Gradient Tax Brochure — 2011
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360 Degrees Of Tax Af Ford Abilty

Gradient Tax, LLC

(Gradient) is an independent, privatelyowned tax planning, preparation, and filing firm who serves individuals and businesses. We offer a 360 degree approach to tax services, a circular method that provides you the opportunity to receive feedback and services from our team of CPAs and tax professionals as they relate to your past, present and future tax strategies. The feedback provides insight about the financial behaviors desired to accomplish your overall financial goals, and our services are implemented to help you exceed those expectations.

Our team of CPAs and tax professionals maintain strict professional standards and are experienced in all matters of accounting and taxation. We are pioneers who pride ourselves on providing quality and responsive service.

The word pioneer commands an extremely high level of respect, intellect, and imagination. A pioneer can be the first person to make a revolutionary product, a designer of a cutting-edge machine, the most well-known leader of an industry, or in Henry Ford's case, all of the above. Ford owned the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, brainstormed and constructed the assembly line, and most importantly, designed and built the first affordable car, the Ford Model T.

The success of every project is determined by the success of the project team; this fundamental principle was a key component to the way Henry Ford did business. Ford was an innovating genius who led the world into the industrial revolution through his invention of the assembly line, but he never forgot that behind the machine was a man operating it. Even in tough times, Ford was willing to put his people first by establishing a culture that was friendly, workers who were skilled, and a drive that was contagious. Gradient holds the same principles and maintains that their clients are treated with the highest Level of respect. Without the best people, there would have never been a Ford Model T.

The Pioneer Series by Gradient was established in an effort to examine the success of a financial giant and take a closer, more personal look at each of its companies through the eyes of a pioneer. As a key spoke of the Gradient Financial Group wheel, Gradient Tax displays many components that Henry Ford used to create his revolution. We invite you to understand tax in a new way through the 360 degrees of tax affordability.

Our 360 degree approach encompasses the PAST with the second opinion review of prior-year tax returns, the PRESENT with tax preparation and filing services, and the FUTURE with Roth IRA conversions, beneficiary reviews, and advanced tax planning services such as Social Security and net unrealized appreciation treatment. The services outlined in the following pages will help guide you full circle through understanding the complex world of tax affordability.

PAST

Henry Ford understood that the common American was not interested in and could not afford an automobile that was expensive. Ford also realized that if he could produce an affordable vehicle that was easy to use that it could define the future for the common man.

Second Opinion for Individuals

There are a mind-boggling 5.5 million words in the tax code. At 16,845 pages, it's impossible for the average taxpayer to know, understand and accurately apply its provisions. With over 80 percent of tax returns containing errors, odds are you may have errors on your tax return. The IRS isn't required by law to tell you, so if you don't find the mistakes and request a refund within three years, the IRS wins. And you lose. The good news is there is something you can do about it!

Our team of CPAs and tax professionals will conduct a comprehensive review of your prior-year tax return. If we identify errors, we will re-file the return for you, and you keep 100 percent of any refund money found.

According to The Wall Street Journal, millions of Americans are routinely failing to take deductions they're entitled to, thus overpaying their taxes by billions of dollars collectively. At Gradient, we present you with a personalized Tax Reduction Report with concrete steps to capitalize on missed savings as well As suggestions to lower your future tax bills. We pride ourselves on helping you build a solid foundation of tax reduction strategies and minimizing your future tax burden.

Ask yourself these crucial questions:

. Who's preparing my income taxes?

. What is my overall tax plan?

. Should I make changes?

. How do I know what changes to make?

. Who is going to help me with all of this?

Second Opinion for Businesses

We also offer Second Opinion tax review services to businesses. According to the Senate Small Business Committee, 93% of small businesses who pay alternative minimum tax overpay their income taxes in excess of $11,600! Our team of CPAs will review your business returns for errors, missed deductions and additional refund money.

Tax Planning, Preparation and Filing

Our team of CPAs and tax professionals provide tax planning, preparation and filing services for our clients year round. Through proper tax planning, you receive proactive advice on tax reduction strategies based on income, expenses, individual needs and goals.

We calculate and explain the tax effects of major transactions such as a new home purchase, child birth and more. Our proactive planning philosophy allows you to minimize tax burdens and build a solid foundation of tax reduction strategies that can result in years of tax savings. Throughout the year, we monitor tax law changes that may affect you, recommend tax savings strategies and tips as well as serve as your advocate in tax matters.

