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  • Tax Planning & Preparation | Monotelo Advisors | Elgin

    Run your business, we'll handle your finances. Small business owner? Yes, we can help you with your tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs. But there is so much more to having the right financial partner. Get Started Learn More What We Offer Looking for Financial Planning Help? Our values-based retirement planning will give you the quiet confidence that everything is on track for you to achieve your life goals. Get Started Learn More File your taxes online, over the phone, or schedule an in-person meeting to get started. Get Started Learn More Missed the tax deadline? It's not too late to get your 2022 tax return filed.

  • Avoiding The 10% Threshold For Medical Expenses

    If you fail to plan ahead, you will struggle to claim your medical expenses as an itemized deduction when April 15th arrives. You will lose the ability to deduct the bulk of these expenses because they need to surpass 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to be usable as an itemized deduction . This means that taxpayers who make $100,000 during the year will not be able to deduct the first $10,000 in medical expenses. That handicap essentially means you will not be able to deduct any medical expenses, unless you incur heavy medical bills in a single year. And if you are paying AMT (the Alternative Minimum Tax) - don't even think about it. When it comes time to pay your income tax bill, most Americans want to pay the lowest amount possible. One of the ways taxpayers seek to do this is by increasing the number of deductions they take on their tax return each year. ​ So it's not surprising that one of the common questions we receive from our clients is whether or not they can deduct their medical expenses. While the simple answer is "yes," the reality for most taxpayers is "no." However, with a little planning, that answer can be "yes." If you fail to plan ahead, you will struggle to claim your medical expenses as an itemized deduction when April 15th arrives. You will lose the ability to deduct the bulk of these expenses because they need to surpass 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to be usable as an itemized deduction . This means that taxpayers who make $100,000 during the year will not be able to deduct the first $10,000 in medical expenses. That handicap essentially means you will not be able to deduct any medical expenses, unless you incur heavy medical bills in a single year. And if you are paying AMT (the Alternative Minimum Tax) - don't even think about it. The best way to counteract this nasty little piece of the tax code is to set up an HSA (Health Savings Account) and contribute to it each year. When you contribute to an HSA you get the privilege of deducting the amount of your contributions from your income and you bypass the 10% threshold. You can do this even if you don't choose to itemize your deductions! ​ And as an added bonus (do we sound like an infomercial?) - the money you put into your HSA, as well as the earnings of the account, can be taken out tax free as long as they are used for qualified medical expenses. While you cannot pay your health insurance premiums with funds from an HSA, you can pay most other medical expenses. Additionally, once you turn 65 you can use the HSA to pay your Medicare or other healthcare premiums. Requirements for an HSA In order to qualify for an HSA you must have a high-deductible health plan - defined as a healthcare plan with: 1 An annual deductible of at least $1,350 for individual coverage or at least $2,700 for family coverage. 2 Maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses of $6,750 for individual coverage and $13,500 for family coverage. Once you have your HSA set up you can contribute up to $3,500 per year for individual coverage and $7,000 for family coverage. If you are over the age of 55 you can contribute an additional $1,000 annually. Save as PDF Read More Articles Share Failing to order your affairs to minimize your tax burden could cost you significant money - so don't wait to take action. If you have additional questions or need some planning help, please reach out to us. Avoiding the 10% Threshold for Medical Expenses How do you setup an HSA? If your employer offers a high-deductible health plan, they should also give you the ability to contribute to an HSA. You can also open an account on your own through a qualified HSA provider, such as a bank or insurance company (go to for a list of qualified HSA providers). What happens if you don't plan ahead? So what is the solution? Key Takeaways If you don't plan ahead and contribute to a Health Savings Account then you will find that most, if not all, of your medical expenses will be ineligible for a deduction due to the 10% threshold that must be met before deducting medical expenses. By setting up and contributing to a Health Savings Account you can deduct your full contribution to the account and have the flexibility to pay your medical bills with tax-free withdrawals from the account.

