Effective: February 7, 2022
Your Stuff & Your Permissions
When you use our Services, you provide us with things like your files, content, messages, contacts, and so on ("Your Stuff"). Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your Stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Services.
We need your permission to do things like hosting Your Stuff, backing it up, and sharing it when you ask us to. Our Services also provide you with features like eSign, file sharing, email newsletters, appointment setting and more. These and other features may require our systems to access, store, and scan Your Stuff. You give us permission to do those things, and this permission extends to our affiliates and trusted third parties we work with.
Sharing Your Stuff
Our Services let you share Your Stuff with others, so please think carefully about what you share.
You’re responsible for your conduct. Your Stuff and you must comply with applicable laws. Content in the Services may be protected by others’ intellectual property rights. Please don’t copy, upload, download, or share content unless you have the right to do so. We may review your conduct and content for compliance with these Terms. With that said, we have no obligation to do so. We aren’t responsible for the content people post and share via the Services.
Help us keep you informed and Your Stuff protected. Safeguard your password to the Services, and keep your account information current. Don’t share your account credentials or give others access to your account.
You may use our Services only as permitted by applicable law, including export control laws and regulations. Finally, to use our Services, you must be at least 13, or in some cases, even older. If you live in France, Germany, or the Netherlands, you must be at least 16. Please check your local law for the age of digital consent. If you don’t meet these age requirements, you may not use the Services.
Some of our Services allow you to download client software (“Software”) which may update automatically. So long as you comply with these Terms, we give you a limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable, revocable license to use the Software, solely to access the Services. To the extent any component of the Software may be offered under an open source license, we’ll make that license available to you and the provisions of that license may expressly override some of these Terms. Unless the following restrictions are prohibited by law, you agree not to reverse engineer or decompile the Services, attempt to do so, or assist anyone in doing so.
We sometimes release products and features that we are still testing and evaluating. Those Services have been marked beta, preview, early access, or evaluation (or with words or phrases with similar meanings) and may not be as reliable as other non-beta services, so please keep that in mind.
The Services are protected by copyright, trademark, and other US and foreign laws. These Terms don’t grant you any right, title, or interest in the Services, others’ content in the Services, CountingWorks and our trademarks, logos and other brand features. We welcome feedback, but note that we may use comments or suggestions without any obligation to you.
We respect the intellectual property of others and ask that you do too. We respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement if they comply with the law, and such notices should be reported to legal@CountingWorks.com. We reserve the right to delete or disable content alleged to be infringing and terminate accounts of repeat infringers. Our designated agent for notice of alleged copyright infringement on the Services is:
You’re free to stop using our Services at any time. We reserve the right to suspend or terminate your access to the Services with notice to you if:
We won’t provide notice before termination where:
Discontinuation of Services
We may decide to discontinue the Services in response to unforeseen circumstances beyond CountingWorks control or to comply with a legal requirement. If we do so, we’ll give you reasonable prior notice so that you can export Your Stuff from our systems.
Services “AS IS”
We strive to provide great Services, but there are certain things that we can't guarantee. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, CountingWorks AND ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS MAKE NO WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ABOUT THE SERVICES. THE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED "AS IS." WE ALSO DISCLAIM ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. Some places don’t allow the disclaimers in this paragraph, so they may not apply to you.
Limitation of Liability
WE DON’T EXCLUDE OR LIMIT OUR LIABILITY TO YOU WHERE IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL TO DO SO—THIS INCLUDES ANY LIABILITY FOR CountingWorks OR ITS AFFILIATES’ FRAUD OR FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION IN PROVIDING THE SERVICES. IN COUNTRIES WHERE THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF EXCLUSIONS AREN’T ALLOWED, WE'RE RESPONSIBLE TO YOU ONLY FOR LOSSES AND DAMAGES THAT ARE A REASONABLY FORESEEABLE RESULT OF OUR FAILURE TO USE REASONABLE CARE AND SKILL OR OUR BREACH OF OUR CONTRACT WITH YOU. THIS PARAGRAPH DOESN’T AFFECT CONSUMER RIGHTS THAT CAN'T BE WAIVED OR LIMITED BY ANY CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT.
