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IRS Increases Flexibility for Section 125 Cafeteria Plan

Posted by Admin Posted on June 02 2020

As part of their response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released two notices providing additional flexibility for employers who maintain Internal Revenue code (IRC) section 125 cafeteria plans for their employees.

On May 12, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-29 and Notice 2020-33 to help taxpayers address anticipated health and dependent care expenses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under this collective guidance, employers have the option to amend their section 125 cafeteria plans and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to allow employees to make prospective midyear election changes, regardless of the reason, during calendar year 2020.





The general rule is employee elections for pre-tax payment of employer-sponsored health coverage, health FSAs and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs) must be made prior to the first day of the plan year. These elections are irrevocable for the plan year unless the employee experiences a permitted change in status or there are significant changes in the cost of coverage. This requirement includes an affirmative election to participate or a default election not to participate.

Also, employees enrolled in health FSAs and DCAPs generally forfeit unused amounts after the plan year comes to an end. This is widely known as the “use it or lose it” rule. Some health FSAs allow a grace period (not to exceed 2 ½ months after the end of the plan year) during which they may use amounts deferred in the prior year, or a carryover of up to $500. However, plans generally do not permit both the grace period and carryover.



How has COVID-19 impacted section 125 health coverage?


Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of pre-tax salary deferrals elected by many employees into the section 125 cafeteria plans have not matched their needs. For example, with most U.S. schools and day care centers closed since mid-March, many employees are not paying qualifying child care expenses and therefore will not incur the expenses they projected when they made their health plan elections. Similarly, employees who had to postpone scheduled medical procedures might have contributed more to their health FSAs than they can spend.

The significant impact of COVID-19 on the personal lives of employees may leave many wishing to adjust their health plan coverage for the year. For instance, they may wish to reduce future salary reductions due to a decrease in incurred qualifying expenses. Employees who experienced a furlough or reduced working hours might need to make a less expensive election for the remainder of the plan year. On the other hand, employees who contract the virus may incur extraordinary expenses and need increased benefits.

Therefore, without certain allowances from the authorities, many section 125 plan participants are unable to make mid-year adjustments to their health coverage to better suit their current needs. This is where Notice 2020-29 and Notice 2020-33 come into play.

We analyzed both notices and outlined the key points below.



Notice 2020-29


Mid-year changes for 2020

Per Notice 2020-29, an employer may amend its section 125 cafeteria plan to allow employees to take any of the following actions as a mid-year election made during calendar year 2020:

Employer-sponsored health coverage

  • Make a new election on a prospective basis, if the employee initially declined to elect employer-sponsored health coverage
  • Revoke an existing election and make a new election to enroll in different health coverage sponsored by the same employer on a prospective basis (including changing enrollment from self-only coverage to family coverage)
  • Revoke an existing election on a prospective basis, provided that the employee attests in writing that the employee is enrolled, or will immediately enroll, in other health coverage not sponsored by the employer

Health FSAs

  • Revoke an election
  • Make a new election
  • Decrease or increase an existing election on a prospective basis

Dependent care assistance program

  • Revoke an election
  • Make a new election
  • Decrease or increase an existing election on a prospective basis

Keep in mind that the amendment to make mid-year election changes is effective only to changes made during 2020 as a temporary means for employees to adjust their coverage for their personal needs. However, there is no requirement in Notice 2020-29 that an individual must be adversely affected by COVID-19 to be eligible for an election change.

Also of note: Section 3702 of the CARES Act, which became effective on March 27, 2020, expanded health FSAs to include over-the-counter medications.

Extended claims period

An employer may amend its section 125 cafeteria plan to permit employees to apply unused amounts remaining in a health FSA or dependent care assistance program at the end of the grace period or end of the plan year 2020 to pay or reimburse medical or dependent care expenses incurred through December 31, 2020.

The extended claims period may prove particularly helpful to employees who postponed elective medical, dental or vision procedures in 2020, as a result of the pandemic.

Retroactive relief for high deductible health plans (HDHPs)

Employers may retroactively apply the previously announced temporary relief for HDHPS (Notice 2020-15) to January 1, 2020. (Earlier IRS guidance allowed HDHPS to cover expenses related to COVID-19 and furnished a temporary exemption for telehealth services).



Notice 2020-33


Increased carryover cap

The IRS increased the maximum amount of unused funds that health FSA participants can carry over without penalty at the end of the plan year. Effectively, the carryover amount accounts for inflation by making the carryover cap 20% of the maximum deferral amount (which is $2,750 for plan year 2020).

As a result, the maximum unused amount from a plan year starting in 2020 allowed to carry over to the immediately following plan year beginning in 2021 is $550, an increase from the previous limit of $500. (Carryover amounts from plan year 2019 to 2020 remain unchanged at $500.)

The maximum carryover amount ($500 for 2019 and $550 for 2020, as noted above) does not count against the annual health FSA salary deferral limit ($2,700 for 2019 and $2,750 for 2020). Furthermore, carryover amounts can be used to pay or reimburse a participant for medical care expenses incurred during the following plan year. For example, amounts deferred under a health FSA in 2020 can be carried over to pay expenses in 2021.

Individual coverage health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)

Notice 2020-33 clarifies that a health plan can reimburse individual insurance policy premiums incurred before the beginning of the plan year for coverage provided during the plan year (which will help implement individual coverage HRAs).



As an employer, what should I do?


1. Determine which provisions of Notices 2020-29 and 2020-33 you will allow.

2. Contact your section 125 cafeteria plan administrator to coordinate:

  • The process to handle the increased volume of mid-year employee election changes.
  • The impact of the retroactive adoption date on previously forfeited amounts and employee contributions that need to be refunded.
  • The process to alert employees of the plan changes and their ability to make mid-year election changes.

3. Notify employees of the specific elections they can change and how to do so, as well as whether they will have additional time to use their plan balances at year end.

4. Execute the written plan amendment by December 31, 2021.



How can Yoder & Co. CPA help?


The Yoder team can work with you to discuss and assess how these health care plan changes may affect your tax situation. Be sure to contact your Yoder & Co. accountant on how to optimize your tax strategies for the continued changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delaying Payment of Old Tax Bills Is A Big Mistake

Posted by Admin Posted on May 12 2020

Delaying Payment of Old Tax Bills Is A Big Mistake

You know that long list of ways that the coronavirus has affected our lives? Well, here’s another one. The Internal Revenue Service has completely flipped a switch on its priorities, and it is not even looking at paper tax returns that are being sent to it. The idea of all those envelopes piling up somewhere is a bit mind-boggling, but it’s apparently what’s happening as the Treasury Department focuses on generating the stimulus checks that American taxpayers need to get through the crisis.

If you don’t owe the IRS money and you’re not looking to amend a previously filed tax return, this shift won’t mean much to you. You can rest easy knowing that the tax return and payments that would have been due in April are now not due until July 15th. But if you were hoping to get a refund from a previous year’s return via a return you amended (or need to amend), or if you owe the IRS money, you need to pay attention.

For the first of these two categories – the folks with amended returns – what you need to know is that you’re not likely to see any kind of response for quite a while. There’s no way to find out what the status is and the agency is pointedly advising people not to interpret the lack of response as a need to send in a new one. Doing so would just confuse things more. You need to sit tight.

If, however, you owe the IRS money from before the crisis occurred, there are no breaks on the penalties and interest that are stacking up. It may take the agency a while to get around to figuring it out, but if you decide to sit and wait ‘til you hear from them, you’re going to be in for a big shock. Your liability is not only still there, it’s adding on interest from the time that it was due. This is true on amended returns that reflect a liability as well.


How much could the interest and penalty add up to?

In a word – it could add up to a lot. Not only do you owe the original amount, you are also subject to accruing interest and a failure-to-pay penalty of 0.5% of your original liability for each month (or partial month) that it hasn’t been paid. That can rack up to 25% of the liability. There’s also a penalty if you failed to file on time, and that can add up to another 5% of the amount that you owe each month. Even if you can’t afford to pay your entire liability all at once, you’re much better off paying small parts over time than waiting and having all of that interest added to your debt. You can contact the IRS online to arrange for one of their installment agreements.

Remember that mountain of returns piling up somewhere? Keep that in mind when you’re ready to send the IRS your money. If you write a check it’s going to just sit there, and your interest is going to keep adding up. Opt for paying electronically via direct payment. Don’t worry about the fact that the paperwork is sitting in that big pile. The agency will eventually get around to going through it, and they’ll figure out which payment goes with which amended return.

If you have any questions about your old tax bills or current IRS operations, please call us at 916.488.5900.

Achieving PPP Loan Forgiveness

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 21 2020

Achieving PPP Loan Forgiveness

Businesses that have managed to secure financing through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are fortunate—but also saddled with a lot of red tape. Business owners and managers should be careful that they adhere strictly to the terms of the program, in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The historic $2.2 trillion stimulus bills included $350 billion towards the PPP, a forgivable loan program targeted to aid small businesses dealing with losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan program, which was rapidly flooded with applications, quickly maxed out the money available for emergency loans. Congress is expected to authorize more funds for the program, in the near future.

While business owners who did manage to secure a PPP loan are fortunate, they also have a lot of work ahead of them. In order to qualify for loan forgiveness, the PPP funds must be used for certain allowable purposes, including:

  • Salaries, wages, commissions, or similar compensations (up to $100,000 per year per employee, prorated);
  • Cash tips or equivalent;
  • Employee leave, including parental, family, medical, or sick (excluding family or sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act);
  • Allowances for dismissal or separation;
  • Group healthcare benefits, including insurance premiums;
  • Retirement benefits;
  • State or local taxes on employee compensation (not including the employer’s share of FICA payroll taxes, Railroad Retirement Act taxes, or other required U.S. income tax withholdings);
  • Continuation of group healthcare benefits during employee leave and insurance premiums;
  • Mortgage interest, rent, utility payments, and any other debt obligations incurred prior to February 15, 2020;
  • Compensation and income of up to $100,000 per year (prorated) for sole proprietors and independent contractors.

Money used for any of the allowable purposes listed above will qualify for 100% forgivenessloan money used for non-allowable purposes must be repaid. This means that businesses who take on PPP loans must shoulder a big burden of new reporting requirements. Failure to keep thorough records of how the loan money is used could result in loss of forgiveness for some portions of the loan money.  

In order to qualify for loan forgiveness, recipients will need to provide banks with specific information, including up-to-date financials. Organizations that have a controller or other such financial administrator on staff are more likely to be in a good position to meet the stringent reporting regulations. Businesses without such a team member would benefit greatly from securing outside help in order to adhere to the strict rules.

If your organization falls into the latter category, or if your financial administrator is not up to the task alone, you should seriously consider reaching out to Yoder & Co. CPA to discuss your options when it comes to outsourced accounting services. Our outsourcing team is prepared to help guide organizations in achieving successful PPP loan forgiveness and more. 

We can assist you with:

  • Accounting catchup and cleanup for the first quarter of 2020
  • Preparation of payroll cost calculations needed for the PPP application
  • Assistance with PPP and other loan applications related to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Help with performing real-time reporting in order to adhere to loan forgiveness regulations
  • Advice and guidance for post-pandemic success

Our team is here to offer sound advice, clear guidance, and knowledgeable input to help you achieve financial relief during this uncertain time. Contact us today to discuss how we can accommodate your unique situation. 

ALERT: IRS Clarifies Tax Deferral Option for Payroll Protection Program Borrowers

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 15 2020

New guidance from the IRS expands benefits for businesses seeking relief through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The IRS notice clarifies that employers who have received or are awaiting a PPP loan may take advantage of the CARES Act provision that allows them to defer paying the employer portion of social security payroll taxes effective March 27, 2020 and extending until their PPP loan is forgiven. Instead of paying these taxes when currently due, employers electing to defer will pay their portion of social security payroll taxes in two equal installments, with the first due December 31, 2021 and the second due December 31, 2022.

If you have questions concerning your company’s eligibility for or participation in PPP, contact your Yoder & Co. accountant today.

