Lutz adds Obermier and Schultze to Grand Island Office

Lutz adds Obermier and Schultze to Grand Island Office

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Lutz adds obermier and schultze to grand island office

Lutz, a Nebraska-based business solutions firm, welcomes Alexa Obermier and Jarrett Schultze to its Grand Island office.

Alexa and Jarrett join Lutz as staff accountants. They are responsible for the preparation of individual and business income tax returns, and providing credibility to clients through financial reporting.

Obermier graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and an emphasis in accounting. Schultze is anticipating graduation from UNK in the winter of 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and an emphasis in accounting.

 

RECENT POSTS

5 Ways to Maximize Your Tax Refund

With each tax season comes the hope of a substantial refund, or at least the chance of not owing too much in taxes. So, how can you be sure you are getting back as much as you should…

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VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

5 Ways to Maximize Your Tax Refund

5 Ways to Maximize Your Tax Refund

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

5 ways to maximize your tax refund

demi rodocker, staff accountant

 

With each tax season comes the hope of a substantial refund, or at least the chance of not owing too much in taxes. So, how can you be sure you are getting back as much as you should? With the many new changes to deductions and other tax laws made in recent years, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of a tax return, especially when attempting it on your own.

While you’ll likely hear a great deal of information through media channels and on the Internet detailing how you can get more money back, you should first consider these 5 ways to maximize your tax refund.

1. Choosing the Itemized Deduction over Standard Deduction

When preparing your taxes, you have the option of choosing either the itemized deductions or the standard deduction to lower the amount of taxable income. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has made it more difficult to itemize, eliminating or restricting many items. It also raised the standard deduction amounts for 2019:

  • $12,200 for individual filers
  • $24,400 for joint returns
  • $18,350 for heads of household

However, it might still be beneficial to choose to opt for the itemized deductions if, for example, you have a high amount of medical expenses and/or charitable contributions to claim.

Be sure to save and organize all your receipts and records of medical expenses, taxes, & charitable contributions. Significant amounts can work in your favor.

Note: Consider “bunching” charitable contributions. Donate your yearly amount every two years to maximize the itemized deduction.

2. Save Money for Medical Expenses Through a Health Savings Account

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is designed to help you save money for future medical expenses. Any money contributed to an HSA for the year can be claimed as an expense, reducing your taxable income.

The money contributed to an HSA is typically pre-tax when done through an employer, or post-tax when done on your own. Individuals seeking to set up an HSA on their own can do so at any financial institution.

Note: The limit for claiming HSA contributions for 2019 is $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for families.

3. Build Retirement Savings

Aside from ensuring you build your retirement savings, contributing to qualifying retirement plans also has tax benefits. Like contributions made to an HSA, contributions made to retirement plans can also be claimed and serve to reduce your taxable income. Also similar, you can contribute pre-tax through participating employers or post-tax on your own to a financial institution.

Note: Contribution and income limits do apply for certain types of plans.

4. Education Expenses

The IRS allows various education-related expenses to be used in calculating your deductions. These expenses include:

  • Tuition paid to post-secondary education
  • The cost of books and supplies needed for the course of study
  • Fees and other related expenses, such as student activity fees, required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution
  • Interest on student loans (with limitations)

Costs associated with room and board, medical expenses, transportation, and insurance do not apply.

Note: Income limits and limits of deductions/credits do apply, and expenses for an academic period must be claimed during the tax year that the academic period begins.

5. Seek Help if Necessary

As mentioned above, navigating and learning all the new tax laws, understanding limits, and ensuring you’ve deducted everything correctly in order to maximize your tax refund can be difficult. That’s why it’s recommended that you seek assistance from a qualified tax professional. They will possess the knowledge needed to help you identify deductions or credits that you might have otherwise missed.

