Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Make the most of LinkedIn

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by

Connect with Eric L. Bach & Associates on LinkedInAre you LinkedIn? If not, try expanding your horizons outside that of Facebook.  Indeed, LinkedIn has more than 100 million members, including executives from every Fortune 500 company.  LinkedIn’s research team recently mined that information to determine the most common names for CEOs.  Verdict?  Peter, for a man, and Deborah, for a women.  But no matter what your name, LinkedIn can take your networking to the next level with just a little effort.  Here are the most common ways people aren’t making the most of their presence on the site (and how experts say you can fix that):

Having A Vague Headline
Say your current title is marketing manager.  Many people naturally leave that as their headline, which is a huge error because it says nothing about what you actually do, says career coach Kimberly Schneiderman.  Instead: “Use a headline statement that really describes your expertise and talent, like ‘Executive-level Product Strategist’ or ‘Hospitality Executive — Expertise in Franchise, Operations, & Change Management,'” suggests Schneiderman.  Then further develop it: “Create a summary about your career that fully describes your passion for your work, your impact in your company or companies, and your professional focus.  People in an open job search can map out the kinds of opportunities they are pursuing next.  Make it about 3 paragraphs and write in 1st-person using ‘I’ statements,” says Schneiderman.

Maintaining A Passive Profile
Filling out an attractive profile is just the beginning. “Most people create a LinkedIn profile, but then don’t take advantage of potential connections that might be available through their existing network,” says career consultant Shawn Graham, author of Courting Your Career.  His suggestions: regularly identify and reach out to potential contacts, use status updates to congratulate those contacts on their successes, and consistently review the “People You May Know” section to identify additional connections.


Not Trying New Tools
Branding expert Dan Schawbel says that a major mistake is not taking advantage of the many tools Linkedin has to offer.  His tips include connecting with someone you have no connection with by joining a LinkedIn Group they’re active in, using a 1st degree contact to gain access to 2nd and 3rd degree ones, and using apps like SlideShare to connect with even more people.  And don’t forget to take your toolbox on the go: “The LinkedIn mobile application allows you to transfer contact details electronically,” says Schawbel.  A new one has just been released for the Droid.

Networking Only When You Need Something
Schawbel also reminds people that networking on LinkedIn is no different than networking in real life.  You still want to give more than you receive, particularly when asking for a recommendation: “The best way to get recommendations on LinkedIn is to give one first,” says Schawbel.

Home tax deductions you don’t want to miss

Posted on: January 13th, 2015 by

Financial Planning - Rockville, MDOwning a home can pay off at tax time.  Take advantage of these home-ownership-related tax deductions and strategies to help lower your tax bill:

Mortgage Interest Deduction

One of the best deductions itemizing homeowners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you claim on Schedule A.  To get the mortgage interest deduction, your mortgage must be secured by your home — and your home can be a house, trailer, or boat, as long as you can sleep in it, cook in it, and it has a toilet.  Interest you pay on a mortgage of up to $1 million — or $500,000 if you’re married filing separately — is deductible when you use the loan to buy, build, or improve your home.

If you take on another mortgage (including a second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity line of credit) to improve your home or to buy or build a second home, that counts towards the $1 million limit.

If you use loans secured by your home for other things, like sending your kid(s) to college, you can still deduct the interest on loans up $100,000 ($50,000 for married filing separately) because your home secures the loan.

PMI and FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums

You can deduct the cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI) as mortgage interest on Schedule A if you itemize your return. The change only applies to loans taken out in 2007 or later.  By the way, the 2014 tax season is the last for which you can claim this deduction unless Congress renews it for 2015, which may happen, but is uncertain.

What’s PMI? If you have a mortgage but didn’t put down a fairly good-sized downpayment (usually 20%), the lender requires the mortgage be insured. The premium on that insurance can be deducted, so long as your income is less than $100,000 (or $50,000 for married filing separately).  If your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, your deduction is reduced by 10% for each $1,000 ($500 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return) that your adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000 ($50,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return).  So, if you make $110,000 or more, you can’t claim the deduction (10% x 10 = 100%).

Besides private mortgage insurance, there’s government insurance from FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service.  Some of those premiums are paid at closing, and deducting them is complicated. A tax adviser or tax software program can help you calculate this deduction. Also, the rules vary between the agencies.