COVID-19 Relief: Overview of the CARES Act Tax Provisions

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 13 2020

COVID-19 Relief: Overview of the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. In addition to funding the health care fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the roughly $2 trillion legislation provides much-needed financial relief to individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and state and local governments during the pandemic. Here are some of the key provisions for individuals and businesses.

Economic Impact Payments

The CARES Act provides one-time direct Economic Impact Payments of up to $1,200 for single filers or heads of households; married couples filing jointly can receive up to $2,400. An additional payment of up to $500 is available for each qualifying child under age 17.

Economic Impact Payments are subject to phaseout thresholds based on adjusted gross income (AGI). The phaseouts begin at $75,000 for singles, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples.

The payments are phased out by $5 for every $100 of AGI above the thresholds. For example, the payment for a married couple with no children is completely phased out when AGI exceeds $198,000. The payment for a head of household with one child is completely phased out when AGI exceeds $146,500. And, for a single filer, it’s completely phased out when AGI exceeds $99,000.

Employee retention credit

The CARES Act creates a new payroll tax credit for employers that pay wages when:
•Their operations are partially or fully suspended because of certain government orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, or
•Their gross receipts have declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year.

Eligible employers may claim a 50% refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid (including health insurance benefits) of up to $10,000 that are paid or incurred from March 13, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

For employers who had an average number of full-time employees in 2019 of 100 or fewer, all employee wages are eligible, regardless of whether the employee is furloughed. For employers who had a larger average number of full-time employees in 2019, only the wages of employees who are furloughed or face reduced hours as a result of their employers’ closure or reduced gross receipts are eligible for the credit.

Be aware that additional rules and restrictions apply.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

This $349 billion loan program — administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) — is intended to help U.S. employers keep workers on their payrolls. To potentially qualify, you must have fewer than 500 full- or part-time employees. PPP loans can be as large as $10 million. But most organizations will receive smaller amounts — generally a maximum of 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs.

If you receive a loan through the program, proceeds may be used only for paying certain expenses, generally:
•Payroll (including benefits),
•Mortgage interest,
•Rent, and

Perhaps the most reassuring aspect of PPP loans is that they can be forgiven — so long as you follow the rules. And many rules and limits apply. Because of the limited funds available, if you could qualify, you should apply as soon as possible.

The CARES Act expands business access to capital in additional ways. Many of the other loan programs are also being administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Modifications of TCJA provisions

The CARES Act rolls back several revenue-generating provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This will help free up cash for some individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

The new law temporarily scales back TCJA deduction limitations on:
•Net operating losses (NOLs),
•Business tax losses sustained by individuals,
•Business interest expense, and
•Certain itemized charitable deductions by individuals and charitable deductions for corporations.

The new law also accelerates the recovery of credits for prior-year corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability.

Significant for the hard-hit restaurant and retail sectors, the CARES Act also fixes a TCJA drafting error for real estate qualified improvement property (QIP). Congress originally intended to permanently install a 15-year depreciation period for QIP, making it eligible for first-year bonus depreciation in tax years after the TCJA took effect. Unfortunately, due to a drafting glitch, QIP wasn’t added to the list of property with a 15-year depreciation period — instead, it was left subject to a 39-year depreciation period. The CARES Act retroactively corrects this mistake and allows you to choose between first-year bonus depreciation and 15-year depreciation for QIP expenditures.

Additional provisions under the CARES Act

The financial relief package under the CARES Act also includes provisions to:
•Significantly expand unemployment benefits for workers,
•Allow IRA owners and qualified retirement plan participants under age 59 ½ who suffer certain adverse effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic to withdraw in 2020 up to $100,000 and then recontribute the withdrawn amount within three years with no federal income tax consequences,
•Waive required minimum distributions (RMDs) from IRAs and retirement plans that would otherwise have to be taken in 2020 to avoid an expensive penalty,
•Provide an above-the-line charitable deduction of up to $300, generally for 2020 cash contributions to qualified charities, and
•Exclude from an employee’s taxable income up to $5,250 of employer payments made on the employee’s student loans from the date of the CARES Act’s enactment through December 31, 2020.
•The CARES Act also allows employers to defer their portion of payments of Social Security payroll taxes through the end of 2020 (with similar relief provided to self-employed individuals).

Need help?

Keep in mind that additional guidance could be released — or new legislation could be signed into law — that could affect these CARES Act provisions. And more relief measures may be forthcoming.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every household and business in some way. If you have suffered financial losses, contact us to discuss resources that may be available to help you weather this unprecedented storm.

We Cover Income Tax Preparation in Sacramento, CA for Individuals, Businesses, Nonprofits and Trusts

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 01 2019

Yoder & Co., CPA provides income tax preparation services in Sacramento, CA for individuals, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and fiduciary entities such as trusts.  They also represent clients before the IRS or state taxing authoriities when subject to a tax audit.  Tax planning is another part of the tax services provided, making them a one-stop shop for all your tax requirements.


Five Questions to Ask Accountants in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to estimate that there are thousands of accountants in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding area. However, accounting is much like any other profession in that some firms and accountants are inherently better at their jobs than others. Don’t you want the best person for the job when it comes to dealing with something as important as your money? Here are a few questions to ask an accountant before you ask him or her handle your finances:


  • What are your fees? It should come to as no surprise that all accountants charge fees for their services. After all, they’ve got to earn a living. The difference in costs from firm to firm can be enormous, but often times using a more expensive firm is worth the money. A more expensive firm usually offers more services and has better accountants.
  • What are your qualifications? Again, all accountants aren’t created equal. While we all have the same basic level of schooling, some accountants possess certain certifications that make them more qualified to handle your finances. You can bet that everyone on our staff is highly trained and certified to take on basically any task you can think of!
  • What do you specialize in? While we’ll likely never be faced with a life or death situation, accountants are kind of like doctors. Just like in the medical field, different accountants specialize in different areas. You wouldn’t go to a urologist if you have a headache, so don’t go to a corporate accountant if you just need help filing your personal taxes! We can handle a variety of different matters. From corporate accounting and consulting services to simple tax filing, we do it all.
  • Can you help me with taxes? This is the time of year when we see an influx of clients coming in needing help filing their taxes. While we’d love to assist everyone, we might be too booked to fit anymore clients into our busy schedules. Be sure to schedule appointments as early as you can to ensure you get all of the help you need.
  • How can I get a hold of you? Frequent communication is one of the biggest keys to a successful relationship between accountants and their clients. Before you agree to signing any papers, make sure you have a way to get in contact with your accountant. Whether it’s by phone, email or face-to-face communication, your accountant should be available to speak with you about your finances on a regular basis.

We want you to choose the best person to handle all of your finances and take care of your taxes. We’re confident that all of our accountants in Sacramento, CA can do a superb job. Give Yoder & Co., CPA a call today to set up an appointment with one of our professionals. We’re happy to answer any of the above questions, as well as any others you may think of, and we look forward to assisting you soon!

Five Things to Know About Retirement Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Most people work all their lives to reach the moment when they can finally walk out of the office for the last time and start living a life of leisure. The question is, will you be ready for retirement when the time comes? Without proper retirement planning in Sacramento, CA, the answer could be “no.” Here are a few things to consider before you hand in your retirement papers to the human resources director at your office:


  • Develop your retirement budget: Before you retire, it’s essential that you know roughly what your monthly expenses will be in the future. A good place to start is by looking at what you currently spend each month while you’re still working. Once you know that, you can start to get a better idea of what your expenses might be once you’re not earning a weekly paycheck. The last thing you want is to run out of money and have to go back to work!
  • Know how much you need to save: Hopefully you started saving for retirement a while back, so you could be ready for your last day of work. Your savings will hopefully make up a good portion of what you’ll be living on for the rest of your life, so you’ll want to make sure you have enough money in the bank to live a comfortable lifestyle. Factor in your monthly expenses as well as your plans for the future.
  • Find out what your retirement income will be: Assuming the government doesn’t eliminate Social Security in the next several years, you should be able to count on getting a monthly check as a reward for all of your years of hard work. You may also be able to count on a pension from your old company. That will be a nice little bonus each month to help pay for your bills and all of your fun retirement activities!
  • Keep an eye on your accounts: Knowing how much money you have in your portfolio is important at any age. But it’s extremely important to have a good idea of how much you have saved in various accounts once you’re not working anymore. Again, the last thing you want is to run out of money and have to return to the working world.
  • Know what you’re going to do in retirement: Okay, so this one doesn’t have so much to do with retirement finances as the others. However, having a purpose after you retire is one of the keys to living a successful post-work life! Whether it’s traveling the world, volunteering or spending time fishing, have something to do instead of just sitting around watching daytime TV all day.

Ernest Hemingway is believed to have said, “‘Retirement’ is the ugliest word in the language.” Only the retirees can tell us if that’s true! We want everyone to be knowledgeable about retirement so they can prove whether or not Hemingway was right. Give Yoder & Co., CPA a call today to get started with your retirement planning in Sacramento, CA!

How Can a CPA in Sacramento, CA Help You If You Missed Something on Your Tax Return?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Have you done your taxes yourself? Did you notice an error after you filed? Don’t let the panic set in, as you can get help from a CPA in Sacramento, CA. They can help you file the correct forms to begin the process of amending your taxes, even if you initially filed them on your own.

Filing IRS form 1040X to fix an error

By working with a CPA in Sacramento, CA, you will be able to send the necessary paperwork to the IRS that includes form 1040X. This will help you make the necessary adjustments to your tax return and allow you to breathe a sigh of relief knowing your return is now correct.

When you notice an error in your taxes, it is important not to wait and see whether the IRS catches it. This can make matters worse and end up costing you more. While you have three years to file an amendment to your taxes, penalties and interest start accruing the day after the required filing date. A CPA in Sacramento, CA can assist you in finding the error and make sure your form 1040X gets to the IRS as soon as possible.

If you are due a return from the error, form 1040X will allow you to collect this through your amended filing. If you owe taxes based on the error, it is important to fix this right away to prevent additional interest and penalties from adding up. A CPA will be able to review your tax return and make sure it is accurate when you file your amendment, and help you understand what is owed or what will be refunded to you.

Enlist the help of a CPA

If you have completed your tax return yourself, you can still enlist a CPA to help with any errors that have occurred. A CPA in Sacramento, CA is experienced in handling all sorts of tax return problems and will be able to identify where yours went wrong and make the adjustments necessary to fix the errors.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or too proud to enlist the help of a CPA after you have attempted to do your own taxes. It is more important to get errors fixed properly and quickly so you don’t have any issues with the IRS moving forward. Plus, CPAs see all sorts of tax return issues, and yours will not come as a surprise to them or be something they can’t handle.

Working with a CPA in Sacramento, CA can help you solve a tax return problem with ease. Your tax return will be amended to fix the error and alleviate any further problems with the IRS that you might have. Have your tax return errors fixed by Yoder & Co., CPA. We are a full service accounting firm with a strong reputation for helping our clients with all of their tax needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get your tax return underway—we look forward to assisting you!

Are You Informed of the New Laws for Tax Preparation in Sacramento, CA?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

With the end of the year comes tax time, and tax preparation in Sacramento, CA needs to be on your mind. Every year there are changes to the tax laws, and this year is no different. How informed are you? Do you know which new tax laws apply to your situation, and how you can make the most of them when you file your return? A tax professional can help you understand the new tax laws and prepare your taxes for you so you’re faced with the lowest possible tax burden.

Work with a CPA to understand the new tax laws

Several new tax laws have come into play for 2016, including changes to penalties for the Affordable Care Act and personal exemptions. Don’t take a guess on what these new laws mean for you. A CPA is experienced in dealing with these regulations and will have the best understanding of how these laws can impact your tax filing.

It can be tempting to try and do your taxes on your own, but you are taking a risk that you will make a mistake and miss an important exemption that you could have easily enjoyed. With professional tax preparation in Sacramento, CA, you leave the worry to the CPA, as it is their job to stay abreast of the current tax laws and how they affect you.

With your tax preparation in Sacramento, CA, you will be getting all the knowledge and expertise that a CPA has gained in preparing numerous tax returns each year. They guarantee their accuracy and can make sure you are able to take the most exemptions possible when filing your taxes.