IN COUNTRIES WHERE EXCLUSIONS OR LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY ARE ALLOWED, CountingWorks, ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS WON’T BE LIABLE FOR:
THESE EXCLUSIONS OR LIMITATIONS WILL APPLY REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT CountingWorks OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES HAS BEEN WARNED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
IF YOU USE THE SERVICES FOR ANY COMMERCIAL, BUSINESS, OR RE-SALE PURPOSE, CountingWorks, ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY LOSS OF PROFIT, LOSS OF BUSINESS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY. CountingWorks AND ITS AFFILIATES AREN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT, WHETHER ONLINE OR OFFLINE, OF ANY USER OF THE SERVICES.
Let’s Try To Sort Things Out First. We want to address your concerns without needing a formal legal case. Before filing a claim against CountingWorks or our affiliates, you agree to try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting legal@CountingWorks.com. We’ll try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting you via email.
Judicial forum for disputes. You and CountingWorks agree that any judicial proceeding to resolve claims relating to these Terms or the Services will be brought in the federal or state courts of Orange County, California, subject to the mandatory arbitration provisions below. Both you and CountingWorks consent to venue and personal jurisdiction in such courts. If you reside in a country (for example, European Union member states) with laws that give consumers the right to bring disputes in their local courts, this paragraph doesn’t affect those requirements.
IF YOU’RE A U.S. RESIDENT, YOU ALSO AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING MANDATORY ARBITRATION PROVISIONS:
These Terms will be governed by California law except for its conflicts of laws principles. However, some countries (including those in the European Union) have laws that require agreements to be governed by the local laws of the consumer's country. This paragraph doesn’t override those laws.
These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and CountingWorks with respect to the subject matter of these Terms, and supersede and replace any other prior or contemporaneous agreements, or terms and conditions applicable to the subject matter of these Terms. These Terms create no third party beneficiary rights.
Waiver, Severability & Assignment
CountingWorks failure to enforce a provision is not a waiver of its right to do so later. If a provision is found unenforceable, the remaining provisions of the Terms will remain in full effect and an enforceable term will be substituted reflecting our intent as closely as possible. You may not assign any of your rights under these Terms, and any such attempt will be void. CountingWorks may assign its rights to any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, or to any successor in interest of any business associated with the Services.
We may revise these Terms from time to time to better reflect:
If an update affects your use of the Services or your legal rights as a user of our Services, we’ll notify you prior to the update's effective date by sending an email to the email address associated with your account or via an in-product notification. These updated terms will be effective no less than 30 days from when we notify you.
If you don’t agree to the updates we make, please cancel your account before they become effective. By continuing to use or access the Services after the updates come into effect, you agree to be bound by the revised Terms.
Effective: February 7, 2022
Thanks for visiting our website. Our mission is to create a web based experience that makes it easier for us to work together. Here we describe how we collect, use, and handle your personal information when you use our websites, software, and services (“Services”).
What & Why
We collect and use the following information to provide, improve, and protect our Services:
Account information. We collect, and associate with your account, the information you provide to us when you do things such as sign up for your account, opt-in to our client newsletter or request an appointment (like your name, email address, phone number, and physical address). Some of our Services let you access your accounts and your information via other service providers.
Your Stuff. Our Services are designed to make it simple for you to store your files, documents, comments, messages, and so on (“Your Stuff”), collaborate with others, and work across multiple devices. To make that possible, we store, process, and transmit Your Stuff as well as information related to it. This related information includes your profile information that makes it easier to collaborate and share Your Stuff with others, as well as things like the size of the file, the time it was uploaded, collaborators, and usage activity. Our Services provide you with different options for sharing Your Stuff.
Contacts. You may choose to give us access to your contacts (spouse or other company staff) to make it easy for you to do things like share and collaborate on Your Stuff, send messages, and invite others to use the Services. If you do, we’ll store those contacts on our servers for you to use.
Usage information. We collect information related to how you use the Services, including actions you take in your account (like sharing, viewing, and moving files or folders). We use this information to improve our Services, develop new services and features, and protect our users.
Cookies and other technologies. We use technologies like cookies to provide, improve, protect, and promote our Services. For example, cookies help us with things like remembering your username for your next visit, understanding how you are interacting with our Services, and improving them based on that information. You can set your browser to not accept cookies, but this may limit your ability to use the Services.
Marketing. We give users the option to use some of our Services free of charge. These free Services are made possible by the fact that some users upgrade to one of our paid Services. If you register for our free Services, we will, from time to time, send you information about the firm or tax and accounting tips when permissible. Users who receive these marketing materials can opt out at any time. If you do not want to receive marketing materials from us, simply click the ‘unsubscribe’ link in any email.
