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Don’t Fall for the IRS Phone Scam

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 22 2018

Did you know someone is posing as the IRS to target taxpayers?  They call and say that are with the IRS and are needing more information or payment.

They sound convincing, but do not give any confidential information or payment over the phone.  It could be someone trying to scam you out of your money and confidential information.

The scammers will try to put pressure on those on the other end of the phone.  They will threaten to send the police to your home for failure to pay or revoke your driver’s license.

Do not be fooled!  Even the caller ID will say they are the IRS, but they aren’t!  The caller ID may even show a local number.

If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail.  The IRS will never make a phone call their first point of contact with someone.  If you receive any notices, letters or statements from the IRS, it’s best to bring them to your tax professional.                                                  

If you receive any calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS and need payment, please be cautious.  Call your tax professional before giving any credit card or payment information to the IRS over the phone.

How Does Divorce Effect Your Taxes?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 12 2018

If you’re recently divorced or are going through a divorce then there are a few tax implications you should be aware of.  Divorce can cause tax issues if you are unprepared at tax time.  However, talking to a tax professional during the proceedings can help relieve any future stress. 


When going through a divorce, it’s best to talk to your tax expert.   If you and your spouse have joint liabilities – such as a home mortgage, car loan, a business or credit cards then you need to make decisions now on how those will be handled.  Also, taking into consideration joint assets like an IRA, savings account or home can be important when going through a dissolution of marriage. 


Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to talk to a tax professional.  We can help you through the divorce proceedings to make sure you’re on track for your taxes. 

Deductions Your Home Business Could Claim

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 05 2018

It can be difficult to know what you can and cannot claim on your tax return if you have a home business.  There are some expenses that are often overlooked on tax returns, but hiring a tax professional can help you not miss any deductions.  Here are some of the deductions you could be claiming:

Books and publications – these of course have to be specific to your business and can’t be general publications; however, the cost can be deducted.

Education – again, any education has to be specific to your industry and your present job then the expenses are deductible.  Now, if you are wanting to take classed to add a new service then that costs may not be deductible.

Business insurance – you can claim the cost as a deduction on your tax return

Professional memberships – again, the memberships have to be directly related to your profession.  If they do, then you can deduct your membership dues and any fees.

Uniforms – You can deduct the cost of any items purchased for a uniform or required safety clothing.

If you have any questions on which expenses can and cannot be deducted, please contact your tax professional.  Don’t have one?  Give us a call at 573-686-3053, we’d love the opportunity to help you.

2018 Tax Record Tips

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Feb 05 2018


It’s time for some housekeeping for your tax records.  A big myth is to keep every single piece of paper that comes your way just in case.  Tax and organizational experts say that’s not necessarily correct.

What do you need to hang onto?

Keep records that will help identify income sources, track expenses, determine the value of property, prepared tax returns and their supporting documents. 

A good rule of thumb is to hold onto records for 3 years after filing your return.  That is typically when a chance of an audit from the IRS will pass; however, if the IRS suspects you underreported income by 25% or more then they can go back 6 years.

Most recommendations are for taxpayers to hold onto their tax documents for about 6-10 years.

If you use something to claim a deduction then hold onto it; however, if you don’t use it then shred it.  For example, some taxpayers are unable to deduct their medical expenses.

Some items will eventually sell, such as specific assets.  Pension plans, homeownership, stocks and more are such assets.  Tax professional recommend hold onto those records for 3 years after you dispose of the asset.

Once you know which records to keep, and which not to keep then it’s time to pick a system.  Any system will work, just find one that you like best.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a filing cabinet, cardboard box, or computer program.  Find a record-keeping system you’re comfortable with it and use it.

How To Report Gambling Winnings On Your Income Tax Return

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Feb 01 2018

Did you know you should report any gambling winnings on your income tax return? If you have winnings over a specific dollar amount then you will be required to claim those amounts. The IRS wants to know just you lucky you are at poker, blackjack, slot machines, horse racing, and more. The institution must get your Social Security Number and let the IRS know you came into some extra money during the year. 

If your winnings are large enough then it might be smart to pay an estimated tax before December 31st.

What if your winnings weren't large enough to trigger a W-2G filing? Well at that point, it's up to the taxpayer to be responsible to report the winnings.

Remember, you may be able to deduct any losses your faced during the tax year, too.  If you have any questions give us a call at 573-686-3053.

Why You Need a Financial Planner

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Jan 15 2018

We’ve talked about how money is a tool to help you.  Money can help us achieve our goals and reach our dreams.  But you have to handle your money correctly.  The more confident you are in handling your money, the better off you will be at making the important decisions.

We understand how busy you are and only have limited time to focus on your financial situation.  It’s important to make sure you’re finances are in order and are working for you – not against you.  We can help you.

We are a full-service financial planning and account firm.  We help our clients to leverage their money so it will work for them.  It’s your money and your life.  So we need to help you create a plan to utilize your money.  When you want to talk one of our financial planners, we will give you our undivided attention.  We want to make sure we understand your goals and dreams. 

We’re here to help you along your financial journey.  We specialize in working with families and business owners to take control of their finances and create a working plan.  Let us help you.

Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a meeting with one of our financial planners. 

Don’t Ignore the 4 Financial Steps

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Jan 02 2018


It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.  We have every intention to focus on our finances, but then work, family and life happens.  As you become more established in your career or business, you should realize the foundation for your financial life. 

Here are three financial steps that you cannot ignore.  Often, these simple steps are overlooked for too long.  Don’t make that mistake!

Build Your Cash Cushion.  Everyone should have a little bit of savings for a rainy day.  You never know what life can throw your way.  A cash cushion can help with the unpredicted emergencies.  If you lose your job and it takes a month or two to find a new one, then with a cash cushion you will still be able to provide for your family.

Protect Yourself.  There are many ways you can protect from life’s unpredictable ways.  Insurance is usually something we are not crazy about paying for, but it’s the glue that can hold us together during unexpected events.  Make sure you review your insurance needs on a regular basis to identify any gaps or confirm that you’re on the right track.  Here’s some common types to review:

  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Auto insurance
  • Home/Renters insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Umbrella insurance
  • Business insurance


Understand Your Tax Strategies.  Hiring a tax professional is an important step in your tax story.  No one enjoys paying taxes, but it has to be done.  Make sure you understand your current tax situation and have someone on your team who’s willing to help you better your tax strategies.  

If you need help, give us a call at 686-3053.

Happy New Year

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 27 2017


We like to wish you a very Happy New Year.  It seems like just yesterday we were starting 2017 and now we’re getting ready to roll into 2018.  It doesn’t seem possible! 

At Denton & Associates, we would like to thank you, our clients, for an amazing year.  We know we have you to thank for our successes and great memories of this year.  We’re looking forward to another great year and would love the opportunity to serve you.  Our goal is to help our clients minimize taxes and maximize wealth.  Thank you for allowing us to join you on your journey.

Tips To Organize Your Tax Records

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 11 2017


It’s that time of year again – time to start preparing for your taxes.  Today, we wanted to share some easy tips to help you organize your tax records.  By having organized receipts and records, you can cut down on the stress and time it takes to prepare your return. 

Here’s what you need:

STEP ONE: Have a designated space for your tax records.  By having a specific area in your office you’re your tax receipts and records, then you can avoid the last minute scramble. 

STEP TWO: Organize your files.  Determine what categories will work best for you, but here are some to go off of:

Bank Statements

Taxes Paid











STEP THREE: Gather physical documentation of the above categories and any other categories that fit your business.  Make sure to sort them correctly and on time.  Don’t put off organizing until the end of the year.  Do it as you receive your receipts and invoices. 

STEP FOUR: Keep your previous tax returns for seven years.  You can claim a loss for certain investments for up to 7 years.  Please note, if the IRS suspects fraud there is no limit to how far back they can audit you.

STEP FIVE: Safeguard your information.  If you keep paper records, then you need to place them in a safe, locked and fireproof cabinet.

STEP SIX: Work with an accountant throughout the year to help you maintain your business’ financials.  

Join Us on December 12, 2017

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 05 2017


We’re excited to invite you to our annual Holiday Open House.  It will be happening on December 12 from 11am – 1pm.  Join us for lunch, drinks and giveaways.  It’s going to be a jolly day filled with holiday spirit.  So mark your calendars.  If you have any questions, please email Meredith at


Prevent Gift Card Fraud

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 04 2017


Now that we’re in full swing of holiday shopping, there are steps to prevent gift card fraud.  Gift cards have become a popular method of gift giving within recent years, which means fraud is on the rise.  There is nothing wrong with purchasing and giving gift cards, but there is a major step you can take to prevent fraud. 

Most gift cards have an identification number and a PIN.  The identification number is typically displayed on the front or on the back of the card, similar to a credit card’s identification number.  The PIN is hidden under a silver plated coating that can be easily scratched off. 

At the point of purchase, the identification number is scanned or swiped to be activated.  The card can be used for in-person purchases or online transactions.  Online the identification number and PIN have to be entered in.  This is where a possibility for fraud starts.

A person wanting to commit fraud can steal the unpurchased cards from a store and take them home.  Once home or outside of the store, they can write down the identification numbers and scratch off the coating to obtain the PINs.  Then they take the cards back into the store to be sold.  They then check online on a regular basis to determine if the cards have been activated.  Once activated they can then use the information they wrote down to go online shopping.

The biggest tip we have to help prevent gift card fraud is to ensure the coating covering the PIN has not been scratched off prior to purchase.  If it has been scratched off and the PIN is revealed then do not purchase it.

Holiday Savings - Host A Potluck

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 06 2017

Now that we’re getting close to Thanksgiving and the holiday season our budget could probably use a little help.  The holidays can have a bad effect on your otherwise healthy budget.  Not only do you have gifts to purchase, travel plans to make, but you may also have a few dinners that you’re hosting.  Dinners can be costly for those that try to do it on their own.  A great idea to cut down the cost and increase your savings is by having a potluck.

Don’t try to do everything on your own.  Ask family and friends to bring a dish.  You can have each person responsible for a separate dish so that it completes a family-sized meal.  By splitting the responsibility not only are you letting go of some holiday stress, but you’re also decreasing the financial strain hosting a dinner can put on you.

You can divide the dinner into categories: main dish, vegetable side dish, bread, other side dish, appetizer, dessert, drinks, etc.  Then everyone is responsible for that category.  You can also decide on the dishes themselves and then ask everyone to volunteer to make one.

Don’t forget the paper products – napkins, forks, glasses, and plates.  This can be added for someone to take care of, too. 

Year-End Tax Planning Guide for Your Business

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 02 2017


Now that we’re getting closer to the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking of tax planning.  Especially for small businesses, year-end tax planning can play a vital role in your overall year.  Here are some items to add when meeting with your tax planner:

Discuss the current year.  You need to know as a business owner if there was a profit this year, if so how much. 