Other tax law changes

This year also brings an unusual tax filing date that you might not be aware of. Instead of the standard April 15 due date, taxes are due on April 18, 2017 for the 2016 filing year, to account for the weekend. Changes such as these are something that your CPA certainly knows and will be able to inform you about when you have your tax preparation in Sacramento, CA done by a pro.

The earned income tax credit has also changed for this year, and not knowing this can cost you on your return and make it inaccurate. Not being aware of these important changes can impact your filing, and can maybe mean a difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars when it comes to your return. Trust in a CPA to file your return correctly and in line with the new tax laws that have been put into effect for this year.

There is a myriad of tax laws that have changed for 2016 that can impact your tax return filing. With professional tax preparation in Sacramento, CA, you take the guesswork out of the process and ensure you have a tax return that is accurate and up to date. To have your taxes done by a CPA, contact Yoder & Co., CPA. We provide an array of accounting services, from tax management to estate and trust oversight and payroll for individuals, businesses and organizations. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

Eight Reasons to Let a CPA in Sacramento, CA Handle Your Taxes This Year

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again when you need to start thinking about filing your taxes. Time really flies, doesn’t it? Once again you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to go about filing. You could take the DIY approach and buy a computer program that’s supposed to make the process easy to do alone. A better approach, however, is to bring all of your papers to a CPA in Sacramento, CA and let the pros handle your taxes. Here are a couple of reasons to do this:


  • CPAs know all the tax laws: Tax laws change all of the time. Chances are, you aren’t well versed on the new rules and regulations for this filing year. Luckily for you, a CPA in Sacramento, CA is an expert on all of the tax laws, and can help you avoid penalties and maybe even help you get more money back on your return.
  • CPAs can find more deductions: There are tons of tiny ways to get more money back on your return. A computer program might be able to find some of them, but only a CPA will be able to find all of them, which will help to maximize your 2017 return.
  • If you’re self-employed: Being your own boss can be pretty awesome—until it’s time to file your taxes. Calculating taxes as a business owner is far more complicated than for a person employed by a company. A CPA can find deductions that business owners often miss.
  • If you’ve had a major life change: A lot can happen in a year. Marriage, divorce, retirement, career changes and having children are all major life changes that can have a big effect on your taxes. A CPA will be able to help you figure out all of the new deductions you can claim.
  • If you inherited money or assets: Congratulations on inheriting money, property or other assets in 2016. The bright side is that you’ve just become a bit wealthier; the downside is that inheritance can actually be quite expensive. A CPA in Sacramento, CA can help you through the process and lessen the burden on your shoulders.
  • If you have multiple sources of income: It doesn’t matter where the extra income is coming from—filing your taxes gets harder with each additional source of money. Contact one of our tax professionals to easily navigate those tricky waters.
  • If you own rental properties: Owning a home and owning rental properties are two totally different animals. Owning rental properties can really add to your refund check if you’re working with a professional who knows how to find the right deductions.
  • To save time: While it’s true that computer programs make the process of filing your own taxes a lot easier than it had been in the past, it’s still a time-consuming process. Save yourself a lot of time, stress and headaches by hiring a CPA to handle your taxes this year!

Don’t risk missing out on any deductions or running into problems with the IRS this tax season. Yoder & Co., CPA is your source for an accurate CPA in Sacramento, CA. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our tax pros.

Seven Steps for Tax Preparation in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

It’s never too early to begin preparing your taxes for next year. Waiting until the last minute to file your taxes can be super stressful for you and your accountant. As an added bonus, the earlier you bring all of your papers in to your CPA, the more quickly your accountant will be able to get your refund back to you. Keep in mind, however, that dropping all of your papers off on an accountant’s desk doesn’t mean you’ve properly prepared your taxes. Here are a few of the steps you can take for more productive tax preparation in Sacramento, CA:


  • Choose an accountant soon: CPAs get booked up pretty quickly this time of year, and you don’t want to get stuck without one by the time April rolls around. Ask your friends and family to refer you to a good and fair accountant. Be sure to ask about the preparer’s fees before you agree to have him or her work on your taxes.
  • Make an appointment: Once you’ve found a preparer that you’d like to work with, schedule a meeting with him or her. Again, the longer you wait to meet with your preparer, the longer it’ll take to get the process underway—and get your refund back.
  • Gather your tax forms: By the end of next month, you should have received a nice stack of papers in the mail that are necessary to file taxes. The most common form people get is probably a W-2 from employers, and various 1099 forms related to any other sources of income, like Social Security benefits. Your CPA will be able to tell you all of the forms you’ll need during your initial meeting.
  • Get all of your receipts together: You can opt to take deductions for certain items rather than the standard deduction. Of course, you’ll need itemized receipts to do that. You can also take deductions for medical bills that weren’t covered by your insurance company. If you own a business, you’ll need receipts for business expenses and records from your accounting system (such as QuickBooks).
  • Find your donation records: Donating to charities makes you feel good, and can earn you a larger return in 2017. Make sure you bring in proof of your donations in order to get more money back!
  • Have a list of personal information: In addition to the information listed above, your CPA will need some basic information about you. Hopefully you already know your Social Security number, but your accountant will also need some information that may harder to remember. Examples include: dates you’ve moved, previous addresses and addresses of vacation homes or rental properties. Again, this is different for each individual, and your CPA will let you know what info they’ll need during your meeting.
  • Bring last year’s return: Your preparer will need a copy of your 2015 return in order to complete 2016’s taxes. Since you should be saving several years’ worth of tax information anyway, this should hopefully be easy to produce.

Getting all of this information together will make your CPA’s life a lot easier, and can end up saving you money in the long run. Start your tax preparation in Sacramento, CA today by giving the professional accountants at Yoder & Co., CPA a call to schedule a consultation!

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Tax Preparation in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Filing taxes every year is not everyone’s cup of tea. Reasons for this can vary, yet unpreparedness and plain old not understanding the tax process are typical responses. But suffer no more, because luckily for you, there are professional tax services out there—like Yoder & Co., CPA—who are ready and willing to give you a helping hand this tax season and beyond. No matter what, it’s important that you know a little about your taxes. To get started, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions concerning tax preparation in Sacramento, CA.

What documents do I need to keep to do my taxes?

Whether you are planning on filing your own taxes or hiring a CPA, there are a number of documents you will need to have in your possession come tax time. This includes detailed records of your income, expenses and any other individual or small business information you typically divulge on your yearly tax returns. In the event you’ve gone through a major life change—like a death, birth, adoption or real estate purchase—it’s a good idea to keep these records on hand should you need to document additional information on your taxes.

A good record keeping system can make doing your taxes a bit less stressful, and having the proper financial information in front of you can even save you money. Moreover, these records will prove beneficial in case you are audited.

What pieces of paper should I hang onto throughout the year?

For the current tax year, you need to hang onto any papers regarding your income and deductible expenses. As mentioned above, these are the types of records that will help you should the IRS send an auditor to knock on your door. There are quite a few relevant tax records and receipts, particularly related your income—this includes your total wages, interest, dividends and oftentimes health account contributions. If filing jointly, you will also need your spouse’s income information. Examples of other records to keep are medical expenses, charitable donations, business expenses and deductible education costs.

Are there any other types of tax records I should keep?

Yes! You need to write out detailed and accurate records for the things you acquire or buy or do that are worth a pretty penny. Keep these tax records and receipts to prove how much you paid for something you are liable to sell later on:


  • Keep records of capital assets: This includes collections like antiques, coins and other rare items, and also jewelry and stocks and bonds.
  • Keep records if…: You purchased a new home or other types of property. Also, file away receipts and information detailing any significant home improvements.
  • Keep records regarding rentals: Clearly document everything you do for your rental or investment property, like new property purchases, improvement projects and ongoing maintenance costs.

If you are invested in working with a professional service for your individual or small business tax preparation in Sacramento, CA, don’t hesitate to contact the skilled and knowledgeable team at Yoder & Co., CPA. Give us a call today!

Common Mistakes a Small Business Might Make When Looking for a CPA in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Owning your own small business is a great feeling, and if you’re like many others, these feelings are likely to present as personal strength, confidence and independence. There’s no doubt that every aspect of your business is important but, for several reasons, your business’ finances should be at the top of your most watched list. So, while you could hire a person who’s good with numbers, the truth is that he or she may not be an actual small business accountant with the knowledge to guarantee a stress-free tax time.

Think it’s time to hire a pro? Don’t wait—there’s no time like the present to seek out a professional certified public accountant! To help you with your search, here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid as a small business owner when looking for a CPA in Sacramento, CA.

Hiring the first accountant you meet

Indeed, you may like everything about the first accountant you interview. Their personality matches your own, they’ve presented themselves well and they have accounting experience. But do they have the right kind of tax and accounting experience for your particular type of business? Recording small business bookkeeping information and maintaining expense reports requires a keen eye, and it’s different from doing individual finances. So, if they have the right qualifications to work as an accountant, but don’t possess the necessary knowledge about the industry you are in or even about small business accounting in general, you will want to interview others.

Not writing down your business’ needs

As a small business owner, you are either meticulous about noting every aspect of your daily business operations or you lack the bug for caring about detail. Whichever describes you, it’s crucial that you get organized and write down your business’ needs before heading off to the hiring process. If you’re the less detailed-oriented type, get other team members to help you out. At the top of your interview notes should be questions pertaining to your business and industry, as well as questions that will give you a better understanding of a CPA’s knowledge in the area of small business finances.

Thinking you can do some or all of the finances

There are three likely scenarios here: 1) You let a current employee who is somewhat finance-savvy take on the responsibility, 2) you think you can do all of the business finances yourself or 3) you assume you’ll have the time to cram in financial record-keeping in between your other million responsibilities. If you think not having to hire a professional CPA in Sacramento, CA will save your business money, you may want to think again. While doing the finances yourself may save money in the short term, doing so can show a loss in the long run, as well as unintentionally reporting the wrong tax information.

For your business to succeed now and remain firmly in the game for a long time, you must take your business’ finances seriously—even if that means bringing someone in to help. Contact the team at Yoder & Co., CPA to speak with a qualified CPA in Sacramento, CA today!

Protect Your Financial Future with Holiday Spending Tips from Your Trusted CPA in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

The holidays are just around the corner, which means that between presents, parties and more, you are likely either excited and ready or scared about going broke. With that in mind, it’s important to learn how to protect your financial future with holiday spending tips from your trusted CPA in Sacramento, CA:


  • Create a budget: Without a doubt, you should be creating budgets every month, including a budget for groceries, gas, entertainment and things you want. The same principles applies to buying gifts for friends and family to celebrate the holidays, but oftentimes we find ourselves going a bit overboard because we don’t want to disappoint. So, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to set a spending budget, which can either be per person or overall. Do your best to stick to your budget, or even come out having spent less.
  • Give handmade gifts: Let’s say you’re creating a holiday spending budget, only to realize that you won’t have the cash to pay off your credit card. Whether money is tight or you don’t want to spend a whole lot, giving handmade gifts is a good option. Give framed photos, make tree ornaments, put your baking skills to work and bake up a few goodies to wrap up for others or simply give out handmade cards filled with holiday wishes.
  • Plan party expenses: Whether throwing a party for family and friends or your coworkers at the office, you should budget out your holiday parties. List out the food, drinks, decorations and party favors, as well as the cost of renting a venue, if applicable. Request an early enough RSVP to ensure you budget correctly.
  • Don’t assume your bonus: Since holiday work bonuses are typically not given until the end of the year, don’t assume that the dollar amount will be as big as in years past. Assuming can lead to overspending, and this can leave you less cheery come the New Year. Therefore, a good way to go would be to budget for the holidays based on what you can afford now, without your bonus.
  • Make a gift list: Write out lists to avoid spending more because of last minute expenses. For presents, write down everyone’s name you want to buy a gift for, with the dollar amount you can comfortably spend on each recipient. You should also create a list for recipients of personal handmade gifts so you don’t forget to make them.
  • Keep receipts: What you can do to help your CPA in Sacramento, CA help you come tax time—or when going over your individual or business finances—is to hang onto all of your receipts from the holidays. Start by placing all of your gift and expense receipts in an envelope labeled “personal holiday expenses.” Do the same for holiday expenses that pertain to your business. Also, check that a purchase can be written off, if that’s the only way you can get it.

