Margy’s Round Up News January 2017

Riddle / /Announcements // News // The Call // Celebrations 2017

The Riddle that might just make you groan……

… What do the events; New Years, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Easter, Martin Luther King Day, and Daylight Savings Time have in common…

They are dates during TAX SEASON!!

If that didn’t make you stressed out and ready to run for the hills then thank you for trusting me to ensure that you receive every available means within the tax law to reduce the tax besetting your income.

I can’t wait to see you all and if you have a riddle for me then… Bring it on!


I went digital

I envision many of you hanging your head and muttering to yourself. . . Why digital? Why is the yearly newsletter going digital???? My answer: For many good reasons.  Mainly the newsletter is no longer just yearly.  Digital letters allow me to speed up the process of creating, editing, and sending it to you and allows me to send subscribers notices when new content is added (be sure to subscribe: On my resource and newsletter tabs, I have a general list of items that are typically needed at tax time.  I also have a newsletter titled Last Minute Tax Deductions that give further guidance on charitable contributions.  So you see, not only do you get to have access to a lot of information but it can be kept forever without adding papers to your life.  And you also get to compare the kids’ pictures from year to year.

As you peruse the list of newsletters already posted you may notice that some of the information offered may not apply to you but may apply to someone you know (so feel free to share).  Much continues to change in tax law and the IRS moves its focus to certain businesses from year to year.  For this reason I want to make sure that you are at least aware of topics that may bring a need for us to dialogue and do some tax planning and strategizing.  Remember that after the year closes on December 31st, it is too late then to create changes. (Exceptions apply… they always do).

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! –  Important Dates

January 23rd – IRS will start accepting returns on this date.

February 15th – Earned Income Credit refunds will begin to be issued.

March 15th – Partnership Returns Due.

April 15th – Personal Taxes Due.

Cyber Security

Identity Theft has taken a life of its own, so much so that separate department in our law enforcement agencies, including IRS, have designated personnel.

For this reason, please do not:

  • Send me any information by attaching it to your email. I have a secure drawer on my web page that allows for the safe transfer of data. I can also send you documents using the drawer (
  • Type identification numbers in an e mail to me. Put information in a document and then upload it to the drawer.
  • Text me information with personal identifying numbers.
  • Have a loan officer/banker call me for a copy of your tax return. I must have from you, in writing, a request for me to release this information.  If you cannot find your copy of your taxes OR if you need a copy with your entire SSN instead of the version with the * listed in all but the last four digits, I will be happy to send you a second copy that you may give to your banker or other financial institution (Cost $7 digital or $10 hard copy).

Identity theft has caused refunds that involve Earned Income Credit to be delayed.  There is a dark place out there where social security numbers are sold and false tax returns are filed and not discovered until the true person files their return.  You may not even know you are a victim of identity theft until you file a return and get a rejection notice.

VA wanted to do their part to protect your identity so they have added a place, on the return, where we can list your driver’s license number to help identify you.  KUDOS to VA for this initiative.  For more information see article posted under latest edition tab.


The IRS has focused their eyes on the Sub Chapter S Corporation and wages paid or not paid to shareholder employees.  I have talked relentlessly about this for the past few years.  If you have a corporation and you are the employee, you must be on payroll with a reasonable compensation package.  To be proactive in helping you prepare and be audit proof in this matter.  I not only sat in many classes but also sought out and implemented a software and support base to do research on industry reasonable compensation.  The resulting Reasonable Compensation reports provide a defensible position to an IRS challenge (for S-Corps), and is an excellent planning and valuation tool. This report uses a proprietary blend of IRS criteria, Court Rulings, geographic data and their EXCLUSIVE database of wages to accurately assess Reasonable Compensation for S Corp, Small & Closely-Held Business Owners.

I will offer this service free to the first three of my regulars to approach me about it and schedule their appointment (a $230 value).  I will offer the service at a 25% discount to the rest of my regulars for this first year (a $57.50 savings).  Please know that you can deduct this service expense on your 2017 taxes.  You will receive an in depth report that will allow us to be sure that you are within the standards and /or following the IRS law.  I do hope you take advantage of this service.  Please pass this information along to other business you know.  I think this is a high value investment that each should use for the life of their business.  I will have more information on my website soon.