  • Year-End Tax Planning

    With only a few weeks left in 2019, now is a great time to review your personal situation and consider any year-end adjustments to minimize your short and long-term tax liability. We have identified six year-end planning strategies you can use to minimize your tax burden. ​ Maximize Your Retirement Account Contributions If you have a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 retirement account you can contribute up to $19,000 ($25,000 if you are over the age of 50) for 2019. Contributions to any of these plans must be made before January 1st to apply to 2019. You can also contribute up to $6000 ($7000 if you are over the age of 50) to a traditional or Roth IRA for 2019 depending on your income. Contributions to traditional or Roth IRAs can be made up until April 15th of next year and still be applied to your 2019 contributions. ​ If you qualify for a Health Savings Account you should max out your contributions to the HSA before making further contributions to your other retirement accounts. This is because HSAs allow for a tax deduction for your contributions, tax-free growth of the assets in your account, and tax-free distributions when used for medical expenses. With significant medical expenses almost guaranteed later in life, an HSA combines the best of both traditional and Roth retirement accounts. For more on HSAs read “Six Myths About Health Savings Accounts ” ​ Take Advantage of Tax-Free Capital Gains If your taxable income is below $39,375 ($78,750 if you file a joint return) then your long-term capital gains tax rate is 0%. If your taxable income is below these thresholds and you own stocks or other investments that have appreciated in value you can take advantage of this 0% tax rate to sell your investment without paying any federal income taxes. If the sale of your investment pushes your taxable income above the thresholds for the 0% bracket you will pay 15% on the amounts above the threshold but will not pay taxes on the amount up to the threshold. While capital gains below these income thresholds are tax-free, the proceeds from the sales will still increase your taxable income for the calculation of certain tax credits such as the premium tax credit for health insurance. If you are currently receiving the premium tax credit, selling your investments could reduce the amount of the credit that you qualify for. ​ Set Up a Donor Advised Fund The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction while also limiting or removing various itemized deductions. As a result of these changes a much greater percentage of taxpayers will be taking the standard deduction between now and 2025 when the tax cuts expire. This also means that meaningful charitable donations may have little impact on your tax return. This is because a much larger portion of your charitable deduction is being used to reach the standard deduction threshold before you can realize any tax savings. One way you can work around this new limitation is to set up a donor advised fund. With a donor advised fund you can make a large contribution to the fund in one year and then make donations out of the fund to your charities of choice over the course of several years. With a donor advised fund you get a tax deduction in the year you contribute to the fund, regardless of when the fund distributes money to a charity. For example, if you typically give $5,000 each year to your church you can instead contribute $15,000 now to a donor advised fund and then pay $5,000 out of the fund each year for the next 3 years and then refill the fund at the end of the 3rd year. By bunching your contributions into every 3rd year you can prevent the bulk of your charitable donations from being absorbed by the standard deduction threshold. ​ Consider a Roth Conversion Contributing to a traditional IRA or 401(k) provides tax savings today by pushing the tax liability into your retirement years. This strategy can make sense when you are likely to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement. But with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we are currently in one of the lowest tax environments our country has seen in decades. With that in mind there is no guarantee that you will be in a lower tax bracket at retirement. And with our national debt growing at an accelerating pace you could be in a higher tax bracket when you retire even if your income is lower than it is today. ​ With higher tax rates likely in the future, you may want to consider converting some of your 401(k) or traditional IRA funds into a Roth IRA, paying taxes now in today's low tax environment in order to realize tax-free distributions later in retirement. You can convert your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA even if you are above the income limit to make a normal contribution to a Roth IRA. You will also not be subject to the 10% early withdrawal penalty you would otherwise face when taking early distributions from a traditional IRA. ​ Take out Your Required Minimum Distributions Once you turn 70 ½ you are required to take a minimum amount out of your traditional IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account each year based on your age and the balance of the account. Roth IRAs are the sole exception to RMDs. The IRS provides a worksheet to calculate the amount of your Required Minimum Distributions . Failure to take out the RMDs will result in a 50% tax on the amount that was not taken out. In the year that you turn 70 ½ the deadline to take your RMDs is April 1 of the following year. Each year after that the deadline is December 31 of that year. If you are over the age of 70 ½ you should take the time to review your RMDs and make sure you have taken enough out to avoid these substantial penalties. ​ Use Your RMDs to Make Your Charitable Donations Once you turn 70 ½ you can begin making charitable donations directly out of your traditional IRA. When you make a charitable donation directly from your IRA you will not pay any income taxes on the distribution. This will allow you to fully deduct your charitable donations even if you do not itemize your deductions. You can also use qualified charitable donations to satisfy your required minimum distributions. ​ Summary December is a great time to review your financial situation and determine if there are any year-end adjustments you should make, as there should be very few income surprises between now and year-end. Taking the time to review your situation and applying some of the strategies we just shared could help you significantly reduce your short and long-term tax liabilities. YEAR-END TAX PLANNING STRATEGIES Read more articles Failing to order your affairs to minimize your tax burden could cost you significant money - so don't wait to take action. If you have additional questions or need some planning help, please reach out to us.