If you need a CPA in Sacramento, CA to help you out this holiday season and year round, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Yoder & Co., CPA. We’re here for you!

Seek Advice from Professional Accountants in Sacramento, CA Regarding These Five Career Decisions

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Although talking about big life changes with your spouse or family is a must, there’s another person you should plan on talking to: your personal accountant. This is a good thing considering there’s a lot that goes on with your finances. When you sit down with your CPA to discuss potential changes to your financial life, they will undoubtedly remind you that your decision also hinges on family considerations and how things are going in the larger economy.

With this in mind, here are five individual career decisions that professional accountants in Sacramento, CA can help you with:


  • Job offers: So, you’ve gone through three separate interviews vying against dozens of other applicants for one position, and you’ve just been offered the job! At this point, you may want to respond to the company with a “yes,” but what you should do instead is tell them you want to mull it over for a couple of days first. Gather everything in relation to your current and potential job that pertains to money, then schedule an appointment with your accountant. They can help you see the financial benefits or pitfalls of the new job offer and determine whether it’s a good move for you to make right now.
  • Career changes: On the other hand, you may have a strong pull to change careers. As this happens to people of all ages, your desire to make a career change is not unusual. Your accountant can map out how things might look financially, or even act like a career counselor to ensure that the new career field you’re interested in makes sense.
  • Starting a small business: You will definitely want to speak with a CPA before starting a small business, not only to make sure you can do it financially without going broke, but also to make sure your idea has a good solid plan, complete with all the initial expenses outlined. They will look through the books at everything from your retirement investments to the financial needs of your family before recommending a course of action.
  • Relocation: Whether you need to relocate for work or simply want a change, there will be costs associated with moving—that is, unless the company you work for is paying all your relocation costs. But if you have to fork over the cost of a move, then consulting with an account is a good place to start to find out the pros and cons of relocating, including putting stuff into storage, hiring movers, moving a vehicle, paying for transportation to get there, handling DMV registration in a new state and arranging temporary accommodations.
  • Selling and buying a home: Can you still afford to buy a new home in a new state even after selling your current home? This is important to determine beforehand to avoid a big mess, because you don’t want to make arrangements that you cannot follow through on.

Should you ever end up with a difficult career decision on your plate, you can look to certified accountants in Sacramento, CA to offer a helping hand. Contact the tax professionals at Yoder & Co., CPA today!

Let Accountants in Sacramento, CA Help You Write Off Your Taxes as a Business-Related Purchase

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

When it comes time to prepare your small business taxes, you need all the help you can get, from understanding what a business expense is and what counts toward it. Did you know that you can write off your taxes as a business purchase? Accountants in Sacramento, CA can help you understand the practice and get you prepared for your next tax return filing.

Writing off your tax services

Using accountants in Sacramento, CA for your tax return preparation can be an expense that small businesses have to incur in order to stay in business. They can help you navigate the federal tax regulations and make sure you are staying compliant, while still getting the most benefit from your tax filing as possible.

If you use accountants in Sacramento, CA for your small business tax preparation, in most instances, it is fully deductible, making it an expense that is easier to digest. You can deduct the tax services that you use in the same year that you pay for them. This means that you can write off the tax preparation costs in the same year you use them, giving you an incentive to go with a tax service to have your small business taxes completed.

As a small business, you are most likely itemizing your deductions, as you will have a number of expenditures that you can write off. You are able to claim your accounting fees as one of these itemized deductions as part of your income tax filing. Accountants in Sacramento, CA will know how to prepare your small business income taxes so your return includes your tax preparation fees as part of your yearly deductions.

Keeping accurate records

While you most likely are using an accounting service to have your small business taxes prepared, in order to ensure you can write off this service, you need to have records that you actually obtained this work for your small business. Keeping good records is key to your tax preparation, and you need to hang on to all receipts related to your small business expenses. An accounting firm will be able to provide you a receipt for the services they completed for your business taxes. Just be sure to hang onto it in case you are ever audited, as you will then have a record of what you claimed on your taxes and filed as part of your tax return.

There is no limit to the amount you can write off on your taxes for accounting services, making it a wise investment to go with accountants in Sacramento, CA for your tax preparation. When you need accounting or tax services, contact Yoder & Co., CPA. We offer a range of tax services for individuals and businesses, both big and small. From federal and state returns to employee benefit plan taxation, we can ensure you are provided with accurate tax filings and answer any questions you might have about your taxes or accounting needs. Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation.

We Cover Tax Preparation in Sacramento, CA for Both Individuals and Businesses

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

When you need tax services, it’s good to know that you can count on a business like Yoder & Co., CPA for everything you need. We offer a variety of different tax preparations in Sacramento, CA for both individuals and businesses, making us a one-stop shop for all your tax requirements. Our services range from general tax preparation to more complicated services like estates and trusts. Whatever you are looking for, Yoder & Co., CPA offers it:


  • Income tax preparation: Whether you are an individual looking to get your taxes done or a corporation with complex needs, Yoder & Co., CPA offers tax preparation in Sacramento, CA just for you. We cater to a range of clients for this service and can be entrusted to provide accurate accounting of your income taxes.
  • Estates and trusts: Call Yoder & Co., CPA for your estate and trust tax preparation in Sacramento, CA. We are experienced in this tax area can ensure your estates and trusts are handled in the most positive way with your best interests in mind.
  • Employee benefit plans: As a business or corporation, you are exposed to the complicated world of employee benefit plans and need to prepare your organization’s income tax returns accordingly. Working with Yoder & Co., CPA can give you the maximum return for your company and provide you with the attention and knowledge you need in this area.
  • Unrelated business taxable income returns: If you are receiving taxable income from an area other than employment, you need to consider filing income tax returns on this income. Getting tax preparation in Sacramento, CA through Yoder & Co., CPA will ensure you are reporting this income to the best of your ability and not leaving yourself vulnerable to penalties.
  • Extensions: Sometimes life gets the best of us and we need an extension when filing our income tax returns. Yoder & Co., CPA can file an extension for you or your business to make sure you are staying within the guidelines of filing income tax within the prescribed time limits.
  • Amendments: If you or your business needs to make a change to your filed tax return, Yoder & Co., CPA can help. With knowledge about the correct procedures for filing amendments, we can make sure you make the needed corrections on time and in the best way possible.
  • Representation: If you get audited, Yoder & Co., CPA can help represent you before the IRS or state tax authorities. We can walk you through the process and ensure you feel at ease during the proceedings. It’s good to know that you have Yoder & Co., CPA on your side.

When you or your business is in need of tax preparation in Sacramento, CA, be sure to contact Yoder & Co., CPA to help you with the process. We are an experienced and knowledgeable accounting firm dedicated to our clients, whether they are individuals, corporations or small businesses. Give us a call today to learn more about what we can offer you!

How Your Accountant Can Help You Start Saving for College

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

In this job market, a college degree is vital to landing a well paying and secure job. Because of this, many parents are already worrying about how they will pay for their child’s college education years from now. College is expensive and the price tag is only increasing. Many graduates are finding themselves drowning in thousands of dollars of student loans.

As a parent, you want your child to enter the job market on their best standing without being weighed down by financial burden. Fortunately, your certified public accountant in Sacramento, CA can help you take the proper steps to help you start saving for your son or daughters college education.  By saving money while your child grows up, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your kids have a financial cushion when it comes time to pick a university.

Start saving early

Saving for college is probably the last thing you’re thinking about while holding your newborn baby. Saving for college is something you should begin thinking about relatively early in your child’s life. Think about it this way—the earlier you start, the more money you will have tucked away when it’s time for the first tuition payment. Meet with your certified public accountant in Sacramento, CA to determine how much money you’ll ideally need by the time your son or daughter turns 18. Then your accountant will help you calculate how much money you will need to save each month to reach that amount.


One major benefit of saving early means that you have time to determine which saving plan works best for you. While there are a variety of options, each savings plan offers different benefits. California residents can take advantage of a 529 plan, which works to help families better plan for future education costs. Another option to consider is an education savings account. This type of plan allows you to contribute up to $2,000 annually. While that might not seem like much, if you start contributing the maximum amount after your child is born you’ll have $36,000 by the time they’re 18! As an added bonus, all withdrawals are tax free. Still unsure which option is best for you? Then consult a certified public accountant to determine whether a 529 plan, educations savings account or another option entirely is best suited for your college savings goals.

Consider other options

You do not have to bear the entire financial burden of your child’s college education as there are many other options. Many universities offer a variety of scholarship and financial aid options based on educational qualifications, talent and need. Your child can begin applying for these in their early teenage years. Once you have a sense of how much outside funding you’ll be able to take advantage of, meet with your CPA at Yoder & Co., CPA. Our team of qualified professionals will help you find a way to pay for college without struggling—whether that means turning to student loans or savings. Contact us today to get started!

Certified Public Accountants: More than just Taxes

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

For many people, the thought of hiring a certified public accountant isn’t even considered until tax season rolls around. But accountants don’t just sit around waiting for tax season—their work is quite important throughout the entire year.

Accountants are heavily involved in a variety of industries, including healthcare, real estate, construction and even individual non-business needs. A CPA can help you with everything from tax preparation and auditing to financial planning. Unlike an accountant, a CPA has earned the title through extensive education, licensing and experience. Even the most financially savvy people can benefit from the work of an accountant.

Here are just a few ways a certified public accountant in Sacramento, CA can benefit you and your small business—even outside of tax season:

Personal financial planning

Any family can benefit tremendously from having a CPA take a look at their financial state. A trained CPA can help you and your loved ones plan for the future by helping you determine the best decisions when it comes to planning for retirement, saving for college, interpreting your benefits or when weighing a major career decision. A professional will build a close client relationship that adds long-term value. Your CPA will help you identify the best decisions for both you and your loved ones.

Business planning

Operating a small business can be intimidating. Most business owners do not enter their chosen industry with a degree in accounting. Luckily for you, a CPA can help you navigate your way through complicated tax terms and assist in planning for future needs of the business. Most CPA’s recommend meeting periodically to assess your company strategy. This way you’ll know what challenges to anticipate before they compromise your business.

A CPA can also assist with building a budget, increasing profitability and identifying areas where costs can be reduced. Any business owner knows these aspects are crucial to running a successful business. So stop worrying about managing the budget and shift your focus to what really matters when it comes to your business by hiring a CPA.

Tax planning

Tax management can be incredibly complicated. With tax laws changing sporadically, it can be difficult for any business or home owner to keep up with all the new rules. A CPA can help you navigate the complicated world of taxes. By meeting regularly with your CPA, they can help you minimize taxes and avoid steep penalties.

But smart tax planning isn’t something that can be done two weeks before your taxes are due. Ensuring you are able to hang on to your hard earned cash entails communicating regularly with your CPA about any changes in marital status, new loans, buying a home or new incomes. This way, filing your taxes will be a breeze once April rolls around!

Ready to begin growing and retaining your wealth? Contact the experienced professionals at Yoder & Co. today.

