Writing a Business Plan

April 6, 2020

If you are new to writing a business plan, a good tip is not to get hung up on it and overthink things. Here are six things that are important to consider, before you start writing: Why do you want to start a business and how will measure success? What resources do you currently have… Read more →

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The Social Security Bridge

March 9, 2020

Delaying social security payments until 70 years of age when they max out is a desirable choice — if you can swing it. Using a ‘bridge’ strategy until you take social security payments can literally pay off by maximizing the benefits you will receive. If you aren’t sure about the bridge strategy, check out this… Read more →

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Are You Working in a Toxic Workplace?

February 24, 2020

You may feel a tension amongst workers and some signs may be obvious, but a toxic work environment is something to be aware of. Here are eight not so obvious things to watch for: People’s true thoughts are revealed in the meeting after the meeting; Too little dissension; Promotions only happen to one type of… Read more →

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6 Measures of Financial Health

February 10, 2020

In January we like to make resolutions for the new year; be sure include becoming financially healthier as one of those resolutions. Here are six measures for financial health: Net Worth: assets minus liabilities; Savings Rate: portion of your income you save each month; Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio: all monthly debt payments divided by your gross… Read more →

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2020 Taxes – What You Need to Know

January 27, 2020

Right about now we are all thinking about filing our 2019 taxes. It’s important to remember though, that the new tax year begins on January 1st and you should be aware of what the new tax year brings. Certain deductions stayed the same, but standard deductions, income thresholds for tax brackets, certain tax credits, and retirement… Read more →

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Small Business Year-End Planning Letter

December 26, 2019

Dear Client, The end of the year represents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months and to review your overall personal financial situation.   We’ve now had a year to assess the impact of last year’s tax reform bill and to understand how your own tax situation was affected. Reviewing your tax returns and helping… Read more →

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Year-End Planning Letter

Dear Clients, The end of the year represents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months and to review your overall personal financial situation.   We’ve now had a year to assess the impact of last year’s tax reform bill and to understand how your own tax situation was affected. Reviewing your tax returns and helping… Read more →

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3 retirement savings essentials

November 18, 2019

As we near retirement, it’s important to understand how Social Security and Medicare work, before we actually need them. Yet a good percentage of near-retirees don’t really have a good understanding of how they work. Here are three tips that will help you boost your knowledge: Take advantage of catch-up savings — If you’re 50… Read more →

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Saving Money, is it really that hard?

November 4, 2019

Saving money is fundamentally important for your future. You know this and you try to save, so why are you failing? Here are four reasons that might be the cause. You don’t have a budget You’re not automating your savings You’re giving in to impulse buys You haven’t mapped out your goals To learn more,… Read more →

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21 Investment Lessons

October 21, 2019

Here are 21 investment lessons from The Motley Fool writer, Sean Williams. Read the full article 21 Things I’ve Learned as an Investor Over 21 Years on to learn more about each of them. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all It’s OK to lose money Time heals most losses Double-digit market… Read more →

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Should I wait to 70 to Retire?

October 7, 2019

Benefits can begin as early as 62, but each year you delay taking them (up to age 70), provides an increase in the benefit — and that can be significant. So that seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, here are three reasons it might not be beneficial to wait until 70. You may not make… Read more →

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Social Security’s…security

September 23, 2019

We hear it all the time, “When I retire, Social Security won’t even be around.” Is this really true? Not likely. Although the program is facing some financial strain, it’s not in danger of disappearing completely. However, it won’t be the program it was before and people shouldn’t expect it to provide for a comfortable… Read more →

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Leaders – is your answer yes to these 3 questions?