Assess the family’s role in the business.  Are you planning on handing over the reins to a new family member this next year? Is your family involved in the running of the business?

Is the ownership structure changing? If you’re bringing in a new partner or a partner is leaving then considerations need to be made on the entity of the business.

Your accountant should be able to discuss your current tax situation with you before the end of the calendar year.  If any changes need to be made then you will need time to implement them before December 31st.

Happy Halloween

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 31 2017

Happy Halloween

Can you believe it’s already the end of October? Halloween is upon us.  It’s time for ghouls, ghosts and boos! We look forward to Halloween each year here at the office.  Usually we dress up the Friday before.  We want to take time to wish a Spooktacular Halloween with family and friends.  May your night be ghostly!

Expenses Your Home Business Could Claim

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 23 2017


It can be difficult to know what you can and cannot claim on your tax return if you have a home business.  There are some expenses that are often overlooked on tax returns, but hiring a tax professional can help you not miss any deductions.  Here are some of the deductions you could be claiming:

Books and publications – these of course have to be specific to your business and can’t be general publications; however, the cost can be deducted.

Education – again, any education has to be specific to your industry and your present job then the expenses are deductible.  Now, if you are wanting to take classed to add a new service then that costs may not be deductible.

Business insurance – you can claim the cost as a deduction on your tax return

Professional memberships – again, the memberships have to be directly related to your profession.  If they do, then you can deduct your membership dues and any fees.

Uniforms – You can deduct the cost of any items purchased for a uniform or required safety clothing.

If you have any questions on which expenses can and cannot be deducted, please contact your tax professional.  Don’t have one?  Give us a call at 573-686-3053, we’d love the opportunity to help you.

Stay Connected To Your Customers

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 18 2017

It’s no secret that return customers are the best.  And the best way to keep your customers coming back for more is exceptional customer service.  Majority of customers who stopped buying from a particular business did so due to poor customer service, which can give off the impression that they aren’t cared about.  As a business owner, you want customers not only coming back, but giving rave reviews about you.  Customer service is key and the best way to keep those customers loyal is by communicating with them on a regular basis.  You want to remind your customers that you exist and you’re here to help them with their needs.

Here are some great ways to stay connected to your customers:

Newsletters – you can send a monthly or quarterly newsletter to your customers.  Newsletters are easy to put together and can be sent my either regular mail or by e-mail.  It’s a simple way to stay in touch.

Thank you notes – after a purchase, pop a thank you note in the mail.  Make sure you hand write it to give it the extra attention.

Thank them for referrals – there are so many businesses that never thank current customers for referrals.  That’s a shame.  Take the time to send a handwritten thank you note.  Remember they took the time to recommend you, the least you can do is thank them.

Have contests – there are so many different ways to host a contest. You can offer a grand prize, a gift certificate or a night out on the town.  Customers can be entered for every purchase they make that month, for any referrals they send your way, or for reviewing your business online.

Remember their needs – if you get a new product or service in then reach out to them if you think they can benefit.  Most customers would love the opportunity to find a solution to a problem, so help them get there.

Ways to Repair Your Credit Score

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 18 2017

Here are some great tips on how to repair your credit score.  Even if you’re just starting out and may not have had a chance to build your credit, these tips can be useful.

ONE: Keep amounts you owe low.  By maintaining either no balance or a low balance then that can have a positive impact on your credit score. 

TWO: Make Your Payments.  Don’t skip payments and try to be on time each month.  By being delinquent or missing payments you can do some serious damage to your score. 

THREE: Don’t open too many accounts in a short period of time.  New accounts will lower your credit score.  And new accounts on a rapid basis can make you appear too risky.

What You Should Be Asking Before Hiring Your Accountant

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 09 2017

Are you in the process of hiring an accountant?  If so, then there are a few key questions you should be asking.  Remember, you’re hiring an accountant for a purpose – prepare your tax return, bookkeeping, tax planning and so on.  It’s your right to have your questions answered.  Here’s what you should be asking:

How long have you been an accountant?

What time of services do you provide?

What are your hours?

What is your policy on returning questions and phone calls?

What are your fees and how are they calculated?

What continuing education programs do you attend or does your staff attend?

Can you provide me a list of references?

A majority of these questions apply whether you’re an individual or a small business owner.

Form a Relationship With Your Accountant

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 02 2017


Your accountant can be a vital piece to your business.  By forming a relationship with them then you will be able to understand your financials better.  A lot of owners only see their tax guy during tax season, and that’s a mistake.  You should be talking with your accountant throughout the year.  Learning what’s working and not working.  Your accountant can help you pinpoint areas of your business that need help or what’s working well. 

Here are a few key areas you may be missing out on by not having a relationship with your accountant:

One: Tax Planning.  Tax planning is a great strategic tool that you should be using.  Tax planning can help prepare you for any tax liability that will be due so you do not have any surprises.  If done properly and before the end of the tax year, you may be able to relieve some of that tax liability.

Two: Budgeting.  Your accountant can help you develop an effective budget.  That way you can save and help plan for the future.

Three: Assist in making large decisions.  Your accountant can help you in making investment, sales and other large transaction decisions.  That way you can make sure it’s in your best interest financially.

Four: Keep record.  Your accountant can help you track your sales, expenses, and other important information so you may see how your business is doing throughout the year.

What if I Didn't File My Return on Time?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 02 2017


Every tax season and throughout the year, we are asked that question over and over again.  The IRS isn’t happy with anyone that misses the deadline for filing their tax return (or extension).  Here’s what you need to know:

If you’re entitled to a refund then there will be no interest and penalties.  The IRS only applies interest and penalties to those that owe money.  However, if you wait over three years then you will lose any chance of a refund. 

If you owe the IRS then you will be charged a penalty of 5% of the balance due per month it’s late. 

If you don’t pay on time then you will also be charged a failure to pay penalty of 0.5% a month on top of the penalty stated above.

Filing an extension may buy you a little more time, but it will not eliminate the failure to pay penalty.  Therefore, when you file an extension it’s important to pay an estimate.

If you can prove an explanation that is reasonable as to why your tax return was late or payment was late then the IRS may remove the penalties due.

Top Worries for Small Business Owners

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 26 2017


As a small business owner, you probably have hundreds of thoughts and reminders run through your mind all day.  Some are major and others are minor.  It’s vital to keep a running list of things to do nearby.  That way you won’t forget and are able to keep track of what’s most important.  A recent poll showed the three top worries for small business owners:

ONE: Taxes.  It’s important to have a tax professional in your corner.  As a small business owner you’re under pressure by the ever-changing tax laws and regulations.  By utilizing tax planning, you can avoid being unprepared during tax time.

TWO: Regulations. Many individuals are unaware of changing and new regulations; however, as a small business owner it’s your job to know. 

THREE: Poor Sales.  Consumers are unsure of how the economy will be in the future, so it’s effecting small business owners’ sales amounts. 

Eliminate Hiring Mistakes

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 18 2017


Do you have to hire anyone for your business or for your employer?  It can be stressful.  How do you know if this person will work out?  Are they reliable, honest, and trustworthy?  Will they work hard?

It’s tough to know.  Most hiring managers make the mistake of hiring the first qualified applicant they come across.  This can lead to the misconception that there is no good employees to be found.  There is a process you should follow when hiring someone new.

Step One: Have the applicant fully complete an application.  Make sure your application covers the basic information: employment history, knowledge, skills, and reasons for leaving a previous job.  Also, have the applicant answer open-ended questions such as: name a situation that involved teamwork, how do you feel about being critique, what are your thoughts on customer service issues, and so on.  Make sure you receive written permission to contact any former employer.

Step Two: Ask your applicants to call in during a specific time before meeting in person.  By asking for a quick phone interview you can test their skills on the phone and their ability to follow directions. 

Step Three: Do your due diligence.  Run a background check, a drug screen and make sure to call their references. 

Step Four: Do face-to-face interviews with those that passed the previous steps.  Have open-ended questions ready that can really show you how they will handle specific situations. 

Step Five: Hire the most qualified applicant on a 90-day probation period. 


Break Up With Your Debt

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 14 2017

It’s time to end it.  End your unhealthy relationship with your debt. 

Think about the amount of money you could have to put towards retirement, your children’s future, your dream home, and so much more if you didn’t have those monthly payments to credit card companies, car payments, and store credit cards.

You could have an extra $1,000 or more a month in discretionary income if you just didn’t have any debt.  So how do you go about breaking up with your debt?

It’s simple, stop spending money you don’t have.  Sure, a car loan and mortgage is understandable.  Even college loans are common these days.  But there is no need to have a credit card balance or store card balance. 

Credit card companies make everything sound so amazing

“No interest for the first 18 months.”

“Receive 20% off today’s purchase by using your store card.”

It’s hard to say no. But you must resist the temptation to get into deeper debt.

Here are some great tips to help you get out of your debt:

Call your credit card company and ask them to freeze your interest rate.  By freezing your interest rate you’ll be able to avoid any increases, but you won’t be able to use your card anymore.  Now, not all credit card companies will do this, but it’s worth a shot.

Lower your credit card limit.  Did you know you can call your credit card company to lower your limit?  It’s true!  By lowering your limit you won’t be able to spend as much, which can help teach you discipline. 

Leave your card at home.  If you can, you should leave your credit card at home to avoid the temptation of easily swiping it.  Now, if you’re traveling then you may want to pack your card with you in case of an emergency. 

Start putting extra income towards your monthly payments.  Paying more than the minimum amount each month can help you pay off debt a lot faster.  Remember – the more you’re able to put towards your debt the less amount of interest you’re going to pay.

The Number One Tip for Talking Money With Your Spouse

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 13 2017


It can be difficult to talk money and financials with the one you love.  There are differing opinions to consider and feelings to take into account.  However, talking with your spouse about money can be one of the most important conversations you have.  A lot of couples fight over money and it’s a fight that can be avoided. 


Before getting upset or starting a fight, try to this tip to work things out.  It’s important to realize that you don’t exactly know where the other person is coming from.  Spending habits are hard to change, but with open communication and no judgment, couples can work together. 

Want to know our number one tip for talking money?

Place yourself in the other person’s shoes.

It’s hard to do, but it’s worth it.  By discussing why you spend and how you feel during the conversation then your spouse can develop a deeper understanding.  Not everyone thinks alike, which means the reasons we spend money the way we do differs. 

Try having money talks on a regular basis to avoid any issues.