Additionally, many tax laws also have last minute changes throughout the course of the year and even during tax season. Tax professionals can consult on more complicated tax issues as they arise, and help you better prepare for future tax years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

308.398.1550

drodocker@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

DEMI RODOCKER + STAFF ACCOUNTANT

Demi Rodocker is a Staff Accountant at Lutz with over two years of experience in the accounting industry. She is responsible for providing accounting and consulting services to clients in a variety of industries.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Tax
  • Audit & Assurance
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Junior Achievement District of Grand Island, Board Member
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
  • 5 Ways to Maximize Your Tax Refund

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VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Family Governance + Not an Act

Family Governance + Not an Act

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

family governance + not an act

lisa strutzel, family office services director

 

For a family enterprise to sustain its wealth, acting collaboratively is required. This need for cohesion leads to the creation of structures and processes that guide the family’s behavior as it navigates the complexities that come with growth. Developing a family governance system is an evolutionary process. It typically begins with informal family gatherings where in-depth communication occurs and ends with the formation of policies and practices that govern the family’s joint decision-making.

MISSION STATEMENT

Making unified decisions requires communication between family members. Communication is key to fostering cooperation and collaboration, essential to building relationships that bond the family together. The governance process begins with families determining commonality as it relates to values and vision and using that awareness to craft their family mission statement. The mission statement defines the guiding principles of the family. “If a family has a statement of principles that can be referred to, or its family mission, then succeeding generations have a core of basic principles to which they can adhere”, according to Dennis T. Jaffe, PH.D.[i] The mission statement provides the framework for the creation of governance structures that are aligned with shared family values.

POLICIES

Once a family defines its shared vision, it uses that awareness to develop policies that oversee family interaction. These policies, sometimes referred to as a family constitution, should be reasonable, clearly written and updated as dictated by changing family circumstances. Policies adopted by families vary, covering issues like:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Succession planning
  • Role of spouses
  • Trust distribution guidelines
  • Code of conduct for meetings
  • Education expectations
  • Philanthropic goals and objectives

The process of creating the shared guidelines can be as valuable as the documents themselves as evidenced by Barbara Hauser, a family governance expert. “Many families slowly get used to the idea of having a family constitution, and by the end of the discussions and drafting, they feel a proud sense of ownership.”[ii]

STRUCTURE

How a family decides to practice governance is dependent on multiple factors, such as the family’s size, complexity, and if they have a joint operating business. Many families establish assemblies and councils to act as their leadership bodies. The assemblies are typically all inclusive being composed of adult family members and their spouses. The family council is the elected governing body of the family. Its duty is to implement the wishes of the family, including planning the family meetings, drafting changes to policies and practices, and doing whatever else is necessary for maintenance of the governance system. More complex family structures may also have various committees and boards that oversee their businesses, philanthropy, family office or other holdings. 

Good governance practices are essential to family sustainability over generations. They are rooted in the family’s values and vision and grow into enduring policies and practices if properly preserved. Implementing a collaborative system of governance is not an act; it is a deliberate process that stands the test of time.

 

i Jaffe, D. T. (2003, April). Six Dimensions of Wealth: Leaving the Fullest Value of Your Wealth to Your Heirs. Retrieved from http://dennisjaffe.com/download/six-dimensions-of-wealth-leaving-the-fullest-value-of-your-wealth-to-your-heirs/

ii Hauser, B. (2019, March 6). What are the Best Ways for a Family to Make a Decision Together? Retrieved from http://www.campdenfb.com/article/what-are-best-ways-family-make-decisions-together

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.763.2974

lstrutzel@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

LISA STRUTZEL, CPA, CAP® + FAMILY OFFICE SERVICES DIRECTOR

Lisa Strutzel is the Family Office Services Director at Lutz with over 14 years of past experience as a family office executive. She is responsible for assisting high-net-worth clients manage their family enterprise. 

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Family Office Services
  • Financial Reporting
  • Philanthropy and Legacy Planning
  • High-Net-Worth Families
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy, CAP®
  • Family Office Exchange, Integrated Wealth Advisor Council Member
  • Purposeful Planning Institute, Member
  • Nebraska Society of CPAs, Member
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BBA, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • The Hope Center for Kids, Board President, Past Treasurer
  • CAP Advisory Board Member

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VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Benchmarking for Medical Practices

Benchmarking for Medical Practices

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

benchmarking for medical practices

 

Lutz Healthcare Consulting Director, Tara Wisdom, was recently featured in the May/June 2019 Physicians Bulletin, a publication of the Metro Omaha Medical Society.

“Our life begins and ends with measurement. What was the baby’s length and weight at birth? How old was the man when he passed away? At every step in our life we are measured against something or someone.