September 9, 2019

Are you or do you aspire to be a good leader? Here are three critical questions you should be answering yes to. Do you care for and about your employees? Are you investing in your employees to help them get where they want to go? Can your employees trust you? If you can say yes… Read more →

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How not to blow that inheritance

August 26, 2019

Receiving an inheritance can be an unexpected windfall, and it can be tempting to burn right through money received in this manner. Before spending that money though, you should think it through and learn how to best use it to reach your financial goals. The best thing you can do is step back and wait… Read more →

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How to save your retirement if you haven’t been saving

August 12, 2019

OK, so you’ve reached middle age, or mid-career and you realize that retirement will come faster than you think … and you haven’t really been planning or saving. Here are some things you can do. Make lifestyle changes (cutting back on or eliminating unnecessary expenses) Delay retirement until 70 Get a job (if you’ve already… Read more →

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Prepare for this expense — or it could quickly derail retirement

July 29, 2019

What is the commonly overlooked expense? It’s healthcare, and many retirees are surprised by earlier-than-expected healthcare costs. Here are two things you can do: Expect the unexpected — learn about Medicare and what it covers and explore long-term care costs. Prepare for big-ticket costs — open a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) account and look into… Read more →

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R.A. Mercer Scholarship Winner

June 20, 2019

Congratulations to Sam Hyman, senior at Pioneer Central High School, our R.A. Mercer scholarship winner this year! Sam will be attending college as a business major. We wish you all the best in your future, Sam!

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If You’re Buying a Car, Don’t Tell the Dealer This…

March 11, 2019

When you find a car you really like, it can be hard to contain your feelings. Here are a few things you should resist telling the dealer: -I love this car!-Your targeted monthly payment-The end date of your current lease-Your targeted trade-in value-The color you are coveting The bottom line is that information is power,… Read more →

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Tax Brackets for 2019

February 25, 2019

The IRS has announced its tax brackets — with income thresholds adjusted for inflation — for the 2019 tax year. The seven tax brackets, and the seven marginal tax rates (10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%) remain unchanged and there are no structural changes for 2019. Income thresholds have increased slightly from 2018…. Read more →

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R. A. Mercer Hires Eric W. Kwietniewski

February 12, 2019

R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. has announced the hiring of Eric W. Kwietniewski as a staff accountant. Kwietniewski will be involved in various areas of the firm including tax preparation and performing audits, reviews and compilations. He will work out of the firm’s West Seneca location. Kwietniewski holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in… Read more →

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9 Tax Credits You Should be Aware of

February 4, 2019

When it comes to taxes, we all could use a break. Tax credits are not the same as tax deductions. A tax deduction reduces your taxable income. A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe or increases the amount you are due as a refund. Here are nine tax credits you should be… Read more →

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Tax Lesson – Substantiation Rules for Non-cash Charitable Contributions

December 10, 2018

Here is a great lesson regarding the rules for larger than average non-cash charitable contributions. The lesson explores the tax court case of Estelle C. Grainger v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo and her clever (but incorrect) method of using charitable contributions as tax deductions. This complex and interesting case is explored in Pepperdine University School of… Read more →

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New Laws Passed Regarding Sexual Harassment

November 26, 2018

Newly passed laws mean that all employers in New York State are required to adopt and implement a sexual harassment prevention policy, or ensure that the policy they adopt meets or exceeds certain minimum standards. The standards outline what sexual harassment is, the rights of employees, how to proceed, and other vital information. To learn more… Read more →

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IRS Warning: Check Your Federal Withholding

November 5, 2018

What is the IRS warning? It’s for retirees — make sure you’re paying enough federal income tax. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of last December changed the income tax calculations for most filers. This means that most retirees will probably see a decrease in tax liability. Retirees should adjust the amount of taxes they pay accordingly. If… Read more →

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Tax Deductions you Don’t Want to Miss

October 23, 2018

One of the biggest changes the new tax law brings is a near doubling of the standard deduction, which means fewer people will likely have to itemize. Here are some tax breaks that everyone should consider (if they apply to you): Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) Health Savings Account (HSA) in conjunction with a High-Deductible Health Plan… Read more →

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A Trio of Retirement Spending Strategies

September 9, 2018

If you are worried about retirement, you are not in the minority. It’s right there in Gallup’s 2018 annual survey about Americans’ biggest financial worries. For 16 years and running, retirement is at the top of the list. It’s important that your spending plan be based on your unique needs and objectives, but here are three of… Read more →

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Save Your Retirement…With a Plan for Your Kids?