How To Quickly Build Your Savings

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 12 2017

Today, I want to share a few tips on how to quickly build your savings account.  First, I like to treat my main savings account as an emergency fund.  I only dip into in case of an emergency and it must be a real emergency.  I also try to keep a minimum balance of $1,000 in the account at all times.  That way if something unplanned arises, I’m prepared.  However, building your savings account to that $1,000 mark or past it can be hard.  There are a few things you can do that can really help you.

ONE: setup an automatic transfer from your checking account into your savings account on payday.  This way you will never actually miss the money that you put away because it’s not in your account for very long.

SECOND: establish a portion of each paycheck to be automatically transferred into a savings account.  A lot of employers utilize automatic deposit for employees.  And they may allow for your check to be deposited into more than one account.  If so, use this option.  It’s a great way to force discipline.

THREE: Create a savings account at another bank.  This one will be hard to establish a transfer for, but you can avoid the temptation of transferring money out of your savings.  A lot of people find it difficult to say no when something comes up.  A trip out of town for the weekend is not a good reason to transfer money from your savings account.  By having a separate banking account at another bank then you can make it harder on yourself to take money out.

What is Liquidity?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 12 2017


Liquidity is a simple way of saying the company’s ability to pay bills.  Typically it means paying bills from cash or other assets that can be turned into cash easily and quickly. The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s liquidity. 

The quick ratio is a financial ratio, sometimes referred the acid test ratio.  It compares the total amount of cash, marketable securities and accounts receivable to the total amount of current liabilities.  

Don't Become a Victim of Identity Theft

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on July 11 2017


Here are some great tips on preventing identity theft.  Make sure you protect yourself.

- Do not give your personal information over the phone

- Do not send personal information via e-mail

- Be wary of telephone solicitors who want to send someone to your home

- Be cautious of those mailings that offer a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity

- Choose passwords and PINs that are not obvious

- Maintain security software on your computer

- Consistently shred any unwanted or outdated personal information documents

- Never leave credit cards, bank statements or personal information lying around your home or out for others to easily take

4th of July

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on July 06 2017

We would like to wish you a Happy Fourth of July celebration.  May your day be filled with laughter, making memories, and time spent together.  Our office will be closed Tuesday, July 4th in observance of the holiday.  We will re-open Wednesday, the 5th.  Happy 4th!

What To Do If You Suspect Fraud In Your Organization

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on July 06 2017


Do you know the steps to take if you suspect fraud in your business?  Maybe you’ve spotted some behavior or changes in an employee that don’t seem to fit.  There are steps you can take if you suspect fraud within your organization.

ONE: Hire experts such as an accountant or forensic accountant to analyze your books.  They can help uncover any abnormalities within your transactions or operations.  If you aren’t sure who to hire, then speak with your accountant to see if they can help you or recommend a forensic accountant that can.

TWO: Realize that legal action may be the next step.  After you review the evidence that shows internal fraud, then litigation may be the next step you take.  Consult with your accountant and attorney on taking your case to trial.

THREE: Build in protection to prevent fraud from happening.  You need to employ a checks and balances system where someone else is reviewing employees’ reports.  Also, it’s important to encourage employees to report any suspicious behavior.  You can setup a tip hotline or other method to receive information.  Implement a corporate policy that outlines the action plan to report suspicions.

Your Divorce Checklist

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 27 2017

One of the most common concerns with divorce is financial survival.  A big mistakes most divorcing couples make is by not being fully away of their finances and how divorce impacts them.  For couples facing divorce it’s important to take inventory of your financial situation, gather copies of financial documents, bank accounts, retirement accounts, debts, etc. before any legal proceedings begin.


Most divorce attorneys will require a financial gathering questionnaire so that any property, income, debts, and assets can be split properly between the parties.  Here is a checklist to consider when gathering information:

- Income information, which can come from a recent tax return or payroll stubs

- Retirement plans, including: 401Ks, IRAs, Thrift Savings Plans, 403Bs, etc.

- Account balances of any pension plans, profit-sharing plans or employee stock options

- Statements of any other investment or brokerage accounts

- Insurance Policies

- Contents of any safety deposit boxes

- Bank accounts, including: checking, savings, money market accounts, certificate of deposits (CDs)

- Any loan balances – mortgage, automobile, personal, school

- Any credit card balances

- Appraisals of any assets owned

- List of all you and your spouse’s personal property that was acquired before and during the marriage

- List of any inheritance received

Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 19 2017


We’ve learned that a lot of people like to put off planning for their death.  It’s not a fun subject and can sometimes cause great stress on those involved.  However, it’s important to realize you already have an Estate Plan in place whether you like it or not.  The state you reside in as a standard flow of your assets if you die without a Will or Trust in place.  Remember, the way the state directs your assets may not be what you want or desire. 

By creating your Estate Plan now then you can avoid losing control over your assets.  Here are some of the common Estate Planning mistakes we see.

ONE: not establishing the Estate Plan you want.  It’s vital to make sure your important assets are passed down to the loved ones and charities you want.

TWO: Forgetting to update your Estate Plan.  When you have children, grandchildren or remarry it’s important to update your Will or Trust.  A periodic review of your Estate Planning documents can ensure your wishes are still up-to-date.

THREE: Forgetting to make gifts that can help reduce your estate tax.  By talking with your tax preparer you should be able to plan gifts that can help reduce your tax liability. 

FOUR: Selecting the wrong person to handle your estate.  Choosing an Executor is a difficult choice for most people.  Who you place in charge can have a serious impact on your estate. 

FIVE: Putting it off.  By thinking you can take care of your Estate Plan another time is a big mistake.  Putting it off doesn’t make it go away.  Sometimes the realization comes too late, such as when there is an unexpected death or disability.  To avoid the stress of not having your Estate Plan established, go ahead and take care of it as soon as possible.

If you need help with your Estate Plan, give us a call at 573-686-3053.  Dairel is a Board Certified Trust Specialist and can help you make the most of your tax planning.

What Are Buy-Sell Agreements?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 12 2017

A buy-sell agreement is sometimes known as a buyout agreement.  It is a legal document that binds co-owners of a business on how to handle the situation if one owner dies, is forced to leave the business or chooses to leave the business.

Think of it as a prenuptial agreement between business owners.  The contents and arrangements are agreed upon by the owners if something should happen.  Some buy-sell agreements are funded by insurance policies in case of death of an owner. 

Buy-Sell Agreements contain the co-owners involved in the agreement, what specific events will trigger a buyout, the price to be paid, the date the owners came into agreement, and signatures.  There are more considerations that need to be made and it’s important to discuss those with your attorney and your accountant.  

What is a promissory note?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 12 2017

A promissory note is a written and signed promise to pay a stated amount of money by a specified date or on demand.  The promissory note is to be paid by a specified person and it could involve a loan from a bank, a loan from a relative, or a replacement for an account payable.  It is sometimes referred to as a note payable.


The face amount of the promissory note is the written amount of money owed. The face amount will be recorded in the borrower's general ledger with a credit to their liability account Notes Payable. The lender will record the face amount with a debit to its asset account Notes Receivable.


A promissory note could specify an interest rate due on the borrowed amount.  If the promissory note specifies an interest rate, which has been agreed to by both parties then it’s used to accrue interest expense and interest payable on the books of the borrower. The lender will accrue interest income and interest receivable.  If the promissory note does not specify any interest then it should be assumed the face amount includes some interest.

The terms of the note include the face amount, the interest rate (if stated), the date, terms of repayment and the maturity date.  Sometimes the note will also include the lender’s rights in the event of default.

Planning for Digital Assets

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 12 2017



What exactly is a digital asset?  Well a digital asset is anything that exists online and comes with the right to use.  Such as images, multimedia files, online accounts, etc.

Here’s what to do with your digital property before you pass away

ONE: Make a list of all your digital assets, online accounts, etc. and how to access each of them.  These can include: email accounts, social media accounts, domain names, photo storage accounts, copyrighted materials, etc.

TWO: Decide what you want done with each account after you’ve passed away.  If you have any digital assets that have a monetary value then you need to instruct the executor of your estate on how to handle these assets.  Think of specific account features, such as credit card points, reward points, and so on.  Should these accounts be immediately shut down or shut down after it is redeemed?

THREE: You need to name a digital executor.  You need to be aware that in most states a Digital Executor is not a legally binding designation, but if it is known then your Executor of your Estate can name that person to handle your wishes as you laid them out.

FOUR: Make sure you store your digital assets’ information in a secure location, but also make sure it’s accessible.  

What is the difference between revenues and earnings?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on May 30 2017


As a small business owner it's important to know just how you're doing.  We help business owners every day know just how healthy their business is doing, because sometimes the numbers can be misunderstood.  For instance, a business’ revenues are reported on the top line of its income statement, while its earnings are reported on the bottom line (or near the bottom) of the income statement.

Revenues are the gross amounts earned from selling goods or providing services during a certain period. In other words, revenues are the total amounts earned before deducting cost of goods sold, any expenses, and losses the business received.

Earnings are the amounts earned after deducting the cost of goods sold, expenses and losses. It is often presented as net income. 

If you need help determining your business' earning, give us a call.  Our knowledgeable team can help.  Call us at 573-686-3053.

Start Planning for Next Year

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on May 02 2017


Tax season is over and you may be grateful to have another year to think about it again.  But you shouldn’t put off planning until it’s too late.  Go ahead and get organized for the 2017 tax year.  Make sure you keep records, retain any receipts, and keep any income sources and expense records.  If you start the year off right then you can eliminate any stress at the end of the year.  If you need help knowing which records are important and should be kept, just give us a call at 573-686-3053.  We’ll be happy to help!

And The Winner of The GoPro Is...

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Apr 28 2017

Congratulations to our clients, Debbie and Herschel W. for winning our grandprize!  They were the lucky winners of our GoPro giveaway during this past tax season.  We hope you enjoy your new GoPro and all of those accessories!  

We hold a referral giveaway during tax season each year.  Every time a client refers a new client our way, they are entered into our annual grand prize drawing.  The giveaways starts December 1st each year and ends the week before the tax deadline.  The winner is announced during our Tax Day Lunch. 

We wanted to to thank all of our clients for a successful tax season.  We’ve been able to help our clients and help new clients throughout the first few months of 2017.  We know we would not be where we are today without you.  

Congrats again Debbie and Herschel!  We appreciate your business!

To stay up-to-date on our other giveways we're having this year, follow us on Facebook.

Make Sure Your Tax Guy Is A Tax Expert

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Apr 06 2017


Do you know your tax guy’s background?  Do they have the education, experience and qualification you want in someone preparing your tax return?  At our office we have two Certified Public Accountants that prepare and review every single return.  We take pride in knowing the latest tax law changes, utilize cutting edge software and spend time getting to know our clients. 

We’re also an Endorsed Local Provider for Dave Ramsey on tax and accounting services.  Which means we’ve made the cut to be one of Dave’s trusted advisors.  We don’t take that title lightly and work hard to earn the trust of our clients every day.

