.
With a Good CPA, you will: Call your CPA during the year as needed to get advice on categorizing your expense. Schutte & Hilgendorf can set up your chart of accounts and software to meet your unique businesses needs.

What you do now: Tell your tax preparer at your tax appointment that you bought a new truck for the business last year. When they ask you about your mileage log, you look at them with a blank stare and ask, “What’s that?”.
With a Good CPA, you will: Be informed to contact them with any major business or personal purchases or changes as they happen. It is more cost effective to meeting with us a couple of times a year than to wait until the week your taxes are due.

What you do now: Call your tax preparer and wait for 8 days for a response.
With a Good CPA, you will: Receive a response to your phone call or email within 1 business day. At Schutte & Hilgendorf, we consider ourselves partners and trusted advisors to our clients. We are always available for our clients.

What you do now: You nod your head and smile when your tax preparer explains the new tax laws and the IRS code.
With a Good CPA, you will: Understand what your options for tax savings are because they explain it in an understandable manner. Schutte & Hilgendorf is your local accounting & tax firm providing straightforward and friendly advice.

What you do now: Find out about tax laws and strategies at tax time that could have saved you money if only you had known about them.
With a Good CPA, you will: Be informed of new laws as they happen and can make decisions that can save you tax dollars. At Schutte & Hilgendorf, we stay on top of developments around the nation that affect our clients. We maintain our website to provide up to the minute news and advice.

What you do now: On April 15, you say to your tax preparer as you walk out the door, Oh Yeah! I started a new business last year. Do I need to file a tax return?
With a Good CPA, you will: Have the advice you need when starting a new business. This includes what filings are required.

Schutte & Hilgendorf offers consulting services for choosing the right entity and starting up your new business. We also offer ongoing maintenance of your accounting records.

Schutte & Hilgendorf has 4 full time CPAs and specializes in providing audit, accounting, tax and consulting services for individuals, businesses, non·profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

From Prescott Newspapers, Inc.’s How-To Guide Article, September 2010.