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Tax Partner Steve Schult to Retire

After 21 years with Gilmore Jasion Mahler (GJM), Tax Partner Steve Schult has decided it is time to retire at the end of 2019. Steve works with many different clients, from individuals to family businesses to multi-national companies. Aside from his client service, he is a career advisor to young professionals within the firm and has taken an active role in GJM’s community service efforts. As he prepares to retire, he took some time to reflect on his years of client service and his time at GJM.

What do you like most about the work you do?

Steve: Getting to know and working with clients - and helping them not only save taxes, but also make decisions that are best for their businesses and their families. I have always said that taxes are a piece of your decision, not the whole decision. Being in public accounting my whole career, I also always appreciated the fact that I was working with the best and the brightest.  I learned something every day from not only my other partners, but everyone in the firm.

What made you decide to retire now?

Steve: My wife Diane and I both had some prior health issues.  We are fine now, but it makes you realize that life is short.  It’s time to slow down and smell the roses.  (For you Michigan fans, just FYI, you smell a lot of roses when you go out to the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl!)

What will you miss the most?

Steve: That’s easy – the daily interactions with clients and the people at GJM.  I am extremely lucky to have worked with so many smart, quality and fun people in my career.  I already know I will struggle with that.

What will you miss the least?

Steve: That’s easy too - Keeping track of time daily and the constant tax deadlines.

Favorite story about helping a client with a tax problem?

Steve: There are actually two stories.

Early in my career I had a 70-year-old client who owed a lot of money on his tax return because he had a large capital gain that was missed in his year-end planning.  I felt it would be best to meet with him to personally review the return.  I called and said I would like to meet him to review his return with him – and he said to meet him at his office on my way in to work the next morning.

After losing sleep that night thinking about the meeting, I met him at his office the next morning.  Upon entering his office, he said “Stevie, you are never going to believe what I got it the mail yesterday when I got home from work.  I applied for tickets to the Masters golf tournament 40 years ago and was informed that I am finally off the waiting list. I now have four tickets to the Masters for the rest of my life!”  Upon asking what I wanted to discuss with him I said, “You owe $25,000 on your tax return”.  He said “Stevie, no problem – I don’t care.  You must not have heard me.  I now have four tickets to the Masters for the rest of my life!”  Timing is everything!  

I also had a large business client who was going through a tough IRS audit.  While most IRS auditors I worked with were pretty reasonable, the agent on this case was very difficult.  Wanting to hopefully resolve a few issues with him, the client and I met with him one day right after he had gotten back from the eye doctor – and he was wearing sunglasses because his pupils were dilated.  Having recently watched some poker tournaments on TV, I semi-jokingly told him it wasn’t fair that he was wearing sunglasses during a negotiation.

After failing to come to an agreement, we requested a meeting with him and his case manager to hopefully resolve our issues.  Upon entering the meeting a few days later, the client team and I were all wearing sunglasses.  The IRS case manager was very amused by this, setting the tone to finally get the issues on the audit resolved.

Favorite memory or story from your time at GJM?

Steve: While there are many, my favorite memory is from our involvement with Flag City Honor Flight.  The night we raised over $125,000 we were all in shock.  Going to Washington DC as a guardian on one of the flights was also a memory I will never forget – and is something I would encourage everyone to do.

What are your plans in retirement?

Steve: Getting in shape; learning to play the guitar; hiking a few times a week in Oak Openings with my two dogs (they keep me walking at a brisk pace); XC-skiing; fly-fishing; learning woodworking from my dad and helping him on the family farm; more time with Diane, (which she may regret) kids and grandkids; getting more active on a few boards; travel; and many more fun adventures that I don’t even know about yet.

Do you have any travel scheduled?

Steve: Yes.  XC-skiing trip in January, visit cousins in Lake Tahoe in February, finally getting to go to Detroit Tigers spring training in Lakeland Florida in March, a trip to hike in the Scottish Highlands this summer, and other trips with kids/grandkids that we haven’t quite finished scheduling yet.

Are you totally disconnecting from GJM or will you be around for client issues, etc.?

Steve: While I don’t want to interfere with other people at GJM developing their own relationships with clients I worked with in the past, I will still be in the Toledo area and will be available as needed.  I want to make sure there is a smooth transition and want to also make sure our clients are being properly served.  I’m sure I could add historical perspective that may be helpful in some situations.   

Will you still stay involved in some GJM events, like the Big Brothers Big Sisters Holiday Party and Flag City Honor Flight?