Not every office feels the same way we do.  That’s what makes us different.  Give us a call today to have a tax expert help you with this year’s income tax return.  Call us at 573-686-3053.

How to Report Gambling Winnings on Your Return

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 15 2017


Did you know you should report any gambling winnings on your income tax return?  If you have winnings over a specific dollar amount then you will be required to claim those amounts on your tax return.  The IRS wants to know just how lucky you are at poker, blackjack, slot machines, horse races and more.  The institution must get your Social Security Number and let the IRS know you came into some extra money during the year. If your winnings are large enough then it might be smart to pay an estimated tax.

What if your winnings weren’t large enough to trigger a W-2G filing?  Well at that point, it’s up to the taxpayer to be responsible to report the winnings to the IRS.

Remember, if you itemize your deductions then you may be able to deduct any gambling losses you faced during the year.  If you have any questions, give us a call at 573-686-3053.

3 Common Tax Penalties and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 08 2017


Did you know the IRS can penalize you for a variety of reasons? For instance, you can receive a tax penalty for not having health insurance, for filing what the IRS deems a frivolous tax return, and for a variety of retirement account inactions or actions.  However, most taxpayers usually encounter 3 common offenses:

- Not paying what is owed

- Not filing an income tax return, at all

- Not paying enough tax through the year

If you don’t file a return or an extension by the April deadline then the penalty for not filing will start the very next day.  The penalty will continue to grow at 5% per month of any tax balance that is due.  The 5% penalty applies to any portion of the month and is not pro-rated.  

However, the penalty does max out at 25% of your unpaid taxes.  Still, 25% is a pretty hefty fee to pay.

A lot of taxpayers will avoid filing their return if they can’t afford to pay their tax liability.  That’s not smart.  The IRS considers not filing your return a more serious offense. 

Those unpaid liabilities have a penalty, too.  Even if you file your return or an extension, but do not pay what you owe in full then you’ll face a penalty of 0.5% of the amount due.  Again, it’s added every month that your tax bill is not paid in full.  It can grow until it reaches 25% of your tax liability.

Taxes are collected on a pay-as-you-earn system.  So if you do not pay enough in as you earn it then will be hit with an underpayment penalty.  Most Americans comply with this by having income tax withheld from their paychecks.  But if you’re an independent contractor or have a side job to your regular employment then you’re responsible for covering the additional taxes due.

To avoid underpaying your taxes you can pay an estimated tax amount throughout the year.

If you have questions on avoiding the 3 common tax penalties, give us a call at 573-686-3053.

Avoid These 7 Triggers for an Audit by the IRS

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Feb 21 2017


Let’s be honest, going through an audit is pretty costly – to your pocket book and your time.  Here are our 7 triggers to avoid that can cause an audit by the IRS:


1) Using too many round numbers on your tax return

2) Inflating home office deductions

3) Too many losses on your Schedule C

4) Claiming Head of Household when you’re actually married

5) Failing to include income from a W2, 1099 or other form

6) Claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit when you’re not eligible

7) Disproportionately claiming high charitable deductions


At Denton & Associates we recommend having a CPA or tax professional help you file your income tax return.  Our CPAs, Dairel and Megan can make sure everything is on track and accurate on your return.  Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a meeting.

How Does Divorce Affect Your Taxes?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Feb 07 2017


If you’re recently divorced or are going through a divorce then there are a few tax implications you should be aware of.  Divorce can cause tax issues if you are unprepared at tax time.  However, talking to a tax professional during the proceedings can help relieve any future stress. 

When going through a divorce, it’s best to talk to your tax expert.   If you and your spouse have joint liabilities – such as a home mortgage, car loan, a business or credit cards then you need to make decisions now on how those will be handled.  Also, taking into consideration joint assets like an IRA, savings account or home can be important when going through a dissolution of marriage. 

Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to talk to a tax professional.  We can help you through the divorce proceedings to make sure you’re on track for your taxes. 

Why Do You Need Bookkeeping?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Jan 17 2017


If you’ve been following along the past few weeks then you know we’ve discussed what bookkeeping is and answered who needs bookkeeping.  Today we wanted to answer why you need bookkeeping for your business. 

Remember bookkeeping is the recording, storing and retrieving of day-to-day financial transactions for your business.  It helps organize your business, keeps you in compliance with State laws and allows you to see in-depth of how your business is doing.

So why do you need bookkeeping?

Well if you’re interest in reducing the risk of an IRS audit, then bookkeeping is the first step and most important step in this reduction.  Bookkeeping allows you to track your profits by organizing your finances in a way where you can understand where your profits and expenses are coming from.  You’ll be able to visualize reports for your company – actually getting to see how money is being allocated, including a profit-loss ratio. 

Tax savings are a huge benefit to proper bookkeeping.  By streamlining the process you will be able to provide correct, error-free reports to your accountant.  In addition, you’ll be able to final separate your business from your personal expenses by organizing your books.

Certified Bookkeepers can help you do all of this.  With one phone call you can sit down with one of our CPAs and one of our Certified Bookkeepers to get started organizing your business’ records.  Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to get your appointment scheduled.

Prepare to Meet Your Tax Professional

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 08 2016


If you’ve decided to hire a tax expert, like a CPA this coming year then there are a few items you need to be prepared for:

1) Bring Your W-2s – if you’ve received your W-2s from your current or former employer, please bring them with you.

2) Bring your 1099s – again, if you’ve received any 1099s then please bring those along too.

3) 1098 form – bring any information on your mortgage interest because no homeowner wants to miss an interest deduction on their tax return.

4) Bring a copy of last year’s return – it’s important for your CPA to get a full picture.  So we recommend bringing your prior year’s return to the appointment. 

5) Any other tax forms or information – if you have any other tax information that is important to filing your return, please bring it with you.

If you have any questions about what to bring to your tax preparing appointment, please give us a call at 573-686-3053.

So You Want to Get Out of Debt?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 21 2016


I believe that our money is a tool for us to use to better our lives.  So we can live the dream we’ve always had, retire comfortably, provide for our family and have less stress.  But to be able to fully use our money to our benefit, we need to know where we are on our financial journey.  Knowing where you are also means being honest about our debt.

Facing our debt situation can be intimidating and overwhelming, but avoiding it doesn’t help.  Ignoring our situation only makes it worse.  We need to take inventory of our debt, list out everything – how much we owe, who we owe and the interest on each.  Then we can create a plan of action to tackle our debt.

Here are the steps you need to take to be honest about your debt:

ONE: Write out all of your debts on a piece of paper or in an Excel spreadsheet.  Here’s the info to include: who the debt is owed to, the amount owed, minimum monthly payment, interest rate, due date.

TWO: Prioritize your debt.  Take a look at your list.  Are there any debts that could be easily knocked out?  If so, make it a plan to pay them off within a month or two. 

You need to rank the rest of your debt in order so you can focus on one at a time.  When you have too many irons in the fire it can be overwhelming.  So you need to break it down debt-by-debt.  Work on paying one off and then move to the next.

THREE: Make sure you’re paying something.  It’s important to not ignore your debt.  You need to take care of the most important or high-priority ones first, but that doesn’t mean ignoring others. 

FOUR: Ask for a lower interest rate.  If you have a good history of making payments on time then you might be able to ask for a lower interest rate. 

Getting out of debt can make you feel free.  No more ties to credit card companies, no more monthly loan payments need to be made and so on.  The most important step in getting out of debt is deciding to do something.  Then you need to follow-through.

If you need help with your debt-reduction strategy, give us a call.  I’m here for you.  Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a time for us to get together.

Why You Need an Emergency Fund

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 07 2016

It’s important to be prepared for a rainy day because no one can predict the future.  We would all love a crystal ball to see when our hot water heater was going to break or when the car isn’t going to start on a cold morning, but that’s not possible. 

Since we can’t predict the future, we need to be prepared for the possibilities that could be thrown our way.

You should open a savings account that is your designated emergency fund.  Used only for emergencies. 

How much should you save in your emergency fund? 

That’s a tough question.  We recommend starting with $1,000.  The end goal is to have 9-12 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund.  The best way to figure that number is to add up all your necessities for one month: utilities, groceries, house payment, car payment, insurance costs, etc. and multiply it by 12 or how many months you want to save for. 

You should you have more than 12 months of expenses saved? 

Every person and every family is different.  No one is a like, which means their financial situations differ.  You should really talk to your accountant or financial advisor before making this decision. 

If you would like help coming up with your emergency fund savings plan, give us a call at 573-686-3053.

Why Use A Tax Professional?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 02 2016


Why should you use a Certified Public Accountant to file your tax return?  Why can’t you just file your own return or use one of those discounted places? 

You may think avoiding paying a professional will end up saving you money, but that’s not always the case.  The answer is in the numbers – the dollars you will end up with in your wallet.

The difference in a return prepared and filed by a tax professional compared to filing it yourself can be hundreds.  Dave Ramsey, a financial educator, motivational speaker, and author has conducted research on the topic.  According to a survey conducted by his company, the Lampo Group, Inc. they found the difference between a self-filed return and a return filed by a tax professional was between $347 to $841.

That’s a lot of money.

That difference is one that more than pays for itself by hiring a professional.  Dave Ramsey recommends America’s Tax Professionals through the Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) Program.  As one of his ELPs, we are proud to offer our expertise and knowledge to our clients. 

Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to see what a difference a tax professional can make!

5 Money Saving Tips

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Apr 11 2016


Saving money should be everyone’s game.  Everybody wants to save money, right? 


But implementing money saving tactics can be a bit tricky and overwhelming. 

That’s where we come in.  We’ve compiled our top 10 money saving tips to take the stress of it off your shoulders.  Today, we’re sharing you our first 5 money saving tips. 

Tip 1 - Pay Yourself First.

I recommend starting with your savings.  Setup an automatic transfer from your checking account to a designated savings account.  I would establish the automatic transfer for the day your paycheck hits your checking account, that way you will never miss it.  Your savings will start building on its own without you having to take time each month.

Tip 2 - Actually Fill Out Cash-Back Rebates

How many times do you go to the store and receive a rebate for something you purchased?  Probably more often then you realize.  Rebates are available on a lot of different products, especially big-ticket items.  However, they can be on smaller ones, too.  Recently, I purchase anti-freeze and was offered a $1 back for every 2 gallons I purchased.  Make it a habit to fill out the forms and send them in as soon as possible.

Tip 3 - Eat At Home More Often

You can save so much money just by eating at home more.  I recommend taking time to find great recipes and creating delicious meals.  It will help cooking at home seem more appealing.