If a pediatric patient’s weight is off the age-height-weight scale at his preventive visit, the patient’s parents are counseled in an attempt to bring the child to a healthy weight. If an HbA1c result is high compared to norms, the diabetic patient’s medications and diet are more closely managed.

As a physician, you are responsible for monitoring not just the health of your patients bt also the health of the clinic, practice or facility in which you work. You may also be responsible for mentoring peers or managing other physicians.”

Read the full article on page 17.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.827.2076

twisdom@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

TARA WISDOM + HEALTHCARE CONSULTING DIRECTOR 

Tara Wisdom is a Healthcare Consulting Director at Lutz with over 18 years of experience. She assists clients with physician and hospital practice management, business plan development and new practice set-up to make sure healthcare practices are effectively managing operational costs and properly capturing revenue while staying compliant.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Healthcare Consulting
  • Physician Services
  • Compensation Structures
  • Data mining and Analysis
  • Medicare and Insurance Reimbursement
  • Merger/Reorganization Planning
  • Internal Control and Systems Reviews
  • Strategic Planning & Feasibility Studies
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Medical Group Management Association, Member
  • Nebraska and Iowa Medical Group Management Associations, Member
  • Metropolitan Omaha Medical Society, Strategic Partner
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Community Alliance, Executive Board Member
  • Children’s Hospital, Friend’s Board
  • Quality Living Inc, Ambassador
  • Omaha Opera Guild, Cotillion Representative
  • Nebraska Children’s Home, Gift Coordinator Volunteer
  • Aldrich Elementary PTO, Executive Board Member

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We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Why You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan

Why You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

why you need a disaster recovery plan

mike perry, client accounting services director

 

To understand why you need a disaster recovery plan, you need only think about events that have occurred over the past couple of years in the United States. Recent flooding in Nebraska and Iowa, wildfires, and mudslides in California. Hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina. Data breach after data breach. And many more localized catastrophes that might only affect your business.

Making a disaster recovery plan takes some time and effort, but not nearly as much as recovery would if you’re not prepared – if recovery is even possible. Here are eight of the things you should be doing.

Determine what your risk level is.

What kinds of risks is your business most vulnerable to? How likely is each to occur? You know what natural disasters are common in your geographical area, but what about a fire in your office? Burst pipes from a frigid cold? A burglary? Figure out the probability of each event and tailor your plans accordingly.

Evaluate your business insurance.

Do you have adequate coverage?  If the worst happens and you are under-insured, you can always apply for disaster loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Create a written inventory of your company’s major assets.

Ask employees to take photos of the equipment at their workstations, and ask someone to get pictures of shared valuable items. Document all of this in writing and store it offsite or in the cloud.

Identify key personnel roles.

Start by assigning a crisis manager. If you’re a sole proprietor or very small business, this may be you. But make sure there’s a digital central location devoted to disaster recovery documentation.

Establish an emergency communication plan.

Not just among employees, but with customers and vendors. How will you all communicate if standard communications systems are down? How will you let the outside world know what’s happening?

Know what your most critical software/website needs are, and prioritize them.

Which software applications are the most important to your ongoing operations? Are they accessible through the cloud? If so, are any or all of your employees able to work remotely? If not, how will you gain access to your local business solutions?

Always have comprehensive offsite digital storage, and make sure it’s secure.

This should be standard practice all the time, but it’s essential to beginning the recovery from a disaster. Any important documents that are on paper should be duplicated offsite, too.

Test your plan.

If you have a staff, schedule some dry runs so that everyone knows what should transpire. Organize a bag lunch or bring in pizza and go over your plans.

Your accounting data is some of the most sensitive information owned by your company. Customer records, accounts receivable and payable, payroll data – all must be absolutely safe and possible to recover quickly. We can help here. If you’re still doing manual accounting, we can help with getting your data into QuickBooks; it’ll be easier to secure. Contact us, and let’s have a conversation about your disaster recovery plan.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Perry + Lutz Client Accounting Services in Nebraska

402.827.2087

mperry@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

MIKE PERRY + CLIENT ACCOUNTING SERVICES DIRECTOR

Mike Perry is a Client Accounting Services Director at Lutz with over 15 years of accounting experience. He focuses on providing business consulting, software implementation and training, accounting procedure assistance and outsourced accounting replacement consulting for closely held companies.