TAX RETURN CHANGES Or MORE OF THE SAME???….Some are now permanent so you no longer will be waiting year to year wondering if, if, if

Permanent Tax Provisions:

  • Child Tax Credit. The reduction of the earnings threshold from $10,000 to $3,000 for the refundable portion of the credit is now permanent.
  • The Hope Credit renamed the American Opportunity Credit and increased to 100% of the first $2,000 plus 25% of the next $2,000 of qualified expenses is now permanent (for Qualified Education Expenses).
  • The American Opportunity Credit expanded to allow up to 40% of the credit as a refundable credit is now permanent.
  • The Earned Income Credit expanded to 45% for three or more qualifying children is now permanent.
  • The Earned Income Credit expanded phase-out range for Married Filing Joint is now permanent.
  • The election to deduct state and local general sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes is now permanent.
  • The charitable contribution of IRA distribution provision is now permanent.
  • Leasehold improvements, restaurant property, and qualified retail space improvement property treated as 15-year property instead of 39-year property is now permanent.

Speaking of state taxes… VA has eyes for…..

VA, like many other states, is losing revenue to those pesky internet sales that do not charge VA sales tax.

To combat this, they are specifically placing a statement on the tax form that under perjury you state that you did not purchase anything without paying sales tax to VA.  Tax professionals have suggested that Virginia come up with a % of income much like other states have done… but who knows.  Amazon is now charging you for VA taxes but there are many companies in which you shop that do not.  Please be sure to gather as best as you are able what you may have purchased over the internet or if you chose to drive across state lines and purchase items that did not charge you sales tax include this as well.


In preparation for your tax appointment please fill out or request a tax organizer to help jog our memory – because let’s face it we only do taxes once a year.  I can upload an abbreviated or multi page volume tax organizer to the secure draw lickety split and without identifying numbers!

If you paid estimated taxes PLEASE bring information such as the dates and how much you paid.

For those of you with investment accounts; your investment company may have an electronic version of the end of year report. Please request this and send me a link to it.  The benefit is for those of you with trades and sales of investments. Due to the new tax regulations some of the sales may not be summarized but must be listed individually. This will save time and input of data on to a tax return, thus passing the savings on to you in your preparation fee.

Not just a Celebration… IT IS A CELEBRATION!!!

I am almost rubbing my hands as I consider where to begin.  So many blessings.  No, no new babies but blessings just the same.  So as I go through and list them, I will try to attempt not to get long winded but so much happens in the course of the year.

First, I celebrate you.  Many of you come and as we sit to work out the tax return you inspire me in so many ways.  You are adventurous.  In the winter of life you go parasailing (who does that at your age? You did and I applaud you!).  You care for family members with grace, kindness, and long suffering.  You overcome obstacles you did not see coming your way and create a better environment for yourself and your family.  You fight for causes.  You laugh at yourself and help me to see laughter in my life when it gets stressful.  You are creative with wood, fabric, and metal.  You share the beauty of your creations.  If your tax return was off balance and you ended up owing, you decided to alter the following year so that things got better.  And finally my peers are amazed because you actually ask questions regarding your returns and you want to know.  I really do have the best tax clients.

As for the family, our biggest news was Jake’s engagement to Emma. He took her hiking to Sky Line Drive to their favorite waterfall and proposed there. We could not be happier for them. No wedding date has been set.

Jo Ann is blogging a wonderful page that encourages family fun nights to create a lasting legacy in families.

Jessica was recently published. You can check out her article here:

Jaclyn has begun to teach sewing classes; quilting, dream catchers, and clothing) at multiple sewing stores. The fun part is to watch her followers growing in number and skill.  You must live in Ohio though.

Jordan and Tiffany will celebrate the first part of their married life with Tiffany’s graduation this year.

Jake and Emma will celebrate her graduation of Nursing School this year.

