About Us

As the President of the CPA firm Highpoint Accounting Inc., Susan Bannwart-Mairo offers over 20 years of accounting, business coaching, software consulting and tax experience. She supports home-based, small and mid-size businesses.

In addition to operating her own business, Susan believes in giving back to the community. She is a member of the Chicago QuickBooks ProAdvisor Group, Illinois CPA Society, PTA and former member of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates. Susan is Past President of her Illinois CPA Society O’Hare Chapter and also Past Treasurer of the Rotary Club.

Susan is an Illinois Licensed and Registered Certified Public Accountant. She’s also an Advanced QuickBooks® ProAdvisor and certified in QuickBooks Pro, Premier, Enterprise and QuickBooks Online.

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Our staff has over 15 years experience in training and supporting clients in all versions of QuickBooks® including payroll.

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Recent Blog Posts

The Tax Reform Act Changes Home Mortgage Interest Deductions

The recent tax reform contains two big changes to how much you can deduct in mortgage interest for tax years 2018 through 2025: During this seven-year period, you may not deduct any interest on prior or current home equity debt, with certain exceptions. Also during this seven-year period, the maximum amount you may treat as acquisition debt for homes purchased after December 15, 2017, is $750,000. Exception alert. Your home equity loan may include acquisition or home-improvement debt, and that debt continues as deductible under the recent tax reform rules. Example. Billy took out a $90,000 home equity loan in 2015. He used $50,000 to remodel portions of his home and used the remaining $40,000 for his daughter’s college tuition. Billy’s total home mortgages never exceeded $1.1 million. Under the new law, Billy may deduct 5/9 of his home equity loan interest in 2018. Acquisition debt. When you buy your main home or a second home and take out mortgages secured by those homes, your mortgages are called acquisition debt. You can add acquisition debt when you improve your main or second home, and that new debt is secured by the home you improved. Refinancing alert. Your acquisition debt does not increase when you refinance unless you use the new monies to improve the home. Example. Tom bought a home in 2010 and took out a $500,000 mortgage that he secured with the home. In 2018, Tom has paid down his mortgage to $430,000, and his home has increased in value to $800,000. Tom refinances the home and takes out a new mortgage in the amount of $600,000, secured...

20% Deduction for Pass-Through Entity Owners and Investors in Real Estate

Included in the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” that takes effect for years 2018-2025, is the Section 199A which is known as the 20% Deduction for Pass-Through Entity Owners and Investors in Real Estate.  The following are eligible to take advantage of Section 199A: Sole proprietorships S corporations Partnerships Multiple-member LLCs treated as parnerships Schedule E real estate investors Trust and estates with an interest in a pass-through entity Qualified cooperatives Real estate investment trusts The 20% Deduction works as follows in its most basic form: Deduction is 20% of “qualified business income(QBI) from a partnership, S corporation or sole proprietorship QBI is the net amount of items of income, gain, deduction and loss with respect to a trade or business Business must be conducted within the United States Single individual with taxable income of $157,500 or less and $315,000 or less for Married Filing Joint may take the Section 199A. Above these thresholds the rules become more complicated and not all trades or businesses are eligible to take the Section 199A. If you would like to learn more about this tax strategy, please call Susan at...

Illinois Income Tax Update

As you have heard, the Illinois legislators passed an income tax hike earlier this month which is effective July 1, 2017.  What does this mean for you? Illinois income tax rates increased from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent for individuals, trusts and estates. Beginning with tax year 2017, individuals filing married filing joint returns with income exceeding $500,000 and $250,000 for all other returns may not claim the following: Personal exemption allowance K-12 Education Expense Credit Property Tax Credit Corporate tax rates (excluding S Corporations) increased from 5.25 percent to 7 percent. Beginning with tax year 2018, the Domestic Production Activities Deduction allowed from profitable corporations and partnerships which flow to your federal tax returns must be added back to income on the Illinois tax returns. This income tax rate hike means paying an extra $12 on each $1,000 of income.   However, if you earn at least $501,000 as a married couple, your tax hike is more as you lose the personal allowances and above-mentioned credits. You can minimize your tax liability by saving more in your 401(k)s, IRAs and business retirement accounts.  Retirement income is not taxable in Illinois as of yet.  You can also minimize your tax liability by saving money for your kids’ college education in one of Illinois two 529 college savings plans.  However, another state’s 529 college savings plan is not deductible.  You will not ever pay taxes on monies contributed to Illinois 529 accounts or its earnings if the funds pay for college. If you would like to learn more about this tax strategy, please call Susan at...

2017 Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service has issued its 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) is: 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents in 2016. 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents in 2016. 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, same rate as in 2016. You always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. You may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. If you would like to learn more about this tax strategy, please call Susan at...