Blog Archive

Meetings by Appointment

Posted Friday, March 10, 2017
I have arranged to meet with my clients at : The Aloha Center
1626 W Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618
Meetings are by prior appointment only, as the majority of my work is done in Skokie.
Just call to make an appointment. Looking forward to seeing you.

When Can I Deduct Expenses for Getting Around for Work?

Posted Friday, March 10, 2017
IRS defines different 'styles' of getting around:

• There is commuting - going from home to work and back - which is generally NOT deductible however it is accomplished, by car, train, bus etc. It all depends on how you view your getting about and if you read on you can learn why. In Chicago, if you use the CTA [train or bus], or even a taxi to get to and from work, those fares, or a part of your monthly pass may qualify as either personal commuting or business expenses. It is up to you to document the deductible business purpose.

• Then there Business transportation costs -- generally going form home to work and back is not deductible, but exceptions may apply such as if you have a Home Office you may qualify as actually going from Work1 - home office to Work2 the job and that is deductible. If you are a W2 employee, it is deductible as a Miscellaneous Employee expense on Schedule A, [or Form 2106, which feeds into the Schedule A] but if you are paid at one job or the other on a 1099 which would probably generate a need for a Schedule C [self-employed business] it would go there on the Schedule C for related transportation. If you are not already using the Schedule A for Itemized Deductions, it may not work as well for you, but is worth a few calculations.

• Business transportation would also apply if say you go from place to place to conduct your business. Such as running a series of errands to pick up things for the office. Or going form lace to make estimates if you are a contractor and you develop the bids for clients.

• If you are using your own car you should be tracking your mileage - both total and the business use. If you use the standard mileage rates - 54 cents per mile for 2016. [for 2017 the rate is 53.5 cents per business mile.] and there you are done. BUT if you wish to use the Actual Rate - which can be quite beneficial in some cases you also need to track the actual cost of buying and operating the vehicle - purchase price, if new, or Fair Market Value, if not, when placed in service, and all the operating costs such as Fuel, regular maintenance, License, tags, permits, Insurance, and even the interest on the loan used to buy the vehicle.

• And of course there is commonly Personal Use - that mileage you have used the vehicle for strictly personal purposes. If the current gas prices weren't enough reason to combine errands into one trip, now you can figure out how to combine business errands with personal to at least benefit from a part of the mileage (business) as a tax deduction. A good strategic plan will help you sort through this.

While not complete, this does sum up the major points. I will not discuss sponsored car-pooling as that is a bit too specialized for this discussion.

Looking at Some Unfinished Returns?

Posted Friday, March 10, 2017
If you are due a refund on an old, unfiled return, you may want to get it in gear!
You can claim that refund on old returns for up to three (3) years after the original return date. That means the unfiled 2013 return [due April 15, 2010] can still be filed before April 15th 2017 and get the refund. Be sure to mail it in Certified, Return receipt to be able to prove receipt.

Any refund claimed after the three year period is forfeited. The funds ‘on deposit’ pay your tax for that year, but any excess is lost forever. This is also true for Amended Returns.

Good luck and good night.

Can't Quite Get It All Done?

Posted Friday, March 10, 2017
Don’t worry - file an extension and be happy!

Of course I am talking about your income taxes! While the usual Federal Tax deadline* is April 15th [but on April 18th in 2017], if you have not completed your tax returns there is the lovely convention of the Tax Extension.

Generally, you can file an extension and get up to 6 months to complete your returns, but DO make payment on any tax you expect to owe, as the extension does not extend the time to Pay.

Use reasonable estimates for those things you don’t have a handle on, and use actual numbers where you have them. This gives you the best accuracy in a fuzzy situation. Note that IRS does not refund any overpayment until the actual return is completed.

* While most states use the same date as the Federal for tax deadlines, some use alternate dates – such as 1st day of 5th month [May 1st]. Get to know your own state.

Better way to get information.

Posted Thursday, September 3, 2015
I have begun working with a new contact manager, which will allow my clients and fans to access selected reports and other white papers that I feel can assist you save tax monies. Please do cut and paste the link below to provide me with information so I can provide this content to you. I will start with a health care mandate letter (ObamaCare).

New Meeting Space Coming in 2015

Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Most of my existing clients are already aware that I no longer occupy my long-time previous office in the Devon Bank building near the northern edge of Chicago. I "lost my lease" when Jim, my partner in that office, decided to retire.

As technology has changed, the value of maintaining a permanent fixed office location has decreased. Many of our clients already work with us exclusively via phone and email, with important documents exchanged securely via Dropbox; the larger ones often prefer that we meet at their offices. In the meantime, the IRS prefers to receive its tax returns electronically.

We are also exploring various options for securing meeting space as needed in multiple locations on a rotating basis. This should help to minimize travel time for our geographically-diverse client base, as well as expanding our reach for new clients we will be adding in 2015 and beyond. Your thoughts and suggestions are always appreciated.

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