Five Strategies to Find the Right CPA in Sacramento, CA for Your Financial Needs

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Money is a dicey subject, so much so that trusting an outside person to manage it may be a hard thing for you to do. Whether you need assistance planning for the future or could use a hand preparing your taxes, working with a professional is a great option to avoid unnecessary financial issues. Make this the year you stop struggling through the numbers on your own! With that in mind, here are five strategies you can use to find the right CPA in Sacramento, CA for your specific financial needs:


  • Interrogate the financially responsible: We all have that one friend or family member who’s super good with money. This person pays their bills on time and has no credit card debt, and their savings account is healthier than ever. Also, they seem happier and never stressed out during tax season. In your search for a certified public accountant, these are the types of people you want to seek recommendations from.
  • Check out LinkedIn: Social media is a good starting point for research into individual and company accountants. Search LinkedIn for local CPAs on your connections and networking lists, as well as generally, and then click around on profiles. It’s important that the profiles you’re viewing are updated with current information so a potential client such as yourself can not only find a direct link to a CPA’s website, but can also view their work history or offered financial services right there on their page.
  • Read online reviews: You can do so much more than simply find your friends and play games on Facebook. The popular social media site has grown to become an essential marketing tool by offering business pages to business owners. Facebook Pages now allows a section for clients and customers to leave reviews and ratings on their experiences. Also, there are many online sites created specifically for reviewing businesses, and some even open up forums to reviewer comments.
  • Schedule a meet and greet: Once you’ve narrowed down your search—or you have a pretty solid recommendation—go down your list and schedule a time to meet with each potential CPA in Sacramento, CA. This is the time to ask questions about the services they offer, their rates and their accounting background.
  • Ask for references: It’s not rude to ask a tax professional or company to supply you with a few references from clients who are willing to vouch for them and speak honestly. In fact, it is encouraged, because you don’t want to leave your financial life in the hands of just any average Joe. After all, hearing the experiences of others can leave you with a good idea of whether or not you want to work with a certain CPA.

The mere thought of having to handle taxes or look into financial planning can send even the calmest person into a tailspin. But you don’t have to go it alone. When the time is right and you’re ready to entrust your accounting needs to a professional, give us a call at Yoder & Co., CPA to begin working with a CPA in Sacramento, CA.

Major Life Events That Will Change Up Your Tax Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

As much as we would like to have complete and total control over everything that happens in our lives, that’s just not how the world works. But that’s not to say we can’t keep some amount of control over certain aspects of life. So, while we can choose to buy a house or start a business, what we can’t control are happenings like the death of a loved one or needing to care for an aging parent.

As your life changes, what you can and cannot claim on your taxes is likely to shift. Let’s take a look as some major life events that will impact your tax planning in Sacramento, CA:


  • Retirement: You’ve worked most of your life, and now you’re ready to retire from the daily grind. No more filing taxes, right? Well, there are some cases in which a retired person may receive more money than just monthly Social Security payments. These are the retired folks receiving regular distributions through qualified retirement plans, or who have decided to withdraw everything from various retirement accounts. If you no longer work as an employee but earn income in another way, you’ll want to talk to a CPA about how this can impact your taxes.
  • Caring for elderly parents: This can seem confusing—especially if your brain is not tax savvy—but with the right decisions during your tax planning in Sacramento, CA you can claim an elderly parent on your taxes. Before you can do this, your parents’ gross income and the total amount of yearly financial support you provide to them will be closely examined. Whether you’ll be claiming the dependent care credit or not, there is a deduction available for the amount of out-of-your-pocket medical expenses based on your adjusted gross income.
  • Death of a spouse: Should your spouse pass away, you retain the option of either filing as married filing jointly or married filing separately for the year your spouse died. But the year of death is the last year you will be able to file a joint income tax return. If you have children you can still claim as dependents and you have not remarried, ask your tax preparer about how to file as a qualifying widow or widower, and how long you can do so.
  • Starting a small business: For help with managing startup costs and funds for marketing and advertising—and later payroll services and employee benefit plans—you may want to consider hiring a certified public accountant to advocate for your new business. This is an especially good investment in the early stages of your business. A financial advisor can make sure that your bookkeeping is correct, ensure employees are getting paid, file away all necessary paperwork for each tax year and advise you on things that involve your business’s finances.

Have you experienced a major event in your life? Anything that presents itself as a change that requires you to do your taxes a little bit differently than before can be intimidating and confusing. For help with tax planning in Sacramento, CA, contact the professionals at Yoder & Co., CPA today.

Understanding the Three Legally Recognized Types of Wills

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

If you and your family are beginning the estate planning process in Sacramento, CA, you may find yourself putting together a will. You’re on the right track, as there are a number of reasons that having a will is essential. Taking the time to get some very important questions in order with proper answers is something everyone and anyone needs to consider at some point in their life.

A will dictates who will receive your property after your death and who will take care of your children, if you have them, after you die. Making a will ensures that your loved ones are provided for according to your desires and that these details about how they will be taken care of are presented in a very clear and specific fashion.

Before you begin contemplating the contents of your will, it’s important to understand the three legally recognized types of wills. The following details should be used for general informational purposes, as you—and your estate planning professional—should also take a look at your particular state’s laws to determine what types of wills are legally valid in your state.

Some states may allow all three of the following types of wills, while others may allow some types but not others and other states may have laws about additional types of wills that are considered legally valid.

Three Legally Recognized Types of Wills

Holographic will: The person creating this type of will prepares the entire document completely by hand, including the signature and date. It does not have witnesses and is not considered legally valid in all states. If it is being used, it should ideally only be created as a final resort.

Nuncupative will: A nuncupative will is an oral will. This type of will is only considered acceptable by a few states and under a small set of circumstances. As an example, a state may view it as legally valid only if the person creating it could not prepare a written will because of unexpected illness that resulted in death. These are generally only used to cover personal property, and some states may set a maximum amount for the value of the property in question.

Typewritten or witnessed will: Every state accepts this type of will. It must meet a particular state’s requirements for witnesses. As an example, a state may dictate that a witness to this type of will be a certain age or older and be considered to be credible.

In addition to assisting with will preparation, Yoder & Company, CPA specializes in tax and financial matters for individuals, businesses, nonprofits and fiduciary entities such as estates, trusts and employee benefit plans. We offer tax planning and preparation, accounting assistance and human resources compliance, among other services.

If you have questions about completing any of the types of wills described above or need to set up an appointment for other estate planning services in Sacramento, CA, contact our expert team at 916-488-5900 today.

How to Pick a Responsible Trustee When Trust Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Are you or your family beginning work on trust planning in Sacramento, CA? An essential part of this process is selecting a responsible trustee you can rely on. This post will address how to choose the right trustee for your needs, but first, let’s look at some basic terminology.

A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one person provides another—known as the trustee—with the right to maintain title for property or assets for a beneficiary (a third party). These relationships are common during the estate planning process and help ensure that your assets are distributed accurately to the parties that you have specified.

How Do I Choose a Trustee?

Choosing a trustee is a decision that may require careful thought. First and foremost, you should select someone who will be responsible in their position of power. Here are some tips on identifying such a person:

Has the person you’re considering already shown they’re responsible? Maybe your potential trustee has a history of managing other financial matters responsibly or of being conscientious in seeing other large tasks through and making careful decisions. This is a good sign.

An additional sign that your designated trustee will be able to actively and successfully manage your trust is that the person makes a point to stay up to date on other important paperwork, policies and legal matters they are involved with.

Has the person made important decisions in an objective way? Your trustee should be able to separate their personal feelings and relationships from their role as a trustee and make logical, clear decisions that are best for the trust.

Does the person communicate well? You want a trustee who is prompt in addressing any issues or questions about the trust and who can articulate the necessary information to you and other involved parties in an easy-to-understand manner. Previous experience serving as a liaison in formal or informal capacities may be helpful here.

In addition to feeling generally comfortable with your trustee, you should feel comfortable communicating openly and honestly with this person.

Does the person fully understand all nuances of the trust? This person should be well versed in understanding your wishes and in navigating the terminology and procedures related to the trust. If they receive new information or are not clear on something, you should feel comfortable that they will take the time to do the necessary research or ask the relevant questions to find out what they—and you—need to know.

Does the person take the trustee role seriously? You should seek a trustee who understands how important it is to you—and your beneficiaries—that your wishes be carried out correctly. This person should treat both you and the trustee role itself with respect.

As you work to identify the appropriate trustee for your needs, contact our team of knowledgeable professionals at Yoder & Company, CPA. We can work with you and your trustee at the beginning stages of this arrangement and throughout the trust management process. We are here to help you demystify and manage your trust planning needs in Sacramento, CA.

Talk to a CPA in Sacramento, CA About Making Next Year’s Taxes a Little Easier

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

While it probably feels like you just finished doing your taxes for the year, it’s never too late to start planning for next year’s tax deadline. Don’t leave everything until the last minute next April—start by tracking and organizing your tax documents now. Meet with a CPA in Sacramento, CA to make a plan to help you to stay on track so tax time won’t be so stressful next year. Here are some easy tips to help you manage your taxes all year long:


  • Stay organized: Start now by keeping track of receipts and documents that you will need in the coming year to prepare your taxes. Keep a log of planned deductions so you know what to claim the following year. Think about anything that may have caused issues with this year’s taxes. Take the steps now to ensure the same headaches don’t occur next year. Talk to your CPA in Sacramento, CA about the paperwork you will most likely need for your taxes, and start collecting this information early. By planning ahead now, you will be well organized to tackle your taxes with ease.
  • Adjust tax withholdings: Now that you have completed you taxes for this year, you should have a good snapshot of what your tax withholdings look like. Did you have to pay additional taxes this year? If so, you are probably not having enough withheld from your paycheck. Adjust this level so, next year, you don’t have to pay penalties. Did you receive a large refund? You may want to adjust your tax withholding to a smaller amount so you can use the money throughout the year. A CPA in Sacramento, CA can help you decide what level of withholding allows you to experience the lightest tax burden.
  • Plan for life events: Do you have a major life change happening in the next year? These may include such things as buying a home, selling or refinancing your home, having a baby, getting married or going back to school. All of these items can affect your financial situation and change what kinds of deductions you might be able to claim. By planning for these events in advance, you will be prepared for how this will alter your tax return for the next year. Talk to a CPA in Sacramento, CA about the ways any life changes might impact your taxes.
  • Make an appointment with your CPA: Plan ahead and make an appointment now with your CPA in Sacramento, CA. They won’t be as busy this time of year and will be able to take the time with you to develop a plan for next year’s taxes. Meet with them, discuss any problems you had with your taxes this year and talk about what you can do differently next time.

By making a plan now for next year’s taxes, you won’t feel so pressured and frazzled next spring. Get a strategy in place early to avoid the problems you had with your taxes this year. Staying organized and informed will make the process go smoother. A CPA in Sacramento, CA can help you learn what you need to manage throughout the year to be ready for tax season next year. Make an appointment with Yoder & Co., CPA to create a plan for your next year’s taxes. We can provide professional guidance on preparing for tax season and offer personalized services that are designed to make your financial worries a lot less stressful.

Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

While it’s not something that everyone wants to think about, an estate plan is something that everyone should have in place. When done right, estate planning in Sacramento, CA can result in a much less stressful process for those you leave behind. Knowing what you need to have in place for your estate plan can help you plan for the unexpected and be well prepared.

Managing your estate

Estate planning in Sacramento, CA can be done at any age and is especially advisable for people with children. It is good to have a plan in place to settle your assets and manage processes related to your health care.

It’s a good idea to set up a life insurance policy as part of your estate planning. This is a good idea particularly if you have children living under your roof. This will help protect your assets and give your family some security. A good option is life insurance with a 20- or 30-year term that covers the time when your children are minors.

You will also want to develop a will as part of your estate planning in Sacramento, CA. This will dictate what happens to your assets and how they should be divided up. This will take care of personal heirlooms and special mementos that you have, not to mention valuable assets and property. It will also detail who will get custody of your children in the event that something should happen to you. This is an essential part of your estate planning.

You may also wish to set up a trust that will make the transferring of your estate simpler after your passing. This often helps with taxes and prevents your estate from winding up in probate.

Managing your health decisions

Other parts of your estate planning in Sacramento, CA should indicate who makes decisions about your health in the event that you can’t do this for yourself. You should create a living will, which will provide instructions to health care providers on how to treat you when you get ill. This will let them know whether they should involve extreme measures to keep you alive.

You will also want to appoint a durable power of attorney to handle your finances and estate in the event that you are unable to do so. This should be someone you trust to handle your affairs if you are incapacitated. It is a good idea to pick a person whom you trust rather than having the court appoint someone.

Offering closure to your loved ones

A last step that you may want to take with your estate planning in Sacramento, CA is to write letters to your loved ones in case something happens to you. This will give you the opportunity to say everything you always wanted to say to your family, and gives them a last chance to hear from you.