The rest of our joy, time, and energy is all in the grandchildren.  Yes, the sheer pleasure of watching the world through their eyes and sharing life with them is beyond compare.  I received the gift of reaching a dream, Caleb my oldest grandchild traveled with me to Honduras to participate in a mission trip.  I had been absent from the mission field several years now and it was clear I was super ready to return.  Then I had a thought in the quiet of the night about the possibility of taking Caleb.  I hesitated asking his mom, my daughter for a few weeks.  I knew she trusted me with the children’s care but to ask to take her first born out of the country seemed much.  But oh my goodness, when I asked mom and dad, there was no hesitation.  Passports were ordered and his spot secured.  I am grateful to my church allowing me to bring him along.  In Honduras we built three slat houses in three days.  When you come in, ask me how that is possible and I will give you a brief overview.  It is amazing what a team of 12 can do in a day.  We also ministered at the Land Fill and a local school for the blind.

The grandkids’ world is filled with karate, basketball, soccer, gymnastics, ballet, and life activities. I attend as much as I possibly can which is limited due to distance.

My mom is back to riding with the police to do interpreting.  Yep, 79 and going strong.  Ahhh, behold my future!!!!

I am still pursuing the joy of paddle boarding (I have extra boards if you ever want to join me… hint… hint) and riding my bike.  You can join me there as well but I do not have an extra one.  However, I know where we can go in Maryland for a safe ride and rent a bike. This May I am registered to ride the TD Five Boros Bike Tour in New York City. That is my after tax season reward, and Jaclyn’s and mine long timed plan (about 4 yrs) to celebrate her 3th5 and my 60th this year.

Steve had knee replacement surgery five days before Christmas.  He is doing great.  I recommend the knee replacement.  However, I do not recommend it five days before Christmas! I am learning much about my lack of nursing skills. I was created for the law and numbers…. Poor Steve.

Riley will be in the office some days during the week.  She has developed a nose for scent hunting and totally enjoys being outside sniffing out vermin, so sitting at the office is no longer her favorite thing to do.  We have taken several scent classes.  She knows where I keep the supplies for scent hunting and asks for play at night.  I hide them throughout the house or outside while she waits almost patiently, then I release her and she goes and finds the scented containers.   I have entered her in Barn Hunt competitions.  Barn Hunt is a sport for dogs that love to use their noses to find rats.  The rats are in protective tubes and there are strict rules for their protection.  The event is timed and the dog has to find a certain number of hidden rats based on their skill level qualification.  Riley has one more title to earn to move to Senior level.  She does great, it is her handler, ahem, who sometimes misses her clues.  SIGH!!!! She forgives me anyways.

As far as office celebrations…..I have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau and you will find my business listed in their directory. I am advertising in Angie’s List this year to encourage a spot of growth in the office.

My Facebook page, Margy Spruill EA, has been updated and has different tax tips being posted there.  I invite you to follow the page so tax tips or other tax information is posted you will be notified.  For example, the information on the delay on Earned Income Credit Refund was posted back in early December.  You can be informed as important tax changes are set in place.

To assure continued growth in tax matters I surpassed my required 32 hours of federal tax law classes by 58 additional hours.  Strategy, planning, law changes, and the absolutely love of taxes are a few of the reasons I pursue them.  The most important reason is to aid you.

Finally, it is my joy to introduce Shelley Kasten.  She will be joining me this year.  She has her own Bookkeeping Practice and a keen eye for tax law.  Having just passed her Enrolled Agent exam, I am encouraging her by way of mentoring her into the world of tax practice.  Before you go there…. No, I am not retiring.  Her presence will give me someone to have tax talk with ( not hold you hostage) and ensure that I have an opportunity to pass on my knowledge to another as the same that was done to me thirty years ago. Many of you will see her at the office since I plan to work with her on the returns she completes.  Hence my advertising in Angie’s List. Shelley lives in Manassas but will be here several days a week.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.  As always, considering myself blessed to have you in my life,

Carmen “Margy” Spruill, EA

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Pictures in next pages

Have you ever “elfed” yourself, family, or friends?

There is more….. next page. The building is Caleb in Honduras.

Hiking in Honduras

Working in Honduras