Tip 4 - Cut Back on Cable

Take a look at your cable bill or satellite bill.  See if there is a lesser program that you could easily switch to for less money.  For the most part, most families don’t watch 300 channels on a regular basis.  Typically, you find a group of channels you like and stick to those.  Most companies offer smaller lineups with the channels you like that are at a cheaper rate.

Tip 5 - Pay Your Credit Card Balances in Full Every Month

Save yourself the interest fee by paying off your balance each month.  Most credit card companies do not charge interest as long as you pay within the month.  You can avoid the high interest rate.  

Stay Committed

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Apr 04 2016


It’s important to not lose focus on your financial journey.  Each person has different goals they are trying to reach – planning for a comfortable retirement, being able to pay for your children’s college expenses, expanding your business’ empire, and so many more.  You have to stay focused on your end goal and create workable smaller goals along the way. 

Know what’s most important to you and your spouse then we can create a plan together to achieve it.  I have access to a great tool that will help us and you see how you’re doing reaching your goals.  I feel that it’s important to have a plan that allows you to chart your progress. 

I realize it’s impossible to predict your future down to every moment, which is why your plan should allow for flexibility to make changes due to unexpected life events.  Utilizing a unique tool for planning, I have the ability to assist in:

- Prioritizing your life goals,

- Monitoring your progress along those goals, and

- Making revisions when necessary.

Through a conversation about your financial goals, we can visual whether or not you are on track to reach those goals, regardless of the economy.  Please feel free to call me at 573-686-3053 to schedule a time to talk about setting up a clear plan for you.

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 22 2015

As the holiday season is upon us, we find ourselves reflecting on 2015.  It's been quite a memorable year for Denton & Associates!  We would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.  We hope your holiday is filled with laughter and joy.

Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 07 2015

Three Easy Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

If you want to buy a new car, a new home, apply for a credit card then you will need your credit score to be in good shape.  Basically, your credit score is your ranking on what type of borrower you are – are you safe for the lender or are they taking quite a risk by lending you money? 

You credit score is also known as FICO and is calculated from your credit report.  Your credit score can range anywhere between 300 to 850 points.  The higher the score, the more appealing you are to lend money to.  Not only does a lower score make you appear more of a risk, but it will also affect your interest rate on any loan. 

Want to improve your score to look more appealing?

Here are three easy tips to improve your credit score:

1) Check your credit report regularly to see what your score is and what is being reported.  Many individuals only check their scores when they are looking at taking out a new car loan or mortgage.  That’s not the time to find out your score is not where you thought it was. 

I recommend putting a reminder in your calendar to check your report at least once a year.  By adding an alert then you are sure to not forget. 

Make sure you actually look through the report when you get it.  Look it over for any errors to make sure it’s accurate.  When you’re done, file it with your important financial documents for the year. 

2) Make sure you pay your bills on time.  One way to do this is to establish automatic payments.  That way you never miss a payment for your utilities, student loan, car payments, mortgage, etc...  The weight of making your payments on time adds up to about 35% of your credit score.  So make sure you aren’t missing any of them. 

By setting up auto-draft on your bills you will eliminate the worry of having late payments.  You won’t have to depend on the post office to deliver your check on time, no more trying to count mail days to make sure it’s sent on time. 

If you’ve had missed payments in the past then make sure everything is setup on auto-pay so you can build up your payment history of being on time. 

3) Work on decreasing the total amount of debt you have.  By eliminating your debt that will greatly improve your credit score. 

Another huge factor in calculating your credit score is the debt utilization ratio.  The debt utilization ratio is the balance amount divided by the total available credit.  So if you have a credit card with a $3,000 balance and the credit limit is $5,000 that means you have a debt utilization ratio of 60%.  The ratio you want to strive to be under is 30%.  So you need to work on paying down debt so that you’re total debt balance is only 30% of the total available credit. 

The debt utilization ratio accounts for about 30% of your credit score, which is a pretty large chunk.  Make sure you’re working on paying down your debt.  One way to work on quickly paying down your debt is to make extra debt payments each month. 

Hopefully, you’ll be able to implement these three easy tips on increasing your credit score.  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 573-686-3053.

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 25 2015

As we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, we realize just how lucky we are to have clients like we do.  Thank you for making this year a great success.  We hope your day is filled with joy, laughter and yummy food.  We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and a joyful holiday season.

Know Your Goal

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 29 2015

A goal is “something that you are trying to do or achieve,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  What are you working towards?  What are you trying to achieve?  Those simple questions need to be asked.  If you’re married, then it should be asked to you and your spouse.  Make sure you’re on the same page and know what’s important to one another. 

Here are a few questions you can ask you and your significant other to get the ball rolling:

When do you see yourself retiring?

Do you want to retire debt-free (and you should want that!)?

Do you want to help our children and grandchildren with their college expenses?

Am I concerned about how much money we’ll have in retirement?

Answering these quick questions and anything else that comes to mind can really help narrow down your goal.  Also, it’s okay to have more than one goal to be working towards.  You just have to set a priority and get to work. 

If you know what you’re working towards or what you’re trying to achieve it will make everything much easier.  Knowing that you would like to retire at the age of 60 means you will have to get started earlier in life saving for retirement.  But by talking about your goals now, there is time to get them done. 

I’m happy to sit down with you to talk about your goals and to make sure you’re on the right track.  Give me a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a time with me.  Having a plan is the best way to reach your goals.  Let me help you create the best plan for you. 

Learn the Best Tax Strategies For You

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Aug 04 2015

I’m back to talk about Step Four from the 8 Steps To Becoming More Financially Sound series.   Today, I’d like to talk about the importance of tax strategies. 

Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  Every citizen has to be taxes to the federal government.  For individuals that deadline to file your personal tax return is April 15th each year.  There are certain steps you can take prior to the end of the taxable year to help you.  The taxable year for most individuals is on December 31st

There are certain steps you can take before December 31st to help your tax situation.  A few strategies available are charitable contributions, tax-deductible IRA contributions or purchasing equipment.  Each strategy depends on your personal circumstances.  You might be able to take advantage of multiple strategies, too.

Keep in mind there are more strategies available.  I recommend talking with your tax professional before making any decision.  If you don’t have a tax professional, give me a call at 573-686-3053.  I’d be happy to sit down to discuss your situation.  

Invest In Your Future

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on July 21 2015

I've been sharing our 8 Steps To Becoming More Financially Sound with you.  Today, I’d like to talk about investing in your future.  You should start thinking about retirement and college planning early.  Investing your money in the right vehicles can really help you reach your long-term goals.

By having your money in an interest-bearing account you possibly could earn more money than just having it sit in a savings account.  You should be familiar with the different types of investments available.  Each one is different and provides their own specific benefits.  It’s important to be matched to the best one for you. 

There are different types of investment accounts available, here are a few:

401(k) through your employer

Majority of employers offer a retirement plan for their employees.  These plans are typically a 401(k).  Many employers will match a portion of your contributions.  If you don’t participate, it’s like passing on free money.  For example, an employer may match 3% of your pay if you put in 3%.  So it’s like saving 6% of your income for only half the cost.

401(k) plans offer tax-deferred earnings.  That simply means you start paying less in taxes because your contribution comes out of your paycheck before any income taxes are deducted.  Therefore your taxable income is less, which helps to lower your tax bill.

Most offer a variety of investment vehicles to choose from inside the plan.  Which gives you more control over the level of risk you want to take.

Mutual Funds

Mutual Funds give investors a piece of the bigger pie.  They help investors with asset diversification, which involves the mixing of differing investments within one portfolio.  Diversification helps investors manage their level of risk. 

Economies of Scale, which is similar to bulk pricing.  Mutual Funds are able to take advantage of their buying size by offering reduced transaction costs for investors.  Reduced costs make it easier for individual investors to get more bang for their buck.


Stocks are a form of ownership that the investor has in an organization.  Many people like the idea of owning a piece of a certain company, like Disney or Pepsi.  Stocks can also pay a dividend to their investors, which is related to the company’s performance. 

Stock prices can vary dramatically if the company is in a decline or incline.  There is no guarantee of value and if the company goes under there is no guarantee of payment. 


Bonds are a form of debt with which the investor is the lender.  They are a loan made between investors and organizations, which will repay the loan amount on a premium.   If for any reason a company should go bankrupt, bonds are repaid to the extent of the company’s capital. 

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

The IRA accounts are unique.  There are two different types, Traditional and ROTH.  Contributions made to a Traditional IRA can be deductible on your individual tax return if your adjusted gross income falls below certain limits.   While contributions made to a ROTH are not tax deductible, their qualified distributions can be tax-free. 

It’s important to talk with your financial planner about which investments are best for you.  If you don’t have a financial planner, give me a call at 573-686-3053.  I think it’s best to sit down with a financial expert to have a conversations.  You and I can discuss what you want your money to do. From there we can create the best financial plan for you.


Protect Yourself and Your Family

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on July 15 2015

Not too long ago we shared the 8 Steps To Becoming More Financially Sound.  These are key steps you and your family can take to build a successful foundation for your finances.  Today, I want to share with you on how to protect yourself and your family.  

Do you know how your family will provide for itself and if something should happen to you?  Think about it.  Really think.  Will your family be able to pay the mortgage, keep the electricity on, and put food on the table if all of a sudden you’re down to one income, or no income?

If your loved ones depend on you for their financial support then life insurance is a must.  Life insurance replaces your income if you should die.  Disability insurance provides income if you should suffer a disability illness or accident and can no longer work the same or bring in the same amount of income.  Having insurance is especially important for parents of young children.

Another reason to have life insurance is to help with any debts that you may leave behind.  Let’s face it, majority of people have a mortgage, credit card debt, personal loans, and car loans at one point in our lives.  Being prepared with life insurance will help cover every day living expenses, including mortgage payments, car loan payments, and credit card debt. 

Having the right type and the right amount of insurance can bring peace of mind.

We all hope nothing ever happens and we never need insurance, but we’ll be so thankful if we have it and need it.  If you would like to sit down to look at your situation to make sure you have enough coverage then give us a call at 573-686-3053.  We look at the whole picture to make sure you don’t have too much insurance or too little to take care of the ones you love.

To read more on the 8 Steps check out our post on building an emergency fund here:

Five Things Every Business Owner Must Do

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 23 2015

If you own or manage your own business, you're probably busy monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems. But there are a few things that you should make time to do every year. These are important for your long-term business and personal success.

1. Review your business insurance coverage.

Don't just automatically write a check to renew your insurance policies when they come due. Instead, you should sit down with your insurance agent every year. Review your business operations, focusing on any changes. Discuss types of risk that could arise. Ask about new developments in business insurance. Use your agent's expertise to identify risk areas and suggest suitable coverage.

2. Review your business tax strategy.

A month or so after you've filed your tax return, make an appointment with your tax advisor. Go over your return together and identify opportunities for tax savings. Question everything, starting with whether you're using the right form of business entity. Ask about recent changes in the tax code and how they might benefit your business. Make your advisor a "partner" in your business strategy.

3. Update succession planning for your business.

Review your succession planning annually. You should have a specific plan for each key manager position, including yourself. Be prepared for a short-term absence or a permanent vacancy. Your plan might mean promoting from within or recruiting externally. But an up-to-date plan can be invaluable if you have an unexpected vacancy.

4. Review your business banking relationships.

Annually, you should go over your cash balances and banking relationships with your controller or CFO. Then both of you should meet with your banker. Ask about new products or services that could help your company. Address any service concerns or problems you might have had. Look for ways to reduce idle cash, boost interest earned, and improve cash flows.

5. Review and update your personal estate planning.

If you're a business owner, your company is likely to be a significant part of your estate. A good estate plan is essential if you hope to pass a business on to your heirs. But your company, your personal circumstances, and the tax laws are continually changing. You should meet with your estate planner annually to make sure your plans are current.

Let us and your attorney assist you with the reviews and planning necessary to your business's long-term success. Give our office a call at 573-686-3053, we'd  be happy to make sure you and your business are on the right track.

Do mutual fund tax planning at midyear

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on June 04 2015

Are mutual funds part of your portfolio? As you begin your mid-summer investment review in preparation for year-end, think about how your funds can affect your federal income taxes.

Here are two things to consider:

Dividend income. The dividends you receive from mutual funds held in nonretirement accounts are included in the calculation of net investment income. When your 2015 modified adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 ($200,000 when you're single), a portion of your net investment income will be taxed at a rate of 3.8% over and above your ordinary tax liability.

Planning tip. The tax form the mutual fund company sends you at the beginning of 2016 may classify some dividends as "qualified" – meaning they meet the requirements for a lower tax rate. However, you have to own the mutual fund shares for more than 60 days to get the lower rate on your federal return.

Capital gains. Mutual funds generally distribute short-term and long-term capital gains from in-fund sales to shareholders. Even if you reinvest the distributions in additional shares instead of opting for cash, the gain remains taxable to you.

Short-term distributions, for sales of fund investments held one year or less, are taxable at your ordinary income tax rate. The tax rate for long-term capital gains may be as high as 20%, depending on your adjusted gross income.

You might also have a capital gain or loss when you sell shares of a mutual fund. That's true even if you "exchange" one fund for another and receive no proceeds.

Planning tip. You have options for calculating the cost of mutual fund shares you sell during the year. Remember to include reinvested distributions in your basis.

Please call our office at 573-686-3053 for more information. We're happy to help you manage your investments with an eye toward tax savings.

Roth IRAs: A smart tax idea for children

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on May 21 2015

Persuading your working children to make retirement contributions may not be easy, but investments in Roth IRAs may be the wisest possible use of their earnings. The nature of Roth IRAs, coupled with the effects of long-term compounding, can create exceptional returns on such early investments.

Although contributions to Roth IRAs are not deductible, earnings within the accounts (such as interest or dividends) are not taxed and qualified withdrawals are completely tax-free. Tax-free compounding can result in sizable accumulation in a Roth. For example, if a 15-year-old contributes $2,500 for each of four years, and the account earns 5% annually, the fund will be worth about $85,000 when the child reaches age sixty.

It's generally best to leave IRA funds untouched until retirement, but if necessary, your child's contributions to a Roth IRA (excluding the earnings) can be withdrawn at any time without triggering taxes or penalties. This flexibility provides an advantage over a traditional IRA, where most withdrawals before the owner reaches age 59½ will be taxed and penalized.

The owner's ability to deduct contributions is the one advantage a traditional IRA offers over a Roth IRA. However, this feature is relatively insignificant for most young earners. The first $6,300 of a child's 2015 income will be entirely sheltered by the standard deduction, and any earnings above $6,300 are likely to be taxed at very low rates.

This year, most working people can contribute up to the lesser of their earned income or $5,500 to a Roth IRA. Although Roth eligibility is phased out for individuals with income above certain ceilings (e.g., $116,000 to $131,000 for a single person in 2015), a working child's revenue rarely will approach such thresholds.

If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of setting up Roth IRAs for your children, contact us at 573-686-3053 for assistance.

Create a road map to retirement

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on May 12 2015

Preparing for your retirement is a journey. And like most journeys, success or failure often hinges on decisions made early in the trip. Consider some of these pointers as you develop your personal road map to retirement.

A solid retirement plan begins with an honest assessment of what your golden years will look like. Will they involve exotic travel, special purchases, or carefree living? Or do you plan to live modestly, perhaps working part time? A possible hint might be to consider how you are living right now. Many people assume that their living costs will decline later in life, but they often stay about the same or even increase.

Once you know how you want to live, it's time to take stock of your assets. Are your investments where they should be, or do you have some catching up to do? Keep in mind that those 50 years and older can contribute an extra amount each year into their 401(k) or IRA to help get up to speed. And no matter what career stage you are in, be sure to take full advantage of the matching provision in your employer's plan.

Like any excursion, your path to retirement will need an occasional tweaking to stay on course. As your working years draw to a close, consider shifting your asset allocation from higher risk securities to those with less price volatility and steadier cash flows. And along the way, take steps to keep your household budget in check. Think hard before incurring additional debt that might stymie your retirement plans. Analyze your spending to see what you really need to live on.

Finally, assemble a team of professionals to help chart your path. You might need to coordinate life and health insurance, estate plans, and tax issues to achieve your retirement goals. If you need assistance, give our office a call at 573-686-3053.

Every estate plan should have these basic documents

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on May 06 2015

Estate planning is not just a task for the wealthy. Even though federal tax implications kick in only if your estate exceeds $5,430,000, there are other issues that make estate planning important for most individuals.

Start your estate planning by meeting with an attorney and your accountant. They can instruct you in the essentials of estate tax law and the requirements for establishing an estate plan. A key part of estate planning is compiling the documents that will accomplish your goals.

A basic estate plan should include the following documents:

*   Your will, which should name the guardian you choose for your minor children and an executor (personal representative) to carry out your instructions.

*   A listing of your assets. Include your home and other properties, pension and retirement accounts (401(k) & IRAs), investments (noting the cost basis), automobiles, jewelry, and any other assets.

*   Life insurance information such as your insurer, your policy number, the amount of insurance, and the location of your policies.

*   Financial and business records, including real estate deeds, tax returns and related support papers, your social security number, investment statements, and stock and bond certificates.

*   Funeral instructions, including your burial wishes and people to be notified upon your death.

*   Medical information and a list of your doctors.

*   Durable power of attorney, designating the individual(s) you select to act on your behalf if you're incapacitated.

*   Health care proxy naming the individual(s) you want to make health care decisions for you if you aren't capable.

Keep your original documents in a fireproof safe or with your attorney. Put your list of documents and the copies in a binder at home and tell your executor where the documents are located. If you would like assistance with your estate planning, please contact our office at 573-686-3053.

Smart business people learn to delegate work

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Apr 20 2015

As a business owner or manager, you may think that if you want things done "the right way," you have to do them yourself. But that isn't always the best approach at work, even if you firmly believe you're the best person for the job. There simply isn't enough time in the day not if you have a business to run.

Like it or not, you must learn how to delegate work to subordinates. Here are some helpful hints.

* Get organized. Start by deciding which tasks to delegate and which employees will be assigned responsibilities. The workload doesn't have to be etched in stone, but you should develop a game plan for subdividing jobs.

* Focus on self-starters. You will need to rely on people who can think for themselves. Don't rely on employees who you anticipate will be constantly seeking your guidance. If you have to show someone what to do every step of the way, it defeats the entire purpose.

* Give workers authority to act independently and make decisions on the fly. Don't hinder the process by requiring employees to obtain your approval on every decision. This will only turn into a variation of doing things the same old way.

* Monitor work progress. This aspect must be handled with sensitivity. You'll want to keep an eye on employees, but you can't keep looking over their shoulders either. Find the proper balance.

* Analyze the results to determine if the work met your expectations. If it didn't, offer constructive criticism for improvements. Make this a learning experience for both of you.

As you become more comfortable delegating work, you can continue to loosen the reins. When you spend less time on routine matters, you'll have more time to devote to growing your business profits.  I'd be happy to sit down with you to discuss what areas you can let go of.  Give me a call at 573-686-3053.

Can a business grow too fast?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Apr 14 2015

Most businesses hope to grow. They consider themselves successful if growth is taking place, and the faster the growth the better. Can too much business growth be bad for a company? It can be if the growth is not adequately planned.


For example, an established company that doubles its sales volume in a year may find itself strapped for cash, for working space, and for trained personnel.


For most established companies, a 12% to 15% annual growth rate would probably be manageable. The ideal growth rate for your company depends on the unique circumstances in your firm and industry.


A new company (starting with zero sales) must obviously grow more rapidly than an established one. Some new businesses may double their sales each year for the first five years or so before reaching the level where a 15% annual rate is healthy.


Rapid growth often requires more inventory and more space. And it may require money to fund additional work-in-process or accounts receivable. Who will fund the growth? A 15% growth rate can probably be funded by retained earnings. A more rapid rate may require an injection of outside capital. If the owners can't provide the money, will it be the suppliers (increasing the accounts payable) or a banker (new short-term debt)?


Every business should have a written business plan with its growth projections clearly identified. The plan should include provisions for the finances, space, equipment, and personnel that such growth will require.


Your company's growth should be both workable and profitable. Please contact us at 573-686-3053 for assistance with your business planning.

Your social security benefits may be taxable

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 31 2015

Did you sign up for social security benefits last year? If so, you may have questions about how those payments are taxed on your federal income tax return.


The good news is the formula is the same as prior years. That's also the bad news, because the thresholds for determining taxability are not indexed for inflation, and did not change either. Those thresholds, or "base amounts," remain at $32,000 when you're married and file a joint return, and $25,000 when you're single.


How much of your social security benefit is taxable? To determine the answer, calculate your "provisional income." That's your adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest, certain other exclusions, and one-half of the social security benefits you received.


When you're married filing jointly, your benefits are 50% taxable if your provisional income is between $32,000 and $44,000. If your provisional income is more than $44,000, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. For singles, the 50% taxability range is $25,000 to $34,000.


In some cases, diversifying the types of other retirement income you receive can reduce the tax burden on your social security benefits. Contact us at 573-686-3053 if you want more information or planning assistance.

Consider a Buy-Sell Agreement for Your Business

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 17 2015

Marriages end, and so do business ventures. If your business is owned by two or more persons, a buy-sell agreement is one of the most important legal documents your business can have. This document provides for the "buyout" of an owner's interest when that owner leaves. Here are the areas that a buy-sell agreement should typically address.