Prepaid Interest Deduction

Prepaid interest (or points) you paid when you took out your mortgage is generally 100% deductible in the year you paid it along with other mortgage interest.  If you refinance your mortgage and use that money for home improvements, any points you pay are also deductible in the same year.  But if you refinance to get a better rate or shorten the length of your mortgage, or to use the money for something other than home improvements, such as college tuition, you’ll need to deduct the points over the life of your mortgage.  Say you refi into a 10-year mortgage and pay $3,000 in points.  You can deduct $300 per year for 10 years.

Property Tax Deduction

You can deduct on Schedule A the real estate property taxes you pay.  If you have a mortgage with an escrow account, the amount of real estate property taxes you paid shows up on your annual escrow statement.  If you bought a house this year, check your HUD-1 settlement statement to see if you paid any property taxes when you closed the purchase of your house. Those taxes are deductible on Schedule A, too.

Energy-Efficiency Upgrades

If you made your home more energy efficient in 2014, you might qualify for the residential energy tax credit.  Tax credits are especially valuable because they let you offset what you owe the IRS dollar for dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades.  The credit carries a lifetime cap of $500 (less for some products), so if you’ve used it in years past, you’ll have to subtract prior tax credits from that $500 limit.  Lucky for you, there’s no cap on how much you’ll save on utility bills thanks to your energy-efficiency upgrades.

Among the upgrades that might qualify for the credit: Biomass Stove; Heating ventilation, and air conditioning; Insulation; Roofs (metal and asphalt); Water heaters; Windows, doors, and skylights.

To claim the credit, file IRS Form 5695 with your return.

Vacation Home Tax Deductions

The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.

  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.
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Tax Extenders Bill

Posted on: December 26th, 2014 by

CPA RockvilleOn December 19, 2014, President Obama signed into law The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (HR5771), which which temporarily extends over 50 expired incentives for individuals, businesses and energy through 2014.  The law also creates Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts set up for the benefit of persons with disabilities.  Extenders included in the legislation are the state and local sales tax deduction, IRA distributions to charity, and the above-the-line deduction for higher education.

Key provisions in the bill particularly impacting construction and real estate businesses include the extension of 50% bonus depreciation and qualified leasehold improvements for the 2014 tax year.  Under HR 5771, qualified leasehold improvement property will continue to be eligible for 50% bonus depreciation.  This property is defined in IRC 168(k)(3) as new improvements to an interior portion of a building that qualifies as nonresidential real property.  In addition, this treatment is available as long as the improvements are made by the lessor more than three years after the date the building was placed in service.

Notable exceptions to qualified leasehold improvement treatment include: elevators, escalators, structural components benefiting a common area, or the internal structural framework of the building.  For more information or to take advantage of the new legislation, please contact Eric L. Bach & Associates for a free consultation.

What you should buy in bulk

Posted on: June 21st, 2011 by

Buy in BulkExtreme couponing has brought buying in bulk to a whole new level.  Yes, these people are saving a lot of money, but at what cost?  Time, sanity?  For the average person, when it comes to buying in bulk, savings can be hit or miss.  Stocking up on the wrong things can lead to waste and spoilage.  However, if you pick up the right items and find the right coupons for these purchases, bulk buying can save you a small fortune.  Here are ten items you should buy in bulk whenever possible.

1. Toilet Paper

We all need toilet paper and it doesn’t go bad.  So why not buy it in bulk?  Buying in bulk can be up to 50 percent cheaper than just buying a few rolls at a time.  So find a place to store some extra (like under your bed or furniture with storage in it) and save yourself a few bucks.

2. Soap and Shampoo

Soap and shampoo are two more things everyone needs.  Buying these items in bulk saves a few cents an ounce on shampoo or per bar of soap.  While this may not seem like very much, over time it definitely adds up.

3. Alcohol

Would you rather pay $8 for a 6-pack or $14 for 20-pack?  Definitely go with the 20-pack so you can save some money and don’t have to hit up the beer store the next time you want a beer (and also save money on gas because you will be making fewer trips to the store).

4. Office Supplies

Next time you need office supplies such as pens, folders, or staples, be sure to buy them in bulk.  Doing this can save you up to 50 percent off the price you would have paid if you didn’t buy in bulk.