We sometimes contact people who do not have an account. For recipients in the EU, we or a third party will obtain consent before contacting you. If you receive an email and no longer wish to be contacted by us, you can unsubscribe and remove yourself from our contact list via the message itself.
Bases for processing your data. We collect and use the personal data described above in order to provide you with the Services in a reliable and secure manner. We also collect and use personal data for our legitimate business needs. To the extent we process your personal data for other purposes, we ask for your consent in advance or require that our partners obtain such consent.
We may share information as discussed below, but we won’t sell it to advertisers or other third parties.
Other users. Our Services display information like your name, profile picture, device, and email address to other users in places like your user profile and sharing notifications. You can also share Your Stuff with other users if you choose. When you register your account with an email address on a domain owned by your employer or organization, we may help collaborators and administrators find you and your workspace by making some of your basic information—like your name, workspace name, profile picture, and email address—visible to other users on the same domain. This helps you sync up with workspaces you can join and helps other users share files and folders with you. Certain features let you make additional information available to others.
Workspace Admins. If you are a user of a workspace, your administrator may have the ability to access and control your workspace account. Please refer to your organization’s internal policies if you have questions about this. If you are not a workspace user but interact with a workspace user (by, for example, joining a shared folder or accessing stuff shared by that user), members of that organization may be able to view the name, email address, profile picture, and IP address that was associated with your account at the time of that interaction.
Law & Order and the Public Interest. We may disclose your information to third parties if we determine that such disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (a) comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or appropriate government request; (b) protect any person from death or serious bodily injury; (c) prevent fraud or abuse of our platform or our users; (d) protect our rights, property, safety, or interest; or (e) perform a task carried out in the public interest.
Stewardship of your data is critical to us and a responsibility that we embrace. We believe that your data should receive the same legal protections regardless of whether it’s stored on our Services or on your home computer’s hard drive. We’ll abide by Government Request Policies when receiving, scrutinizing, and responding to government requests (including national security requests) for your data:
Security. We have a team dedicated to keeping your information secure and testing for vulnerabilities. We also continue to work on features to keep your information safe in addition to things like blocking repeated login attempts, encryption of files at rest, and alerts when new devices and apps are linked to your account. We deploy automated technologies to detect abusive behavior and content that may harm our Services, you, or other users.
User Controls. You can access, amend, download, and delete your personal information by logging into your account.
Retention. When you sign up for an account with us, we’ll retain information you store on our Services for as long as your account is in existence or as long as we need it to provide you the Services. If you delete your account, we will initiate deletion of this information after 30 days. But please note: (1) there might be some latency in deleting this information from our servers and back-up storage; and (2) we may retain this information if necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, or enforce our agreements.
Around the world. To provide you with the Services, we may store, process, and transmit information in the United States and locations around the world—including those outside your country. Information may also be stored locally on the devices you use to access the Services.
EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield. When transferring data from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, We rely upon a variety of legal mechanisms, including contracts with our customers and affiliates. We comply with the EU-U.S. and Swiss–U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information transferred from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland to the United States.
We are subject to oversight by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. JAMS is the US-based independent organization responsible for reviewing and resolving complaints about our Privacy Shield compliance—free of charge to you. We ask that you first submit any such complaints directly to us via privacy@CountingWorks.com. If you aren’t satisfied with our response, please contact JAMS at https://www.jamsadr.com/eu-us-privacy-shield. In the event your concern still isn’t addressed by JAMS, you may be entitled to a binding arbitration under Privacy Shield and its principles.
If we are involved in a reorganization, merger, acquisition, or sale of our assets, your information may be transferred as part of that deal.
Your Right to Control and Access Your Information
You have control over your personal information and how it is collected, used, and shared. For example, you have a right to:
Your personal information is controlled by CountingWorks, Inc. Have questions or concerns about CountingWorks, our Services, and privacy? Contact our Data Protection Officer at privacy@CountingWorks.com. If they can’t answer your question, you have the right to contact your local data protection supervisory authority.
