a newsletter of the Wisconsin Association of Accountants

September 2014

Executive Corner



As summer comes to an end we look forward to fall....leaves

change color, football is in the air and most important it is the

time to improve your skills and learn more to better serve your



This fall we start with our annual convention this year

at beautiful Chula Vista Resort in the WI Dells. This is the best value in CPE ever! Great seminars at a great location with the lowest

cost per CPE hour ever! If you don't take advantage of this

offer you are making a mistake. 


We are starting the event after our Sunday morning board meeting with a golf outing. Tee time is Noon and we will be done in time for the Sunday night festivities featuring dinner and a boat ride, As always, enjoy your favorite drink in the WAA sponsored hospitality room. Monday's speakers are Kevin Palmerscheim on Ethics and Russ Bredson on a WI Update. Monday afternoon the WAA has a formal annual business meeting. 


This is the time to see your leaders and hear them tell what has happened this year and what is being planned for the future. At this meeting we elect the new board members and ask for future volunteers. Monday evening we have a banquet and install our new officers and the incoming president speaks on their plan for the year. Again, join us in the hospitality room after the banquet. Tuesday brings us Jennings Seminars - Joe Walloch on Advanced Business Issues.


Hope to see you at convention!



Byron L Dopkins, EA, ABA                                

WAA Executive Director


 Byron Dopkins

Executive Corner


This is my final message as my term expires later this month. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president this past year.  


As I look back over the past year, I believe your board has served you very well. It has provided quality educational options; we've established a program with Office Depot to purchase office supplies at a significant discount, and of course we have been monitoring legislative issues to protect your rights to practice.  

In closing, I'd like to encourage you to become a board member and help our organization meet the challenges of the future. 


Steve Smith, EA, ABA, ATA

WAA President 



Affordable Care Act Seminar
Tax Aspects by Jennings Seminars

CPAs Sue IRS over PTIN Fees 



Washington DC - A pair of CPAs have filed a class-action complaint against the Internal Revenue Service challenging IRS regulations requiring tax practitioners to annually register and pay a fee to the agency to obtain and maintain a Preparer Tax Identification Number.


The class action involves more than 700,000 individual practitioners who are forced to pay for a PTIN every year. The lawsuit, which was filed Monday, seeks an injunction barring collection of the fee and recovery of the more than $150 million in fees the IRS has collected since 2010.


The challenged regulations were issued several years ago as part of a broad IRS initiative to radically expand its oversight of attorneys, accountants, and other tax return preparers who prepare tax returns for compensation, the CPAs' attorneys noted. Last year, the a federal court in Washington, D.C., ruled that large portions of the regulations issued by the IRS were invalid because the IRS lacked statutory authority to issue the regulations in the case of Loving v. United States, and that decision was upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year.


The rulings invalidated the IRS's program for requiring mandatory testing and continuing education of tax preparers. However, the courts allowed the IRS to continue to require registration of tax preparers through the PTIN, but did not rule on the question of fees. The IRS has announced plans to offer a voluntary testing program instead known as the Annual Filing Season Program, but the American Institute of CPAs has filed suit to stop the program (see AICPA Sues IRS over Voluntary Program for Tax Preparers).


Congress allowed the IRS to require tax practitioners who prepare tax returns for compensation to place a PTIN on the returns to help IRS identify the preparer. The plaintiff CPAs argue that the IRS lacks the statutory authority, however, to charge fees to obtain or renew a PTIN and the IRS cannot use fees it has collected for unrelated activities. The IRS uses only a small portion of the fees collected to pay the vendor who manages the on-line PTIN registration process and uses the bulk of the fees for other IRS activities. Plaintiffs seek restitution of the fees collected by IRS in the past and injunctive relief barring the IRS from collecting similar fees in the future.


"If an agency can charge U.S. citizens to fulfill a requirement, then an agency can tax," said plaintiffs' co-counsel, Allen Buckley of Atlanta. "Unlawfully, the IRS has been taxing Americans."


The other co-counsel Stuart Bassin of Washington, D.C., said, "The courts have rejected the IRS's effort to regulate return preparers and it is time for the IRS to return the PTIN registration fees it has collected to support that effort.

New YouTube Videos Provide Tips on Health Care, Tax Returns 

IRS Newswire


WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service announced the availability of several new YouTube videos to help taxpayers get important information about the Affordable Care Act and tax return filing.


The new videos, which are part of a series on the IRS YouTube channel, feature IRS Commissioner John Koskinen discussing the premium tax credit and the individual shared responsibility provision. These provisions of the Affordable Care Act will affect people's tax returns next year when they file their 2014 returns.