  • Tax Preparation For Firefighters, Police Officers, & Teachers

    Learn More Getting started with Monotelo Advisors As a public servant, we know that there are unique deductions available to you that most accountants and tax software fail to capture. ​ That is why we start all of our public servant clients with a no-cost, no-obligation review of their last three tax returns. We have found that we can typically recover $800-$1,500 per year. ​ To get started with your tax review you can upload your 2015, 2016, and 2017 tax returns using the link below. ​ Upload Your 2015-2017 Tax Returns

  • JSZ w/ video | Monotelo Advisors

    One step away to save on your taxes. Schedule a quick 10-minute, no-obligation consultation. INTRODUCTION Realtor Sam, while a real person, is not the actual name of this real estate agent. We have changed the name to protect the innocent! The Realtor Sam case is a case we examined in 2015, which had similarities to cases that had come across our desk in the past. Realtor Sam had been in the real estate business for nearly twenty years. He was not only selling real estate, he also owned several residential properties that were generating significant cash flow and taxable income. Realtor Sam had incorporated his commission-based business as a C-Corp ten years prior to our interaction with him. Apart from a bad year in 2013, his gross commissions were generally around ninety-five thousand dollars per year and his commission-based business was generating around forty-thousand per year in free cash flow after all his expenses were paid. What made Realtor Sam’s case unique was the fact that his investment properties were generating significantly more income than his commission-based business. THE CHALLENGE By incorporating his commission-based business, Realtor Sam had taken the first step towards a tax-efficient business structure. However, there were additional steps he should have taken when he first set up his business ten years earlier. Because of the way Realtor Sam had structured his compensation from his C-Corporation for his commission-based income, he was regularly generating losses on his corporate tax returns. Worse, because he was set up as a C-Corporation, those losses could not be used to offset the income he was generating from his rental properties. These issues were causing Realtor Sam to significantly overpay on his tax returns every year. THE SOLUTION Fortunately, we were able to put a plan together for Realtor Sam to help get him back on track. Our first goal was to take advantage of the accumulated losses on his corporate tax return. To accomplish this, we made some adjustments to how he was compensating himself through the business. Our second goal was to help him efficiently pull profits out of his business by taking advantage of some provisions in the Internal Revenue Code that were available to him as an officer of a corporation. These changes reduced his tax bill in the first year by $9,000 and by $5,500 in each of the subsequent years. These results were beyond what we had expected, and beyond what we generally see for someone with Realtor Sam’s taxable income, but they do demonstrate what can happen when we apply a deep understanding of the tax code as it relates to real-estate centered businesses. At Monotelo our focus is more than tax preparation, it is to make a difference with actionable and meaningful financial solutions that positively impact our clients’ lives. Save as PDF

  • What Expenses are Deductible in 2019?

