1. 2017 GOP Tax Reform


    November 2nd finally brought the Republican Party’s long-awaited Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1). The 429-page bill is the first shot at significant tax reform in this country in the past 30 years. President Trump has requested an approved bill for his signing by Thanksgiving. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, the author of the tax bill, said the bill could add $1.51 trillion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years. The Senate may utilize the budget reconciliation process to move the bill more quickly and avoid a Democratic filibuster. Brady, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and other House GOP leaders endorsed the bill in a press conference last week, arguing it would save the average family of four $1,182 a year on their taxes.


    For Individuals, the Bill proposes to:

    Maintain the highest tax bracket at 39.6% –  A fourth marginal tax bracket would apply to married couples making more than $1 million a year and single filers earning more than $500,000.


    Lower the individual tax rates for low-to-middle income taxpayers to 12%, 25%, and 35%.

    • For joint filers, the 25 percent would start at $90,000
    • $260,000 for the 35 percent bracket (half for single, individual filers).


    Increase the Standard Deduction from $6,350 to $12,200 for individuals and $12,700 to $24,400 for married couples


    Eliminate “special-interest deductions” , thereby simplifying the filing process. Eliminations include:

    • Student-loan-interest deduction – The amount paid toward student loan interest can currently be deducted.
    • Medical-expense deduction –  Under current law, individuals who spend over 10% of their income on medical expenses are allowed to deduct part of those costs from their taxes. The proposed new bill would remove that deduction.
    • Moving deduction – This allows anyone who moved to a new home in the past year to deduct moving expenses.
    • Alimony– Payment deduction.


    • Maintain the Charitable Contribution deduction


    • Home Mortgages:

    • Grandfather home mortgage interest deduction for existing mortgages up to the current $1 million debt limit
    •  Lower home mortgage interest deduction on newly purchased homes up to $500,000


    Establish a new Family Credit, which includes expanding the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,600, and providing a credit of $300 for each parent and non-child dependent to help all families.


    Eliminate personal exemptions


    Preserve the Earned Income Tax Credit


    Cap itemized state and local property taxes deduction up to $10,000 – Republicans and democrats in states like New York, New Jersey, and California have struggled with the proposed elimination of the state and local tax (SALT) deduction. The benefit allows people to deduct those taxes from their federal bill. This compromise could help.


    Retain 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts advantages as they are currently structured


    Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – This tax, which forces people who qualify because of an outsized number of deductions, is welcome news to many. Event President Trump will benefit as his own tax bill has been shown to be millions of dollars more because of the tax.


    • Double the estate tax exclusion to $12 million per individual, with full repeal after six year.


    For Businesses, the Bill proposes to:


    Cut the corporate tax rate to 20% immediately and permanently


    Create a top pass-through rate of 25% on small business income with safeguards against abuse. Instead of getting taxed at an individual rate for business profits, people who own their own business would pay at the so-called pass-through rate.


    Create a temporary 100% expensing write-off for qualified business property immediately. Companies will be able to deduct the cost of business investments from their tax bill in the year that they make them instead of spreading it out over multiple years.


    Make numerous changes to the taxation of foreign income and foreign persons/businesses


    • Cap the deduction for net interest expenses at 30% of adjusted taxable income, except for small businesses.


    Modify the net operating loss deduction


    Allow for the temporary repatriation of foreign earnings (liquid assets) at a 12% rate. The repatriation rate will be a mandatory one-time tax on overseas assets for US companies. illiquid assets would be taxed at a 5% rate and spread out over a longer period than liquid assets like cash.


    Not repeal Obama care’s individual mandate – Despite the President’s advocacy to eliminate the penalty for not having insurance, no allowance was made for it.


    Others proposals:


    Large private university endowments tax   Private universities with assets of more than $100,000 per student will pay a 1.4% excise tax on their net investment income.


    • Johnson Amendment repeal –  The current rule prevents tax-exempt nonprofits from making explicit election endorsements.


    • Interest deduction on bonds for sports stadiums eliminated –  Currently, local governments issue bonds to pay for the construction of sports facilities and this proposal would prevent people from deducting interest income from these bonds on their federal taxes.


