Dear Clients, Family and Friends:
Another exciting year has passed. Time to begin the gathering process for your upcoming tax needs. Before we get to this let us take a moment to introduce the Serenity family:
Deni Lorenzi – Boss Lady & Enrolled Agent – What is an Enrolled Agent? It means she gets the privilege to talk to the IRS whenever they call. She gets to have all the fun. Deni also continues to provide bookkeeping services and training for clients.
Sheri Murray - Office Manager – Sheri keeps the office running and handles a list of bookkeeping and payroll clients. She, as always, is available for questions. She is still our go-to girl to get things done.
Skye - Office Manager in Training - Skye is Sheri’s daughter and comes in occasionally to do random tasks around the office.
Dina Suwanski - Administrative Assistant - Dina is generally the one you will hear on the phone and is responsible for all aspects of tax return processing. Give her a call or email if you want your 2019 tax organizer. 218-464-1510 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dani Fahlsing- Staff Accountant/Tax Preparer. Dani is new to Serenity this year. She comes to us with over 20 years of accounting background. Many of our bookkeeping and payroll clients are already familiar with her and her talents. For our tax clients and others not familiar with Dani, she comes to us from Wisconsin and brings these tax laws into sharper focus. Dani is looking forward to expanding her client base with your tax needs!
John Ludwig, AFSP- John continues his tax geek ways. Along with his tax preparation, he has become our tax return checker. His research talent continues to be a driving force showing his abilities, if we don’t know something, we go to him! So, bring on all your tax questions, he is always looking for a challenge!
DJ (Diane Johnson) - DJ works part time and therefore primarily works with our drop off and mail-in returns. She has branched out and has started working on bookkeeping for some of our smaller clients.
As you can see, our staff is more streamlined this year. It is all designed to give you the client a better experience and most accurate service. You can visit our website at www.serenityduluth.com, which is always updated to better serve you! You can request a tax appointment or tax organizer on our website as well as see all the other services that we offer. Of course, you can always call us.
And now, some exciting news from the IRS and other Taxing authorities! Of course, taxing authorities cannot leave well enough alone. All of us at Serenity have been diligently training and absorbing their respective changes, all in the name of taking care of your most difficult and not so difficult tax needs. Below is a snapshot of what we have learned but is by far not all inclusive. If you have a question you feel is unique, please feel free to reach out to us personally!
Standard deduction. It is now indexed for inflation:
Dependent $1,100 (or earned income +$350)
Mileage rates: Business .58
Child Adoption Credit: max credit of $14,080
Phaseout Range increases to $211,160 to $251,160
Child credit: No changes from 2018, including other dependent credit (ODC)
CTC $2,000 ($1,400 is refundable)
EIC. Income levels changed for maximum credit and phaseout credit amounts
# children MFJ Non MFJ
Maximum Cr Phaseout range Maximum Cr Phaseout Range
0 $6.920-$14,450 $14,450-$21,370 $6,920-$8,650 $8,650-$15,570
1 $10,370-$24,820 $24,820-$46,884 $10,370-$19,030 $19,030-$41,094
2 $14,570-$24,820 $24,820-$52,483 $14,570-$19,030 $19,030-$46,703
3+ $14,570-$24,820 $24,820-$55,952 $14,570-$19,030 $19,030-$50,162
Retirement age: if you were born 1943 – 1954 retirement age is 66
If you were born 1960 or later retirement age is now 67
Foreign Income Exclusion: $105,900 maximum
401(k) contribution limits: $19,000 ($25,000 catchup for over 50)
IRA Contributions: $6,000/person ($7,000 catchup for over 50)
IRA Deduction Phaseouts:
AGI phaseout begins AGI fully phased out
Single $64,000 $74,000
MFJ/QW $103,000 $123,000
Spouse not covered by plan $193,000 $203,000
MFS $0 $10,000
HOH $64,000 $74,000
Premium Tax Credit (health insurance):
There is no penalty this year for not having health insurance. However, if you received subsidized health insurance through MN Care, you still need to reconcile this on you tax return. BE SURE TO BRING IN YOU 1095-A.
No personal exemption—still allows dependent exemption
Standard deduction increases to align with federal
Social Security subtraction increase:
MFJ/QW - $5,150
S/HOH - $4,020
MFS - $2,575
Every year it seems as if we have issues with this topic, so we thought it prudent to include. For those clients that have college students, and are claiming these students on their return, please caution your dependent (the student) to NOT claim themselves. If they do, you will not be able to claim the child (the student) and therefore the accompanying education credits that are more beneficial to you as a parent. The “after the fact” solution to this situation is to amend the dependent child’s (the student) return, and then paper file your return. Amendments are charged at $140 + any state(s) and refunds are delayed.