    The tax deductions that are available to the average taxpayer have shifted over the years. What was available a few years ago may not be available today and what is available today may shift in the coming years. ​ For taxpayers who itemize deductions, you can deduct the medical expenses you paid for yourself, your spouse or your dependents to the extent that they exceed 7.5% of your 2019 adjusted gross income (AGI). WHAT EXPENSES ARE DEDUCTIBLE IN 2019? For example – if you and your spouse’s combined income was $110,000 last year and you contributed $10,000 to your IRA, your AGI would be $100,000. You could deduct any medical expenses that exceed $7,500. But you could only deduct those medical expenses if you are itemizing (not taking the standard deduction). * Note- the threshold jumps from 7.5% to 10% in 2020. One of the changes under the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is that you can no longer deduct miscellaneous employee business expenses. This change has a more-significant impact on union members, public servants and sales professionals who are not fully reimbursed for their travel, cell phone or entertainment expenses. ​ For small business owners and independent contractors, your business expenses must be ordinary and necessary to be deductible. This means they must be common and accepted in your industry and they must be helpful and appropriate for your specific trade or business. ​ Here is a more in-depth summary of what you can and cannot deduct on your 2019 tax return: ​ Medical Expenses Deductible Preventative Care, Treatment, Surgeries, Dental and Vision Care: You can also deduct visits to psychiatrists, psychologists, prescription medication, glasses, contacts and hearing aids. Alcoholism Treatment: Amounts paid for inpatient treatment to a therapeutic alcohol addiction center are deductible. This includes meals and lodging provided by the center during treatment. Fertility Enhancement: The cost of the following infertility treatment procedures are deductible: In vitro fertilization, including temporary storage of eggs or sperm. Surgery, including an operation to reverse prior surgery that prevented you from having children. Guide Dog and Service Animals: The cost to purchase, train and maintain a guide dog or service animal to help a visually impaired, hearing disabled or physically disabled person are deductible. These expenses include food, grooming and veterinary care. Stop Smoking Programs are deductible, but the cost of non-prescription drugs is not deductible. ​ Not Deductible Any Reimbursed Medical Expenses that were paid by your employer or insurance company are not deductible. Weight Loss Programs that focus on general health are not deductible. However, if the weight loss treatment is for a specific disease diagnosed by a doctor (obesity, heart disease, etc), the expense is deductible. Nonprescription Drugs and Medicine (except for insulin) are not deductible: Only prescription drugs are deductible. Health Club Dues: Any expenses paid to improve your general health that are not related to a medical condition are not deductible. Cosmetic Surgery: Any surgery that does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body, prevent or treat an illness or disease is not deductible. You can, however, deduct cosmetic surgery if it is necessary to improve a deformity arising from a congenital abnormality, personal injury or disfiguring disease. Miscellaneous Deductions Deductible Gambling Losses to the Extent of Gambling Winnings: Gambling losses can include wagers, or other expenses incurred in connection with the gambling activity; but they are limited to the extent of the gambling winnings. In other words – you cannot take a net gambling loss, but you can use your losses to wipe out any gambling winnings. Casualty Losses: ”Generally, you may deduct casualty and theft losses relating to your home, household items, and vehicles on your federal income tax return if the loss is caused by a federally declared disaster declared by the President.” IRS Website Theft Losses – The amount of your theft loss is generally the adjusted basis of your property because the fair market value of your property immediately after the theft is considered to be zero. Losses from Ponzi-Type Investment Schemes: Deductible as theft losses from income-producing property. Home Office: You can take a home office deduction if you are self-employed and you use part of your home regularly and exclusively for business purposes. Club Dues: Club dues (as we state below) are not deductible. The following organizations, however, are not treated as clubs organized for business, pleasure, recreation or social purpose (unless one of the main purposes is for entertainment): Boards of trade Business leagues Chambers of commerce Civic or public service organizations Professional organizations Real estate boards Trade associations Not Deductible Unreimbursed Employee Expenses are no longer Deductible under the new tax code , unless you are a performing artist or serve in the Armed Forces as a reservist. Commuting Expenses: The cost of traveling from your home to your work is not deductible. There is an exception is for qualified performing artists and Armed Forces reservists. They can deduct the cost of hauling tools or instruments to and from work. Fines and Penalties: Any amounts paid to settle a liability for a fine, a civil or criminal penalty or a parking tickets are not deductible. Club Dues: Membership in any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation or social purpose is not deductible – this includes athletic, luncheon, sporting, airline, hotel and country clubs. Campaign Expenses: This applies to a candidate for any office and includes qualification and registration fees and legal fees. Lobbying Expenses and Political Contributions: According to the IRS: “You can’t deduct contributions made to a political candidate, a campaign committee, or a newsletter fund. Advertisements in convention bulletins and admissions to dinners or programs that benefit a political party or political candidate aren’t deductible.” Political Action Committees (PACs) are included in this list as well. Read more articles Failing to order your affairs to minimize your tax burden could cost you significant money - so don't wait to take action. If you have additional questions or need some planning help, please reach out to us.