August 28, 2018

Planning for your kids and your retirement don’t really seem to go together. But that planning includes getting them to leave the nest in a timely fashion — you know, that warm and fuzzy place they’ve lived in all their lives? We love and want the best for our kids, but it shouldn’t be at… Read more →

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Go on a cleanse this summer — a financial cleanse

July 30, 2018

You’ve likely heard about those trendy diet cleanses. But there is a different kind of cleanse that you should definitely try — a financial cleanse. This type of cleanse could help you put money towards debt reduction, an emergency fund, or even send you on an end of summer getaway! Whatever the reason, it might… Read more →

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Tax tips for newlyweds

July 23, 2018

Wedding season is officially here! The last thing a newlywed is thinking of is taxes. However, while changing the name on your drivers license and other important accounts, it’s important to change it with the IRA as well. Here are some tips from the IRS for newlyweds. Use the correct name – If you changed… Read more →

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5 summer financial tips

July 16, 2018

Summer is an easy time to lay back, relax and enjoy the good weather and maybe a nice vacation. And that makes it easy to forget about finances — don’t fall into that trap. Here are five things to think about this summer: Check your tax withholding. Check your retirement savings. Start saving for the… Read more →

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Summer nanny job? Here are some tax tips.

July 9, 2018

If you or someone in your family has taken a job as a summer nanny, be sure to share these three important tax tips: Your employer needs to set up payroll and start paying taxes (if you earn more than $1,900) – this benefits both you andyour employer . Keep track of your hours – know… Read more →

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10 summer savings tips

June 25, 2018

Do you have big plans for the summer, but a small budget? Here are 10 tips to put things in reach for you: Visit a thrift store – spring cleaning yields plenty of deals when thrift stores have an influx of great stuff. Work out on the cheap – many gyms offer special deals in… Read more →

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5 summertime tax tips

June 18, 2018

Not thinking about taxes in the summer? Well reducing your tax bill is a year-round task. Here are five summertime tax tips: Moving expenses may be tax deductible. Check your withholding taxes. Business trips and vacations – if you combined them, part of the expenses may be deductible. Education expenses may be offset by several… Read more →

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Investing 101

May 7, 2018

If you don’t see a big pension income in your future, you should learn a little about investing (beyond just savings accounts and CDs). Here is a guide for what you should know to help take control of your financial future. Pay off high-interest rate debt, such as credit card debt first. Have a fully loaded emergency fund…. Read more →

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11 tax deductions & ways to cut your tax bill

April 16, 2018

When thinking about the new tax code, don’t forget about the old one — which governs deductions, credits and other measures you can use to save money on your 2017 tax return due in April. Here are 11 deductions you should be aware of. Traditional IRA contributions Head of household filing status Moving expenses Mileage Other… Read more →

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11 costly tax mistakes – are you making them?

April 9, 2018

When it comes to taxes, there is a surprising amount of people are ignorant about their taxes. Educating yourself on taxes can help you save money and avoid trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here are 11 tax mistakes that you may be making that can unfortunately cost you thousands of dollars. Simple mistakes like… Read more →

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Four personal finance rules you should know by heart

April 2, 2018

There are a million tips and rules out there to guide you in personal finance. If you remember any, it should be these four: Avoid credit card debt — in most cases. This is the great abyss and there are other options, like a home equity or personal loan that might serve you better. Save… Read more →

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No More Deducting of Entertainment Expenses for Businesses

March 19, 2018

The recently passed tax bill brings many changes. One noteworthy change for businesses is the elimination of the ability to deduct entertainment expenses. According to a recent article titled “How tax overhaul would change business taxes” from the Journal of Accountancy®: “Entertainment expenses: The bill would disallow a deduction with respect to (1) an activity generally… Read more →

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Guess How Many Gen Xers & Baby Boomers Have No Retirement Savings

March 5, 2018

How Many Gen Xers & Baby Boomers Have No Retirement Savings? The answer to that question is a staggering 41% of Gen Xers and 42% of baby boomers. If you fall among those numbers, it’s time to start changing your ways. Don’t count on falling back on social security benefits, because that won’t provide enough to… Read more →

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How Taxes Could Reduce Your 401(k)

February 19, 2018

The amount in your 401(k), which you’ve dutifully contributed to throughout your working life, probably looks like a nice nest egg. It’s important to consider the impact of taxes on that balance before you are ready to start withdrawing those funds. In addition to the taxes you’ll pay on the withdrawal, it’s important to realize… Read more →

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2017 Taxes – Why File Quickly?