Third Party Vendors
Amazon Web Services
Updated: June 2020.
strives to ensure that its services are accessible to people with disabilities. has invested a significant amount of resources to help ensure that its website is made easier to use and more accessible for people with disabilities, with the strong belief that every person has the right to live with dignity, equality, comfort and independence.
makes available the UserWay Website Accessibility Widget that is powered by a dedicated accessibility server. The software allows us to improve its compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
Enabling the Accessibility Menu
The accessibility menu can be enabled either by hitting the tab key when the page first loads or by clicking the accessibility menu icon that appears on the corner of the page. After triggering the accessibility menu, please wait a moment for the accessibility menu to load in its entirety.
continues its efforts to constantly improve the accessibility of its site and services in the belief that it is our collective moral obligation to allow seamless, accessible and unhindered use also for those of us with disabilities.
In an ongoing effort to continually improve and remediate accessibility issues, we also regularly scan with UserWay's Accessibility Scanner to identify and fix every possible accessibility barrier on our site. Despite our efforts to make all pages and content on fully accessible, some content may not have yet been fully adapted to the strictest accessibility standards. This may be a result of not having found or identified the most appropriate technological solution.
Here For You
If you are experiencing difficulty with any content on or require assistance with any part of our site, please contact us during normal business hours as detailed below and we will be happy to assist.
If you wish to report an accessibility issue, have any questions or need assistance, please contact customer support.
We keep you up-to-date with all the latest tax news and changes in the industry.
Who Can Contribute?
How Much Can Each Individual Contribute?
Maximum Plan Contributions
Tax Free Accumulation
Eligible Expenses (Qualified Distributions)
Direct Payment of Tuition
Coordination With Education Credits
A common question parents have is, “How might I save for a child’s post-secondary education in a tax-beneficial way?” The answer depends on how much the education is expected to cost and how much time is left until the child heads off to college or a university or enters an apprenticeship program. The tax code provides a tax-beneficial plan to save for college expenses referred to as a Sec 529 Plan (named after the section of the tax code that authorizes the plan). These plans are also referred to Qualified Tuition Plans and are sponsored and run by the 50 states and the District of Columbia. There are two types of 529 plans: education savings plans and prepaid tuition plans.
Who Can Contribute? There are no limits on the number of contributors, and there are no income or age limitations. Thus the parents, grandparents, rich uncles and aunts, and although not very likely, even the next-door neighbors, can contribute to the student’s Sec 529 Plan.
How Much Can Each Individual Contribute? That depends upon each person’s financial situation and the gift tax. Gift tax is currently 40% of the amount gifted but there two exclusions:
A lifetime gift and estate tax exclusion, which is annually adjusted for inflation, and is $12.92 million for 2023 (up from 12.06 million for 2022), and
An annual gift tax exemption per gift recipient which is periodically inflation-adjusted and is $17,000 for 2023 (up from $16,000 in 2022). Meaning an individual can give $17,000 (or whatever the amount is for the year) to any number of individuals without incurring any gift tax. For example, grandpa can give $17,000 to each of his six grandchildren in 2023 gift-tax free.
Most individuals will not use any of the $12.06 million ($12.92 million in 2023) lifetime gift tax exclusion, which then can be used to reduce the value of their estate subject to the 40% estate tax when they pass away. Plus the lifetime exclusion is subject to partisan politics and could be increased or reduced in the future. It was $5.46 million in 2017 before being increased by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for years 2018 through 2025.
In most cases, contributors to a 529 Plan limit the amount they give to the Plan to the annual gift tax exclusion ($17,000 for 2023). However, the tax code allows an individual to contribute 5 years’ worth of 529 Plan contributions in one year. Thus for example, in 2023 an individual could contribute $85,000 (5 x $17,000) without any gift tax consequences, but if that individual makes any additional contributions (except for makeup amounts) within the subsequent four years, those additional contributions would eat into their lifetime gift and estate tax exclusion.
After the conclusion of the five-year period, the individual can resume making contributions either annually or with another 5 years’ worth. The advantage to making the 5-year contributions is larger upfront appreciation.
Makeup Contributions – Because the annual gift exclusion amount is inflation-adjusted, anyone who exercised the 5-year option and the annual gift exclusion amount increased during that 5-year period can contribute an amount equal to the increase. The following is a hypothetical example: Lee contributed $75,000 (5 x $15,000) to his granddaughter Whitney’s Sec 529 plan in 2019 when the annual exclusion was $15,000. The exclusion continued to be $15,000 for 2020 and 2021. In 2022 it increased to $16,000 and to $17,000 in 2023. Lee can make a $1,000 catch-up contribution for 2020 when the exclusion increased to $16,000 and a $2,000 catch-up in 2023 when the exclusion increased to $17,000.
