HW Blog //


December 24 2014 | Posted in General

When There is a Will - There is a Way!

Recently, my beautiful wife and I decided that we should dust off our wills and meet with an attorney to go over revisions and updates.

This was a good idea since we had many provisions for the care of our kids who are now old enough to care for themselves (and us as we get older).

Many of my clients think that having a will put together is something they need to do once they accumulate wealth. This is not the case. A will – and all the paperwork that surrounds a will – is a very useful and instructive document.

Our wills had “Medical Directives” which basically read – if my wife needs extra ordinary measures to keep her alive – do them. If I needed those measures – pull the plug. I forget who made that call!! There were also instructions as to who would care for our children – not the same people who would care for our money.

Besides deciding who will take care of your children, there is the basic function of who will inherit your worldly goods. There can be all kinds of issues here.

If you leave all of your assets to your spouse – without designating that your half go into a trust for your children, you run the risk of having your spouse decide who gets all 100%. Normally this is fine but if they remarry or there are kids from a previous marriage, issues can arise.

Right after the new year, reach out to your attorney and see if it is time to prepare or review your will. If you need a reference, let us know. Also, keep an eye out for your tax organizers coming in the mail. Once you have them, and all the documents you need, be sure to mail them to us or schedule an appointment.

Since it is the Holiday Season, I will share a story about the time I was mistaken for Santa Claus. My son and I were in Tucson years ago swimming in the hotel pool – big belly, white beard, and the biggest red swimming you (n)ever wanted to see. A small child asked his mom if I was Santa Claus. I have never worn those trunks again!!

Just remember, I know if you’ve been naughty or nice – it comes with the job!

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

Oct 23 2014 | Posted in General

CPAs need CPA-Precheck Clients!

On my recent trip to a conference in Vegas, I was surprised to find that my boarding pass indicated that I was TSA-PreCk. That is when you don’t have to take off your shoes and jacket – get to go in your own special line – and move very efficiently through the whole security event.

However , on the way back, I did not have that designation on my boarding pass and the experience was much different. My hands were swabbed to detect explosives, I had to take everything off – the answer is boxers – and then go through the x-ray machine bare foot. Then there is the lengthy process of getting yourself put back together.

I see a lot of similarities in the world of taxes. Some of my clients are CPA-PreCk while others require a little bit more hands on.

So how do you know if you qualify for CPA-PreCk?? Here are some common tendencies for those clients that don’t have to remove their shoes in order to get a quality return:

The first suggestion would be completing the tax organizer. Nothing streamlines the preparation of your return better than a well filled out tax organizer.

Get your information into us as early as possible. There are several reasons for this. Rushing to get done at the last minute can cause confusion for you and for us. If there is any concern about stolen Social Security Numbers, the first person to file does not get questioned.

Pay your tax preparation fees timely and happily. We really try to give you value for our service and want you to feel that we have done everything we can to minimize your tax burden with the IRS.

Remember that we are grateful for all of our clients and know that some have a very efficient way of providing their data to us. Others have to wait for K-1s and other information in order to file. While others have fallen on hard times and can’t pay their fees all at once. No matter what, we will not ask you to remove your shoes.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

Sept 09 2014 | Posted in General

Sports & Taxes Collide!!

When you ask someone about CPAs they usually think of tax season and April 15th. Little do they know that there is another tax season during the year – from September 1st to October 15th. I would go out on a limb and say that close to 40% of all returns filed each year happen during this period.

I might have made that statistic up but that’s my job, estimating numbers when actual numbers can’t (Ed note: won’t) be determined

My plan is to reach out to all of you who took the time to share my name and number with a friend, customer, colleague.

Back to the theme – at the same time this mini tax season is occurring, the Mariners are in a pennant race, the defending champion Seahawks have a few home games, these are the last good weeks to golf, and my son is being inducted to his college sports hall of fame (my beautiful wife and I are especially proud of that last fact.)

So my job during this period is to balance work life with my sports life. We have reached out to many of you to remind you of your filing responsibility. In addition, we want you to come see us as early as possible. Not only do we have your individual returns to complete, but for many of you, we have your Trust, Partnership, and S Corporation returns to prepare.

I’m sure you are ready to submit your data but you are afraid that we will not be available to take your call during this highly charged sports period. Not so – we have operators standing by. We have our starting lineup to carry the ball for you and score a refund (probably shouldn’t guarantee that.)

Getting your return filed is difficult – I understand that. It’s kind of like getting your teeth cleaned – there is the fear factor of bad news but the obligation to have it done and over with should take priority. I hope that when we meet, we get a chance to discuss life and kids and grandkids, vacations that happened and vacations yet to come. Try getting that conversation in with your dentist while their fingers are in your mouth.

To summarize: Get your return done, get your teeth cleaned, Go Mariners, Go Seahawks, shoot a 74, and enjoy your family as much as possible.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

July 08 2014 | Posted in General

I am full of appreciation!

Believe me, I have been accused of being full of other things. Appreciation is where I am at right now.

As I review my client list, I see so many new clients this year and most of them came from wonderful current clients such as yourself. You may be thinking “Did Rick ever meet with my friend and do his/her taxes?” Well I probably did but might not have touched base with and thanked you for your referral.

My plan is to reach out to all of you who took the time to share my name and number with a friend, customer, colleague.

Some of your referrals requested that we help them with their returns. Others wanted tax planning. A few wanted things we could not provide (I will leave out the details). But all in all, they were very pleasant people and we were happy to assist them. Our hope is that they become long-time clients and feel comfortable referring our services out to people they know. When the opportunity arises, we try to refer clients/customers your way and hope that you are able to gain a new contact and even some revenue.