5. Toothbrushes/Toothpaste

If you practice good dental hygiene, you purchase toothbrushes and toothpaste every so often.  You could either buy two toothbrushes for $8 or six for $14. Similarly, you could buy a tube of toothpaste for $5 or get three for $10.

6. Vitamins

Spending money in the name of health is always a good idea.  You can save a few cents per pill by buying in bulk.  Again, this may not seem like very much, but over time the savings add up.

7. Non-Perishable

Food items when it comes to buying food items that will not perish quickly, such cereal, tuna, or soft drinks, opt to buy in bulk.  Doing so is 30 percent cheaper than just buying one box, can, or drink at a time.

8. Blank CDs and DVDs

Next time you want to burn a CD or make a DVD, buy in bulk.  Sure, you may end up with enough blank CDs or DVDs to last you the rest of your life, but you will save 25 percent off the price you would have paid had you not bought in bulk.

9. Detergent

Everyone does laundry, and there is no way to get around it.  By spending a little more to get a huge tub of detergent instead of a smaller one, you can save up to 17 cents a load.

Dealing with annoying co-workers

Posted on: June 7th, 2011 by

Eric L. Bach CPA - Rockville, MDUnless you’re ridiculously lucky or have extreme tolerance, you’ve probably had your share of annoying co-workers over the years.  Here are the six most common types and how to deal with them:

1. The interrupter: Whenever you’re talking with a coworker, this is the person who always finds a way to interject themselves.  They answers your questions to other people, they turn the conversation around to focus on them, and you can’t have one private conversation without them ending up in it.

The solution: There’s only one way to make it stop.  Tell it like it is.  The next time this happens, say something like, “Actually, I really wanted to get Jane’s input on this. Would you give us a minute?”  If they don’t back off, say it again: “Thanks. Actually, I really want to talk to Jane about it.”  Say it nicely, but be firm.  Think about it as though you are talking to a 5-year old.

2. The know-it-all: This is the person that has an opinion about everything and loves to tell you how you can do YOUR job better.

The solution: Let it roll right off your back.  The more you ignore this person and don’t let them get to you, the better.  When they offer an unsolicited opinion, say, “Thanks, I’ll think about that.”  And if you find yourself getting frustrated, comfort yourself with the knowledge that this person is more than likely considered obnoxious by many; you’re definitely not the only one annoyed.

3. The slacker: You’re working away and she’s playing on Facebook or online shopping.  Every day.  It’s obvious to you and your other co-workers that she’s not pulling her weight, but for some reason your boss doesn’t do anything about it.

The solution: Try to ignore it.  Sure, it’s possible your boss is letting her get away with it, but it’s also possible your boss is addressing it behind the scenes; you probably wouldn’t know about it if that was the case.  Either way, the answer for you is the same: If it’s not affecting your work, it’s really not your business.  If it does affect your ability to do your job (because you have to take on her work, or you’re dependent on her work in order to do your own job), then raise it with your boss from that perspective, keeping the focus on how it affects your productivity.

4. The grumpy guy: The grump exudes negativity.  Suggestions, new practices, the new guy down the hall – he hates them all and he makes sure people know it.

The solution: Have a sense of humor.  Try to see this person as your own office Eeyore.  If that doesn’t help, remember that this person is miserable.  Happy people don’t behave that way, and remembering that might make dealing with him somewhat easier.  He may actually be dealing with other things at home contributing to his mood.

5. The speakerphone lover: For some reason, this co-worker always plays back her voicemail messages on speakerphone … or worse, has whole conversations on speakerphone, with an utter disregard for how annoying it is to those around her.

The solution: Be straightforward.  Say something like, “Hey Meredith, would you mind taking your phone off speaker? It makes it hard to concentrate.”

6. The blabbermouth: The blabbermouth goes on and on and on.  They’re especially talented at roping you into long conversations that never end when you’re on deadline or trying to make a phone call.

The solution: Be assertive, and don’t let the blabbermouth have so much power over how you spend your time.  Speak up! Say, “Sorry, but I’m on deadline and I’ve got to finish something up.”  If they continue talking, be even more direct: “I need to stop talking and get back to work.”