AREAS OF FOCUS
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Intuit Certified ProAdvisor, QuickBooks Advanced
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Accounting, University of Nebraska, Kearney, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Community Bike Project Omaha, Past Treasurer
QUICKBOOKS PROADVISOR CERTIFICATIONS

Certified ProAdvisor - Online  Certified ProAdvisor - Advanced Desktop  Certified ProAdvisor - Enterprise

BILL.COM CERTIFICATIONS

Bill.com Guru Certification   

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Sales Tax Registration 101

Sales Tax Registration 101

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

sales tax registration 101

Stacy watson, tax & consulting shareholder

 

Starting a business can be easy. Knowing how to make sure that you are in compliance with state and federal laws is a little more difficult. You probably already know that you need to register to collect sales tax in your state when you set up shop, but what may be less clear is that you could have to file for sales tax in other states as well. This blog will help you understand when you should register for sales tax and how to do it.

What is Nexus?

Nexus is a word that means “connection.” In the world of sales tax, nexus means a connection between your company and a state. The word implies that your business has a connection with a particular state and, therefore, needs to collect state sales tax on any goods sold there. That means that if your company has a physical presence in the state, such as where you employ people or where you store inventory, you would have nexus. This includes the state where your business is located, but it may also include other states. For example, Amazon collects state sales tax in its home state as well as the states where it has warehouses or distribution centers.

Nexus also includes economic nexus under the new Supreme Court ruling in Wayfair  If a state has adopted the economic nexus standards of $100,000 in sales or 200 transactions in to a state in a 12 month period, the company may have economic nexus.

About Sales Tax Nexus

That might all seem straightforward – but wait!

Technically, you should start collecting state sales tax the first time you make a sale in that state. However, you should not collect sales tax without first registering. It is actually illegal to do so and you could face a fine if you charge state sales tax without first registering your business in that state.

DO NOT try to file in every state and just collect sales tax as a matter of course. When you file your sales tax registration, you automatically create nexus in that state. Now, you will have to keep collecting sales tax in that state as long as you are in business AND you will have to file returns for each of those states. So, only file for sales tax registration in states where you actually have nexus, otherwise you will be wasting your time and money.

Registering for Sales Tax

Before you register your company to collect sales tax, review the state’s requirements for registration:

What is the nexus standard for the state?

Different states have different definitions which may include physical as well as economic parameters.

Does the company meet the requirements of the nexus standard?

Next, look at whether your company meets those standards. You may not have to file in all the states where you think you should.

Are the products or services you provide taxable under the state statute?

Pay attention to which products and services you provide too. Some are not taxable by certain states.

If the sales items are not taxable, does your company have a Use Tax liability?

Also, remember that you could be subject to Use Tax. This is a special tax you would have to pay if you bought something in a different state that your company will use in the state where it is located, you may have to pay sales tax on that item.

Deciding to Register for Sales Tax

Once your company has nexus and decides to register, you will need to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Most states allow online registration;
  2. Depending on the amount of tax to be collected, your company may be able to file annually, quarterly or monthly; and,
  3. After sales tax registration, your company should review your operations to see if any other state registrations are required such as secretary of state, income tax, unemployment.

 

In a nutshell, there are a few things you need to know about sales tax registration:

  • Companies can be required to pay sales tax to a state even if they don’t collect it but should have collected the tax.
  • You can file a sales tax registration in any state, but you may not need to register in every state.
  • Collecting sales tax in every state is unnecessary for many companies.
  • You need to register for sales tax in any state where you have nexus.

Overall, registering for sales tax can be confusing. If you need help determining nexus or figuring out which registrations your company needs, contact us today. We can go through your books and help you complete all of your required registrations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stacy Watson

402.827.2048

swatson@lutz.us

STACY WATSON + TAX & CONSULTING SHAREHOLDER

Stacy Watson is a Tax and Consulting Shareholder at Lutz with over 20 years of experience in taxation. She has in-depth experience in providing state and local, income, franchise, sales, use and escheat taxes.

AREAS OF FOCUS
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, Member
  • Certified Public Accountant
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA in Accounting, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Junior Achievement Heartland Family Services, Past Member
  • St. Stephen the Martyr, Various Boards

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850