  • RETIREMENT ARTICLES | Monotelo Advisors

    How to Save for Your Child Education Year-end Review of Your Retirement Accounts Will VS Trust: Which is Right for You Beware of Hedge Fund Managers Bearing Gifts The Fallacy of the Formula Five Things That Every IRA Owner Should Know Roth vs Traditional IRA: Which One Is Right For You Six Myths About Health Savings Account RETIREMENT ARTICLES Avoid the Hidden Traps of Retirement Plan Loans 5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Improve Your Retirement Years Financial Planning & Long-Term Tax Reduction in Light of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Profiting From the Failure of Active Managers Overcoming Our Cognitive Biases Our Planning Process We are always researching for tax tips and strategies that our clients can implement to lower their tax liability and improve their financial position. See below for a few simple tips that can be applied to your individual situation. Avoiding the 10% Threshold for Medical Expenses

  • 2020 Strategies for a Lifetime of Tax Savings

    No events at the moment 2020 Strategies for a Lifetime of Tax Savings Join us as we share a clear durable plan of action that cohesively addresses each area of your financial life to: ​ Maximize the productivity of your assets and improve your retirement income stream Minimize the drag from your long-term tax liabilities Potential for over $350,000 in lifetime savings on a $500K retirement portfolio​ Potential for over $2M in lifetimes savings on a $5M retirement portfolio Minimize the risk of rising tax rates in retirement​ Address the risk of low interest rates and stock market corrections in retirement Synchronize your values with your charitable giving desires and your legacy goals Provide a quiet confidence that your financial affairs are arranged to meet your long-term goals Help you live the life you want to life

  • Privacy Policy | Monotelo Advisors

    PRIVACY POLICY ​ This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Monotelo Advisors collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of the website (“Site”). This privacy policy applies to the Site and all services offered by Monotelo Advisors. ​ PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION ​ We may collect personal identification information from Users in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, when Users visit our site, register on the site, subscribe to the newsletter and in connection with other activities, services, features or resources we make available on our Site. Users may be asked for, as appropriate, name, email address, mailing address, phone number, etc. ​ Users may, however, visit our Site anonymously. ​ We will collect personal identification information from Users only if they voluntarily submit such information to us. Users can always refuse to supply personal identification information, except that it may prevent them from engaging in certain Site related activities. ​ NON-PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION INFORMATION ​ We may collect non-personal identification information about Users whenever they interact with our Site. Non-personal identification information may include the browser name, the type of computer and technical information about Users means of connection to our Site, such as the operating system and the Internet service provider’s utilized and other similar information. ​ WEB BROWSER COOKIES ​ Our Site may use “cookies” to enhance User experience. User’s web browser places cookies on their hard drive for record-keeping purposes and sometimes to track information about them. User may choose to set their web browser to refuse cookies, or to alert you when cookies are being sent. If they do so, note that some parts of the Site may not function properly. ​ HOW WE USE COLLECTED INFORMATION ​ Monotelo Advisors collects and uses Users personal information for the following purposes: To improve customer service. Your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs. To improve our Site. We continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you. To administer a content, promotion, survey or other Site feature. To send Users information they agreed to receive about topics we think will be of interest to them. To send periodic emails ​ The email address Users provide may be used to respond to their inquiries, and/or other requests or questions. If User decides to opt-in to our mailing list, they will receive emails that may include company news, updates, related service information, etc. If at any time the User would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email or User may contact us via our Site. ​ HOW WE PROTECT YOUR INFORMATION ​ We adopt appropriate data collection, storage and processing practices and security measures to protect against unauthorized access, alteration, disclosure or destruction of your personal information, username, password, transaction information and data stored on our Site. Sensitive and private data exchange between the Site and its Users happens over a SSL secured communication channel and is encrypted and protected with digital signatures. ​ SHARING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION ​ We do not sell, trade, or rent Users personal identification information to others. We may share generic aggregated demographic information not linked to any personal identification information regarding visitors and users with our business partners, trusted affiliates and advertisers for the purposes outlined above. We may use third party service providers to help us operate our business and the Site or administer activities on our behalf, such as sending out newsletters or surveys. We may share your information with these third parties for those limited purposes provided that you have given us your permission. ​ CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY POLICY ​ Monotelo Advisors has the discretion to update this privacy policy at any time. When we do, the revised date will be added at the bottom of this page. We encourage Users to frequently check this page for any changes to stay informed about how we are helping to protect the personal information we collect. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this privacy policy periodically and become aware of modifications. ​ YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THESE TERMS ​ By using this Site, you signify your acceptance of this policy and terms of service. If you do not agree to this policy, please do not use our Site. Your continued use of the Site following the posting of changes to this policy will be deemed your acceptance of those changes. ​ CONTACTING US ​ If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, please contact us at: ​ Monotelo Advisors ​ ​