Steve: If I am not traveling, I would certainly be available to help with the many great causes GJM has supported over the years.

There’s been a lot of change in the accounting industry during your time in the field.  Do you have any advice you’d give to young people pursuing the field now?

Steve: Every industry is constantly changing.  I think the best advice for any young person is pretty easy:  Work hard, communicate, get involved in your community, and show your clients, your family and the people that work with you that you appreciate and care about them.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Steve: As I mentioned before, I know I will miss the constant interactions with clients and the people at GJM.  Those people become part of your family.  I am not leaving the Toledo area.  Now that I will have the time, hopefully people will still occasionally call me for breakfast, lunch, dinner, fishing, etc.  I know Diane will appreciate them getting me out of the house and out of her hair for a while!

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.  

Your Kids & Money

teaching kids about moneyAre you setting your kids up for financial trouble? Experts say if you’re not talking to them about money, you certainly aren’t helping…  So, how can we teach our children to be responsible with money?

Gilmore Jasion Mahler CPA Charlie Heid recently shared some ideas during his monthly appearance on WTOL.

So how young is too young to start talking to your kids about money, and what are some good ideas for parents? Charlie says in his opinion, the earlier you can teach them, the better. Some research has shown that kids as early as 5 to 7 years old understand the concept of money and are already forming the money habits that will stay with them into adulthood.

Show your children what saving looks like

There’s plenty that you can do as parents to instill good habits. Start with showing your kids what saving money looks like. Financial expert Dave Ramsey suggests that you use a clear jar to teach your kids about saving. They can see with their own eyes as the jar fills up… and if they spend money, they see the jar empty out. A piggy bank doesn’t allow them to actually see the money collecting in there.

Set an example

Charlie's next suggestion: Be aware of your own behavior. What are your personal spending habits? Your kids are watching you. If you’re charging on a credit card or impulse buying at every turn, your children are noticing. If you set a healthy financial example, your children will pick up on that too.

Rethink the “allowance”

Charlie challenged parents to get rid of the concept of allowance, or at least rethink it. Instead, he said, have your kids earn money for doing chores around the house. It will help them to understand that money isn’t just handed to us, we have to earn it.

Charlie Heid WTOL kids and moneyHere are Charlie’s other suggestions he shared on the air:

Challenge your kids to wait to buy something: Some experts recommend the one-day rule. If your child really wants to buy something… ask them to wait at least one day to think about it and weigh the decision, it gives them a chance to really think it through, and to avoid the impulse buy.

Instill the value of giving back. Let your child pick a charity the family can support. It will help them understand the value of doing good for others.

Grocery shopping as a lesson in money: Before you go to the store establish a budget, search together for coupons and make a grocery list. Only buy what’s on the list. Help them to understand that you can’t buy things just because you want them… For example, if they want 2 packages of cookies, explain that you don’t need both, so they can choose one or the other.

For teenagers, here are some thoughts:

  • It’s a good time to open their first bank account. This is a good opportunity to have them track their money, deposit birthday and holiday money. If it’s an interest-bearing account, they can see their money grow.
  • Educate them about credit – they need to understand that borrowing on credit involves interest.
  • Be open about household financials. If you’re comfortable sharing with the kids how money comes in, what bills it pays, etc. they’ll have a better understanding. Even if you make a poor financial decision, sharing the consequences openly with your children will help them learn from your mistakes. If you’re not comfortable talking real numbers, you could just convey using percentages: we spend 20 percent of our income on food, 10 percent in charitable donations, etc.
  • Let them stumble. If your child wants to spend all their saved-up birthday money on something and you think it’s a bad idea, consider letting them go ahead with the purchase and see the consequences of the decision. And don’t step in and replace the money for them, so they can learn from the mistake.  

CPA Charlie Heid is a partner specializing in tax services, who joined Gilmore Jasion Mahler in 2002. He serves clients across many industries, with a focus on manufacturing & distribution. Charlie appears monthly on WTOL-TV to discuss tax and money issues.

Established in 1996, Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM) is the largest public accounting firm in Northwest Ohio, with offices in Maumee and Findlay. Locally owned, GJM offers cloud-based accounting and provides comprehensive services including assurance, business advisory, tax, risk advisory, healthcare management and outsourced accounting. The Firm’s professionals specialize in industries including construction & real estate, healthcare, manufacturing & distribution and utilities.