In fact, with most types of annoying co-workers, the solution is simply to be straightforward and assertive.  Not angry, not hostile, just direct – but that’s something that can make people anxious, so it’s important to know that it’s really okay to speak up for yourself in a matter-of-fact, professional way.  And if that fails, just be glad you don’t live with these people.

What to learn from your 2010 Return

Posted on: April 19th, 2011 by

Eric L. Bach & Associates, Rockville, MDSo your 2010 taxes are done, or they should be if you didn’t file an extension.  But, as we all know, nothing is certain except death and taxes, so you might as well start planning for next year.  While you actually have your 2010 tax forms and documents handy, this is the perfect time to analyze last year’s finances and use those insights to lower your taxes in 2011.   The sooner you get started, the more you can save.  Here are 5 easy steps that you can follow to start your saving:

1. Avoid a Big Tax Refund

You think it’s fantastic when you get a tax refund, right?  Wrong.  A refund is really just the return of a year-long, interest-free loan that you graciously extended to that thrifty spender known as Uncle Sam.  Even with interest rates in the toilet, earning some money is better than none at all, right?

You can do much smarter things with that money, like putting it into a retirement plan or a college savings fund, or maybe paying down outstanding debt.  So if you will be receiving a 2010 refund of more than a few thousand dollars and you’re an employee, adjust your withholding at work.  If you’re self-employed, lower your quarterly estimated tax payments accordingly.

2. Save More in Your Retirement Plan

If you are not maxing out your employer-sponsored, tax-deferred retirement plan, you’re missing out on the single best opportunity to save on taxes.  The idea of saving more may be difficult, especially as the costs of gas and food are soaring.  But if you can squeeze just an extra 1 or 2 percent out of your paycheck and pour that cash into the plan, you’ll reduce your taxable income and your 2011 tax bill.

Doing so might also bring your income under certain thresholds that will let you qualify for bigger tax breaks you’d otherwise miss — such as personal exemptions, itemized deductions, an Individual Retirement Account, the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

3. Look into Muni Bonds and Funds

If you have money in interest-paying bank accounts, CDs, money market funds, or taxable bonds or bond funds, you could be adding to your tax liability.  High-income taxpayers need to be especially concerned, since their tax liability could rise with the 2012 expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts.  You may want to consider moving some of those taxable savings and investments into tax-free municipal bond funds. (Yes, those same bonds that Meredith Whitney trash-talked on “60 Minutes.”) Since that time, investors have been bailing out of municipal bonds, fearing that states, towns and municipalities could default on their obligations.  That exodus has forced prices down and yields up.

4. Lower Your Mutual Fund Taxes

Now that stock and bond markets have recovered from their bear-market lows, be on the lookout for mutual fund taxable distributions.  A distribution is one of the most aggravating features of a managed mutual fund: You are on the hook for capital gains on the fund’s investments as well as the fund’s tax liability.  You may even be taxed on gains the fund incurred before you owned it!  One way to limit the damage before you invest is to ask the fund company if it will be making a distribution soon.  If the answer is “yes,” hold off buying until afterward.  Or you might invest in funds with low turnover ratios, such as index funds, since they’ll be less likely to throw off taxable distributions.  A turnover ratio below 10 percent is generally tax-efficient.

5. Keep Better Tax Records

Organizing your tax records might not only lower your tax liability, it could help you get rid of the tax-filing headache sooner.  Create a file called “Taxes 2011” and throughout the year toss all your paperwork into it: business receipts; bank, brokerage, and mutual fund statements; W-2s; 1099s; property tax bills; and mortgage interest statements.  Also keep track of your purchase price, commission, and sales price for any investment transactions in 2011.  You’ll be much happier come April 2012.

And while you’re in the organizing groove, now is the perfect time to purge your files of unnecessary statements and documents.  Get ready to shred!

Tax excuses NOT to use

Posted on: April 5th, 2011 by

CPA RockvilleAmericans have tried just about everything to get out of paying their taxes but very few ever work.  The IRS recently released its annual The Truth About Frivolous Tax Arguments report, which outlines not only the most popular arguments people have presented over the years to avoid paying their taxes, but also the policy statements and inevitable tax court decisions the government has used to debunk them.  “Anyone who contemplates arguing on legal grounds against paying their fair share of taxes should first read the 84-page document,” the IRS said in a statement.

