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Joy in Giving - Support Local United Way

All of us at Smith Schafer firmly believe in helping our community and the clients we serve. We regularly participate in fundraising activities for local organizations and encourage our staff to dedicate their time and talents to give back to their community. This holiday season, we would like everyone to showcase how they give back and spread joy to the community with our Smith Schafer Joy in Giving campaign.
Share how you spread the joy this holiday season via social media – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Simply follow one of our social media pages (see links below) and post how you share holiday joy using the hashtag #SmithSchaferJoyinGiving. 

International Fraud Awareness Week

International Fraud Awareness Week is November 15 through 21, 2015.  It is a week dedicated to fraud awareness, detection and prevention.

We strive to increase awareness of this issue during a time when businesses and government agencies around the world are losing an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues to fraud, according to an ACFE study. This week we want to encouraging business leaders and employees to proactively take steps to minimize the impact of fraud. 

Tax Alert

Social Security Updates


File and Suspend Method Eliminated

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on 11/2/15, eliminates the file and suspend method, a popular strategy used by married couples to maximize their lifetime Social Security benefits. Under this approach, a higher earning spouse claims benefits at his full retirement age (currently age 66), but suspends the benefits until a later date (e.g., at age 70 or sooner, if desired), allowing the Social Security credits to continue to grow. The lower earning spouse claims benefits based on the higher earning spouse's earning record, which are more than the benefits based on his or her own earnings record.

Smith Schafer Recognized Among Nation's Top 300 Accounting Firms

Smith Schafer & Associates is proud to announce the firm has been ranked no. 239 on INSIDE Public Accounting’s Top 300 Firms ranking list for 2015. “We are honored to be recognized nationally, alongside some of the best in the country,” said Steve Erchul, Managing Principal of Smith Schafer. “We continue to grow each year and this recognition demonstrates the loyalty and commitment of our team members and clients.”

View the list of the INSIDE Public Accounting 100, 200 and 300 firms.

Fly Local Supporters

Fly Local

We are proud to support the Rochester International Airport and Fly Local. Learn more here.

Pictured: Smith Schafer Rochester staff supporters! 

Red Wing Chamber Business Expo

Smith Schafer staff, Amanda Freund and Dianna Streed, enjoyed networking at the annual Red Wing Chamber Business Expo held at the St. James Hotel. 

Fall Tax Newsletter

Year-End Retirement Tax Planning

One relatively easy way to reduce exposure to a possible stock market correction without taking taxable gains is to sell equities held in a tax- advantaged retirement account such as an IRA or a 401(k). Transactions inside these accounts do not generate taxes.

Year-End Estate Tax Planning

In 2015, the federal estate tax exemption is $5.43 million. With little planning, a married couple can pass up to $10.86 million worth of assets to heirs, so no estate tax will go to the IRS. Those numbers will increase in the future with inflation. 

Small Business Accounting 101: Use Tax

Did you know?

  • The majority of businesses have a use tax LIABILITY.
  • The most frequent assessments made in audits involve UNREPORTED use tax.

Do you have a use tax LIABILITY?

  • Use tax is owed if you give a donation or give a gift of an item in which sales tax would have been due.
  • Use tax is owed if you bring items into Minnesota or when you take them out of inventory for a taxable use.
  • Use tax is owed if a seller does not charge Minnesota sales tax on taxable items.


  • Items purchased from an OUT-OF-STATE mail order company or over the INTERNET.

Never Forget

Remembering 9/11

Today we remember those who lost & gave their lives on 9/11 & the loved ones they left behind. 

How A Hiring Manager Can Best Attract Talent

Hiring exceptional talent is critical to a successful business. Today’s employment market is even more competitive than last year. Businesses are struggling to secure the top talent they need, resulting in a cut throat arena of added perks and benefits to reel desirable candidates in. In a job seeker’s market, you have to do a little selling and explain all of the ways your organization and opportunity are the best choice for them.


Try following these four tips for creating a desirable package for your candidates: