Saving for College with 529 Plans

accomplishment, ceremony, college

529 plans, also known as Qualified Tuition Plans,  are not a new thing but they have certainly evolved since their introduction in 1996.  These savings plans for higher education are attractive for many reasons and they have a number of tax benefits.  Earnings grow federal tax free and are not taxed when withdrawn for educational expenses.  In addition, many states offer a tax deduction for contributions made to state managed 529 plans during the year.  The IRS website has a Q&A page on 529 plans that answer almost any question in a very simple manner.  

Anyone can utilize a 529 plan regardless of income or age!  At this point, almost every state offers at least one 529 plan but you are not limited to the plans of your state.  To see what is available and determine the best 529 for you, check out  Many plans charge administrative and maintenance fees, application fees, and a number of other fees.  Make sure you familiarize yourself with the plan’s fee structure before committing.   

Anyone can make contributions to your 529!  This can be helpful in the case of aunts, uncles, and grandparents who like to make donations towards college.  Contribution amounts are limited to the amount needed to cover the financial costs of schooling.  If you make a gift or combined gifts greater than $14,000 to one beneficiary in a year, you might be subject to gift taxes.  

With the new tax law changes introduced in December 2017, there are actually some good additions to the depth of 529 plans.  One of these benefits is being able to use 529 plans to cover private elementary through high school tuitions up to $10,000 per year.  Previously 529 plans were only to provide for secondary schooling.  This change definitely makes life easier for anyone struggling with the costs of private schools for younger children.   

Due to the nature of 529 plans – with so many different options available combined with so many unique situations encountered by college students, the questions and answers surrounding these plans are limitless.  If you have additional questions about 529 plans and their impact on your taxes, please feel free to contact our office!


Irene Mouchlizis

When tax time rolls around, do you find yourself uncertain whether you will owe money or receive a refund?  Being able to estimate these numbers annually can help when you are budgeting for something big, trying to pay off some debt, or making any other financial planning decisions for your business.  

Assisting clients by allowing them to plan for taxes throughout the year is one of the things Irene Mouchlizis loves about her job and it is a great reason to turn to her for your bookkeeping needs!   In her own words, Irene says “I love being able to help clients become more organized and aware of how their business is doing. By becoming more organized, they are better able to make sound business decisions and predict what their tax situation will be, so they are not surprised at year end.”  Irene has worked with several non-profit clients as well.  She enjoys helping these organizations to strengthen the community in which we live!

Irene has been running her own business, Bookkeeping N Beyond LLC, for 4 years now.  Prior to that she worked at an accounting firm, utilizing her bachelor’s degree in accounting.  Irene has years of training and expertise in bookkeeping, payroll services, and cash management – including bill pay and invoicing.  When you remove these time consuming pieces from your own business plate, you can better focus on what you do best.  Irene points out that not every business will have the same needs.  She can work with you to determine which services would most benefit your individual organization and customize to fit your specific areas of need.  

Get in touch with Irene to schedule an appointment today!  She can be reached at 717-333-6989 or  Additional information can also be found by going to her website at


Karl Diffenderfer

Successful sports teams aren’t the only ones who need great coaches leading them!  The best organizations often rely on a business coach to help guide them.  This is especially true for navigating big changes and new ventures.  A business coach can take an objective look at your business and industry.  They have the tools available to guide major decision making.

If your organization could benefit from the skills of an experienced life coach, Higher Impact Business and Life coaching has got you covered!  Coach Karl has coached hundreds of business owners in many different industries all over the world for over a decade.  He has studied underneath 4 other national coaches, 5 coaching platforms, and is also an accredited leadership coach.

Higher Impact Business and Life Coaching offers help to business owners and professional leaders to go to the next level in their lives and businesses. They help their clients work on their business, and build a company that runs itself so they can live out their life purpose. Karl inspires leaders to move into a greater version of themselves which he calls “YOU 2.0”. He also empowers business leaders who want to become a coach by teaching them his duplicatable system.

Karl understands business!  He built a successful internet marketing firm from the ground up with hundreds of customers across the globe. His company was award winning and generated millions of dollars in revenue. When presented with the opportunity, he decided to sell the company to transition into teaching others how to do what he has done.

As influencers, we know we don’t have all it all figured out.  We all get stuck.  We get in our own way.  We hold ourselves back from our true potential.  If you could double, triple or quadruple your success, would you be willing to put forth the hard work and effort to do that?  Wouldn’t that be invaluable if you could achieve that?  If so, then you should talk to Coach Karl.  He is committed to your success and proves this through his RESULTS based coaching platform.  If you a leader who is serious about going to the next level, then reach out to Coach Karl today!

The coaching team at Higher Impact now includes a total of 6 coaches with locations in:

– Lancaster, Pennsylvania

– Raleigh, North Carolina

– Frederick, Maryland

– Denver, Colorado

Karl’s latest venture is called Virtual Assistants Company. This company gives Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs their own personal administrative assistant at a fraction of the cost. It is a social enterprise providing jobs and training for those in less fortunate regions of the world. The administrative assistants are trained to take huge workloads off of the business leader through an intuitive proprietary process. This enables the business owner to delegate large amounts of monotonous tasks freeing up the business owner’s time and mental resources. This empowers them to do the things they really should be doing.

The best way to get in touch with Karl is by sending an wmail to or via phone at 717.201.8536. For more information on Higher Impact, check out their website at ( ).  You can learn more about Virtual Assistants Company at (  Karl enjoys speaking and teaching worldwide and his first book is currently underway!



W-4s & You: How Much to Withhold

If you find your tax refund is not as large as you hoped it would be for 2017, it may be time to look at your withholding allowances.  The number of allowances claimed on your W-4 determines the amount of tax withheld from you income.  Too little tax being withheld each paycheck trickles down and affects the amount of your tax refund or amount owed come April 15th.

How many allowances are right for you will vary from individual as can be seen below.  If you find it advantageous to receive more money throughout the year on paychecks and are okay with paying money to the IRS in April, then claiming more allowances might be a good choice.  Or, if you have credits and deductions that offset the larger number of allowances being withheld, this can also be your best bet.  

If you are being claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return you can claim 0 allowances.  This option leads to more money held from your paycheck but a larger refund at tax time. Claim 0 allowance if you are single and have one job and wish to receive a tax refund.  If you chose to claim 2 allowances as a taxpayer and are single with one job, you will have less money taken from your paycheck for taxes but you may owe money in April.  If you are married you would also claim 1 allowances, or if you are single and working two jobs. 2 allowances are optimal if you are married and have a child.  You may claim additional allowances as head of household or if you are eligible for the Child Tax Credit.  

New life situations can necessitate a change in number of allowances withheld.  These life events essentially break down into the categories of employment, marital status, and dependents.  Likewise, if you find your refund (or lack of) to be problematic in April, it is always possible to change your number of allowances.  Speak to your employer or HR department to request a new W-4 withholding form or go online to make electronic changes.  These changes are not retroactive and will only affect paychecks going forward.  To see the biggest results, make a W-4 switch earlier in the year.  

The IRS calculator for determining your withholding is not available at this time because of the December 2017 tax law changes.  It can normally be found at  However, the IRS site does have additional information for anyone considering a change to their number of allowances here.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact our office for help.