Taxpayers’ contentions have run the gamut over the years.  Whether you’re arguing that you don’t have to pay your taxes based on moral grounds or because only “employees” of the government are subject to federal income tax, though, it’s likely to cost you a significant amount of time and a decent sum of money.

Back in 2006, Congress increased the penalty for frivolous tax returns to $5,000 from $500.  The penalty is applied when a person submits a tax return and any portion of the submission is based on a position the IRS identifies as frivolous.  Filers typically present forms that indicate they have no income or tax liability, also known as a “zero return.”  Their reasons for not paying usually come up in tax court when the filers try to contest an audit or lien.

Contention: Taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds.

The IRS says taxpayers have frequently used the First Amendment to argue that they don’t have to pay taxes because it is against their moral or religious beliefs, since it says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  The Supreme Court has frequently asserted that saying your religious beliefs are in conflict with the payment of taxes provides no basis for refusing to pay, though.

Contention: Paying taxes violates the Fifth Amendment.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says a person shall not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  This might sound like a sound argument if the law hadn’t already decided it is well within the government’s rights to charge residents to live here.  According to the IRS, the Supreme Court stated in Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R., 240 U.S. 1, 24 (1916), that “it is … well settled that [the Fifth Amendment] is not a limitation upon the taxing power conferred upon Congress by the Constitution.”

Contention: Taxes are a form of servitude in violation of the 13th Amendment.

Residents have argued that paying taxes is a form of servitude, which is problematic, since the 13th Amendment prohibits slavery (as well as the imposition of involuntary servitude).  Courts have consistently found that paying taxes is not considered forced servitude, though, calling the claim “clearly unsubstantial and without merit,” as well as “far-fetched and frivolous.”

Keep in mind that the IRS does have payment plans available for taxpayers who find themselves significantly impaired financially.  In fact, the IRS recently made changes to its lien system, the main way the agency penalizes people who can’t pay their taxes on time.

How To Have Great Credit

Posted on: February 22nd, 2011 by

Financial Planning - Rockville, MDWhat do you need to do to get your credit score in the highest range possible?  Before you make any changes, you need to know the most important information used from your credit report in determining your score.   Here are the two things that account for two-thirds of your credit score:

Your payment history: Having a long history of making payments on time on all types of credit accounts is one of the most important items lenders consider before approving you for a loan.

Owed versus available credit: This compares the amount you owe versus the total amount of credit available.  Your credit score can be lower when you use more than 50 percent of your available credit for each account.  The simple reason – when you are close to maxing out on all of your credit limits, lenders see you as a higher risk and more likely to make late payments in the near future.

There are, however, three other factors that account for about a third of your credit score:

Length of credit history: In general, a credit report containing a list of accounts opened for at least 10 years or more will help your credit score.  The score considers your oldest active account and the average age of all accounts.

New credit: Opening several new credit accounts in a short period of time can lower your credit score.  Also, multiple credit report inquiries may be seen as risky credit behavior on the near horizon, and can therefore lower your credit score.

Type of credit you use: Your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, finance company loans, and mortgage loans is considered.

Your credit score ignores your age, salary, and occupation.  It also does not take into account financial gifts, support you receive, or your financial assets.  For this reason, credit scores are less important for borrowers who seek loans that take these factors into account.

About 13 percent of people have credit scores of 800 or higher.  If you look at their credit profile, they have:

• four to six credit card accounts
• no late payments in the past seven years
• at least one installment loan – a mortgage or a car loan (with excellent payment history)
• an average of 10 years credit history per account and a few accounts with 20 years of good history
• a low number of credit inquiries (fewer than three in the past six months)
• no bankruptcies, foreclosures, charge-offs or collections
• debt levels at no more than 35 percent of their overall credit limits per account

Tax Changes to Watch Out for

Posted on: February 17th, 2011 by

CPA Rockville, MDThanks to the Tax Relief Act passed in December, your 2010 taxes are a lot less complicated than they might have been, but there are a few changes that could trip you up.  Lawmakers’ agreement to extend the Bush-era tax cuts means many of the tax provisions you’ve come to know and love are still in place — and the Form 1040 is similar to last year.  But there’s bad news for some taxpayers…

For instance, in 2009 unemployed workers could exclude up to $2,400 of unemployment benefits from income; that provision did not get extended for 2010.  This was quite surprising to me, as well as many taxpayers I’m sure, considering the unemployment rate is still so high.

