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Client Feature: Tom Sumwalt of Tom’s Auto Center Inc.

In a two-bay garage in 1986, Tom Schoenmann and his wife, Lisa, opened Tom’s Auto Center with the dream of providing quality maintenance and repairs for their neighbor’s vehicles. Soon after, they expanded to the back of a body shop on Terminal Drive before building their 12-bay garage in 2000. In that time, the shop has hired additional technicians and service advisors to keep up with demand.  In 2018, Tom partnered with Tom Sumwalt, a technician who worked at the shop for more than 15 years. Tom Sumwalt will be the full owner in the next 5 years, allowing the original Tom and Lisa to enjoy a well-earned retirement.   Little Town Feel, Big Time Service Tom’s Auto Center focuses on a “little town feel with big time service,” providing a trusted and reliable shop for the greater McFarland area. Technicians are available for maintenance, repair, and tire installation for automobiles and light trucks.   “We’re here for our neighbors and the community really focusing on helping them maintain their vehicles to the level they want, and when they do have a break down, we can efficiently and effectively fix the issues,” said Mr. Sumwalt. “We pride ourselves on our service and taking care of your whole vehicle, and keeping it in the ideal condition for a long time.”  Mr. Sumwalt is particularly proud of the Tom’s Auto team because of the way they handle nuances and updates in the automobile industry’s computer technology. Each vehicle, even those of the same make, operate 15-30 computers at a time, with updates coming out consistently. Technicians and service advisors at Tom’s Auto are committed to continued learning so they can provide the most accurate and efficient diagnoses for customers.   “We make sure...
Transitioning from Employee to Self-Employed

Transitioning from Employee to Self-Employed

A quick tax guide for sole proprietors just starting out Starting a small business is exciting, however, if you’re used to working as a full-time employee, the transition to self-employment can be overwhelming when it comes to keeping track of your taxes. Understanding what the IRS expects from small business owners is a key piece in the success of keeping your business running. In today’s blog, we’ll focus on taxation for sole proprietorships, as this business structure is the simplest and the most common choice for many business owners who are transitioning from employee to self-employed to launch their first small business. A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business that has just one owner. It is known as a “pass-through entity” for tax purposes because the business income passes through to the business owner, who then reports it on their personal income tax return. We will focus on sole proprietorships reported on Federal Schedule C. Sole proprietors that do farming activities are similar but are reported on Federal Schedule F. Sole proprietors with rental business activities reported on Schedule E will not be covered in today’s blog. As a sole proprietor, you are responsible for paying the following: State and federal income tax Self-employment tax Sales tax, if applicable We’ll dive into each of these items below. State and Federal Income Tax For Wisconsin sole proprietors, business income and expenses are generally reported on Federal Schedule C – Profit or Loss from Business. The revenues and expenses of the business are reported on this schedule with the net profit/loss carried to the first page of Form 1040, your personal...

Client Feature: Gail Ambrosius of Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

A walk off the beaten path led this entrepreneur to her sweet destiny Fond memories make a lasting impression Gail Ambrosius discovered her love of chocolate as a child, making fancy chocolates with her mom. When relatives would visit, she would take the treats around on trays and everyone would ooh and ahh over them.  Her appreciation deepened when she traveled to Paris in high school. After getting separated from her student group for the day, she meandered the streets, visiting little chocolate shops and making the most of her three years studying French. She observed people flowing in and out of the shops, savoring treats and purchasing gifts for loved ones. It occurred to her that she wanted to help people feel that joy. Best-laid plans don’t go as planned Gail returned home with the dream of opening her own chocolate shop. Life took her on a small detour instead. She moved to Madison, married, had a child, divorced, and was encouraged to get a stable, well-paying job. She took people’s advice, went to school for cartography and worked a state job for 10 years when she was laid off unexpectedly. Unemployed and a single mother, she needed to figure out what to do next. This was her chance to follow her heart and take the leap into entrepreneurship. Gail claims that once people follow their hearts, doors will open. After learning the craft and absorbing as much as she could from shops in France, she opened Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier in 2004. One of her favorite aspects of the shop was being able to see all of the...

4 Ways Your Taxes Will Differ When You File in 2021

As we all know, the ancient Greek quote “change is the only constant” most certainly applies to your taxes, and this year has seen more changes to tax guidelines and requirements than in many other years. So, in today’s blog, we wanted to shine a light on some of the most common ones. Change in Charitable Donation Deductions for Non-Itemizers In 2020, the IRS allowed taxpayers who did not itemize deductions to deduct as much as $300 in cash contributions made to charity, for both filing single and jointly. In previous years, this deduction was only an option if you chose to itemize your deductions. However, the passing of The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (The CARES Act) allowed non-itemizers a charitable deduction. These changes are set to apply through 2021 as well with the same $300 deduction for individuals and an increase to $600 if you file as a married couple. These particular changes were made in order to encourage taxpayers to donate to charitable causes throughout the pandemic.  Higher Standard Deductions Standard deduction amounts for each filing status have also increased. In order to account for inflation, these numbers typically rise by $200-$300 each year regardless of circumstance. An increase in standard deduction amounts ultimately reduces the amount of income you are required to pay taxes on. Here are the tax brackets and the new deduction amounts for 2021.    Married filing jointly: $25,100 – up $300 from 2020   Married individuals filing separately: $12,550 – up $150   Head of household: $18,800 – up $150   Single: $12,550 – up $150 Required Minimum Distributions...

Tax Deduction Tips When Working From Home

A report by Gallup indicates that the number of people working from home has jumped from 28% in April 2020 to almost 46% in September 2020, showing a rising trend. So how does this affect your taxes? If you’re working from home as a W2 employee, unfortunately, you can’t take any deductions. However, for those reporting their business on Schedule C of their personal income tax return, usually sole proprietors or Single-Member LLCs, or gig economy workers – AKA someone who works on short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to a permanent job – then there are a number of deductions you can claim.  In this month’s blog, we walk you through some of the most common ones and how to calculate them.  Your Home Office One of the first things you may be able to deduct is expenses related to your home office. A home office is a space in your house used regularly and exclusively for business purposes. So, for example, if your office is in a second bedroom which is regularly and exclusively used for business, then the room qualifies as a home office. If the room is also used as a spare bedroom when guests are visiting, or as a playroom for the kids, the room does not qualify as it fails to be exclusively used for business. You will need to know the square footage of your home office space and the square footage of your home. This ratio will determine the percentage of various home expenses that can be claimed as a home office deduction.  Once you have this information, there are...