Back to School Tax Tips

As children (and adults, too!) head back to school, we'd like to remind you of a few ways you can minimize your income taxes:

Most before and after school care can be deducted. For a child under the age of 13, the cost of before and/or after school care may qualify for a tax credit.  This includes the child care component costs of private school tuition.  School uniforms are not deductible even though they are required.  Donating outgrown uniforms to charity can be deductible if you itemize.

School fundraiser tickets may be fully or partially deductible.  Check your raffle tickets for the amount deductible.

Earnings in 529 Plans are not federally taxable. Use the money you've saved into a 529 Plan to pay for eligible college expenses as well as books and computers for elementary, high school and college students.

Student loan interest is deductible. Student loan interest paid up to $2,500 is usually deductible. You do not have to itemize deductions on Schedule A in order to claim this valuable deduction.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit can amount to $2,500 in tax credits per eligible student and is available for the first four years of post-secondary education at a qualified educational institution.

The Lifetime Learning Credit can amount to up to $2,000 credit for qualified education expenses paid for a student enrolled in an eligible educational institution.

The Tuition and Fees Deduction applies to qualified education expenses for higher education for an eligible student taking undergraduate, graduate or post graduate courses.

As always with tax law, there are exceptions and exemptions. consult with your tax preparer if you need mor information or have any questions.

Guest blogger Amy Sigurdson contributed this article. Amy is a Tax Associate at Gilmore Jasion Mahler, LTD (GJM). Learn more about GJM's expertise in Tax.

GJM Top 5 List: Questions to Ask When Reviewing Your Business Financials

Business financials can get complicated. Overwhelmed by a sea of numbers? A team of Gilmore Jasion Mahler accountants recently walked area businesspeople through the top 5 questions to ask when reviewing your financial statements. They discussed each major section of a financial statement and provided helpful tips on what to look for or ask about. “Chamber U: Understanding Your Financial Statements” was offered in partnership with the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. Gilmore Jasion Mahler presenters included Steve Miller, CPA, Caitlin Bainter, CPA, Michael Brough, CPA.

The five key areas of focus:

1. The Report

  • audit
  • review
  • compilation
  • agreed upon procedures

2. The Balance Sheet

3. The Income Statement

4. Statement of Cash Flows

5. Footnotes

Top five takeaways:

  • Make sure you know what type of service you are receiving
  • Review debt agreements to see what service is required
  • Review debt agreements for affirmative and negative covenants
  • The statement of Cash Flows gives a clear vision of the health of your business
  • Consider whether your basis of accounting is appropriate to meet the needs of your business

Steve Miller, Caitlin Bainter and Michael Brough are part of GJM’s Assurance team, working with businesses across the region to provide trusted guidance.

GJM’s Charlie Heid On Your Kids & Money

A recent study by T. Rowe Price showed over half of parents worry they spoil their kids and 71 percent are reluctant to talk to their kids about money.

Are you teaching your kids what they need to know about money? Or are you spoiling them? GJM Tax Partner and CPA Charlie Heid offered up some advice for parents on Fox Toledo News. Here are some key points on what your child should know by the time they reach 18 years old.

1. How to Save for a Goal

Idea: try a savings bank for preschoolers. They can learn to save to buy a toy. Tip: attach a picture of the toy to the bank. Elementary/middle school: open a savings account, aim for a bigger goal, you can offer to match their savings. High school: make college savings the goal.

2. They can’t have everything they want

If you buy them everything they want, they’ll feel entitled. Tell them why you’re saying no, offer an alternative.

3. How to Earn Money

Valuable lessons can come from that summer job: responsibility, getting along with coworkers, being on time. Their own paycheck means an opportunity to manage their own money and understand that tax withholding even applies to teenagers. They can contribute to a Roth IRA and even get an early start on retirement savings.

4. How Fast Money Grows

Teach them the concept of compounding interest using something called the rule of 72: 72 divided by the interest rate equals the number of years it will take for your money to double. MoneyChimp.com compounding calculator can do it too

5. How to Stay Out of Debt

Teach your child that using a credit card is taking out a loan you will have to repay with interest (unless it is paid off monthly). There are differing opinions on whether it’s helpful to have your teens become authorized users of your credit card. One school of thought: let them learn about covering their expenses with a college checking account before starting a line of credit after they turn 21 and can do it themselves. Source: Kiplinger.com.

Charlie Heid is a tax partner with Gilmore Jasion Mahler specializing in Tax. Learn more about Charlie's expertise.