Maximize Your Tax Return With Miscellaneous Deductions

Tax season is almost here and Certified Public Accountants continue to watch the news on “fiscal cliff” updates. Tax season could become more difficult for tax payers as the news on tax credits continues to be up in the air. In order to minimize any liability, folks need to pay attention to miscellaneous deductions. No matter how small or insignificant you may feel they are, the sum of all the “other” deductions may help a great deal on your final tax return.

The IRS provides standard deductions for every tax payer. Depending on your filing status and how many dependents can be claimed, the deduction is often a decent amount. All itemized deductions are reported on Form 1040 Schedule A. There are also some “miscellaneous deductions” which can also be claimed on this for. Meet with your local CPA to maximize your tax return.

Miscellaneous deductions are broken down into two groups.

*Those deductions which are subject to a “2% rule” – money amount which is equal to two percent of the adjusted gross income; which is the last line on the first page of the 1040 form.

*Those deductions which do not fit under the other rule.

There are specific deductions which can be subject to the 2% limit rule. Your Certified Public Accountant will fit the deductions in the proper categories.

*Medical and dental expenses have their own percentage limit, (7.5% for your adjusted income).

*If you were searching for a new job, work clothes or uniforms, tools, union dues, or work related travel and transportation, you can claim these unreimbursed expenses.

*Deduct your tax preparation expenses!

*Certain investment or legal fees

*Safety deposit rental fees which are not used for personal effects, i.e. jewelry.

*See your CPA for the full list of possible deductions.

Miscellaneous deductions which are not subject to the 2% limit affect less of the population of tax payers but are important nevertheless to those who can claim them should be deducted as well. An example of such deductions would be: impairment-related work expenses for those with disabilities or casualty and theft losses from property which produces income. The CPA will make sure that any and all deductions which pertain to your personal situation will be utilized when preparing your tax return. Using deductions properly will optimize your results. Any liability will be minimized and a tax refund will be maximized.

The earliest date the IRS will accept e-files is January 22, but it is never too early to start organizing your tax documents. There is no early request for tax returns. If you organize your deductions, the time spent on preparing your tax return will be less. If you have your documents saved and organized throughout the year, you will limit the amount of time scrambling for this or that receipt. Your CPA will request documentation for all deductions. Have them ready to go when your CPA is ready to prepare your return.


Is Buying Real Estate Today A Good Investment Opportunity?

Being that you are reading this you are wanting to find out if buying real estate is still a good investment opportunity.

Well, lets be honest…

Real estate will always be a good investment opportunity, its all in how you approach it and how strategic you get when times get hard in the economy.

First, a little word of advice…

Just because advertisements, newspapers or media people say the economy is terrible and you shouldn’t buy real estate because we are in a recession, doesn’t mean you should listen to them.

Those newspapers and media sell bad news because it gets readers and viewers, the more they have the more they can charge for advertisements.

Besides most of the experts you see make less than you do at your job, so why listen to them?

Here are a couple solid idea’s to get your mind going on why buying real estate is still a good investment opportunity.

First, as more and more people lose and move out of their main homes, this is in large part because they can no longer afford that big mortgage because of a hardship of some sort…

Laid off, downsized or just plain can’t find work.

This is where the opportunity lies…

People will always need a place to live and if you can provide one they will pay you forever!

At a alarming rate rentals have gone up.

Families are realizing that they need a home and usually a apartment is not the best option for them so they find normal homes that fit their budget and loyally pay their monthly dues.

Imagine not having to worry about how the economy is doing, or if a company makes a mistake or gets boughtout and your investments tank.

This is the power of having rentals.

That as long as they are occupied, you will have a check every month!

Another great way to buy real estate and create a investment opportunity is by flipping homes strategically…

Flipping homes was very popular between 2000 and 2005, and that’s largely in part because it was easy to do it.

Homes were appreciating every 30 days and anybody could make money as long as they were willing to go through the motions and invest a little…

This is no longer the case, its takes a strategic plan today. But the chances for making more money exist.