Our team of CPAs and tax professionals prepare and file your income tax return with the highest level of professionalism and service in the industry. We will answer your tax questions and review and e-file your return. Your tax return is prepared so you only pay what you are required to pay and not a penny more. Based on our partnership with you, we will implement a sound, carefully planned financial strategy to minimize year-to-year tax liabilities and provide the opportunity to maintain your current standard of living throughout retirement.

1040 Snapshot

The 1040 Snapshot provides a picture of your current tax situation and opportunities to improve your financial future. Reduce taxable income, lower marginal tax rates, take advantage of tax deferral, increase tax credit eligibility and reduce taxes paid on Social Security. Gain a clear picture of your interest and dividend income, capital gains and losses, deductions, and qualified retirement plan contributions. Take the steps to achieve your financial goals with the 1040 Snapshot.

Payroll Services for Businesses

For business owners, one of the most valuable assets you have is time. By outsourcing your payroll services, you and your staff will have more time to focus on the activities necessary to build a successful business and avoid costly payroll filing payments and penalties. Take advantage of comprehensive payroll service that includes: Payroll Processing, Tax Computation, Tax Filing, Check Distribution and Direct Deposit. Plus, enjoy online 24/7 access to update payroll information, download reports and more.

PRESENT

The advancement of the assembly line and the large-scale factory enable Ford to mass produce vehicles at an efficient rate with minimal defects. This discovery has allowed Ford to perfect the manufacturing process and duplicate it around the globe. Ford Motor Company still places the common man at the center of its product by spending millions on safety, security and reliability testing to produce the best product at the lowest price. The values of the typical American are evolving with time, but the key principles remain intact.

Roth Conversion

In recent, Roth IRA conversions have garnered the attention of national media and investors, alike. But, why is everyone talking about conversions? Prior to 2010, only taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income was under $100,000 were allowed to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Beginning in 2010, all taxpayers-regardless of income level or tax-filing status-have the opportunity to convert any or all of the funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA with absolutely no limit on the amount that can be converted. With tax-free earnings and distributions, a Roth IRA is a great way to prepare for a tax-free retirement. While you will have to pay taxes on the amount you convert, paying taxes now could be offset by significant gains later. Switching your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA means you pay no tax on the distributions in future years.

Let our team of CPAs and tax professionals analyze your qualified plan holdings and help to answer the all-important question "Is a Roth conversion right for me?" We will you through the process, assuring you the conversion is done correctly and done in the most cost-effective manner possible to help ensure your financial future. There are many advantages to converting to a Roth IRA:

. Tax-free qualified distributions . Tax-free growth of earnings . Eliminate uncertainty abut future tax rates . Lower taxes owed on retirement benefits like Social Security . No minimum distribution requirements . Provide a greater financial legacy to your heirs

IRA and Legacy Planning

Personal legacy planning is a thorough assessment of your values and financial goals to ensure your wealth is preserved, appropriately transferred, and realized by future generations. Your legacy plan reflects a lifetime of effort and provides peace, security, and pride in knowing your values and wealth will be passed on to your children and grandchildren. Your loved ones will also have clarity and inspiration in knowing your heritage will be preserved for generations.

Until the growth in popularity of the Roth retirement plan, most people accumulated wealth by depositing money in a "before tax" retirement vehicle where the money would grow tax deferred. While the tax advantages on this type of account are attractive,

Mistakes are common and may cause serious estate planning issues that leave your beneficiaries facing enormous tax burdens. These mistakes may result in loss of the stretch capability, probate, unintentional but required distributions, immediate taxable distributions, unintended beneficiaries, and overlooked income tax deductions. To avoid these mistakes and maximize benefits, let our team of CPAs and tax professionals help you avoid costly and often emotional IRA and legacy planning mistakes.

Beneficiary Review

The availability and popularity of retirement plans have caused most to hold a majority of wealth in the form of retirement accounts or life insurance. Despite a more financially educated public, many people do not understand how retirement assets are passed upon death, and rely on wills to control how all their assets pass. Upon death, loved ones are stricken to find retirement assets pass outside of the will and to the beneficiaries named in a beneficiary designation form.