In the video about the premium tax credit, the Commissioner talks about how it can help make purchasing health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace more affordable for people with moderate incomes.


"You can get advance payments of the premium tax credit paid directly to the insurance company to lower your monthly premium, or you can apply for the premium tax credit when you file your tax return for 2014," Koskinen said.


In the video about the individual shared responsibility provision, Koskinen discusses important facts about coverage requirements, coverage exemptions and the individual shared responsibility payment. He covers who must make a payment, who is eligible for exemptions, and what people need to do when filing their tax return.
"For most people, filing their returns in the spring of 2015 is going to be fairly simple - with regard to this issue, and that is they'll simply check a box indicating that they have qualifying insurance or they'll indicate that they're eligible for an exemption. Otherwise, they'll calculate their shared responsibility payment and add it to their tax return," Koskinen explained in one segment of the video.


IRS videos explaining the premium tax credit, the individual shared responsibility provision, and the small business health care tax credit are on the IRS Health Care video playlist. Additional videos about the Affordable Care Act will be available soon. 


Health care videos are among those available on the IRS YouTube channel. Taxpayers have viewed IRS videos nearly 8 million times.

More information on the tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act is available at, where you can also find Health Care Tax Tips. You can also subscribe to IRS Tax Tips to get these easy-to-read tips by e-mail from the IRS. 

Back-to-School Reminder for Parents and Students: Check Out College Tax Credits for 2014 and Years Ahead 

IRS Newswire


WASHINGTON - With another school year now in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded parents and students that now is a good time to see if they will qualify for either of two college tax credits or any of several other education-related tax benefits when they file their 2014 federal income tax returns.


In general, the American opportunity tax credit and lifetime learning credit are available to taxpayers who pay qualifying expenses for an eligible student. Eligible students include the taxpayer and his or her spouse and dependents. The American opportunity tax credit provides a credit for each eligible student, while the lifetime learning credit provides a maximum credit per tax return. Though a taxpayer often qualifies for both of these credits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. Claimed on Form 8863, these credits are available to all taxpayers - both those who itemize their deductions on Schedule A and those who claim a standard deduction.


For those eligible, including most undergraduate students, the American opportunity tax credit will generally yield the greater tax savings. Alternatively, the lifetime learning credit should be considered by part-time students and those attending graduate school.


Both credits are available for students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school, including both nonprofit and for-profit institutions. Neither credit can be claimed by a nonresident alien, a married person filing a separate return or someone claimed as a dependent on another person's return.


Normally, a student will receive a Form 1098-T from their institution by the end of January of the following year (Jan. 31, 2015 for calendar year 2014). This form will show information about tuition paid or billed along with other information. However, amounts shown on this form may differ from amounts taxpayers are eligible to claim for these tax credits. Taxpayers should see the instructions to Form 8863 and Publication 970 for details on properly figuring allowable tax benefits.


Many of those eligible for the American opportunity tax credit qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student. Students can claim this credit for qualified educational expenses paid during the entire tax year for a certain number of years:

  • The credit is only available for 4 tax years per eligible student. 
  • The credit is available only if the student has not completed the first 4 years of postsecondary education before 2014.

Here are some more key features of the credit:

  • Qualified education expenses are amounts paid for tuition, fees and other related expenses for an eligible student. Other expenses, such as room and board, are not qualified expenses.
  • The credit equals 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000. That means the full $2,500 credit may be available to a taxpayer who pays $4,000 or more in qualified expenses for an eligible student.
  • The full credit can only be claimed by taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $80,000 or less. For married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $160,000. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. No credit can be claimed by joint filers whose MAGI is $180,000 or more and singles, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $90,000 or more.
  • Forty percent of the American opportunity tax credit is refundable. This means that even people who owe no tax can get an annual payment of up to $1,000 for each eligible student.

The lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 per tax return is available for both graduate and undergraduate students. Unlike the American opportunity tax credit, the limit on the lifetime learning credit applies to each tax return, rather than to each student. Also, the lifetime learning credit does not provide a benefit to people who owe no tax.


Though the half-time student requirement does not apply to the lifetime learning credit, the course of study must be either part of a post-secondary degree program or taken by the student to maintain or improve job skills. Other features of the credit include:

  • Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance qualify as do other fees required for the course. Additional expenses do not.
  • The credit equals 20 percent of the amount spent on eligible expenses across all students on the return. That means the full $2,000 credit is only available to a taxpayer who pays $10,000 or more in qualifying tuition and fees and has sufficient tax liability.
  • Income limits are lower than under the American opportunity tax credit. For 2014, the full credit can be claimed by taxpayers whose MAGI is $54,000 or less. For married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $108,000. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. No credit can be claimed by joint filers whose MAGI is $128,000 or more and singles, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $64,000 or more.