Setting up your estate plan now is a good idea to ensure your wishes are carried out in the event that something should happen to you. Contact Yoder & Co., CPA to set up your estate planning in Sacramento, CA. We provide a variety of services related to estate planning, as well as general tax and financial services.

Five Signs Your Small Business Needs Accounting Assistance in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Whether you’re starting a new business or have been in the game for some time, you cannot go wrong by seeking out the services of an expert accountant for your financial and tax needs. Let’s take a look at five common signs that your small business might benefit from accounting assistance in Sacramento, CA:


  • You’ve started a new business: From the time your business is born, you can bet you will have financial questions about everything from bookkeeping to filing your taxes. You may even need assistance creating an organized business structure or need advice choosing the best financial options for you. This is where an accountant comes in, as having an experienced accountant on your side can only improve your chances of success.
  • Your focus needs to be elsewhere: Many small business owners start out taking on multiple responsibilities. It could be due to a lack of funds to pay employees, or perhaps you are more comfortable keeping things in your control, but ultimately, you cannot operate an efficient business when you’re running in all directions. Or let’s say that your bookkeeping skills are good, yet it takes up too much of your time. All these reasons warrant hiring accounting assistance in Sacramento, CA to take the task of crunching numbers off your plate. Remember, fewer duties for you means you can free up time to focus on improving and growing your business.
  • You don’t understand accounting: Running a business can be scary. If you don’t actually know what the definition of “accounting” is, or if financial reports and statements leave you scratching your head, then you’re better off hiring an accountant now to help you through everything financial. We’ve always been told to learn from our mistakes, but if you make mistakes with your business taxes, you can plan on the IRS knocking at your door. Avoid this by hiring a third-party firm.
  • Your tax knowledge is very limited: If your tax knowledge is limited, you can rest easy knowing an accountant’s job is to always be up on everything there is to know about the financial aspects of your small business. Because you are not an expert—and there are so many different tax laws to remember—you may unintentionally file your taxes wrong, either with the wrong numbers or the wrong forms, and this can lead to costly fines and penalties. An accountant will make sure all tax regulations are followed and that you take every deduction and tax credit you qualify for. They can even file for you!
  • You’re getting audited: From big errors to many smaller incorrect records, you can bet that the government is going to catch mistakes on your business taxes and send the IRS after you to collect what is owed to them. To avoid audit red flags, your bookkeeping must be free of mistakes. Should you find yourself in an audit situation, bring in an accountant to go through your records and accounts so they can write up a report with the missing information.

Need small business accounting assistance in Sacramento, CA? Contact the team at Yoder & Co., CPA today to learn more about the many types of financial services we can provide.

Reasons to File for an Extension on Your Individual Taxes in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Life is never as clear-cut as it should be, but there are steps you can take when tax season rolls around and you find yourself in a situation where you cannot file on time. Since being unable to file by the tax deadline is not uncommon, there’s no reason for embarrassment. Here are some of the reasons you might want to file for an extension—typically one to six months later—on your individual taxes in Sacramento, CA.

Missing or incomplete information

Yes, it’s irritating when an employer, company or institution misses a deadline for mailing your tax form, because it means putting your taxes on hold. Other times, form information may be incomplete or incorrect. Another common problem befalls independent contractors, also called freelancers. In many cases, a Form 1099 gets issued for freelance work. However, they don’t always get sent, or they may arrive after the filing deadline. The fact of the matter is, if you do not possess every tax form you know you should have, filing your taxes on time may not happen.

Unexpected life events

Your original plan may have been to file by the deadline, but life is unpredictable and unforgiving. From a sudden death or a family emergency to a personal illness or falling victim to a natural disaster, the last thing you need to worry about in these situations is filing your taxes. You should only need to focus your energy on yourself or your family at this time, not feel rushed to file your taxes by the deadline, especially since you can get an extension—when you request it before the tax due date. And if your reason is personal or private, don’t worry—you will not be asked to explain why you are unable to file by the deadline.

Out of town during tax time

Sometimes, certain people cannot adjust their plans, responsibilities or duties. For example, military personnel, overseas workers and world travelers may be out of town during tax season. If you fall into this category, the best route to take is to file early or file your income taxes electronically after downloading necessary forms. But you could still need paper forms or information—papers you likely won’t have with you, because you are not home. This sort of situation may call for an extension.

It’s important to keep in mind that requesting an extension for filing your taxes only grants you extra time to file the paperwork, not additional time to pay your taxes. Not to mention, you will likely have to pay interest and penalties on the tax amount that’s due. With that in mind, though it may seem like a safer plan, filing for a tax extension because you are unable to pay money owed is not the best idea. Instead, if you are ready to file now but cannot pay, file by the tax due date, and then see what payment options the IRS offers.

Be it record keeping or assistance with a tax extension, if you are looking for a company to handle your individual taxes in Sacramento, CA, give Yoder & Co., CPA a call today. We are here to help you with all your tax and financial reporting needs.

Why is IRS Representation in Sacramento, CA so Important?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Everyone fears the Tax Man and usually, it’s because they’ve been subject to a situation that has led to unpleasant results. Maybe you were audited on your last tax return and a few minor errors were found, causing you to owe money? Perhaps you’ve had issues with filing in the past and you’ve come to resent the process each year? Or, maybe you’re just like one of the many millions of people who isn’t a tax expert and therefore, the prospect of doing your taxes is a scary one?

The truth is, the IRS is made up of people who are just trying to do a job, like anyone else. Unfortunately, this job usually leads them to making people unhappy in some way, shape or form. The real problem, however, is that when it comes time to deal with the IRS, many people actually make the situation worse for themselves because they don’t invest in IRS representation in Sacramento, CA.

For many people who are facing discrepancies with the IRS, hiring representation is just another cost in a long line of penalties, payments and fees—it’s something they’d rather not have to deal with. Unfortunately, this is one cost everyone should absolutely invest in when they’re trying to navigate a tricky run in with the IRS.

Why is having IRS representation in Sacramento, CA so important? Simple: hiring someone who knows tax laws and taxation means having someone on your side who can speak on the same level as the IRS! When you’re faced with confusing situations or aren’t sure if the information you have is sufficient, a tax representative will be able to give you peace of mind in holding your hand through the situation.

Instead of walking away from a tax situation with the burden of fees, the prospect of a black mark on your record or the draining feeling that can come with a thorough examination of your entire financial picture, a qualified representative will make sure the situation is handled appropriately. This means getting your tax situation straightened out and, if you do owe anything, helping you to understand why you owe and how you can avoid this mess again in the future.

Finally, there’s an aspect of responsibility that comes with hiring IRS representation in Sacramento, CA. If you’re faced with a sticky situation and you choose to fight the IRS, there’s a good chance you’re not going to like how things end. On the other hand, if you calmly and rationally approach the situation by hiring representation, the IRS is going to see that you’re coming to the table with an intent for peaceful resolution in mind. This is going to make the process much more open, and will show everyone involved that you’re trying your hardest to make things right.

Remember, while dealing with the IRS may be very low on the list of things you want to do, it’s one of those things that only gets worse if you avoid it or make things more difficult for yourself. The IRS is just people trying to do their jobs—make any interaction with them easier by hiring someone who can communicate with them on your behalf.

It’s Never too Early for Retirement Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

No matter what job you have or how much you enjoy that job, the time is going to come someday when you’re going to be ready to to stop working. Retirement is something that will come to everyone at some point—some, sooner than others—and when it does come, you’ll need a way to keep generating monthly income in order to live comfortably.

There are a near-infinite number of ways to approach retirement planning in Sacramento, CA. Some people squirrel money away under their mattress for years at a time; others open a 401(k) and have their company match a portion of their contribution; and still more people contribute to investment brokerages and other such retirement savings options. How you plan for retirement is up to you, but the fact rings true: everyone needs to start planning and there’s no time too early.

Knowing your options

While everyone might have their own way of saving for retirement, it behooves you to know exactly what options are available to you. Take a look at some of the most common options and what makes them unique:


  • 401(k) or 403(b): These are employer-based plans that have a distinct advantage, since companies will usually match retirement contributions of employees up to a certain amount or percentage. Who could pass up free money?!
  • IRA: Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and other IRA accounts have a cap on the amount you can contribute during a calendar year, but the good news is that this money isn’t taxed in retirement.
  • Investment accounts: These retirement accounts are a bit more subject to market conditions, but they also have tremendous upside when it comes to making money with your money. Money Markets and other types of investment accounts can be opened through brokerage agents and over time, have the potential to grow exponentially.
  • Pensions: Like other employer contribution plans, a pension can be paid into by employees and matched by employers, however a pension isn’t always a set amount and can fluctuate depending on the contribution on the employee.

The sooner the better

Because your retirement contributions compile throughout the years and compound no matter what investment path you take, it behooves you to start one as early as possible. The best time to start your retirement planning in Sacramento, CA is during your 20s. It’s during this time of your life that you’re likely to have a sustainable job, disposable income and the fewest number of expenses. Getting a jump on retirement savings early means having more contributions over a longer period of time, thus a more comfortable source of income during your golden years.

If you’re looking forward to the day when you no longer have to wake up and go to work, it’s in your best interest to start planning for your retirement now. The more you can save and the sooner you can start saving it, the more years of retirement you’ll have to enjoy your life, whether you’re the type of person who likes to travel or simply enjoy work-free days at home.

What Can You Gain From Budget Analysis in Sacramento, CA?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Do you own your own business, or are you in upper management at a successful company? If so, you might be familiar with budget analysis, and may have even already reaped its rewards. But for some business owners, it might be difficult to see what the point of investing in budget analysis is, particularly if you already know that your books are pristine and your payroll is on point.

But there is a whole lot more to financial planning that you might not be exploring, and it starts with getting comprehensive budget analysis in Sacramento, CA. Here is a closer look at what you could stand to gain:


  • Track spending habits: First and foremost, a budget analysis will tell you how much money your company is spending, and on what. Even if you already know that you spend, say, $500 on shipping costs each month, it could still be beneficial to see laid out on paper that this comes out to $6,000 a year, money you could be investing elsewhere. Once you see what your current financial priorities are, you can know how you would like to change them.
  • Weigh the cost-benefit: Cost-benefit analysis is simple: it weighs the cost of doing something (or, in this case, spending money on something) against the potential benefit of doing so. For example, you might think a new high-end espresso machine will draw in customers, but will it make enough difference in your profits to justify the cost? Having a firm idea of what you stand to gain before acting is always useful in the business world.
  • Find inefficiencies: Let’s go back to the example we were using before about spending $500 a month on shipping. If some of that money is going toward fancy wrapping elements when a simple postage box will do, and your business currently cannot afford such luxuries, then you might want to stop splurging on the decorative elements, at least for a little while. This is a prime example of the types of inefficiencies a skilled budget analyst will find.
  • Plan ahead: What are your hopes and dreams for your business? Whether it is something as small as hiring on one new employee next month or something as big as opening a second location in five years, a budget analysis in Sacramento, CA will give you an idea of whether or not you are on track to achieving these goals, and how you can better position yourself to attain them.
  • Get peace of mind: Even if you think you are on top of things and run a tight ship, you cannot know for sure how financially stable—and smart—you are until you hire an unbiased, experienced professional to give you their expert opinion. Even if you receive nothing but good news, at least it will give you the peace of mind and confidence you need to move forward in your business.

If you are in need of a practical and comprehensive budget analysis in Sacramento, CA, we hope you will trust the professionals at Yoder & Co., CPA.