*  Describe the events that will trigger the agreement, such as a divorce, disability, death, or notice that an owner simply wants to leave.

*  Set a value for each owner's interest, or provide a formula to value each interest at a later date. Your agreement might require an independent business appraisal.

*  Without a method to set the value, there could be some serious problems. Let's say you and your partner reach a point where you can no longer work together. You believe the company is worth $2 million. Your partner refuses to sell, but he makes you a $100,000, take-it or leave-it offer for your 50% interest. You could face a drawn-out legal battle to settle things.

*  Outline a funding plan. Different purchase and financing plans can be used to cover different situations. For example, cross-purchase agreements allow the remaining owners to buy an exiting owner's share. A redemption agreement allows the company to buy back an exiting owner's share. Financing options might include owner financing (an installment contract) or life insurance, in the case of an owner's death.

*  Prevent unwanted transfers. Generally owners don't want a business associate they didn't choose. Yet this could happen if one owner divorces, dies, or sells his shares to an outsider.

A buy-sell agreement is designed to provide fair compensation to an exiting owner, while making it possible for the remaining partners to continue in business. We can work with you and your attorney to develop a buy-sell agreement or to review your existing agreement. Call us at 573-686-3053 to schedule your complimentary consultation today.

Step One – Build Your Emergency Fund

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Mar 03 2015

A few weeks we shared the 8 Steps To Becoming More Financially Sound.  Today, we’re jumping in feet first into the first step – building your emergency fund.  It’s important to be prepared for a rainy day, to have a little stowed away for when you need it most.

People get confused with their savings.  They think it’s for the trip out of town to see friends, extra money to spend around the holidays on gifts, or to hold you over until next payday because you went out to eat one too many times this month.  But that’s not right.

You should have a savings account that is your emergency fund.  Used only for emergencies.  You can decided what an emergency is and set those limits on yourself.  Maybe it’s when you wake up to find your refrigerator went out or you had an unexpected flat on the highway or maybe your youngest fell and broke their arm on the playground.  Whatever it is you need to be prepared. 

How much should you save in your emergency fund? 

That’s a tough question.  We recommend starting with $1,000 then start saving more.  The end goal is to have 9-12 months of living expenses saved.  The best way to figure that number is to add up all your necessities for the month: utilities, groceries, house payment, car payment, insurance costs, etc. and multiply it by 12 (or how many months).  That’s your final number. 

You should you have more than 12 months of expenses saved? 

Every person and every family is different.  No one is a like, which means their financial situations differ.  You should really talk to your accountant or financial advisor before making this decision. 

If you would like help coming up with your emergency fund savings plan, give us a call at 573-686-3053.

8 Steps To Becoming More Financially Sound

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Feb 17 2015

How does becoming financially independent sound to you?  I bet knowing that you will be able to provide for your family, pay for your children’s college expenses, and retire comfortably sounds pretty good to you.  Right?

As you probably have realized by now, money is just a tool in your box.  It’s a tool to help you create the life you have always dreamed of.  By becoming more confident in this tool, the better you’ll be at making the right financial decisions to get you to where you want to be.

There are steps you can take to be more financially independent.  Want in on what they are? 


  1. build your emergency fund
  2. protect yourself and your family
  3. Invest in your future
  4. learn the best tax strategies for you
  5. build a support group
  6. know your goal
  7. master your cash flow
  8. know where you currently stand


For the next eight weeks we’re going to dig deep.  You’re going to learn how to make wise financial decisions and build for the future you want.  If you can’t wait to learn about these steps over the next two months, then I invite you to give us a call.  Our CPAs are happy to sit down and discuss these topics with you.  Call us at 573-686-3053 to schedule your consultation.

Want Tips On Saving For A New Home? Read This.

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Feb 03 2015

So you’re looking at buying your first house.  Or maybe upgrading your current house to a bigger one for your growing family.  You’re not sure how to get started.  You know you’ll need a down payment, but you’re not sure on how to save for it. 



1) Decide on your budget for the house (not sure how to do this?  Talk to your accountant.)
2) Create a monthly living expense spreadsheet to figure out how much you can save
3) Determine your time frame to have your down payment saved
4) Set up automatic savings withdrawals from your checking account


While going through these tips you may realize that the amount you can save each month and your time frame don’t exactly match up.  That’s okay.  Take another look at your monthly expense budget and see if there is anything else you can cut out.  Maybe limit your eating out to only one time a week instead of three, carpool with friends or family when going out of town to save on gas money, or make homemade DIY presents for birthdays and Christmas to lighten your spending. 


If you have removed everything from your budget that you can and your time frame is still not reachable then it’s time to be realistic.  Stretch out your goal a few months.  You don’t want to stress yourself out and lose sight of the end goal.


If you would like more help before buying your home then give us a call at 573-686-3053.  We can take a look at your financial situation to help you set a realistic and reachable goal.  

Think you’re Superman? Think again.

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Jan 20 2015

It’s easy to get in the mindset that you will never get too sick to work or you will never not be able to get up each morning and go to work.  Let’s face it - with technology and the ability to work from anywhere, I can see where you would start to think you’re invincible.  It’s hard not to. 

But I want you to ask yourself some hard questions AND I want you to be honest with yourself.  Do you really think it’s wise to live this way?  Do you not want to protect your family?  Don’t you think you should plan to have income coming in if something actually does happen to you? 

If you think you should then you’re right, my friend. 

Disability insurance can be the glue that holds everything together, financially.  Let’s be honest – we hope we never need disability insurance, but we will be really happy to have it if we do need it. 

I’d like to share some key points about disability insurance and why this is something you must consider having in your financial journey.

1) In 2012 an estimated 12% of the United States reported a disability, that’s over 37 million people.  More than 50% of those disabled Americans are between the ages of 18-64. 

2) Nearly nine in ten workers believe they should plan in case an income limiting disability should occur. 
3) Only 50% of all workers in America have actually planned for the possibility of a disability happening to them.


Still think your Superman?  It’s time to start planning and preparing to protect yourself and your family’s future.  Give us a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule your meeting. 

*statics from Council for Disability Awareness

5 Tips to Save Money During Retirement

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Jan 06 2015

You may already be in retirement or currently transitioning from the working world to the peace and quiet of retirement.  No matter which phase of retirement you’re in, you can find creative ways to stretch your dollars.  Here are my top 5 tips to save money during retirement:


1) Make a budget.  Remember the days when you and your spouse were first starting out?  Money may have been a bit tight and you had to be creative with your spending.  Well those days may be behind you, but sometimes it really saves to get creative.  Set an outline of how much to spend each month for travel, groceries, living expenses, etc.  You may not always be able to stick to it perfectly, but creating an awareness of your money will really save in the long run.


Also, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.  Many restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses offer major savings for retirees.  Make sure to take advantage and ask for the senior discount wherever you go.  I once heard of a mechanic offering a discount to drivers 55 and over.  You may be surprised by who offers a discount.  It never hurts to ask about a discount and the savings can really add up.


2) Guard yourself against spams.  There are people and businesses in this world that target retired-age individuals.  These businesses and individual will try to sell you a home repair service that you simply may not need nor may they be equipped to take on such a repair.  You may also be asked to purchase a magazine subscription or help out with a cause.  Make sure to do your homework before opening your wallet. 


Be cautious of who you give your information to.  Never give out your credit card, bank account, social security number or other important information to someone over the phone or to someone you do not know.

3) Have a trusted advisor.  Do you have a Certified Public Accountant or Certified Financial Planner that you trust?  No matter your age or where you are at in your working life, everyone should have someone who is educated in finances.  Having someone you rely on to answer tax questions or give sound investment advice is really important.  The savings could be substantial when you have someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in your corner.

4) Reevaluate your living expenses.  You no longer have the kids living at home, which means you may not need the super deluxe cable package or the fastest internet speed.  Take a look at your cable package, internet and phone bundle to decide what you really will use.  You may be able to save a pretty penny by downsizing your packages. 

5) Save money on clothes.  Being retired probably means you no longer have to purchase new suits every few months or have a uniform that you’re required to wear.  By being able to purchase more casual clothes, you will be able to save money. 

Hope these tips will help you save money during retirement.  If you have any questions, please call your Certified Public Accountant or Certified Financial Planner.  Don’t have a trusted advisor?  Then give me a call, I’d be happy to discuss your concerns with you.  Call me today at 573-686-3053.

3 Things to Know About Becoming an Entrepreneur

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 23 2014

More and more people are breaking away from the past work cycle and striking out on their own.  Working for someone else used to be the safe and easy route, but now many individuals are finding the reality of having someone else be the boss.  With many companies downsizing the past few years, the rate of people opening their own business has skyrocketed. 

Being an entrepreneur has many benefits – you’re your own boss, you call the shots, you directly affect the end product.  Being your own boss comes with many rewards, but can also come with many obstacles to overcome. 

1.) Be mindful.  Being mindful simply means being in the present.  It’s easy to dream big and set high goals, but to survive you must also be present.  You will save energy by having the ability to focus on one task and execute it. 

2.) Focus on finances.  It’s important for any business, especially a new start up to be aware of their financial setting.  One key factor is having a Certified Public Accountant to rely on to answer questions and to deal with any issues that arise.  Many entrepreneurs spend too much of their time handling the books, payroll, bill paying, and tax return.  Having a professional handling the financial details will free your time to handle the business details – such as growing your firm, landing your next job, or finalizing a project. 

3.) Don’t be afraid to fail.  You will have to be able to take risks when owning your own business.  There’s a saying “if it was too easy everyone would be doing it.”  You have to realize that owning your business takes hard work and doesn’t happen overnight. 

With simple ideas in mind, you will be one step closer to having your own successful business.  If you have any questions, be sure to give us a call.  I am passionate about assisting small business owners grow.  Give me a call at 573-686-3053 to setup a meeting.

Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud – Protect Yourself

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Dec 03 2014

In 2013 the IRS reported that 5.2 billion dollars were dispersed to identity thieves, according to the Government Accountability Office.  The thieves filed fraudulent tax returns for unsuspecting citizens, and the IRS did not catch it until well after the refund check had been delivered. 

Even though $5.2 billion sounds like a lot, which in reality it really is, the IRS stopped another 24.2 billion dollars in attempted fraud.  The full extent of the fraud issue is hard to fathom, but it is still an issue that everyone needs to be aware of. 

Here’s what you need to know:  Thieves steal your personal information before you even receive your W-2 from your employer.  Thieves will then file a fake income tax return on your behalf before you get a chance to file a legitimate return.  The thieves then sit back and collect the refund check.  It seems to happen fairly fast, and with the IRS trying to issue refund checks within three weeks of receiving your return there really isn’t much time to catch the fraud.

