May 2019
"Bunching" Deductions Benefits Those Who Give
Gift box
Careful planning can benefit you as a taxpayer and also can help the charitable organizations you believe in and invest in, according to Brian Eisenmenger, CPA, partner at MMA & Co. “There’s a process that we call ‘bunching’ deductions,” Brian said, adding that “bunching” makes more sense now with higher standard deductions under the new tax laws. “This means a client can forego contributions in one tax year in order to give more the following year, thereby meeting the criteria to itemize deductions during that second year.”
Here’s a simplified example: The Smith Family pays $10,000 in property taxes and claims $10,000 in mortgage interest. Normally, the family makes about $4,000 in charitable contributions during the year. Now that the family’s standard deduction is $24,000, there wouldn’t be any tax deduction aligned with their charitable gifts.However, if the Smiths choose to forego their contributions this year and give $8,000 in charitable contributions the following year, their total (property taxes + mortgage interest + charitable gifts) would equal $28,000—that’s $4,000 over the standard deduction. Therefore, they are able to itemize their deductions.
“There are other factors to take into account, of course,” said Brian, including whether pledges and commitments might affect a charity’s bottom line. However, he recommends talking with your accountant to discuss whether “bunching” might be an opportunity for you during this tax year. And if you give to a variety of charitable organizations, consider a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). More on DAFs in next month’s newsletter. As always, please let us know if we can help with your planning. We’re eager to be of service to you and share ideas on how to maximize your gifts while minimizing your tax burden.
From One of Our Clients: A Story with Heart
When our long-time client Barry R. Smith walked his daughter Marie Therese down the aisle last month, he was fulfilling on a promise he made years ago--a heart-stopping promise.

Barry was the beneficiary of a defibrillator that had been donated by Dr. Vince Bufalino to St. Petronille's Church in Glen Ellyn. During a pick-up basketball game, Barry collapsed on the court. One of the players, Mark Senak, remembered the new defibrillator and together, the guys on the team walked through the directions. Barry, who experienced what the doctors later called a "sudden death," was resuscitated. While recovering at the hospital, Barry told his wife Camille that he wanted to live long enough to walk his daughter down the aisle and ten years later, he did.
This story is heart-warming enough, but wait--there's more. On April 6, the day of Marie Therese's wedding, Dr. Bufalino received the American Heart Association's prestigious Heart of Gold Award at the Chicago Heart Ball. A cardiologist, Dr. Bufalino has led the charge to provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to public spaces throughout Chicago, including cities, O'Hare International Airport and, most auspiciously, St. Petronille Parish.
Grateful for this second chance, Barry, who is founder of BRS Consulting, Inc., is writing a book called Creation: RSVP to the Book of Life . His book will share this miracle among others that Barry has experienced during his faith life. We appreciate his generosity in sharing his story with us and look forward to working with Barry for many years to come.
Our People Make a Difference
May was a very big month here at Mathieson, Moyski, Austin & Co.
On May 8, Shannon Bachara, CPA, was married to her longtime sweetheart Vince Salinas at Smith's Cove Beach in Grand Cayman, the first port stop on a five-day cruise. Shannon and Vince were joined by 46 close family and friends who celebrated this destination wedding with them in style. Here the newly married couple are joined by their flower girls, nieces Scarlett and Olivia.
On May 20, we welcomed new staff members (L to R) Matt Bennett, Italo Roche and Jake Rexilius. Matt and Jake have joined us as new staff accountants after celebrating their college graduations. Matt earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, and Jake graduated with a bachelor of science in accounting from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Both gentlemen participated in their student accounting societies while going to school and working. Italo comes to us as a summer 2019 intern--he'll be with us through August and then return to Northern Illinois University where he is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in accountancy.
That same day, our fearless leaders participated in the CASA of DuPage Golf Outing. Braving the wind and the threat of rain, Ron Austin, CPA, Mike Moyski, CPA, John Straus, CPA, and John Vires, CFP ® , CFA ®, joined this annual event that raises funds (and fun) for CASA, a non-profit that stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates. This organization provides trained advocates for children who are caught up in the court system due to family circumstances.Pictured here (L to R) are Mssrs. Vires, Straus and Moyski.
The next day, on May 21, Ron Austin joined other community leaders at the West Suburban Philanthropic Network (WSPN) for the 17th Annual Philanthropy Awards Luncheon at Abbington Banquets in Glen Ellyn. Lisa Drake, executive director for CASA of DuPage, was honored as a finalist for the 2019 WSPN Executive in the non-profit category. In addition, Ron was honored along with CASA board president Brandy Harrington of Black Diamond Planners, as CASA's Outstanding Volunteers. Pictured here (L to R) are Beth Stremel, CASA's director of development, Lisa, Brandy and Ron. Congratulations to all!
The Carnival's in Town
The Taste of Wheaton kicks off today and we're delighted to be a part of this community event. The Wheaton Chamber of Commerce and the Wheaton Park District come together each year to host four days of music, food, entertainment and fun at Memorial Park. Our team members will be there as representatives of the Ambassadors Club and volunteers, so look for us throughout the weekend.

We're enjoying summer hours here at MMA & Co. (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Friday) but we are available to help you if you need us. Let us know how we can support you and your financial goals for your families and/or businesses... we're here to be of service.
Ron Austin, CPA
Brian Eisenmenger, CPA
Brian Hagene, CPA
Brett Mathieson, CPA
Mike Moyski, CPA
John Straus, CPA