Maximum Plan Contributions – Although there are no restrictions on how much an individual can contribute annually, other than the gift tax considerations, the maximum amount that can be contributed per beneficiary (the intended student) is based on the projected cost of college education and will vary between the states’ plans. Some states base their maximum on the projected costs of an in-state four-year education, but others use the cost of the most expensive schools in the U.S., including graduate studies. According to Savings for College.com the 2022 amounts range from $235,000 to $550,000. Generally, additional contributions cannot be made once an account reaches the state’s maximum level, but that doesn’t prevent the account from continuing to grow.
Although there is no Federal tax deduction for contributing to a 529 Plan, some states do allow a deduction. Go to maximum account contribution for details by state. Go to State Income Tax Benefits for state income tax benefits.
Tax Free Accumulation: You should also be aware that an account can be established in any state program, not just the resident state program. So shop around for the program with the best performance, since the major benefit of the Sec 529 Plan is earnings accumulation which is tax free if used for qualified higher education expenses. Plus, the earlier contributions are made to a plan the longer the account has to grow and provide tax free funds for the student’s education.
Where there are multiple contributors, such as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, huge amounts can be contributed up front and provide the greatest long-term growth.
Eligible Expenses (Qualified Distributions) – Distributions from a Sec 529 Plan consists of two amounts, the contributed amounts and the earnings on the amounts contributed to the plan. The original contributions are never taxable and the earnings are not taxable if they are used to pay qualified higher-education expenses of the account beneficiary. These are the eligible expenses:
Computers or peripheral equipment, computer software, internet access and related services that will be used primarily by the beneficiary while the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution,
Room and board if the beneficiary attends a qualified school at least half time, and
A special needs student’s expenses that are necessary to enable the student to enroll or attend an eligible educational institution.
Since originating these plans, Congress has continued to modify the purpose of the plans by allowing plan funds to be used for more than just college tuition. In addition to the forgoing expenses, Sec 529 funds can be used federally tax free for:
Up to $10,000 annually, per student, for elementary school and high school tuition expenses to attend public, private, and religious schools.
Qualified higher education expenses associated with registered apprenticeship programs certified by the Secretary of Labor under Sec 1 of the National Apprenticeship Act.
Payment of education loans up to a maximum of $10,000 (reduced by the amount of distributions so treated for all prior taxable years) including those for siblings. In other words, $10,000 is a lifetime limit.
Non-qualified Distributions - When distributions exceed eligible expenses, the beneficiary of the Section 529 Plan would be required to include the nonqualified distributions in income. Keep in mind the original contributions to the plan are never taxable, only the earnings. The calculation of the taxable amount of the distribution can be complicated, especially if the beneficiary received a tax-free scholarship. In some cases, a 10% penalty also applies on the taxable distribution that is included in income.
Be Mindful – The tax benefit of these plans is amassing tax-deferred investment income, which then can be withdrawn tax-free to pay qualified education expenses. Using these funds too early will not achieve the desired goal of accumulating and compounding investment income. Thus, you should carefully consider whether to use the funds for elementary and secondary school education expenses or to wait and tap the account for post-secondary education, with the latter choice maximizing investment income.
Direct Payment of Tuition – Some potential contributors to a Sec 529 plan for family members may wish to pay for the tuition when it is actually incurred rather than saving for it in advance. The gift tax rules exclude from gift tax direct payments (payments made directly to a provider) for tuition or medical services. Thus, for example, a grandparent can make direct payments to a college for a grandchild’s tuition and those payments are not subject to gift tax. The grandparent could even contribute to the Sec 529 Plan and later make direct tuition payments if needed.
Coordination With Education Credits - When the time comes for college, the distributions will be part earnings/growth in value and part contributions. The contribution part is never taxable, and the earnings part is tax-free if used to pay for qualified college expenses. In addition to a tax-free distribution from the 529 Plan, the student or the taxpayer who claims the student as a dependent may claim an education credit – such as the American Opportunity Tax credit, which can be as much as $2,500 – in the same year, provided the same expenses aren’t used for both benefits and the taxpayer’s income level does not phase out the credit.
If you have question or need assistance with education planning, please give this office a call.
Each month, we will send you a roundup of our latest blog content covering the tax and accounting tips & insights you need to know.
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