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:


Fall 2015 Tax Deadlines

September 15

  • Third installment of 2015 individual estimated tax is due.

September 15

  • Filing deadline for 2014 tax returns for calendar-year corporations with extensions of the March 16 deadline.

September 15

  • Deadline for filing extended 2014 partnership and limited liability company returns.

October 1

  • Deadline for businesses to adopt a SIMPLE retirement plan for 2015.

October 15

  • Filing deadline for 2014 individual tax returns on automatic six-month extensions of the April 15 deadline.

Case Study

Client's Liabilities Exceeded Assets.

Client Was Insolvent.


Smith Schafer Approach

Informal troubled debt restructuring. We reviewed clients list of vendors and selected the largest 25 accounts. We contacted vendors to explain client's situation and to request acceptance of a discounted amount as settlement in full on the outstanding balance. These vendor's accounts were several months in arrears. Those who chose to participate signed a simple document acknowleding partial payment as payment in full.


5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selecting an Auditor

Searching for an audit firm can be a time consuming and stressful task. However, it can be maneuvered easier if you know what to look for, have realistic expectations and ask the right questions.


Below are 5 items to ask yourself during the selection process: 


South Metro Young Professionals

Edina Senior Accountant, Kyle Spicer, enjoyed mini golf and HH with the South Metro Young Professionals group. Smith Schafer has a fundamental dedication to community involvement, networking and visibility. We regularly participate in fundraising and business activities with local organizations and groups. 


Top 3 Tax Concerns: Small Businesses

It may still be fishing and lake season for you here in Minnesota, but the end of 2015 will be here before you know it. Now is the time you should be preparing for the upcoming tax season.


Here are the Top 3 Tax Concerns we have heard from small business owners:


1. Multi-State Tax Issues 

Crossing state lines for a project may be a way to boost the bottom line, but doing so can also mean dealing with complex tax issues. States are adopting far-reaching rules and interpretations on the issue of nexus and it is important to understand your responsibilities.

Case Study

Client Looking to Buy Another Company

Target Company's Accounting Records were Weak and Inaccurate


Smith Schafer Approach

We discussed the problems with the attorney who was drafting the purchase documents on behalf of our client and it was decided to ask for expanded seller warranties regarding the financial records including the accuracy of the balance sheet as of the date of purchase. Seller financed approximately $150,000 of the sale price and we requested that any breach of warrantee have the right of offset.