Everyone asks about pricing. Rest assured we at Serenity are aware of this and as a result your 2020 tax season will not see any significant price increases. However, as some Federal tax forms have been modified, added, or deleted, Federal pricing may change slightly. Minnesota tax forms have had some additions to Serenity reporting requirements and therefore a slight modification is needed. The form M1PR (Property tax rebate, renters rebate) will increase to $30 (this increase goes to $50 for those clients that ONLY file a M1PR with Serenity)
For those clients that have dependents (children) on their tax return and want Serenity to complete their returns (if applicable), Serenity will no longer charge a flat rate for these returns. Dependent returns will be priced at 50% of whatever the tax return would be priced at.
IRS e-file acceptance: January 27, 2020
Federal/State filing 2019 Filing deadline businesses: Monday March 16, 2020
Federal/State filing 2019 Filing deadline 1040: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Non Profits (990): Friday May, 15, 2020
Estimated payments: Quarter 1 (Jan, Feb, Mar) April 15, 2020
Quarter 2 (Apr, May, Jun) June 15, 2020
Quarter 3 (Jul, Aug, Sept) September 15, 2020
Quarter 4 (Oct, Nov, Dec) January 15, 2021
Tax season office hours (starting 1/27/2020):
Monday thru Thursday 8:30 am to 8:00 pm
Friday and Saturday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
First daily tax appointments will be scheduled for 9:00 am and the last appointment will be 1 hour before close. As always, drop off, US MAIL and email information submission is always accepted.
**** Due to changing IRS and due diligence requirements, tax clients will be asked to sign a form prior to tax preparation. If you are one of those clients that drop off and/or mail your tax documents, please be sure you get this form to sign to speed the completion process
One last item. We are here because of you. Your faith in us through your personal recommendation to others is humbling. As usual, for your personal recommendations to new tax clients, we discount your next year’s tax preparation by $15 as a thank you. Your loyalty, support, and friendship to the Serenity family is why we are here. We appreciate the opportunity to serve all your tax preparation needs and look forward to seeing you in the year 2020!
Deni, Sheri, Dina, Dani, John, DJ, Skye
Beginning January 1, 2020, Minnesota will have an increase in the minimum wage.
* Large employers (gross revenues of $500K and more) must pay at least $10/hour
* Small employers (gross revenues less than $500K) must pay at least $8.15/hour
* The training wage, $8.15/hour, may be paid to employees younger than 20 years of age for the first 90 consecutive days of employment.
* The youth wage rate, $8.15/hour, may be paid to employees younger than 18 years of age.
As of October 1, 2019, Duluth will have an increase in the City percentage of the sales tax rate. It will be increased from 1% to 1.5%.
Regular sales tax will increase from 8.375% to 8.875%
Restaurant (food) rate will increase from 10.625% to 11.125%
Restaurant (alcohol) rate will increase from 13.125% to 13.625%
If you use Square or any other mobile app that includes sales tax, remember to make adjustments to the settings.
Dear Clients, Family & Friends:
Exciting news! We LOVE our new home, we hope you will too. We are now located in the Spirit Valley Mall (near the old Kmart, in between Cost Cutters and Soul Sisters). We now have a parking lot with lights and no meters! No need to drive around to find a parking spot to come see us anymore.
We would like to take a moment and introduce you to our team. Some you may know, others are new. We are one big, crazy family.
Deni Lorenzi – Boss Lady & Enrolled Agent – What is an Enrolled Agent? It means she gets the privilege to talk to the IRS whenever they call. She gets to have all the fun 😊
John Ludwig - Tax Professional - John is our newest tax professional. He comes to us with nine years of tax experience and is an AFSP (annual filing season participant). John has taken on the challenge of learning bookkeeping and is working with some of our newer clients. John is a tax geek and is available for any and all tax questions, BRING THEM ON!
Sheri Murray - Office Manager – Sheri keeps the office running and handles a list of bookkeeping clients; however, she is always available for questions. She is still our go-to girl to get things done (and keep Deni on task).
Skye - Office Manager in Training - Skye is Sheri’s daughter and comes in occasionally to do random tasks around the office.
Dina Suwanski - Administrative Assistant - Dina is generally the one you will hear on the phone and is responsible for all aspects of tax return processing. Give her a call or email if you want your 2018 tax organizer. 218-464-1510 email@example.com
DJ (Diane Johnson) - Tax Professional - DJ works with our drop off and mail-in returns. She has branched out and has started working on bookkeeping for some of our smaller clients.
Crystal Loree - Tax Professional - Crystal not only does tax returns she also does bookkeeping for many of our clients. She teaches QuickBooks to small businesses and is a Notary.
Robin Friermood - Payroll Specialist - Robin is in charge of our payroll department. This includes payroll processing, W-2’s, 1099’s, and workers comp audits.
Visit our website www.serenityduluth.com, we have recently updated the site to better serve you! You can request a tax appointment or tax organizer on our website as well as see all the other services that we offer. Of course, you can always call us.
On to tax news
In December 2017 there was a major tax law change. Over the course of 2018, we received clarifications and training on this law and how it affects you, our clients. In order to alleviate some anxiety that you might be experiencing, we have made a list of the most common changes that our clients may see. This is only a partial list of changes to the tax code. There are many more changes that are not as common and therefore not listed. Please feel free to contact us for any individual questions you may have.