  • July-2017 | Monotelo Advisors

    JULY 2017 MONOTELO QUARTERLY AVOID THE HEADACHES and Penalties Associated with 1099 Reporting When a small business hires an employee, there are a number of expenses that are incurred in addition to the hourly wage. This could include the employer-provided benefits, office space, along with the technology and other tools required to do the job. The employer will also have to make required payments and contributions on behalf of employees, including: The employer's share of the employee's Social Security and Medicare taxes, which totals 7.65% of the employee's compensation State unemployment compensation Workers' compensation insurance Depending upon the industry, the additional contributions could increase your payroll costs by 20% to 30% - or more. You can avoid these expenses by hiring an independent contractor to do the same work​. The additional contributions could increase your payroll costs by 20% to 30% - or more. However, there are certain requirements that must be followed in order to avoid the headaches and penalties associated with 1099 reporting. ​ WHAT AND WHEN DO I HAVE TO FILE? Businesses are required to report all income to the IRS for its employees and any independent contractors. For employees, a W-2 is required to be filed. Independent contractors on the other hand, get a little more complex. To make matters worse, congress recently passed the Path Act, and moved up the filing deadline for W-2's and certain 1099's. The required date to provide W-2's and 1099's to employees and independent contractors is January 31. The deadline for submitting these forms to the government is also January 31. THREE STRATEGIES TO AVOID 1099 HEADACHES The easiest way to avoid the penalties, and filing headaches caused by issuing 1099's to independent contractors is to structure your business activities to minimize the number you must issue, and prepare them in advance, if you do have to issue them. ​ STRATEGY #1: Choose contractors that operate as corporations. Your business is not required to issue 1099's for payments made to corporations, S corporations, or LLC's that elect corporate status for tax purposes (unless the corporation collects attorney fees or payments for health and medical services). ​ STRATEGY #2: Make payments to independent contractors with a credit card, or a third-party payment network like PayPal. Shift the burden of reporting this income to the credit card company or the third-party network. They are required to report the payments on Form 1099-K. ​ STRATEGY #3: Require the independent contractor to provide you with a W-9 upfront before making any payments to them. Here are the benefits: You will know if a 1099 filing is required, because their business type is disclosed on the W-9. You will know whether an LLC is classified as a corporation for federal tax purposes, and excluded from 1099 reporting. By getting the W-9 upfront, it eliminates the need to chase the contractor down for the required information if you need to file a 1099. Once the contractor is paid, your leverage for getting the information is gone. If an independent contractor refuses to provide you with a taxpayer identification number (TIN), and you pay the contractor more than $600 during the calendar year, then you are required to withhold federal income tax on payments made to that contractor. If you do not withhold, your business owes the tax, and it is on you to prove the contractor paid the tax.​ January 2017 Save as PDF October 2017

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