November and December have kept me busy as always. Here’s a look at a few things I’ve written for clients lately.
Do you usually itemize deductions on your tax return? Tax reform made some pretty big changes to itemized deductions and nearly doubled the standard deduction available in 2018. Check out this piece I wrote for Credit Karma – you just might find that itemizing isn’t your best bet anymore.
Your accountant wants you to make the switch to cloud accounting, but how much time will it reallysave? I put it to the test by timing how long it takes to do certain tasks like invoice clients, record expenses and follow up on past-due invoices the old way versus with cloud accounting. Even in my little one-person operation, the results were pretty dramatic. How much time could you save?
Is your company struggling to attract and retain top talent? Unemployment is at an all-time low and it’s a candidate’s job market. If you’re trying to fill a vacant position, don’t expect a stack of resumes from qualified candidates willing to compromise on their compensation requirements. You’ll have to be extra persuasive to win them over. I wrote this piece for Parker + Lynch on how to win the hiring game in a tight labor market.
Many people dream of building their own home someday, but few people can afford to pay cash for that kind of project. That’s why construction loans come in handy. But getting a construction loan is quite different from getting approved for a traditional mortgage. In this piece for LendingTree, I cover the types of construction loans available and what you’ll need to know to get approved.
It’s been a busy few months around here. My family moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Omaha, Nebraska to be closer to my family and experience seasons once again. We bought a very neglected 60-year old house in an awesome neighborhood. It’s already proving to be a money pit, but we’re excited to fix it up and make it our forever home.
We started thinking about moving to Omaha nearly two years ago when we visited my family during Halloween. The autumn weather, real pumpkin patches (as opposed to dozens of trucked-in pumpkins tossed on the desert floor with a few hay bales thrown in for aesthetics), and trick-or-treating in the neighborhood my dad grew up in made us long for a place that felt more like home.
Although we loved our little home in Phoenix, we were never fans of Arizona. Brian grew up in the mining town of Elko, Nevada and I grew up in Las Vegas. We met in Reno before moving to Phoenix for four years. Despite all of this, both of us feel “at home” here. For me, it’s because my dad grew up here – lives in the house he grew up in, in fact. I visited my grandparents here often. My parents, two of my brothers, my sister, and nephew are all here, within a five-minute drive. Brian enjoys the cooler weather, trees, and short commute.
So when Brian saw that an ad agency here in Omaha was looking for a new Art Director, he applied and landed the job.
Brian’s relocation for a new job means we’ll get to take advantage of the tax deduction for moving expenses. My freelance writing business moves with me. It got me thinking about whether digital nomads can benefit from the tax breaks for moving, so I wrote about it for Forbes last month.
Give it a read and let me know: What’s the last big move you made and why?
Last year, I wrote a blog for Henry + Horne about how slow the IRS has been to adapt to the on-demand economy. In it, I quoted a report from the Kogod Tax Policy Center that found:
1/3 of on-demand workers did not know whether they were required to file quarterly estimated tax payments
36% were not familiar with the kinds of records they would need to maintain to substantiate income and expenses for their work
43% had no idea how much they would owe in tax for their on-demand work and had not set aside money for taxes
1/2 were unfamiliar with deductions and credits that could be used to offset their self-employment income
Last year, I worked with a young lady that drove for one of the ride-sharing companies and got into a bit of tax trouble. It seems she never received a 1099 from the company and wasn’t aware that the money she made was taxable income, so she didn’t do a good job of tracking expenses. A couple years later, she received a notice from the IRS telling her she owed thousands of dollars in back taxes, interest, and penalties.
Fortunately, we were able to help her recreate her records enough to have some documented expenses to offset that income and get her tax bill lowered. But the situation just reinforced how little information many of these workers receive about the tax implications of the gig economy.
So I was excited to write this piece for Credit Karma Tax, providing step-by-step instructions for on-demand workers to file their tax return – for free! – using Credit Karma Tax.
All you need to do is sign up for a free Credit Karma account and follow the instructions to report business income from any 1099-MISCs and 1099-Ks you receive from any ride-share companies and any income you earned from ride-sharing work that wasn’t reported on a 1099.
If you know anyone working in the gig economy, feel free to pass this along!