    Mixed Reaction

    House Republicans have not yet reached consensus on the proposals within the bill, and GOP House leaders can only afford to lose 22 votes on the measure if the bill receives no Democratic support. Much of the immediate backlash within the Party centers on the elimination of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction in its current form, while capping the current property tax deduction at $10,000. As details of the bill began to trickle out, reactions poured in. The changes to the mortgage-interest deduction and other provisions sent stocks of home-builders sliding. The SPDR S&P Home-builders ETF was down roughly 2.5% Thursday morning and shares of major builders D.R. Horton, Pulte Group, and Lennar all slipped. Alternatively, companies with a higher effective tax rate and those with a lot of money held overseas rallied strongly on the release of the bill in anticipation of possible higher profits. Regardless of the initial reactions, one thing is for sure – all groups agree on the need for reform and when everyone is squabbling a little, a solution may be close at hand.


    Grennan Fender Hess & Poparad, LLP is a full service accounting and assurance firm that provides a wide array of services to our clients, including tax, audit, consulting, and tax planning for both individuals and businesses. We know that the needs and demands of our clients are ever-changing and we pride ourselves on our ability to meet their needs by our continual educational training and technological development.


    CEO Leadership Forums: Workshop III – Becoming Your Best!

    The CEO Leadership Forums facilitates the growth of middle market companies. Join recognized Orlando business experts and distinguished guest speakers on November 16th, 2017. Business professionals that attend the event will discuss and explore strategies and tactics for growing their businesses profitably.


    David Poparad, CPA, Managing Partner of Grennan Fender, and Geoffrey Gallo, Senior Vice President – Marketing & Strategic Consulting, will both be attending the mid-November event.

  3. Affordable Education in Central Florida

    Affordable Bachelor Degrees are now available in Central Florida

    Nursing and Business minded students in Central Florida now have the option to earn an affordable Bachelor’s Degree. On July 17th, 2017 the State Board of Education approved the following two bachelor degree programs; BAS in Supervision and Management and a BS in Nursing to be offered across four Central Florida State colleges, allowing them to provide affordable degrees with great employment opportunities and expanding horizons.

    The four colleges; Valencia College, Seminole State College, Lake Sumter State College, and Eastern Florida State College worked collaboratively with Orlando Health, Florida Hospital, and the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop a curriculum and a 4 year college experience that would have a total cost to the student of only $10,000 – This met Governor Rick Scott’s goal that Florida Colleges develop affordable 4 year curriculums. The introduction of the two degrees are targeted to begin in Spring 2018.

    Grennan Fender’s Sr. Vice President in Marketing and Strategic Consulting, Geoffrey Gallo, accompanied Valencia College leadership on the successful trip to the state capital. Gallo represented the Central Florida business community and advocated for the positive impact that the Supervision and Management program would have on privately owned businesses and their ever increasing need for qualified talent. Gallo is a leader of the CEO Leadership Forums, a group of 20 close-knit Professional Services firms, whose purpose is to deliver practical education to Florida Business Owners and deliver scholarships to deserving students of Valencia’s new 4 year business degree program. It is anticipated that 40 scholarships may be delivered to inaugural students of the new BAS Supervision and Management degree at Valencia. Some of these students may also qualify for part-time jobs made available through the interaction of business owners with students attending the college. According to Gallo “The new program not only opens a whole new window of affordability to potential students who could not otherwise afford a 4 year degree at other universities, but it also gives skilled technicians in the local workforce the ability to remain on the job while furthering an advanced education in business”.

    Currently there is a major shortage of qualified managers and supervisors with the necessary credentials to lead businesses through complex tasks, so this state approval should result in seeing some significant effects on the Central Florida community. It is a wonderful opportunity for bot the “up and coming” students and the area’s businesses alike.


    Inside the court room during the hearing.

    Grennan Fender Hess & Poparad, LLP is a full service accounting and assurance firm that provides a wide array of services to our clients, including tax, audit, consulting, and tax planning for both individuals and businesses. We know that the needs and demands of our clients are ever-changing and we pride ourselves on our ability to meet their needs by our continual educational training and technological development.


  4. Exit Planning Strategies


    Exit Planning for Business Owners: 3 Important Things to Consider.

    The time has come; baby boomers are reaching the finish line of their professional careers and conversations are starting about their exit plans and assurance of financial security in their post-exit lives. The mass departure of these business owners could trigger the largest transfer of wealth seen in history and according to the Business Enterprise Institute approximately fifteen percent of business owners have actually talked to an advisor about their exit plans.