Hutchinson and Walter is very thankful for your patronage and we sincerely hope that you had good experience using our services (and we apologize if you did not get a refund!!).

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and I am certainly appreciative of being an American. I will try not to have you reaching for a Kleenex but what a great country we live in.

“The land of opportunity”-that saying rings true even more today than it did a hundred years ago when it was the land of opportunity for only a certain segment of the population. Our wish is that all of you are able to seize your opportunity and have the great life that this country offers you.

During that journey, we want to assist in any tax or accounting needs you have and will be on standby for your call.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

May 20 2014 | Posted in General

Let Me Keep My Job!

While in a meeting recently, my client said to me, “I just wish they would keep 20% and not make me go through this effort!”

I must tell you I was confused and a little sad over that statement. Let me tell you why:

First, I would like to continue to make a living, and assisting clients with the preparation of their tax returns is a big part of that.

Secondly, I really enjoy the half hour I spend with so many of you each year. The bulk of the time we are discussing deductions and ways to save taxes – however, there is a part of the meeting where we catch up on life and who’s in college, the last surgical procedure, latest golf score. This time is a very important part of the relationship we have.

Thirdly, you have to give me a chance to do better than 20%. There are deductions, credits, exemptions and other tax saving strategies that can save you significant tax dollars and we want a chance to work our magic!

And finally, how painful can this process be? We don’t make you put a gown on with the back open. There is no drill involved. You don’t have to stand in line for 30 minutes to see us. You get a warm greeting, a cup of coffee and hopefully some good advice on taxes and life.

We are a clearing house for advice. There are so many topics we can discuss or refer people we know who are experts. Want to do a 1031 exchange? We can walk you through it. Need some information about state taxes? We have the knowledge and the resources to assist. Want to cure world hunger? We will be your cheerleader.

As an example, a state worker was getting ready to retire and had to make an election related to his pension. Take a higher amount per month and have it end at his death or take a lower amount and have his pension continue after death for his wife. That is a big decision and we were able to offer a third choice which saved them over $1,000 per month.

Just think of us when something comes up that has you stumped. We want to help and can also tell you when we can’t help.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

Mar 31 2014 | Posted in General

I Love April 1st!

April first – it wasn’t the most pleasant day as a child. If you count back to my school days, I must have had a dozen “April Fools” pranks pulled on me. Everything from “Cindy really likes you, go talk to her” – that ended in total humiliation; to the much more sophisticated “did you know there is a quiz today?”

Now that I am a grown-up (my beautiful wife might disagree) I find many pleasures in the kick-off of April.

There is of course the start of Baseball Season. A time when every single team is bound to have a great year and keep the fans excited all the way up to October 1st (another great day). I share Mariner tickets and I select some of the late September games. They are either very valuable or I can’t even give them away.

For someone who owns a CPA firm, April 1st signals the beginning of the end. The fourth quarter – the seventh inning stretch. 15 more days of heavy tax time. Late nights, early mornings and full day weekends. While I try to keep my thoughts on capital gains and non-cash charitable contributions – I find myself looking out the window on a sunny day and thinking about baseball and golf and all of the gardening that needs to be done. That’s right I enjoy gardening – get over it!!

However, it is important to take care of the task at hand and that task is getting income tax returns done quickly and correctly. If for some reason I’m not in possession of your tax return and you are a client of ours – then it is time to think about an extension. We can get that done for you and your only involvement in that process is to contact us and let us know that you want one and if you want to make a payment with the extension.

If you decide not to send any money and end up owing when your return is done, Uncle Sam will charge you around 9 to 10% interest on the shortfall.

Extensions are not bad things – see one of my earlier blogs on that subject. No matter what you do, it is important to get that extension filed so don’t delay. Then go out and see a ballgame – we love you Mariners!!

Just think of us when something comes up that has you stumped. We want to help and can also tell you when we can’t help.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

Jan 17 2014 | Posted in General

Stay Away from New Year's Resolutions!

Like most good Americans in January, I have been trying to eat less – work out more – and start gathering info for my personal taxes.

So here is an update after a little over two weeks: The other night, I had my beautiful wife buy me Pralines and Cream Ice Cream for dessert. Now that might seem like a gross violation of my “eating less” campaign, but it was not!

The ice cream was medicinal and not recreational. How so? Well that same day, I was at the gym trying to follow my “work out more” resolution when I took a fall and broke a bone in my shoulder – surgery to come in the next week I believe. When I was ready to take the pain medication they prescribed, the bottle read: “best taken with Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream.” Who am I to ignore proper bottle labeling!?!

As you can imagine, my work out regimen has been severely damaged as I don’t plan to curl weights or do jumping jacks any time soon.

Where do we stand at this point? I have a sling on my shoulder – Pralines stuck in my teeth – and no interest in checking the mail every day for W-2s and 1099s. It appears I have derailed my New Year’s Resolutions after only two weeks.

But wait – there is still hope for me yet. I am eating a yogurt while typing this blog – that has to count for something. This morning – I walked down the hall to talk to a colleague instead of calling him. Maybe I can keep this going in the face of adversity!!

I will try to tackle my personal taxes to make it a trifecta but I would rather tackle your personal taxes. So help me out here. Gather up your tax information – stay on top of your financial planner so you have the brokerage statement ready. Look through your checkbook for the charitable contributions.

Together we can tackle this one resolution get our tax information together for our CPA as soon as possible. And as a reward, we have a candy dish in the lobby should you need an immediate fix of sugar.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

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