You can use the IRS's Interactive Tax Assistant tool to help determine if you are eligible for these benefits. The tool is available on Eligible parents and students can get the benefit of these credits during the year by having less tax taken out of their paychecks. They can do this by filling out a new Form W-4, claiming additional withholding allowances, and giving it to their employer.


There are a variety of other education-related tax benefits that can help many taxpayers. They include:

  • Scholarship and fellowship grants - generally tax-free if used to pay for tuition, required enrollment fees, books and other course materials, but taxable if used for room, board, research, travel or other expenses.
  • Student loan interest deduction of up to $2,500 per year.
  • Savings bonds used to pay for college - though income limits apply, interest is usually tax-free if bonds were purchased after 1989 by a taxpayer who, at time of purchase, was at least 24 years old.
  • Qualified tuition programs, also called 529 plans, used by many families to prepay or save for a child's college education.

Taxpayers with qualifying children who are students up to age 24 may be able to claim a dependent exemption and the earned income tax credit.


The general comparison table in Publication 970 can be a useful guide to taxpayers in determining eligibility for these benefits. Details can also be found in the Tax Benefits for Education Information Center on

Welcome to our New Members!

Lynn Kehl



Neal Horman



Martina Tkacenko

West Allis


Samantha Christoph




If any of these new members should not be

granted membership to the WAA please submit your objections to the Executive Director.




WAA Annual Convention

Sept 22-23, 2014 8:30am to 4:30pm

Chula Vista

Wisconsin Dells, WI 

Bob Jennings 

Business Tax Updates

Oct 6-7, 2014 8am to 4pm

Kalahari Resort

Wisconsin Dells, WI 


Jennings Affordable Care Act

 Oct 17, 2014  8am-4pm

Country Springs

 Waukesha, WI  


Gear Up 1040

Nov 3, 2014 8am-5pm 

Nov 4, 2014 8am-4pm

Brookfield Suites Hotel

Brookfield, WI


Bob Jennings 1040 Update

Dec 1, 2014 8am-5pm

Dec 2, 2014 8am-4pm 

Kalahari Resort

Wisconsin Dells, WI


Gear Up 1040 

Dec 8, 2014 8am-5pm 

Dec 9, 2014 8am-4pm 

Hudson House Inn

Hudson, WI

Visit our website at  
to register or view the seminar schedule. 
(608) 328-8341




Steve Smith, EA, ABA, ATA 

34 North 4th Street 

Black River Falls, WI  54615

(715) 284-4419 

[email protected]


Vice Presidents:

Paul Kersten, CPA

610 W Green Bay Street 

Shawano, WI  54166 

(715) 524-2302 

[email protected] 


Mark Burbey, CPA 

900 South 10th Street 

Manitowoc, WI  54220 

(920) 682-6661 

[email protected] 



Chuck Kirsch, EA

155 S Jefferson Street

Lancaster, WI 53813

(608) 723-2502

[email protected]



Darcie Weissmiller, EA, ABA

PO Box 307

Medford, WI 54451

(715) 748-4110

[email protected]


 NSA State Director:

Tom Adler, CPA 

1110 Fourier Drive Ste 110 

Madison, WI  53717 

(608) 664-1944 

[email protected]


Past President:

Jolynn McIntosh, CPA 

1124 17th Avenue 

Monroe, WI  53566 

(608) 328-8341 

[email protected] 



Robert Burgardt 

414  Hartford Square 

Hartford, WI  53207 

(414) 520-0863 

[email protected] 


Mark Nelson, Jr, EA 

2581 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue

Milwaukee, WI 53207

(414) 481-6812

[email protected]


Joe Suttner, CPA

PO Box 187

Chilton, WI 53014

(920) 849-9346

[email protected]


Margaret Schell, CPA

6609 Montclair Lane

Madison, WI 53711

(608) 442-7525

[email protected]

WAA Benefits


Seminars and Educational Forums




Local Chapter Involvement


Government Agency Liaison


Monitor Legislation


Insurance Programs


Accountants Protection Plan

WAA Objectives

To raise professional standards and improve the practice of accountancy.


To strive for excellence in the profession.


To encourage accountants in a continuing program of

professional development.


To foster increased recognition for the professional in the public, private and educational sectors of our state.


To initiate legislative action and provide government liaison between the accounting profession and

government leaders.


To provide meetings and fellowship for accountants.


To promote the highest standard of ethical conduct among its member.