With all the changes being made to the Federal and State tax laws, we have attended many seminars to better understand the nuances of these changes. We are here to serve you in the best way possible. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may encounter, and we will see you at your tax appointment!
Side note, if you receive the Earned Income Credit (EIC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the IRS will NOT release refunds until after February 15th, the IRS cautions that the refunds won’t arrive in your bank accounts (if direct deposited) until the week of February 27th, at the earliest.
For tax year 2018 and forward; in order to protect your identity, the IRS is requiring you to provide identification such as your driver’s license for you and your spouse (if married). We will need to see the Social Security card for all members on your tax return. This is so that the IRS can help prevent identity theft. This will be required of all our new tax clients. If we don’t already have copies of your information in the file, we will request it. Please have your documentation available at your appointment.
Beginning January 28th, our office hours will be 8:30am to 8pm Monday through Thursday and 8:30am to 5pm on Friday and Saturday. We have many day and evening appointments available. The first appointments will start at 9am and the last appointments will be at 7pm Monday-Thursday. Friday and Saturday appointments will start at 10am, the last appointments will be at 4pm. You can also drop off, US Mail, or email your tax information to us as well.
This year, we would like to touch base with everybody. Even if you mail or drop off your tax information, we will be setting an appointment for a phone conference, at your convenience. Please allow 30 – 60 minutes for this call, we want to make sure that we are getting all of the necessary information.
In addition to our tax prep services, we offer full-service bookkeeping and full-service payroll. Give us a call if you or someone you know is interested or in need of our other services!
We also prepare small S-Corp, Partnership and Non-Profit tax returns. Business taxes have changed as well, and we are also looking at how this affects you as the taxpayers. The deadline for filing these tax returns is March 15th, 2019. A six-month extension can be filed -- the final deadline to get the tax return completed is September 16th, 2019.
The deadline to file and pay your personal taxes is April 15th, 2019. You can file for an extension however; your tax payments are still due April 15th, 2019. If payment is made after this date, a late fee will be assessed. The final deadline, after filing the six-month extension, is October 15th, 2019.
If you make estimated payments during the year, they are due:
Unfortunately, with all the tax law changes our prices needed to change as well. Our base price will now be $140 (up from $125) this includes your federal return, one state and e-filing. This price does not include any additional forms that you may need, such as; Schedule A (Itemizing), Schedule D (Stock Sales), Schedule C (Business) and others. We realize that tax time can be stressful for everyone. We will do our very best to help keep your cost as low as possible. If you compare our prices with others in our local market, you will find that not only are we competitively priced, but the peace of mind you get from our team is invaluable.
We are looking forward to seeing you all and we wish everybody a great holiday season!
Deni Lorenzi, E.A. and Staff
Here is a reminder from MN Dept of Revenue regarding scam calls.
Protect yourself from tax scamsMinnesota Department of Revenue sent this bulletin at 12/10/2018 01:32 PM CST
As the income tax filing season approaches, the Minnesota Department of Revenue warns you to beware of scams attempting to steal your personal information.
What do I need to know?
Individuals or organizations may falsely represent themselves as being from the department. Use caution and never provide personal information unless you are sure the situation is legitimate.
When we contact you by phone, mail, or email, we will never:
What if I receive a suspicious phone call or letter?
If you are concerned about a possibly fraudulent contact from someone claiming to be from the department, call us at 651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094 (toll-free). We can determine if the contact you received was legitimate.
What if I receive a suspicious email?
We will never ask you to provide, update, or verify personal information if you did not previously email us. Do not respond to such emails, and contact us with questions or concerns.
Phishing (as in “fishing for information” and “hooking” victims) is a scam involving emails sent to trick you into revealing personal and financial information. When you send scammers this information, they can use it to steal your identity.
Welcome December to our 2018 year. Thank you so much for being part of such an amazing year. Reminder we are taking appointments for 2018 Tax Season already. Call today to reserve your appointment. We have three amazing tax professionals this year that are trained and ready to assist you. Deni, our fearless leader and EA, Crystal the can do gal, and John our newest edition as our Tax Nerd. John lives and breaths the tax world and is ready to research anything that is thrown at him.
Our Tax season hours will be from 8 am to 8 pm for your convenience.
Is your business ready for a change of payroll and bookkeepers. We can help with that as well. We are accepting new clients give us a call for a consult today. 218-464-1510
We give thanks for this past year for our families, clients and friends.
We will be closed on Thursday November 22 and Friday November 23.
Reminder for payroll processing we will need your information by Monday November 19th by 5 pm.
Thank you all for a great year and may your holidays be filled with much gratitude for all the work you do all year long.
While the boss was away at training, Jackolyn the Jack-o-Lantern your payroll specialist & Llerleen the Llama your bookkeeping wizard were here holding down the fort.
We boxed it all up and moved down to West Duluth. 215 N Central Ave Ste 9, Duluth MN 55807. "You know where the old Kmart used to be", we are in that shopping center. Larger space, everyone has their own offices. We offer an art gallery of some our clients works. Check out our facebook for photos.