Gather the Documents You’ll Need for Your Individual Taxes in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Tax season is officially underway! Remember that although the deadline isn’t until April 18 this year, you still don’t want to put off doing your taxes any longer than you absolutely have to. Whether you’re planning to prepare your own tax return this year or thinking about visiting a tax professional for the first time, there are some documents and forms you should gather up before getting started. The following can make the process of filing individual taxes in Sacramento, CA much easier:


  • Personal information: If your tax return will cover only yourself, this is as simple as knowing your Social Security number and date of birth. If you’re married filing jointly, have children or other dependents covered by your return, you’ll need the same information for them. (Always remember to keep Social Security cards in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box.)
  • Income records: The most common tax document you’ll receive, either in the mail or electronically, is probably form W-2. If you work for one or more employers, each employer should have provided a W-2 by the end of January. In addition to your W-2s, you’ll need any other tax documents related to your income. These might include records of unemployment income, alimony, Social Security benefits, income earned as a contractor and other miscellaneous income.
  • Other records that impact your income: A number of factors can impact the amount of your refund (as well as the amount you owe) by adjusting your taxable income. If you moved during 2015, you may be able to deduct moving-related expenses from your taxes. Money paid into an individual retirement account or pension, student loan interest paid, alimony paid and expenses incurred as an educator can all be deducted from your taxable income. Not surprisingly, you are advised to hang on to your receipts throughout the year to ensure accurate recordkeeping.
  • Information related to deductions: Receipts and records will also come in handy if you’re planning to itemize deductions. It’s possible to deduct all kinds of expenses from your individual taxes in Sacramento, CA: adoption expenses, education expenses, healthcare expenses not covered by insurance, charitable donations, childcare costs—the list goes on. Speak with a tax professional if you’re thinking about itemizing deductions to ensure you have the records you need in order to get the best results possible.
  • Records of taxes you’ve already paid: No one wants to overpay their taxes. Property taxes, real estate taxes and state and local income taxes that you’ve already paid should be factored into your return.
  • Bank account information: Finally, don’t forget to have your bank account information at hand when preparing your taxes. Having your routing number and account number can make setting up direct deposit very simple, which ensures a shorter wait time for your refund.

As the tax deadline approaches, you’ll likely notice an increasing sense of urgency surrounding your taxes, particularly if you’re the sort to put off important and potentially stressful things for as long as you possibly can. If you’re having anxiety regarding your 2015 individual taxes in Sacramento, CA, consider scheduling an appointment with an accountant to ensure accuracy and timeliness when it comes to your return. Contact Yoder & Co., CPA today to learn more about how we can help.

Hire a CPA in Sacramento, CA to Help Figure Out Your Employee Benefits Plan

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Whether your business currently employs three people or 100, determining which benefits you can afford to rightly give your employees can be challenging, from the worries about financial stress to the sheer confusion of navigating all the paperwork. Fortunately, you do not have to do it alone. When you hire a local, experienced CPA in Sacramento, CA to help figure out your employee benefits plan, you are doing the best thing for your business, your employees and even your customers—not to mention your own sanity. Here is a look at five ways you stand to gain by trusting a professional CPA with your employee benefits plan:


  • Find what you can afford: Giving all new parents six months paid leave is of course an ideal decision, but is it one your company can feasibly afford? That healthcare plan with extra coverage might be just barely affordable this year, but what about if your profits go down next quarter? Planning a sustainable and consistent employee benefits plan is hard, but help from a qualified CPA in Sacramento, CA is only a phone call away.
  • Attract top talent: If your business is in a competitive field, such as technology, healthcare or even retail, then you might have trouble attracting the cream of the crop in terms of job candidates. These days, more and more people in the workplace are looking for quality of life along with salary, and that often means a generous and comprehensive benefits package. The help of an experienced CPA can help you target the best candidates with a benefits package that will impress them.
  • Improve retention rates: Once you hire the best candidates, you need to be able to keep them. One of the worst things an employee can hear is that their benefits are about to be cut, and many employees would rather jump ship than wait around in hopes that their dental coverage will come back. If your business is in a pressing situation like this, a CPA might be able to come up with a creative solution that works for everyone involved.
  • Make enrollment easier: Staying on top of benefits enrollment can be difficult, especially if you are a small business without a designated human resources department. In addition to setting up your employee benefits plan, a qualified CPA can also help you devise a simple, accessible enrollment and renewal system, so that everyone can be on the same page.
  • Impress your customers: There is a reason why the burger chain that pays its employees three dollars above minimum wage succeeds, or the employee-owned grocery store is so popular: customers like supporting businesses that are good to their employees. By making a point of having a benefits plan that is clear-cut, consistent and as generous as possible, you will not just be making life better for your employees—you will be doing the same for yourself.

For more information about developing your own employee benefits plan, please get in touch with Yoder & Co., CPA, your local CPA in Sacramento, CA.

Understanding IRS Representation in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Mention the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to just about any American taxpayer and you’ll likely wind up seeing a scrunched-up face and hearing some choice words—and aside from the very idea of taxation, the thing that gets the most people riled up is the thought of being audited by the IRS.

In truth, the odds of being audited by the IRS are quite low, and although the IRS does randomly audit a select number of taxpayers each year, you’re much more likely to be audited if you’re engaging in suspicious tax activity, such as failing to report income or claiming inappropriate business expenses. Nevertheless, audits do happen, and when they do, it helps to know that you don’t have to deal with the IRS alone. Instead, you can hire IRS representation in Sacramento, CA.

What does your representative do?

Simply put, anyone authorized to provide IRS representation has the right to represent taxpayers before the IRS. What this means, in practice, is that your representative handles all of the interaction and communication with the IRS during your tax dispute.

This service offers a number of useful benefits. For starters, when you hire someone for IRS representation in Sacramento, CA, that person is automatically going to have superior knowledge and understanding of tax issues in general, and likely your situation in particular. By providing your representative with the necessary information, he or she will be able to resolve your matter with the IRS in an efficient, responsible manner. This provides peace of mind as well as results you can trust. It also allows your situation to be handled quickly—much more quickly than you’d be able to manage on your own.

When is IRS representation necessary?

IRS representation in Sacramento, CA is not necessary for all types of encounters with the IRS. For example, it’s not uncommon to receive a notification in the mail that the IRS needs you to supply proof for something in your tax return. These are typically smaller issues, and assuming you can provide the necessary proof that your return is accurate, you shouldn’t need to hire representation. Similarly, truly random audits, particularly if you’re confident in the accuracy of your return, can generally be handled without assistance.

However, if your family or business will be subjected to a more extensive audit—particularly a field audit, in which IRS agents will be looking into even the smallest details of your taxes because they suspect something is seriously amiss—you should get in touch with a qualified representative right away. The mere suspicion that there are major problems with your tax return should be enough to merit your understanding that you need expert assistance.

If you’ve found yourself in a jam with the IRS, it’s important to remember that although an audit or other tax dispute is a serious matter, it’s not necessarily something you need to stress too much about. This is especially true if you’ve secured dependable, knowledgeable and proactive IRS representation in Sacramento, CA. The team at Yoder & Co., CPA has over four decades of experience representing individuals and businesses before the IRS. Call us today to start taking steps to get the help you need.

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Now’s the Time to Start Organizing for Tax Preparation in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

All too often, filing income taxes can feel overwhelming. For many, hiring an accountant to handle tax submissions is a welcome relief from tax preparation in Sacramento, CA. Whether you do your taxes yourself or hire a professional to do them for you, the process will be much easier if you are organized from the beginning. As 2016 begins, it’s the perfect time to get your finances in order to reduce your stress levels and make taxes less intimidating for your next filing.

The following are several tips to help you start the year off on the right financial footing:


  • Get organized: Experts recommend using a physical folder to keep had copies of all of your important documents and financial statements. Having an easily accessible resource will make life a lot easier come next April. When it’s time to prepare next year’s taxes, you or your accountant will be able to find everything that is needed without guesswork that can lead to error.
  • Consider adjusting withholdings: Though many people are happy to see a sizeable refund after filing their taxes, a large refund amount may be a bad sign. Hefty refunds mean that you may be withholding too much from your paychecks. If refund money was included in your paychecks, you could have earned interest on it or used the funds throughout the year on different necessities. If you think you’re withholding too much, consult a tax expert and update your W-4 form.
  • Contribute to your retirement fund: The new year is the perfect time to start saving for retirement. Putting money into a 401(k) is not only beneficial for your future, but can also be advantageous when it comes to filing your taxes. The amount that you put into your 401(k) or traditional IRA can reduce your total taxable income. Talk to your accountant to learn more about the benefits and limits on this practice.
  • Purchase health insurance: It may come as a surprise to learn that having health insurance can help you avoid fines on your taxes. With recent changes to the health care system, people who do not have health insurance coverage may be required to pay a penalty. This penalty is typically $325 or 2 percent of your income, whichever is the larger amount. If you don’t have health insurance, talk to a professional about your options.


  • Donate to charity: As next year draws to a close, you can embrace the spirit of the holiday season and consider donating to charity. Donating funds reduces your overall taxable income for your next tax submission. Keep track of what you donate throughout the year, and provide your receipts to your accountant before filing.

While starting to plan for next year’s tax preparation may seem superfluous, it’s always better to be prepared than to scramble with your finances at the last minute. When April 2017 rolls around, you’ll feel relieved to know that your 2016 income taxes are ready for tax preparation in Sacramento, CA. To contact a tax expert or to receive help with organizing your tax information, visit Yoder & Co., CPA.

Do You Need a CPA in Sacramento, CA?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

When you are just starting out and securing your first job out of college, it can be fairly simple to prepare your taxes and organize your financial documents. However, as you grow older, you can start generating interest income, gaining dividend income, contributing to 401ks or IRAs and your family may grow. Financials become more involved with every new step. The more complex your financial standing is, the more you can benefit from the help of a certified personal accountant (CPA). The following are a few reasons to work with a CPA in Sacramento, CA.

You need guidance from a trusted expert

A CPA must keep up on his or her certification every couple of years. This means that by working with a CPA, you can be sure that your finances are in the hands of a professional who knows the ins and outs of personal finance and intricate tax codes. A CPA will also do an in-depth analysis of your financial situation and will point out errors, inconsistencies or possible methods of improvement.

CPAs can also be helpful for individuals who make more than $200,000 a year and would like to have greater confidence in their tax filings. Studies show that those who make this amount or more per year are most likely to be audited. If you are one of the lucky people who are chosen, it’s always helpful to have a skilled accountant in your corner.

You want to maximize your savings

A CPA will always look for possible ways for you to save your hard earned income. If you own your own business, are self-employed or possess rental properties, you may be entering into a world with unfamiliar rules regarding deductions, credits and planning. A CPA will help you navigate these waters and inform you of actions that can boost your savings and lower your taxes. For example, if you choose to make a large financial gift, a CPA can help you keep a proper record of your donation to reduce your taxable income. Additionally, when tax season approaches, your CPA can fully prepare your forms to ensure accuracy and secure an appropriate refund.

You require counsel for a life change

Life can change quickly. You may start with a single tax question and find that your financial responsibility has doubled or tripled in a year’s time. Changes in income, investments, marital status and parenthood can lead to a series of shifts in your financial plan. Whether you’re looking to minimize taxation on your inheritance, set your new business up for financial success or start saving for your child’s college education, your CPA can guide you to through the appropriate course of action.

Though financial matters can sometimes be complex, they don’t have to be overwhelming. If you think you may need a CPA, take a moment to reach out to a professional and explain your situation. Above all, working with a CPA can lower your stress and leave you with greater peace of mind. If you’d like to learn more about how a CPA in Sacramento, CA can help assist your financial situation, visit Yoder & Co., CPA.

Debunking Five Common Myths About Trust Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

Do you own real estate, have personal belongings valued at a minimum of $50,000 or own several cars? If so, there is a good chance that you and your loved ones could benefit from trust planning in Sacramento, CA.