February 5, 2018

Everyone groans when it’s income tax time. But if you file sooner rather than later, it can have some noteworthy benefits. The 2018 tax season officially began January 29th — the first day the IRS would accept 2017 tax returns. The deadline for filing taxes is April 17th. If you file early: You’ll get your… Read more →

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Eileen (Mercer) Morgan — From Accounting to HR

January 22, 2018

Although Eileen Morgan started out at R.A. Mercer, the firm her father founded, she’s had an interesting career. Find out where she’s been and where she is today by reading the SUNY Buffalo “Alumni Success” feature article A passion for people: How Eileen Morgan, BS ’86, landed her dream job by Matthew Biddle.

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Retirement stats that will blow you away

December 25, 2017

This list of retirement statistics may make you feel confident…or very, very depressed. See where you fall in this list. The average recent retirement age was 63. America is home to about 72,000 centenarians (people aged 100 or older). Some retirees will need their nest eggs to last a whopping 38 years (if you live… Read more →

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10 Tax Moves to Make Before 2018

December 11, 2017

You still have a little time before saying goodbye to 2017, but time is running out. You can still take advantage of some valuable tax breaks. Take full advantage of state and local tax deductions while they’re still available. Complete a planned home purchase if it exceeds $500,000 in value. Pay off sizable medical expenses… Read more →

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Millennials and Saving for Retirement

November 27, 2017

At some point, Millennials will take a lead role in shaping our economy. And many of those Millennials — a whopping 41% — haven’t begun to save for retirement according to Wells Fargo Investment Institute’s generational research report. Student debt is identified as a major financial issue for Millennials. Over 1/3 have student debt, with a median… Read more →

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IRS Announces 2018 Tax Brackets, and Standard Deduction Amounts

November 20, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the annual inflation adjustments for a number of tax-related provisions for 2018, including, of course, the latest tax rate schedules and tax tables. The big news is, of course, the tax brackets and tax rates for 2018. The top tax rate remains 39.6%. The other marginal rates are: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%,… Read more →

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7 Social Security Changes for 2018

November 13, 2017

Social Security may be the most important social program in the U.S.  Every year in October, the Social Security Administration announces its annual changes to the Social Security program. Here are seven changes coming in 2018. Social Security beneficiaries are getting a raise; The maximum monthly payout rose quite a bit; Wealthy Americans will owe a… Read more →

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Mary Villa Earns CPA Designation

November 6, 2017

R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. is proud to announce that staff member Mary Villa has earned her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. The challenging path to acheiving the CPA designation includes completion of 150 educational hours, as well as experience requirements and passing the CPA examination. After serving as an intern with R. A…. Read more →

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Social Security Benefits and Taxes

October 30, 2017

If your income is high enough, you’ll have to pay taxes on some of your Social Security benefits. But you can eliminate or reduce that possibility if you make income nontaxable. Controlling your combined income is key here. Combined Income = Adjusted Gross Income + Nontaxable Interest + 1/2 Annual Social Security Benefits. Here are a… Read more →

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What is Your Retirement Number?

October 23, 2017

At some point, everyone needs to determine their “retirement number.” The sooner you determine that number, the more likely you are to get there. If you aren’t planning soon enough, you may run out of time and that means you’ll also run out of money. Here are four ways to determine the number: Super simple:… Read more →

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Adrian Horning Earns CPA Designation

October 17, 2017

R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. is proud to announce that staff member Adrian Horning has earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. The path to acheiving the CPA designation is challening, including completion of 150 educational hours, as well as experience requirements and passing the CPA examination. Horning has been with R. A. Mercer… Read more →

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Tax Reform – Will the 401(k) Rules Change?

