HW Blog //


November 2018

Who will itemize in 2018

I‘m pretty sure I will not be itemizing in 2018. As a married filer (A very happily married filer) my standard deduction will be $24,000—that is double the amount allowed in 2017.

What about mortgage interest—that can be way more than $24,000 all by itself? This is true. However, the IRS will be reviewing how you accumulated your debt and if they find cars and travel and kids education causing the loan to be so large, the interest related to this part of the debt will not be deductible. In addition, new purchases or refinances in post 2017 will limit the debt $750,000 instead of the $1.1 million in previous years.

What about all the taxes we pay? For many, their real estate and sales tax deductions alone exceed $24,000. The new Trump tax law limits all tax deductions on Schedule A to a maximum of $10,000.

The brokerage fees I pay on my managed portfolio is always high enough to let me itemize. That was true in the past but not for 2018 and forward. The section on Schedule A that allows this deduction has been eliminated.

Employee business expenses—I’m a W-2 employee and take thousands of dollars of deductions for expenses on Schedule A—can I still do that? The answer is no. There is no longer a place on Schedule A to deduct these unreimbursed expenses.

Then tell us, who will itemize in 2018? Assuming we are talking about a married couple, and $24,000 is the standard deduction, here is the game plan: Max deduction for taxes is $10K. Assume $5,000 in charitable giving. That leaves us $9,000 short so we need at least $9,000 of qualified interest expense—divide by 4% and that would be a loan of at least $225,000.

For many of you—the standard deduction will be the way to go.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

September 2018

What I “kneeded” to know in July!

I have been on medical leave from my blog—no, I did not break all my fingers or have a brain injury. In July, I decided that I could no longer live with the discomfort of a bad knee.

So I went in and had them give me a new knee. No problem, a week off my feet, another week of deep knee bends and I’m back on the golf course by late August.

Well, for the 90% of us that have this surgery, it doesn’t go that way. It’s late September and I should be back on the golf course (or back in school if you are a Rod Stewart fan). I am still walking with a cane, still waking up at night when I move wrong, and still not able to play golf.

Getting into work has been doable since I am sitting most of the time so the work is getting done. There was a lot of work that kneeded doing.

Since I am back at the desk on a regular basis, I thought a blog post was in order. My first thought was to tell all my readers (It might have been quicker to call) that your personal return is due October 15th and there are still over 200 of you who have not gathered up your data and brought it in.

We can get them done but kneed your assistance to get them drafted, reviewed and out the door.

Hutchinson & Walter is here to help—my ultimate goal is to represent the US in Pole Vaulting at the next Olympics but right now, I would be satisfied with a competitive game of Hop Scotch.

I’ll keep you posted on my knee and you get your information in to us as soon as possible—if we have already completed your return—then you get a gold metal in return filing!

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

June 8 2018

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery!

My youngest daughter Katie (she goes by Kate) is graduating from the UW with her masters in tax and will be following in my footsteps as a tax accountant!

She already has a job at Moss Adams so dad won’t be hiring her. However, I have no doubt she would be one of the smartest accountants I know. She studies very hard and seems to like the work.

A good friend of mine and former partner here has a son who was in a vehicle accident and over the years when people would ask him why he did not become an accountant like his dad, he would say “He did not have a head injury in the accident” – that’s why.

It does take a certain kind of mentality to want to work crazy hours for three months and relaxed hours for the rest of the year. Not sure that is how they do it at Moss Adams. You also have the constant changing of the tax laws for each administration.

This year has been a little different than past years at Hutchinson & Walter for my workload. I have been doing many estate tax returns which are due all throughout the year and not just April 15th. That is not to say that I haven’t had down time—I have traveled some and golfed some.

My daughter is learning the new tax law and since she did not really know much about the old laws, so she will be very prepared for 2018. I on the other hand, have been working hard to get a handle on the Trump bill and what that means to my clients.

Now, don’t all of my six readers run to Moss Adams so that my daughter can do your return—she is not as wise or as fun as I am. But give her time.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

February 19 2018

Turning 60 in 2018—how time flies!!