If you are going to peruse this route I would contact and interview a handful of very successful realtors. And once you find one who is good at finding distressed properties, negotiating and selling, get them on board and use them as a long term asset.

Buying real estate for investment opportunities is not complicated but it does require risk and being able to adjust to the ever changing environment.

In doing so you can to build yourself a fortune over time and laugh at all the media that told you not to go into real estate investing.


5 Tips to Save You Time on Your Marketing

“I don’t have time to do Marketing.”

A common statement when I speak to a business. Firstly, if you have started a business, you are already marketing. Secondly, your business got to this point by marketing – what do you think will happen if you stop? Remember, marketing (telling people about your business) is how you get sales leads. Marketing warms them up and you convert.

Tips to save time on your marketing. Inspect your marketing and you will keep your clients.


Yes, this seems like a silly point if you don’t have time but you need to make time to create time. If you have a plan, you know what’s happening and when which means you save time on procrastinating and the stress of what to do next. A Marketing Plan means you have schedule of all of your marketing.


Use a diary to allocate some time, just by it being in your diary will make you more aware of it.


Just like with your current workload, I’m sure you assign deadlines to yourself and allow yourself time to do the work. Assign deadlines to your own marketing. When I need to do a blog, I set a deadline for the copy, three weeks before I need to publish it to the website. If it gets done earlier, it gets loaded on to my website and scheduled for my publish date. If I have to move it on a few days/ week, I still have time and I am aware of it.


This means a cost to your business but it means it gets done and very little impact on your own time. Also, in the grand scheme of things, it means you can fill your diary with sales meetings and carrying out the tasks you are selling rather than marketing it.

Employ someone

This generally costs even more than outsourcing but you can perhaps get someone part-time who can do you marketing and other activities to save your time. Quick rule of thumb, if you are looking to employ someone, take their wage and add 32%. This is the actual cost to your business so work out if you can bring in enough business to cover that. Also, don’t forget, you’ll have to devote some time to training…

The definition of Insanity:

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.


Private Student Loans – Should I Seek One?

Private student loans should be the last stop in trying to get the money to cover your college bills because they will cost you far more in the end than most other forms of financing.

Unfortunately for college students, financial aid packages from many schools do not cover the entire cost of education. Based on your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), schools will determine if you are eligible for Federal grants and loans (Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Pell Grants, Federal Work Study, etc.) and these will be added to your package first.

Eligibility for grants and scholarships from some states will also be determined by the FAFSA. You have the choice to accept or reject any of the grants and loans in your package, though acceptance is usually called for, since the interest rates on these government loans is usually much cheaper than any private student loans you will find.

Once you have added up all the scholarships, grants and loans, you may find that you still need an additional sum to get through the year. At this point a private student loan may be your only option. Also known as alternative student loans, they are available from many private companies.

One major difference between the private and the government loans are that the private loans depend on your credit rating. The better your rating, the lower the interest rate you can expect to receive. The better your rating, the lower the loan fee you can expect to pay to get the loan. If you have a poor credit score or none at all, then you may still be able to secure a good rate by having a creditworthy cosigner.

You will need to be certain of the terms of your loan, since there are many different terms available depending on the lender. Repayment may start immediately, or be deferred until graduation. Even if deferment is allowed, interest begins accumulating immediately, so the balance will be increasing until you graduate and start making payments. Some lenders will allow you to pay interest only while you are still in school, which will help to keep the payments down later.

If you do have a cosigner, they need to be aware of the possible consequences of their involvement. If you are unable to make your payments, they may be required to make the payments themselves, since they have taken on the responsibility by cosigning. It could also affect their ability to get a loan while the private student loan is still active. The reason is that their debt to income ratio will be higher, since your loan shows also on their credit report.

In conclusion, if there are other alternatives available, private student loans are not the way to go. If not, then a good credit rating or a cosigner will at least help you to get the best possible rates and terms. Contact several lenders and compare the interest rates, as well as the other payment conditions.