Other tax breaks are gone, too, such as the three extra standard deductions:  Real estate taxes, taxes on a new-car purchase, and disaster losses.  Still, other than the disappearance of Line 40b to claim those extra standard deductions, Form 1040 is essentially the same as last year.

For high-income filers, the new law extends through 2012 the Bush-era provision repealing the income limits on itemized deductions and personal exemptions.  Before, taxpayers above certain income levels lost part or all of their exemptions and itemized deductions.  Those limits were slowly phased out; 2010 is the first year they’re gone completely (separate income limits still apply on some deductions).  Plus, Congress extended the alternative-minimum-tax patch, preventing millions of taxpayers from losing access to a number of tax breaks under that parallel system.  The AMT exemption amount in 2010 for single filers is $47,450 and for married-filing-jointly filers it’s $72,450.

A big perk, for eligible families: The adoption credit is now refundable, and worth up to $13,170 in 2010 and 2011.  In 2012, it drops down to $12,170 and won’t be refundable.

Also thanks to the new law, people 70 1/2 or older can donate up to $100,000 to an eligible charity directly from their IRA, count it as a required minimum distribution, yet still avoid an income-tax hit on that money (but they can’t deduct it as a charitable donation).  And they get until Jan. 31 this year to make such a contribution for 2010.  The tax break is also available in 2011.

However, if in 2010 you took advantage of the ability to roll money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, income limits on such transfers no longer exist;  but you can choose to pay the income tax on that conversion over two years, half in 2011 and half in 2012.  Or, you can include that income on your 2010 return.  If you want to pay the tax now (maybe you’re in a lower tax bracket in 2010 than you expect to be this year) be sure to check the appropriate box on Form 8606.

Are you eligible to claim the home-buyer tax credit on your 2010 return?  You won’t be able to e-file.  The IRS wants you to mail the information with your return.  The credit is worth up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers and $6,500 for long-time homeowners who lived in their home for more than five years.  If you claimed the credit in 2008 however, you are among the unfortunate group that must pay the credit back over the next 15 years — and 2010 is the year your first bill will arrive.

Also, if you claimed the home-buyer credit in 2008 or 2009 and then moved out of the house, you may have to pay back the credit.  Check out Form 5405 for the details.

But, bad news for homeowners who didn’t jump on the tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements, such as new doors and windows: That tax break got trimmed for 2011.  Still you can take it for 2010 if you made the eligible energy-efficient upgrades by the end of the year.

But, hey, if you are confused, not to worry, you get an extra weekend to sort it all out.  The tax deadline is April 18, thanks to a holiday in Washington on April 15.

Most Ridiculous US Taxes

Posted on: February 10th, 2011 by

Ridiculous Taxes - Rockville, MD CPAThink things can be as easy as a simple flat tax?  Think again.  Legislators never seem to make things that easy – they complicate as many things as they can.  So, in an effort to give you a break from your boring taxes, here are a few of some of the most ridiculous taxes across the country.

Arkansas: Pet Grooming Tax

Among the services that the state subjects to the 6% sales tax are body piercing, gutter cleaning, and pet grooming.

California:  Ottoman Empire Victims’ Exemption

If you were persecuted between 1915 and 1923, you get a tax exemption.

Hawaii:  Tree Deduction

If your tree was approved by an arborist advisory committee and you get the right notarial stamp, you are eligible for a $3000 deduction.

Maryland: Oyster Break

Maryland offers what is called the aquaculture float credit, which is available to people who harvest oysters, but not any other shellfish.  Strange.  Why not crabs or mussels?

New Jersey: Helping Families

You get a break if you spend more than $35.64 on family leave insurance.

New York: Haunted House Tax

Musical comedies, operas, and chamber music are exempt from the sales tax.  But, not a Halloween show with music, if the admission charge exceeds 10 cents.  Why this discrimination against ghouls and goblins?

South Carolina: Aid For Deceased Deer

You get $50 off your taxes if your deer carcass helps the needy.  I guess if you hit a deer in South Carolina, just remember to bring it with you and donate it.



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