While trusts are a very safe, practical and effective way to manage your estate, many people avoid setting up trusts because they assume they are not rich enough, or they think trusts are too complicated for them. Unfortunately, people who think that way are missing out on many different benefits. To that end, here is a closer look at five common myths about trust planning in Sacramento, CA:


  • Trusts are only for the very wealthy: As mentioned above, you certainly do not need to be a member of the top one percent to benefit from having a trust. In fact, you might not even need to own any real estate at all! If you own even a few considerably valuable belongings and want to keep your investments safe, setting up a trust could help you do so. Before you write off trusts as being only for the rich, meet with a trusted financial advisor to learn more.
  • Trusts are too convoluted: Trusts can come with many different stipulations, requirements and schedules. But the beauty of it all is that, as the trust owner, you get to decide on what, if any, conditions and rules you put on your trust. Once you realize that you hold the power, trusts suddenly start to look a lot more simple.
  • Trusts are only for people with heirs: Many trusts are set up specifically so that a person’s loved ones can safely and legally inherit their wealth and belongings. But there is also such a thing as a personal trust, in which the owner (or grantor) is also the sole beneficiary. If you are not looking to transfer any of your wealth, but still want an effective way to manage your estate, then trust planning in Sacramento, CA might be right for you.
  • Trusts are difficult to access and change: As we have mentioned before, some trusts can have rules and stipulations that make them difficult to change. But as we have also mentioned, those rules all come from you, the grantor, and you have the power to change them. For example, if you want to make sure your grandchildren use their inheritance to pay for college, you can make it so they cannot change that. But if you change your mind, you have the power to change the trust.
  • Setting up a trust is more money and time than it’s worth: Yes, setting up a trust does take some time and thought, and you will have to pay your financial advisor. But once you put in the effort and money, you will be rewarded with the peace of mind that comes with having your affairs completely in order. We think that is well worth the cost.

To learn more about the benefits of trust planning in Sacramento, CA, please get in touch with Yoder & Co., CPA today.

Seven Ways a CPA in Sacramento, CA Can Help Your Small Business

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

If you are in the process of starting or have recently started your own small business, then you likely have a fairly good grasp of how to handle your day-to-day finances. But in today’s complex financial landscape, small businesses need to be prepared to handle a lot more than that.

If you are not sure you have a grasp on all the ins and outs of dealing with your small business’ money issues, then you ought to get in touch with a CPA in Sacramento, CA. Here are seven different ways meeting with a financial expert could potentially help your small business:


  • Payroll: No matter what, it is crucial as a small business owner that you pay your employees the correct amount, and that you pay them on time. This can often be more complicated than it seems, especially when tax exemptions, tips or commissions are involved, so it is smart to let an expert help you through it, at least at first.
  • Bookkeeping: Balanced, clear and trustworthy books are the backbone of any small business’ success, and can even help you to avoid trouble with the IRS (or worse). Give yourself a leg up starting out by hiring a CPA in Sacramento, CA to look over your books.
  • Mergers and acquisitions: If you are lucky enough to get bought by a larger, successful company, or you merge with a worthy competitor, then you will need help from an unbiased, experienced financial expert to ensure everything goes smoothly.
  • Taxes: As an individual, you might only have to worry about taxes once a year. But as a small business owner, taxes are going to become a part of your daily life in some shape or form. Having someone who has seen it all on board with you will certainly lighten your load, and help ensure that your taxes are accurate.
  • Employee benefits: Do you know what your responsibilities are to your employees under the Affordable Care Act? What about when it comes to matching their 401(k) contributions? Let a CPA in Sacramento, CA handle these convoluted requirements and more, so that both you and your employees can benefit.
  • Long term planning: Having a progressive sales goal for the next three months is great, but what about the next three years? A trusted, experienced and helpful financial advisor can help you figure out what your small business’ potential is, and how to fully reach it.
  • Software support: These days, being on top of your small business’ finances means spending a lot of time on the computer. If you are not very technologically savvy, your CPA should be able to help you navigate the necessary software programs that will help keep your books balanced.

Whether your small business employs one person or 50, a CPA in Sacramento, CA can help you manage your taxes, payroll, benefits, long-term plans and so much more. If you would like to learn more about how a CPA can benefit your small business, please feel free to contact Yoder & Co., CPA anytime.

Advice from a CPA in Sacramento, CA: 5 Things to Know About Student Loans

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

If you are a recent college graduate, then you likely have a lot of different things to juggle in your life. Simply finding a decent job and affordable housing is a struggle for many young people right now, which means that it might be hard to even remember that you will soon need to start paying off your student loans.

If the mere thought of paying off your loans fills you with anxiety, don’t worry—there are plenty of different things you can do to get a better handle on your loans, owe lest interest and have them taken care of more quickly. From a CPA in Sacramento, CA, here are five things every recent grad should know about student loans:


  • Grace periods: Even lenders know that not every college student has a job waiting for them after graduation, which is why loan repayment grace periods exist. A loan grace period is a period of time after graduation during which you are not yet expected to start repaying your loans. In theory, by the time your grace period ends, you should have a job and some stability. Grace period lengths differ depending on the lender, but are typically around six months.
  • Repayment options: Most lenders will set students up with the typical 10-year repayment option, but it is important to know that you will have the opportunity to change the terms of repayment if you so choose. The main upside of a longer repayment period is that you have lower monthly payments, while the major downside is that you could end up paying a lot more interest on your loans.
  • Information changes: If your email address, physical address, phone number or any other pertinent contact information changes, be sure to inform your lender as soon as possible. If your loan payment is late and your lender cannot reach you, it may result in a hefty fine, and they might even send debt collectors after you.
  • Communicating with your lender: With that in mind, it is important to note that you should not be afraid of communicating with your lender. Things come up in life, and lenders want to work with you to ensure that the repayment process is mutually beneficial. If you are worried about being late or short on a payment, it is always better to talk to your lender than to try and hide from them.
  • Loan forgiveness: Depending on where your career has taken you, there is a chance you will be able to opt for loan forgiveness, meaning you will not have to repay a portion or all of your student loans. For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program forgives all loans due after 10 years for those who work in the government or nonprofit sector.

Whatever questions or concerns you have about your student loans, it is important to remember that you are not alone. For more personalized student loan advice from an experienced and friendly CPA in Sacramento, CA, please get in touch with Yoder & Co., CPA

5 Reasons You Might Decide to Seek Help with Tax Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

If you have been handling your own finances for a while now, you might feel confident about your ability to file your own taxes before the April 15 deadline each year. And if not much in your life has changed in the last year or so, then you are probably right.

But as any accountant will tell you, there are a number of possible changes that not only affect your life, but also affect the way you file your taxes. If any of the following situations are true for you, you might consider seeking out help from an experienced accountant for tax planning in Sacramento, CA this coming tax season:


  • Employment or income change: Whether you have celebrated a promotion, suffered through a layoff, switched careers or become a freelancer or independent contractor, your yearly income and employment status can affect your taxes more than any other factor. If your income or employment situation changed this year, be sure you know how it will affect your upcoming tax return.
  • Inheritance: A loved one’s passing is always a difficult time, so it is understandable if you have not had time to think about how a new inheritance might affect your financial situation. But when it comes to filing taxes, inheritances can be tricky to figure out, whether they come in the form of money, a house or some other asset. The guidance of an experienced CPA can help you through this confusing tax situation.
  • Real estate: Whether you sold your family home, bought your first apartment or decided to start renting out your current vacation house, real estate will play a big role in your tax statements, and being ahead of the curve can help you avoid a nasty financial surprise. Get in touch with a trusted accountant today to figure out how real estate will affect your taxes this year.
  • Change in dependent status: If you welcomed a child into the world or sent one off to college this year, then you either get to declare a new dependent, or consider removing one from your upcoming tax return. The decision to keep an adult child as a dependent or have them declare as an independent is different for each family, so confer with your accountant before making any final decisions.
  • Marital change: Finally, if you got married or went through a divorce this year, then your tax return will probably look a lot different this year than it has in recent years passed. Between your filing status, declaring losses and declaring new assets, you might need a professional to help make sure you are doing it all correctly.

Whatever reason you have for needing help with your taxes, Yoder & Co., CPA is here to help make the process as easy and painless as possible. We are proud to be your source for solid, dependable and thoughtful tax planning in Sacramento, CA, and we look forward to hearing from you during the coming tax season.

The Importance of Estate Planning in Sacramento, CA

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 23 2017

As grim as it may seem, it is a known fact that everyone will one day die. Just because it may seem bleak, though, that does not mean one should shy away from the concept of death. In fact, it is important that you actually plan for your death—especially if you hope to continue to care and provide for your loved ones. The best way to ensure that your family is taken care of for years to come, even after you are gone, is to consider estate planning in Sacramento, CA.

An estate plan helps you plan for exactly what will occur following your death. By creating an estate plan, you can help your loved ones avoid any problems that may arise in the aftermath of your passing. By leaving your family with a detailed estate plan, they can avoid years of legal battles and have an easier time navigating the legal aspects of settling your estate. A properly prepared estate plan will let an individual personally decide the best choices for their loved ones. This may include who should care for any young children, who should inherit any property and who should be put in charge of the estate.

You must ensure that everything is done legally and correctly in order to ensure that your intentions will be properly carried out. Here are the most important factors to consider when it comes to estate planning in Sacramento, CA.


Take an inventory

While you may think that you do not have much valuable property, everything you own is considered to be your estate and is crucial to consider when developing your estate plan. The first step of estate planning is to take an inventory of everything you own. The following items should be included in your inventory: real estate, vehicles, jewelry, bank accounts, safety deposit box contents, insurance policies and debt, including mortgages and credit cards. Once you have accounted for your assets, you can have a clearer idea of what can be distributed, and how.


Consider the big topics

A major benefit of properly planning an estate is establishing a guardian who would care for any minor children. But this is also true for many other big factors, such as determining who would take over the family business or figuring out what you want to be done with any property you own. A court or board’s decision can never be as good as a choice you would make yourself. By properly planning your estate, you can make these decisions on your own, ensuring that your wishes are carried out.


Consult a certified public accountant

An accountant or estate planner can help provide you with a clear picture of your assets when planning your estate. A qualified accountant will work closely with your attorney in order to develop plans tailored to your individual needs. If you want to ensure that estate planning in Sacramento, CA will leave you loved ones well cared for, contact the team at Yoder & Co., CPA today. We can help you ensure that your wishes are followed and that your loved ones will be financially secure, while minimizing taxes today and in the future.

Ask a CPA in Sacramento, CA: How Much Should I Be Saving for My Child to Attend College?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 22 2017

While it may seem as though your child attending college is still many years away, you may want to start thinking about how college will be paid for quite early—as early as when your child is still in diapers! With the total cost of college increasing at twice the rate of inflation, it is crucial that you start saving early. By starting your college savings well ahead of time, you can prevent putting yourself and your child in mountains of student debt down the line. But with the cost of college ever growing, it can be quite difficult to know how much you should really be saving each month. With the help of a CPA in Sacramento, CA, you can determine how much you should be saving, as well as how much you can actually afford to be putting away on a month-to-month basis. Here are a few crucial factors to consider when determining how much you should be saving for the cost of your child’s college education.

Private or Public?

The first step to determining how much you will need to save is how much the college education might cost. One major factor contributing to cost is whether you are planning for your child to attend a private or public college. The current average annual cost of tuition, fees, room and board and other assorted costs (such as books) at a private college is approximately $46,272. If the cost of college continues to increase by 4 percent annually, this means that the price of college for someone born this year could wind up being about $400,000. If you are leaning toward a public university, the cost drops exponentially. Four years at a public university may come out to approximately $201,386 once your young child reaches college age. While these numbers may seem crazy, you should always plan for the worst.

What are you willing to pay for? Many families decide not to pay for every aspect of a college education. For example, you may opt to only pay for the tuition and books, leaving your child responsible for room and board. Determine what you are planning to pay for, and calculate the amount you need to save based on that number, as opposed to the entire price tag.

Get some help from a CPA in Sacramento, CA The best way to determine how much you should be saving for your child to attend college is to discuss the matter with a CPA in Sacramento, CA. A skilled CPA will be able to examine your current finances and projected growth in order to determine how much you can realistically afford to put away on a monthly basis for your child’s college education. By consulting a CPA in Sacramento, CA, you can take the guessing game out of saving and feel confident in that amount. Even if your financial situation may change over the next 18 years, a CPA can help you make the necessary adjustments based on your current financial status. Call Yoder & Co., CPA today to learn more about how we can help you plan for your child’s college education.

Tax Tips

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 13 2017

Vist the "Resources" tab on our website for Tax Tools & Tips for Individuals, Business & Financial.   Other valuable information under "Resources" includes Due Dates, Financial Calculators, Links, and more.

Welcome to Our Blog!

Posted by Admin Posted on July 18 2012
This is the home of our new blog. Check back often for updates!