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- November 2015 – Important Social Security Changes - President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 on November 2, 2015. One of the Act’s key features is the inclusion of significant changes to Social Security benefits and claiming strategies. It is important to note that the basic benefits of Social Security have not changed. The calculations for a worker, spousal, and survivor benefits have not changed. What has been impacted is the use of a spousal benefit strategy that many have previously used to maximize their social security benefits. The Social Security spousal claiming strategy that included “File and Suspend” and “Restricted Application” has now been eliminated by this Act. The “File and Suspend” and “Restricted Application” strategy has in the past given retirees the ability to receive a spousal benefit at full retirement age and then switch to receive their own, potentially higher, benefit later. This allowed one to receive the spousal benefit while deferring the worker’s benefit, which could continue to grow with deferral credits. Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 has taken away this strategy. Under the new law, the spouse will be required to file for all benefits at once and will only be able to collect on the higher amount. While this has simplified benefit claiming strategies for most retirees, it has eliminated a planning tool that we have advocated for our clients. The effective date of the act is May 1, 2016, but we want to make you aware that the rule changes do have some grandfathering provisions for those nearing age 62 or age 66. Specifically, anyone reaching the age of 62 by the end of 2015 can retain the right to claim just spousal benefits when they turn 66 once the other spouse either claims Social Security or if that spouse had requested to file and suspend their benefits before May 1, 2016.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE NOW: If you will be 66 years or older on May 1, 2016, and you have not started your Social Security benefits, “filing and suspending” your worker’s benefits will optimize your family’s social security benefits. If you would like us to review your situation and discuss planning options, please contact Janet Chaney at 610-444-1215. There is a limited window to make the necessary elections. We would like to complete the planning for all of our clients prior to the end of 2015 to ensure adequate time to make the proper elections with the Social Security Administration.
- October 2015 – Fenstermacher & Company, LLP was recently named as one of the 2015 Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for! Accounting Today has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify companies that have excelled in creating quality workplaces for employees. This survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in the accounting industry, benefiting the industry’s economy, workforce and businesses. The list is made up of 100 companies.Companies from across the United States entered the two-part survey process to determine Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process, analyzed the data and determined the final ranking.“The firms on this list represent the best workplaces in the accounting profession,” said Accounting Today Editor-in-Chief Daniel Hood. “They are outstanding places to build a career.”For more information on Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work for program, visit www.BestAccountingFirmsToWorkFor.com.
- July 2013: Our Building Renovation marks its five year anniversary!
What began in July 2008 as a basic extension to our current building on 115 South Broad Street turned into an adventure none of us could have anticipated. When the excavation began to the rear of our building, the fragility of the historic foundation was exposed and a violent thunderstorm that rolled through Kennett Square on July 23 triggered nature’s own demolition of our back wall.
After spending ten months occupying temporary quarters across the street in the Franklin Center, in May 2009 we were pleased to move back to our renovated offices. What began as a basic addition became a renovation that far surpassed what we had hoped to accomplish with that expansion. Please click here to view the photo story of our journey.
- May 2013: Taxpayers who make under $12,000 annually and work in a Pennsylvania jurisdiction that collects more than $10 in Local Services Tax (LST) can fill out a form annually to give to their employer showing that they are exempt from LST withholding – Exemption Certificate. Also, there is a form that can be submitted to request a refund of LST incorrectly held – Refund Application. This worksheet may be helpful in presenting the information for your request. Additional information is available on the Local Services Tax Website.
- March 4, 2013: The Treasurer’s Office for the State of Delaware mailed over 1,800 duplicate refund checks. A letter was sent this weekend to all taxpayers informing them that they can deposit the first check and destroy the second check. The check numbers are from 290982 through 292849. Direct Deposits were not affected.