    Here are 3 important things to consider when planning your exit:

    1. Goals: When you can establish why you want to exit the business, whether it is retirement, time with family, to travel, or to start a new business, you will uncover how you can get to that point. Setting goals provides owners with a reason to pursue their exit planning path, and it takes a way the anxiety of that path by approaching each step of the plan systematically. With the ability to track where in the exit planning process they are, they’re able to refocus on approaching step, address any conflicts, and improve the probability of a successful exit.

    2. Determine the asset gap: It is so important for business owners to determine the difference between the resources they have today and the resources they will need to achieve their financial-security goal. Analyzing this gap and having an accurate assessment of how close they are to achieving their exit goals, gives owners the framework to execute strategies to close this gap. A survey report conducted by BEI in 2016, stated that “Owners often need to dedicate 5-10 years to exit planning if they want to exit their businesses with financial security.” To get a free copy of the report, simply fill out our white paper request form now.

    3. Get an advisor(s): All business owners will one day exit their business, and who they call upon for help will determine the success of that transition. Seeking advice from somebody that they consider to have training or expertise in exit planning is so important. They can help them to set goals, determine the asset gap, and increase the business value and cash flow. Among the various professionals providing advisory services which support the exit planning process include:

    o Business Attorneys who can design and execute buy-sell agreements, key-employee incentive agreements, and renegotiation of long-term contracts and leases for the company.
    o CPAs who provide income tax planning, cash flow forecasting, budgeting, financing, business valuations, and consulting.
    o Estate Planners who calculate and project the value of a company at the owner’s exit date and help develop ways to mitigate exposure to estate taxes and accomplish the owner’s legacy objectives.
    o Financial & Insurance Planners who create financial plans for owners as well as deliver advice on investing non-business assets to support an owner’s income and departure date goals.

    If you’re interested in consulting with an expert in business exit strategies, contact us online now or call us at (407) 896-4931 to discuss how we can help you. Grennan Fender Hess & Poparad, LLP is a full service accounting and assurance firm that provides a wide array of services to our clients, including tax, audit, consulting, and tax planning for both individuals and businesses. We know that the needs and demands of our clients are ever-changing and we pride ourselves on our ability to meet their needs by our continual educational training and technological development.

  5. $12,000 Valencia College Scholarship

  6. 2017 Filing has started!

    The IRS has officially declared the opening of the 2017 tax season effective January 23, 2017. Over 153 million tax returns are expected to be filed this year and 80 percent are expected to be electronically filed. This year, you will have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017, to file your 2016 returns and pay any taxes due. The deadline is a little later this year since April 15 in on Saturday and Emancipation Day, a D.C. holiday, is on Monday, April 17.

    A new security initiative implemented at the IRS should provide stronger protections for taxpayers going forward to catch tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. These new measures seek out and stop tax-related identity theft from multiple sides and will help the IRS, states and the tax industry provide new protections to taxpayers.

    Please remember that all taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Starting in 2017, taxpayers using tax filing software for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. The IRS is urging taxpayers to collect all year-end statements including Forms W-2 from employers and Forms 1099 from banks and other payers before filing, to avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return. Please call our office if we can help!

  7. President Obama Signs Veteran Tax Fairness Act into Law on December 16, 2016

    The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016 (HR 5015 ) was signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2016. The new law “directs the Department of Defense (DOD) to restore improper tax withholdings from individuals separated from service,” according to a statement provided by the White House press secretary after enactment.

    The Senate passed the measure on December 10, 2016 and the House passed the bill on December 5, 2016.

    The new law requires a refund of money that was improperly withheld for tax purposes from severance payments to certain veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Generally, severance payments for veterans are separated from the Armed Forces because combat-related injuries are not considered gross income, but tax on many of these payments were improperly withheld.
    The law extends the limitation on time for filing a claim for a credit or refund under Code Sec. 6511(a) allowing certain veterans to be restored of funds previously taken from their severances. The extension would run one year after the DOD provides the affected service members notice of the amount improperly withheld from their severance payments.

    “Severance pay for service members who suffered combat-related injuries should not be taxed under any circumstance,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., co-sponsor of the measure, said after Senate passage of the bill. “This legislation is a common-sense solution to ensure that these veterans who had their severance payment wrongfully taxed will receive every penny that they are rightfully owed,” Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C., author of the House bill, said in a statement.


  8. CEO Leadership Forums: Power Your Business To New Heights



  9. Grennan Fender helps pack 21,312 meals for families affected by Hurricane Matthew

    Around the world, an estimated 7 million children die each year, with malnutrition playing a key role in many of those deaths, according to United Nations statistics.img_2592-300x225

    A hungry child lacks energy for playing or doing schoolwork. Their small bodies compensate for lack of fuel by slowing down mental and physical abilities. And their little immune systems take a hit, too, making them more susceptible to colds and serious illness.

    After a disaster such as a hurricane, families can struggle to meet even their most basic needs.

    That’s why Grennan Fender CPAs was proud to partner with Feeding Children Everywhere to pack 21,312 meals for families in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.

    Founded in 1975, Grennan, Fender, McCrady, Hess & Poparad has a long history of providing personal service to our valued clients in public accounting and financial management.  Working on this project was a part of our continued commitment to excellence and the community throughout Central Florida.

    Feeding Children Everywhere mobilizes teams to assemble all-natural, healthy, pre-packaged servings of staples such as rice and lentils. With help from a nutritionist, the charity includes tasty recipes like Lentil Casserole and meal plans to transform the packets into complete and delicious meals.

    The charity, based in Longwood, was founded by Central Florida residents Don and Kristen Campbell, who shared their own family table with others but wanted to do more.

    Today, thousands of volunteers, from a six-year-old Boy Scout to a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, come together at Hunger Projects with the same purpose that started it all – to share love, hope, and make a difference around the world.

    The event took place at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, at WhirlyDome, 6464 International Drive in Orlando.

    Volunteer teams from Grennan Fender came together to assemble the meals with help from our other great partners:

    • Fence Outlet
    • Nouveau Contour and Dermatude
    • Liberty Investment Properties
    • DynaFire
    • Corkcicle



  10. Grennan Fender Merges with McCrady Hess

    Orlando, FL – (Nov. 5, 2015) – Grennan Fender, one of Orlando’s fastest growing Certified Public Accounting firms, is merging McCrady Hess Certified Public Accountants of Maitland, Florida into their firm.

    GFMH Group

    The new firm will officially be Grennan Fender McCrady Hess & Poparad. Jed Grennan will be the managing partner. David Poparad will be joining Grennan as an equity partner.

    The full-service Certified Public Accounting firm, with specialties in charter schools and outsourced cloud-based accounting, will operate under the brand name Grennan Fender.

    Jed Grennan explained the merger will bring more auditing and assurance experience to the company. New partners, Stacy McCrady and Mike Hess will benefit from the depth of the Grennan Fender team.

    “This merger enhances our capabilities. We are excited to continue to serve businesses of all sizes and bring in the dynamic practice of audit and accounting services for charter schools which McCrady Hess is known for,’’ said Grennan, who has served Central Florida for more than 40 years. The Grennan Fender firm dates back to 1975 when it was founded by John Ruta, Dan Koivu, and David Milhausen.

    Partner David Poparad, who heads the tax division, is honored to take on more responsibility in the firm. “Our dedication to our core values of being pro-active, collaborative, respectful and fun help propel us forward.”

    The merger is expected to generate even more growth for accounting jobs. Grennan Fender anticipates adding up to 10 new jobs in the coming year.

    The firm is expanding its office space at the Gateway Center in downtown Orlando. It currently employs over 30 professionals. Grennan Fender has doubled in size in the past two years.

    McCrady Hess will remain a trusted name for charter school audit and accounting services

    McCradyHess_UpdatedLogo_Color2Partner Stacy McCrady noted the merger works because, “Jed and his partners share our commitment to provide clients with a high level of quality professional accounting services within the spirit of ongoing, open and clear communication throughout the year.’’

    Partner Mike Hess said the firm’s community roots and values match his beliefs. “We may be one of the largest local firms in Central Florida – but what matters to us is continuing to give the best service to our growing client base across Florida and the Southeast.’’

    Both McCrady and Hess are extremely proud that their original firm name will remain to serve dozens of charter schools throughout Florida. McCrady Hess provides a number of services for schools including: audit, accounting, tax and consulting services.

    About Grennan Fender

    Grennan Fender has been a leading Orlando CPA and business financial solutions firm for more than 40 years. The firm provides a wide array of innovative services for clients, including tax, audit, consulting, outsourced accounting, cloud accounting and tax planning to meet both individual and business needs. The company, through the McCrady Hess division is also a leader in audit and accounting services to charter schools. For more information visit