In Memoriam: Therese M. Connell

Therese ConnellIt is with great sadness that we advise our readers of the passing of one of the firm’s partners Therese M. Connell, CPA (Tese) at the age of sixty five, after a lengthy illness.

When we think of and remember Tese in both her personal and professional life, the words that best describe her are “role model”.  Her commitment to honesty, integrity, fair dealing and client service combined with her passion for technical excellence made her not only a role model but a CPA’s CPA.  Tese was recognized throughout Southern New Jersey as an expert in the fields of estate planning, estate and trust taxation, gifting, and estate administration.  She routinely worked with area attorneys in the development and implementation of cutting edge estate planning and asset protection planning.

Tese was also a teacher and mentor who devoted countless hours to the education and training of the members of our firm, with her legacy being a group of professionals within our firm who are well prepared to serve our clients in her areas of specialization.

Please keep Tese and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

An Introduction to Cryptocurrency

cryptocurrencyDefining cryptocurrency can be difficult. Although precise definitions vary, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) defines cryptocurrency and virtual currency as a digital representation of value that functions as a medium of exchange, a unit of account and/or a store of value. (IRS Notice 2014-21). In certain contexts, cryptocurrency operates like traditional coin and paper currency but it is not legal tender in the United States.
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Stress Relief: The Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi soccer team!

This tax season the members of the Capaldi, Reynolds & Pelosi family got together to solve a problem.

How could a group of accountants, fresh off a long and grueling three months, come together to blow off some steam and have a good time?

The solution is probably not what you would have guessed.  Led by team members Kerry Strohmeier and Anthony Panetta, a group from within the firm set the ball in motion by forming the Firm’s first ever co-ed indoor soccer team.  The team plays at the Eurosport Center in Egg Harbor City and features members from partner to first-year staff, spouses, siblings, family, and friends.  This is a perfect match since a number of Firm members have high school and/or collegiate soccer experience.  Each Thursday the team gathers to spend time together outside of the office to play.

Come watch as we kick off our first of what we hope to be many seasons of friendly competition!

Is Your Nonprofit Governance Up to Date?

Like everything else in the world, concepts about governance in nonprofit organizations are evolving. In the US corporate world, The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) represented an attempt to legislate some basic principles designed to protect the interests of stakeholders by directing that the Board is composed of individuals with suitable skills, promotes transparency and ethical behavior, and provides appropriate communication about organization structure and controls.
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Divorce and Retirement Plans

divorceRetirement plans are often one of the most valuable assets a couple acquires during a marriage. If a couple divorces and there is an agreement or judgment that requires all or a portion of the employee spouse’s retirement plan to be shared with the spouse or former spouse, the division is accomplished through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The spouse or former spouse of the employee is often called an “alternate payee” for purposes of the QDRO. While state law governs the division of most marital assets, most employment related retirement plans are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (Code). In general, ERISA and the Code prohibit a retirement plan participant from assigning a portion of his or her interest in the plan to another person.
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The New Jersey “Exit Tax”: a tax, or an inconvenience?

New Jersey Exit TaxI was giving a talk a few years ago to a group preparing to retire and they told me about a tax I had never heard of; the New Jersey “Exit Tax”.  The concept of a tax imposed just because of a change of domicile was new to me.  It turns out this is not a tax at all, but it is an inconvenience.

When a property is sold in New Jersey, a GIT/REP (Gross Income Tax Required Estimated Payment) Form is required to be recorded with the deed.  Resident taxpayers file a form GIT/REP-3 which claims exemption from withholding at the time of sale.  The myth of the Exit Tax arises when the former home is sold by a taxpayer who is leaving or has left New Jersey.  For most non-resident taxpayers, when the former home is sold either form GIT/REP-1 or GIT/REP-2 is required to be filed with the deed AND state income tax is required to be paid.  That required tax is either 10.75% of the net gain on the sale or 2% of the sales price, whichever is higher.  The state enacted this requirement in 2004 to insure that the taxes due on the sale of property by nonresidents could be collected. 
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The Very Basics of Blockchain

blockchain

Blockchain is the technology that makes Bitcoin possible and it has been around the edge of my consciousness since Bitcoin came on the scene about ten years ago, but I never really wanted to know more about what it is and how it works until the most recent lettuce recall when experts opined that Blockchain could have identified the source of the contamination and kept lettuce in our stores. How do we get from Bitcoin to lettuce with the same technology? I asked a lot of my very bright friends, many of whom are involved professionally with computers, and not one knew more than I did. So after a trip to the library (where only one book was helpful) and a few Google searches, Ihave a simplistic overview that I can share with you.
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Social Security and Taxes

social security and taxesAfter contributing through payroll and self-employment taxes for decades of work, many Social Security beneficiaries are astonished when they learn that their benefits may be subject to federal and sometimes state income taxes. When benefits were first paid in 1940, they were explicitly and completely excluded from federal taxable income. However, in the 1970s and in the midst of Social Security’s first funding crisis, it became necessary to contemplate some changes. The National Commission on Social Security, chaired by Alan Greenspan, recom­mended taxing 50% of Social Security benefits. Congress did not like the thought of taxing low-income retirees. In 1983, Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law legislation which would potentially require up to 50% of Social Security benefits to be included in taxable income. As you will see in this article, some low-income taxpayers can exclude some, and in certain cases, all their benefits from taxable income.
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The Bottom (Tax) Line for 2018

taxThere are reports all over the news that some taxpayers are disappointed with the size of their federal tax refunds. Since we have a pay as you go tax system, each year we estimate the taxes we are going to owe on our income and either pay estimated taxes or have withheld the appropriate amount of taxes so that when we file our returns, we’ve come close to the tax liability. If we overestimate what will be owed, we get a refund; if we underestimate we get a bill for the remaining taxes due and possibly interest and penalty on the deficiency.
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New Jersey $15 Minimum Wage on the Horizon – How Will it Impact You and Your Business?

minimum wageLate last month, Governor Phil Murphy passed legislation calling for the gradual increase of the state’s minimum wage from $8.85 per hour as of January 1, 2019, to $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2024. The first jump in hourly minimums is set to take effect this July, when minimum wages paid by most business owners will rise to $10.00 per hour. There are a number of considerations that small business owners and employees alike must take into account with the newly-passed legislation, but we have summarized the most significant takeaways below:
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