Want to know the best way you can deter tax refund fraud?  File early, and file electronically!  The IRS will reject any tax returns with your Social Security Number that are filed after yours is received.   By filing early and electronically you are ensuring your tax return is processed before any fraudulent ones can be received.

The good news is that the IRS is starting a program to distribute single-use personal identification numbers (PIN) for protection to taxpayers for identity purposes.  The initiative is still trying to get its feet off the ground, so be sure to file early to prevent any fraudulent activities.

Have questions about how to prevent identity theft tax refund fraud for you?  Give me a call at 573-686-3053 and I’ll be happy to sit down with you.

How much do you need to retire? What’s your number?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 25 2014

Have you ever thought about when you’re time will come to kick up your feet, travel the world, and spend more time with your family?  When will your day come to retire comfortably?  You’ve probably thought about retirement, but let’s think a little deeper for a minute.  What does retirement mean to you?  How much are you going to need? 

Think about what you truly want from your retirement.  Do you want to quit your job, move to warmer temperatures and spend the rest of your life playing golf every day?  Probably not.  You may dream of that life, but I bet you won’t be working on your golf game too long before your bored and dreaming of something new to do. 

In a perfect world you would no longer have to work for your money because the money you have worked so hard for most of your life, now works for you.  It means you get to do what you want to do when you want to do it.  To get to this point, you need to have saved enough money so you can live off the earnings. 

What is your number?  If you don’t have any idea then don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.  Most people have no clue what their number is. 

Determining your number is not that easy.  There are a lot of factors to consider and some that are even hard to predict.  Variables such as inflation, health care costs of the future, investment returns, your plans, etc. 

I can help you determine a more accurate number of how much you will need.  If you are curious to determine what your number is then give me a call.  I would like to sit down and talk about how I can give you an idea of how much money you need to invest during your working life to enjoy your retirement the way you have always dreamed. 

Give me a call at 573-686-3053 to schedule a conversation.  

Update Your Beneficiary Designations

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 20 2014


Who have you designated as beneficiaries for your insurance policies and retirement accounts? If you can't remember, you're not alone. But it's worth checking. If you make the wrong decision, it could affect who inherits those assets. In some cases, it could also change the taxes your beneficiaries will pay and the value they'll receive. Here are some key facts about beneficiary designations.


*   When you designate a beneficiary for an account, you are naming the person you want to inherit that account.


*   Your designation determines who will inherit the assets in the account, regardless of what your will might say. Generally, the assets will bypass probate and go straight to the person or institution you named.


*   You can designate a person or group of persons, a charity, a trust, or your estate. You may also want to designate a secondary or backup beneficiary in case the primary is no longer living.


Why are they important?


*   It's important to keep beneficiary designations up to date because they determine who will inherit the assets in your accounts. Changing your will won't change the beneficiaries.


*   There can be tax implications too. With a traditional IRA, your choice of beneficiary can affect how quickly withdrawals must be made and taxes paid. That can change the value of the IRA to your beneficiary.

How do I update them?


*   First, find copies of all your current designations. Contact your insurance company and plan trustees if you can't locate the documents.


*   Review them and decide what changes you'd like to make. Make an appointment to go over the changes with your tax or estate planning advisor.


*   Send your updated designations to the account trustees. Make sure you receive confirmations and keep copies in your records.

The Importance of Business Structures. Which type of entity should you have?

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Nov 04 2014
When starting your new business one of the first questions that may be on your mind is “What entity should I choose?” There are several structures available, such as:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Partnership
- Corporation
- S Corporation
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
You should be aware not only will this decision have an impact on you and your business, but it will also have a significant impact on how much you pay in taxes.  Additionally, the amount of required paperwork for filing your taxes and other administrative tasks will also depend on which entity you select.  You should know there are five (5) main focuses a business owner should be aware of when deciding the best structure for them:
1) tax implications
2) cost of formation
3) legal liability
4) future needs
5) flexibility
To ensure you make the correct decision be sure to talk with your Certified Public Accountant before moving forward.  If you do not have a trusted CPA then take the time to find one.  Interview them first, make certain they are in expert in helping small business and talk with them so they understand your end goal.  If you have any questions about which business structure is best for you, please give me a call at 573-686-3053.  I have years of experience in assisting small business owners and would be happy to sit down with you.  

Pay attention to the IRS rules for charitable deductions

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 30 2014


As the year draws to a close, you may decide to donate cash or property to one or more worthy causes. Besides the satisfaction of helping others, there's another reward for your benevolence: a tax deduction on your 2014 return. But the IRS recommends that you keep the following points in mind:


  1. You may only deduct contributions made to a legitimate tax-exempt charitable organization.
  2. Charitable contributions reduce your taxes only if you itemize your deductions.
  3. To claim an itemized deduction, you're required to have support for all cash contributions, no matter the amount. A bank statement, a copy of the cancelled check, or a credit card record will usually suffice for donations under $250.
  4.  In the case of payroll donations, your pay stub or W-2 can back up your deduction.
  5. For donations of $250 or more, a statement from the charity is required, giving the charity's name, the date, the amount of your donation, and the value of goods and services received for the donation, if any.
  6. The substantiation rules for noncash donations differ depending on the type of property and its value.
  7. You'll need a "contemporaneous" written acknowledgment from the charity for donations of $250 or more. As a general rule, "contemporaneous" means you must receive the acknowledgment before you file your return or before the due date of your return, whichever is earlier.
  8. Typically, you may deduct the fair market value of gifts of property owned longer than one year. Any appreciation in value remains untaxed.
  9. You can secure deductions late in the year by donating to charity by credit card. As long as the charge is posted in December, you can deduct it on your 2014 return, even if you don't pay the credit card bill until 2015.


 If you have questions about documentation for your charitable donations, contact my staff at 573-686-3053.

Cats and Dogs Can’t Be Your CEO

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Oct 13 2014

I understand how much love you probably have for your family pet.  I have pets too and I can’t imagine a day without their companionship.  However, as one couple in Colorado learned, your pets cannot run your business.  A Colorado couple was accused of filing their tax returns in their pets’ names.  Matthew Zuckerman and Sandra Zuckerman were both sentenced in September of 2014 on income tax related charges.  Mr. Zuckerman was sentence to serve 24 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $693,706 in restitution to the IRS.  Mrs. Zuckerman was sentenced to serve 36 months of probation and she was jointly liable for $112,511 of that restitution.

According to the Department of Justice, a cat and dog were named among the officers and directors in documents filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.  The Zuckermans were indicted in April 2012, and plead guilty to tax evasion and willful failure to pay income taxes. They filed the fraudulent tax returns then allegedly took the savings on their returns to go on a cruise and have a plastic surgery procedure done.

The morale of the story is – your dogs and your cats cannot be executive directors of your business.  You may think they are a genius for being able to play to bring you the morning newspaper, but having them run your company will simply not fly with the IRS. 

There are tax breaks when you do charitable work

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Sept 23 2014


If you do volunteer work for a charitable organization and have not kept track of your out-of-pocket expenses, you might be passing up an excellent opportunity to lower your tax bill. To qualify, your unreimbursed expenses must relate directly to the charity, and you must itemize your deductions on your tax return. Here is a brief rundown of some possible deductions.

* Volunteers may deduct the cost of phone calls, postage stamps, supplies, and other out-of-pocket costs incurred in their volunteer work. For volunteers who are required to wear a uniform, the cost of buying and cleaning uniforms is deductible if they are unsuitable for everyday wear.

* The cost of your time, no matter how valuable it may be, is not deductible. That's true even if you would normally be paid for the type of service you contribute. For instance, accountants who perform free consulting for charities can't deduct what they would normally charge for their services.

* Using your car in connection with volunteer work can earn you a deduction. The standard mileage rate for volunteers who use their own cars is 14 cents per mile. Alternatively, you may deduct your actual unreimbursed expenses for gas and oil - but not maintenance, depreciation, or insurance. Either way you choose, related parking fees and tolls are deductible as well.

* If you travel overnight for charitable purposes, your expenses are deductible as long as they are reasonable in amount and not connected with personal activities or any element of recreation.

* Special rules apply to conventions. Travel and other out-of-pocket expenses related to attendance at a convention for volunteers are deductible only if you have been chosen as a delegate to represent the organization.

Finally, just remember that it is up to you, the volunteer, to substantiate your deductions. If you take these deductions, you should be prepared to show the IRS the connection between the costs claimed and the charitable work performed.  If you have any questions about deducting your charitable work, be sure to call your CPA.  Don't have a CPA?  Give us a call at 573-686-3053 and one of our CPAs will be happy to talk with you.

Dealing with finances after the death of a spouse

Posted by Dairel Denton Posted on Aug 25 2014

The death of a spouse can be a devastating experience, both emotionally and financially. As the survivor, you'll have to make important decisions while you're in what could be the most vulnerable and distracted stage of your life. The suggestions that follow might at least help ease your financial stress.

* Don't make major decisions right away. Put off selling your house, moving in with your grown children, giving everything away, liquidating your investments, or buying new financial products.

* Get professional help. You'll need an attorney to help interpret and explain the will and/or applicable law and implement the estate settlement; your accountant to provide financial advice and prepare the necessary tax documents; one or more insurance brokers to help with filing and collecting death benefits; and a funeral director, who in addition to the obvious services, can obtain needed copies of the death certificate.

* Gather and review any applicable documents, such as the decedent's social security card and statements, insurance policies, loan and lease agreements, your spouse's birth certificate, the death certificate, investment paperwork, mortgage statements and agreements, deeds, retirement plans and related statements, credit cards and credit card statements, employment and/or partnership agreements, divorce agreements, funeral directives and/or contracts, safe deposit box information, and tax returns. (You'll need a dozen or more copies of the death certificate to provide to insurance companies, government agencies, creditors, credit card agencies, banks, and a host of others.)

* Determine who must be paid, and when. You'll need to notify your spouse's creditors (including joint creditors) and continue paying for mortgages, car loans, credit cards, utilities, and insurance premiums not specific to your spouse. Notify health insurance companies (including Medicare) that you'll no longer be paying your spouse's premiums, and cancel your spouse's memberships and subscriptions.

* Alert the credit card agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Request addition of a "deceased notice" and a "do not issue credit" statement to the decedent's file. Order credit reports, which will provide a complete record of your spouse's open credit cards.

* Determine what payments are due to you, such as insurance proceeds, social security or veteran's benefits, and pension payouts. File claims where needed.

* Maintain your joint checking account to facilitate the deposit of incoming checks payable to your spouse.

Finally, call us at 573-686-3053 as soon as you can. We're always ready to advise and assist you, before or after life's tragic events.