October 9, 2017

After failing to repeal Obamacare, taxes have become a prime target for President Trump. One idea would be to tax the money employees designate for their 401(k) plans up front. Currently, money placed in a 401(k) plan is tax-deferred. Taxes are paid upon withdrawal, which starts at age 70½ at the latest. Should the current rules change,… Read more →

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12 things the SSA Wants You to Know

October 2, 2017

Social Security is the most important social program for seniors, yet one of the biggest issues with Social Security, year in and year out, is a lack of understanding of the program. Here are 12 facts the SSA wants you to know about Social Security. Over 62 million Americans will receive $955 billion in benefits in 2017…. Read more →

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70% of Money is Blown on These 3 Things

September 18, 2017

We all want to be better with our money, but let’s face it, saving money is hard. But if you are committed to making changes, you can save more. According to self-made millionaire Grant Sabatier, founder of the blog Millennial Money, most people blow their money on housing, transportation and food. This may sound reasonable since those… Read more →

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Want to Retire Wealthy? This One Thing Can Help.

September 4, 2017

Can the secret to retiring with wealth be as easy as performing one simple task? It might be. That task is to put your retirement plan in writing. People who do this are more likely to increase their 401k contributions and stick to a monthly savings goal. And those are the kind of habits that will… Read more →

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4 Milestones That Should Precede Retirement

August 21, 2017

Determining when to retire can be stressful. In fact, retirement thoughts in general may be enough to cause anxiety. Here are four milestones that you should aim to reach prior to retiring. Create an all-cash emergency fund with enough to cover three months of living expenses. Pay off your mortgage. Get rid of costly credit… Read more →

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Is $1 Million Really Enough to Retire On?

August 7, 2017

The meaning of “millionaire” has changed in today’s society as our dollars don’t go nearly as far. You can thank inflation. Here are a few things you should do to help you prepare: The 4% Rule (now the 3-3.5% Rule): experts advise withdrawing no more than 3-3.5% of your total retirement savings in any given year…. Read more →

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5 Critical Medicare Facts

July 24, 2017

Here are five critical facts everyone should know about Medicare: It’s important to enroll on time; Medicare comes in several forms; Medicare covers a lot — but some important things are not covered; It’s not free; and A Medicare Advantage plan might serve you best. To learn more about each of these facts and why… Read more →

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Roger Lis Goes the Extra Mile for Roswell

July 10, 2017

R. A. Mercer Partner Roger Lis recently participated in the The Ride For Roswell, which was held on Saturday, June 24th. Roger rode with the team from the West Seneca Lions Club, of which he is a member. The team rode on The Ride’s 20-mile course. Roger raised enough funds to qualify for the The Ride’s Extra Mile… Read more →

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R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. Hires Lens M. Martial

June 27, 2017

R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. has announced the hiring of Lens M. Martial as a staff accountant. Martial will be involved in various areas of the firm including tax preparation and performing audits, reviews and compilations. He will work out of the firm’s Cattaraugus location. Before joining R. A. Mercer & Co., Martial served… Read more →

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R. A. Mercer & Co. Announces 2017 Scholarship Winners

June 20, 2017

Congratulations to R. A. Mercer Scholarship winners Zachary Madden, Shelby Cooper-Dixon and Kaylee Timmel. Both Madden and Cooper-Dixon attend Pioneer Central High School and Timmel attends the Springville-Griffith Institute. The R. A. Mercer Scholarship is an annual scholarship that was set up by the firm as a means of both contributing to the firm’s surrounding communities and… Read more →

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Notice Regarding Fraud Prevention

June 12, 2017

The following notice from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance explains recent tax fraud and identity theft prevention methods. Specifically, the request for proper identification with tax filing and for submission (or confirmation) of tax preparer information in response to an audit request. Click here to read >>>Special Tax Notice