"Mistakes made when designating beneficiaries can be equally costly and even tragic because they impair the ability ... to protect, preserve, and pass on assets to their heirs," according to a recent InvestmentNews article, "about 80% of beneficiary forms ... are either blank, outdated or not properly filled in." The most common mistakes made are accounts left to deceased individuals and exspouses. It is imperative to update beneficiary forms following major life events, such as births, marriages, deaths and divorces.

Key benefits to a beneficiary review:

. Ensure your assets are appropriately designated . Provide a greeter financial legacy to your heirs through advanced planning concepts, like Stretch IRAs . Pass assets tax efficiently . Avoid the emotional, expensive and public legal process of probate

Few recognize the essential role of protecting their assets and ensuring their assets pass to their loved ones as planned. Through our valuable beneficiary review service, our team of CPAs and tax professionals help you properly position your beneficiary designations to present a lasting legacy.

Receive a personalized Beneficiary Review Report with real asset distribution maps and a summary of your inheritance distribution by individual or appropriate party. We also pride ourselves on properly educating you on legacy preparation, planning concepts, and suitable strategies to successfully transfer your retirement assets. We work to thoroughly understand your wishes and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Variable Annuity Loss Analysis

Millions of Americans are holding onto underperforming variable annuities (VA) looking for an opportunity to rid themselves of exposure to further losses. There are numerous reasons why someone might contemplate liquidating an "underwater" VA, and the tax benefits may be the icing on the cake.

The personalized Variable Annuity Loss Analysis report has been designed to help you evaluate how to handle the taxation of any losses that may be sitting unrealized within your non-qualified variable annuity contract. You will gain helpful information to decide whether to take advantage of the tax implication related to the situation.

Tax Projection Service

Engage our team of CPAs and tax professionals to review your prior-year federal and state income tax returns to project your current year's tax obligation. Using our Tax Projection Service, you will receive recommendations to reduce your tax obligation and avoid penalties and interest.

Perform this powerful service when making major financial decisions and life style changes. Our tax projection service is ideal for mid and year-end tax planning. Let our CPAs guide you through these major decisions in a tax efficient manor, helping you to reach your financial goals.

Social Security

In 2011, nearly 55 million Americans will receive $727 billion in Social Security benefits. The average monthly benefit for retired workers is roughly $1,175 per month. Most of those people don't realize their monthly income could have been substantially higher if they delayed beginning their Social Security even by one year.

Social Security planning helps you better understand Social Security as you near retirement and create a personalized retirement income plan to maximize your Social Security benefits and receive enough income to continue living comfortably in retirement.

Net Unrealized Appreciation

At year end, Nationally-known IRA Expert and Contributing Author to InvestmentNews.com Ed Slott reminds his readers who were affected by the economic turmoil and resulting layoffs of 2009 and 2010 that they may qualify for a welcomed net unrealized Appreciation (NUA) tax break. Whether recently separated from service or near retirement (or other triggering event), the concept of NUA is important if you are distributing company stock from your tax-deferred retirement plan, such as your 401(k).

At Gradient Tax, we offer a simple, yet powerful, NUA tax service. Our team of CPAs and tax professionals provide a calculated report of an NUA treatment, comparing the long-term capital gain tax rates versus the ordinary income tax rate if rolled over to an IRA. Our presentation clearly defines the advantages and disadvantages of the NUA treatment allowing you to execute the proper course of action for your unique situation.

Some advantages of the NUA treatment include: Favorable long-term capital gains rates rather than ordinary income tax rates, required minimum distribution rules do not apply, and not subject To the 10% early distribution penalty tax (NUA portion only). Disadvantages are also present and may include the loss of taxdeferred growth through a rollover IRA and other penalties based On your scenario. NUA is also Limited to employer stock other securities.

Discounted Veteran Program

At Gradient, we serve those who have served our country. Our team of CPAs and tax professionals give back to veterans nationwide through our Discounted Veteran Program. We play an essential role in helping veterans and surviving spouses qualify for veteran benefits by identifying tax implications and providing gift tax preparation as well as other discounted tax services as appropriate.

Personalized CPA Consultation and Support

Our team of CPAs and tax professionals are not limited to the services outlined on our website. We provide a 360 degree approach to tax service and support, allowing us to personalize our offering to your unique situation.

FUTURE

Ford spends thousands of man hours studying the wants and needs of the common man, and it allows them to integrate new ideas and designs with time-tested and proven techinques. Research and knowledge allows the ability to set market trends, outperform expectations and forecast possibilities.
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