The big Six O—how did that happen. I can still remember like it was yesterday eating my graham cracker, drinking my milk and then taking a nap on the mat in Kindergarten. Well, maybe not like it was yesterday.

At least I’m not alone in this milestone. Many of my past girlfriends are turning sixty: Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone to name a few. Also many of my good buddies turn 60 this year: Alex Baldwin, Kevin Bacon, and of course Ice-T and I are very tight!

So what is the point in all of this? I’m not going to say “stop and smell the roses” or “enjoy every sunrise”. I just want to say it’s been a fun 60 years and I’m hoping there is at least 15 more in the tank.

Many of those hopeful 15 years will be continuing to serve you as your CPA and advisor on all things tax and accounting.

My beautiful wife Stephanie, who came along after Madonna, Michelle and Sharon decided to throw me a 60th surprise B-Day party and many of my six readers were there. It was very fun and it was a surprise considering my birthday is in March!

Hard to do anything in March except work for me. For those of you out there waiting on one last piece of paper, a K-1, a 1099, come on in with what you have and we’ll get started on the return. This way, we’ll have 90% of the return done early.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

February 1 2018

There is no crying this tax season!

I was just reminded of this by one of my co-workers. I was in my office whining about how much work I had and how cold I was. 

She brought me a sweater and showed me a sign she had about no crying. I took the sweater from her (three sizes too small) and went back to work.

The sweater was a cardigan and it got me to singing the old Mr. Rogers Neighborhood song. Next thing I know, everyone is reminiscing about their favorite kids show growing up.

For Seattle natives it seems to be JP Patches and Stan Boreson. I grew up with Diver Dan and Bozo the Clown.

OK, back to crying and tax season. We have a pretty busy condensed period of time and things get a little crazy around here. Of all the professions that nurture their staff and give out praise, accountants are not one of them. We are good at letting you know what you have done wrong and how to fix it.

Hence the rule about no crying in tax season. We do let our coworkers and staff know that we love and cherish them 300 days during the year. I hope they remember the good times as they drink their 3rd Redbull and tackle the next return.

When I hear that saying, I can’t help but think of Tom Hanks. There is no crying in baseball. Baseball is a central theme here at Hutchinson & Walter. We have season tickets and about every third year we rent two suites and take the whole firm and their families to a Mariners game.

Our employees are very important to us and we try not to overwork them or get them upset. However, just in case, we have a box of Kleenex on everyone’s desk.

So—back to work!!

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

January 3 2018

Happy New Year to my readers!

First, let me apologize for not posting in a while. It has been a busy year and come to find out I need to know two tax laws. The one we are under for 2017 and the newly passed law which mainly affects 2018.

Along with most Americans, I will be attempting to make, follow and eventually break many new year’s resolutions.

Losing some weight—I tackle this one each year and seem to get a good head of steam going and then the long hours of tax season wear me down. I stop taking the afternoon walks—the donuts talk to me as I walk by—client lunches that always end with “of course there’s room for dessert”.

Drink a little less—This one always sounds like a good idea. But if the donuts can talk to me, Crown Royal has a direct line!!!

Take time to see the world—I think at this point in my life, I could afford to see the world. The problem is I don’t like long plane flights or spending any time in a country where I’m not fully up-to-date on their legal system. My compromise here is that Vegas is like traveling the world—in fact I was just at Paris!!

Learn something new—I think the new tax law will cover this resolution. I’m not sure learning piano or Portuguese is a 2018 thing.

Read more books—Reading is so hit and miss for me. When I’m reading a good book, I can’t wait to get into bed and read. The problem is, I only like a few authors. I plan on expanding my list in the coming year.

Be kinder to strangers—with each passing year, this one is harder to do and more important than ever. I think we as a society have not only ignored strangers, we are afraid of them. Rotary has opened me up to seeing the good in people I don’t know. I hope that continues for me.

I know this year and upcoming tax season are a little scary. Let me help where I can. Reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks for listening and I will talk at you again.

January 2 2018 | Posted in General

Happy Holidays from Hutchinson & Walter

Kell and Rick at the Hutchinson and Walter Holiday Party

Blog written by:
Rick Walter, CPA

Filter by year

© Hutchinson & Walter CPAs