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6 Tips for Saving Money

June 5, 2017

Everyone can use a great tip when it comes to saving money. Here are six great ones, you may not have considered from Consumer Reports: Paying too much for car insurance. Not bundling all your insurance. Overlooking checking account fees. Not using a programable thermostat. Buying too many name brand products. Paying too much for… Read more →

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10 Stats on What Americans Make, Owe & Save

May 29, 2017

Did you ever wonder where you fall financially among the masses? The Motley Fool put out a list of how much the average American earns, owes, and saves. Here is a snapshot: 1. The average American gross household income is $71,258. 2. The average American household with debt owes $132,529. 3. The average American gave… Read more →

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Simple Jay Leno Strategy Can Help You Retire Early

May 15, 2017

Retiring early sounds great, but for most people, it seems like just a dream. You can copy the strategy used by Jay Leno to get you there — and it is a surprisingly simple strategy. But, don’t mistake simple for challenge free or without sacrifice. Leno had two streams of income because he worked two jobs. He used the lesser income for… Read more →

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A Taxpayer Bill of Rights?

March 20, 2017

Believe it or not, there is an IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights. That’s right, taxpayers have specific rights that apply to everyone, and as a taxpayer, you should be aware of them. They include: The Right to be Informed The Right to Quality Service The Right to Pay No More than the Correct Amount of Tax… Read more →

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What Happens When Two Taxpayers Claim the Same Dependent?

March 6, 2017

What happens when two taxpayers claim the same dependent, or, when a taxpayer claims a dependent and dependent also files claiming his or her own personal exemption? Well, for one, the IRS will pay attention, and one or both of you will be audited. Read this article, Audits for Determining Who is Eligible to Claim a Dependent by… Read more →

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Jennifer Morey and Mary Villa Become QuickBooks® Certified ProAdvisors

January 12, 2017

Jennifer Morey and Mary Villa have both completed the tutorial coursework and passed the test to become QuickBooks® Certified ProAdvisors. ProAdvisors have a proven depth of expertise and have developed a strong foundation with QuickBooks® software. Certified ProAdvisors can also more easily identify and fix common client errors and customize QuickBooks® to suit the needs of their clients. Both Morey… Read more →

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Retirement Planning – Tax Strategies

December 22, 2016

Saving for retirement is about more than just accumulating savings. It’s also about strategizing and creating a plan to maximize the tax benefits that are available through various accounts such as 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, and HSA accounts, which offer specialized tax benefits. Saving for retirement can be like navigating a complicated maze — read this… Read more →

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R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. relocates to West Seneca

November 18, 2016

R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. has announced the relocation of its Orchard Park office, which has moved to 290 Center Road in West Seneca. The move took place earlier this year, immediately following tax season. “The office space in West Seneca is much larger and we had simply outgrown our space in Orchard Park,”… Read more →

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R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. Names Christoper M. Zera Manager

June 7, 2016

R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. is proud to announce the promotion of Christopher M. Zera, CPA to manager in the West Seneca office. Zera joined R. A. Mercer & Co. in 2009 as a staff accountant. In his new role he will be responsible for supervising audit engagements; corporate, individual and fiduciary tax preparation; and… Read more →

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R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. Hires Four

May 19, 2016

CATTARAUGUS, NY – R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. has announced the hiring of Jennifer M. Mesch, Jennifer J. Morey, Joseph Stearns, and Mary Villa as staff accountants. All four will work out of the firm’s Cattaraugus office and will be involved in various areas of the firm including tax preparation and performing audits, reviews… Read more →

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Te Feng of R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. Achieves CPA

April 18, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, NY – R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. is proud to announce that staff member Te Feng has achieved her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. The path to acheiving the CPA designation is challenging, including completion of 150 educational hours as well as experience requirements and passing the CPA examination. Te Feng joined… Read more →

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R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. Hires Two

April 13, 2016

ORCHARD PARK, NY – R. A. Mercer & Co., P.C. has announced the hiring of Alicia M. Porack and Kira Lilley as staff accountants. Both Porack and Lilley will be involved in various areas of the firm including tax preparation and performing audits, reviews and compilations. Before joining R. A. Mercer & Co., Porack served… Read more →

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