Recent Blog Posts

  • Is My Pet a Tax Write-off?
    It’s estimated that there are over 78 million dog owners in the U.S. and over 85 million people that think they own a cat.  That’s A LOT of pets and they aren’t cheap either.  Pet industry spending in the U.S. is now over $67 billion.  (Source American Pet Products Association) Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a little help from Uncle Sam as well as a tax write-off for some of that pet food, vet bills, or even that big price tag at the breeder?  Well, there might just be an option to save some taxes in the process. I’ve compiled 7 ways you might be able to find a tax write-off for that little ‘best friend’ of yours. 1. Medical Expense. The most common method to write off your pet is as a service animal; this is typically a dog. More and more doctors are prescribing/recommending patients invest ... Read more
  • Is My Pet a Tax Write-off?
    It’s estimated that there are over 78 million dog owners in the U.S. and over 85 million people that think they own a cat.  That’s A LOT of pets and they aren’t cheap either.  Pet industry spending in the U.S. is now over $67 billion.  (Source American Pet Products Association) Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a little help from Uncle Sam as well as a tax write-off for some of that pet food, vet bills, or even that big price tag at the breeder?  Well, there might just be an option to save some taxes in the process. I’ve compiled 7 ways you might be able to find a tax write-off for that little ‘best friend’ of yours. 1. Medical Expense. The most common method to write off your pet is as a service animal; this is typically a dog. More and more doctors are prescribing/recommending patients invest ... Read more
  • How to Write-off College Expenses and Save For Children’s Education
    As I am now a parent with three kids in college, this topic has never become more important to me than it is now.  Yes!! I have written on this topic for many years, but I certainly want to take it to a whole new level. I apologize for the self-serving article, but I hope it will many of you now and those planning for your children’s college education in the future. Let’s break this down into three distinct groups.  1) Those already stressed out and having to deal with paying for a student in college now; 2) Those of you who are already paying back student loans and are hoping for a write-off; and 3) Those of you that have the luxury of a few years before a child goes to college and don’t realize how fast it is coming. Each one of these groups has options, but needs ... Read more
  • The Power of the Health Savings Account (HSA)
      The Health Savings Account is one of the most powerful pieces of a well designed health care strategy.  It includes saving money, saving taxes, building a tax-free ‘bucket’ for health care and most importantly taking control of your own health care strategy. You save money because in order to have an HSA, you have to have a ‘high deductible health care plan’.  Well, chances are you will have a lower premium with a higher deductible and save money. You save taxes because you get a tax deduction when contributing to your HSA, right on the front page of your tax return. You build a ‘tax free bucket’ of money in an HSA, just like an IRA.  The money can be invested and the growth is tax free and withdrawals for health care are tax free. Finally, you take control of many health care decisions because you can pay cash ... Read more
  • Last Minute Tax Strategies before Filing
    Believe it or not, there are some important last minute tax strategies to consider before filing. Even if you aren’t reading this article the week before that important April deadline, there are some important ideas to consider. Most importantly, keep reading and don’t fall prey into thinking that your tax return ‘is what it is’ and there isn’t something you can do to improve your tax situation. Now if you are actually reading this before the first filing deadline, remember this year in 2018 that deadline is Tuesday, April 17th. But as you probably just noticed, I emphasized the word ‘first’, because my first last minute tax strategy is to consider an Extension. So, since time is of the essence and we are up against the clock, let’s jump into my top 4 “Last Minute Tax Strategies”. File an Extension. That’s right, don’t stress! If you aren’t ready to file ... Read more
  • Last Minute Tax Strategies Before Filing
    Believe it or not, there are some important last-minute tax strategies to consider before filing. Even if you aren’t reading this article the week before that important April deadline, there are some important ideas to consider. Most importantly, keep reading and don’t fall prey into thinking that your tax return ‘is what it is’ and there isn’t something you can do to improve your tax situation. Now if you are actually reading this before the first filing deadline, remember this year in 2018 that deadline is Tuesday, April 17th. But as you probably just noticed, I emphasized the word ‘first’, because my first last-minute tax strategy is to consider an Extension. So, since time is of the essence and we are up against the clock, let’s jump into my top 4 “Last Minute Tax Strategies”. File an Extension. That’s right, don’t stress! If you aren’t ready to file your tax ... Read more
  • Court Strikes Down the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule. Should this Matter to You?
    On March 15, 2018, a federal appeals court based in Dallas, TX struck down the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) so-called “Fiduciary Rule” in the ongoing war waging within the financial services industry for the past two years.  This Fiduciary Rule would have required any financial advisor providing investment recommendations relating to IRAs to act as a “fiduciary” which, in general, means that the advisor’s recommendation must be in the client’s best interest.  You may be saying “well, I thought my advisor was always acting in my best interest.”   Unfortunately this is very seldom the case.  As Mark Kohler notes in “The Business Owner’s Guide to Financial Freedom,” only about 1.6% of all financial advisors in the country are Investment Advisor Representatives that are required by law to make recommendations in your best interest.   If you have ever received investment recommendations from your bank, or from one of the ... Read more
  • The Incredible Shrinking Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Q: When does the Director of a powerful federal agency draft a report that urges Congress to pass laws that siphon away the vast majority of his authority?A: When Donald Trump is President, and the agency is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) – the brain child of the woman President Trump likes to call “Pocahontas” – Elizabeth Warren. The CFPB is a product of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), which passed in the aftermath of the financial crisis of the late 2000’s and the Great Recession.  Its self-described mission is: “to make consumer financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole.  We protect consumers from unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices and take action against companies that break the law.  We arm people with the information, steps, and tools that they need to make smart financial decisions.” Sounds good, right?  ... Read more
  • Top 10 Ways to Avoid an IRS Audit
    Here is a list of the TOP 10 things TO do, or NOT do, in order to avoid an audit with the IRS.  As many of you can imagine, an audit can be expensive and time consuming, not to mention, emotionally draining experience.  Please take these to heart and I promise if you follow them you can reduce your chances of an IRS audit dramatically.    1.File your tax returns on time (even if you owe and can’t pay).  One of the quickest ways to get into an audit is to not file your tax returns.  I highly encourage you to STILL file even if you don’t owe anything or don’t have any income.  The IRS is like a boyfriend or girlfriend, if you don’t stay in touch, they will assume the worst. They’ll also say bad things about you to all of their friends, which could be other governmental ... Read more
  • Top 10 Ways to Avoid an IRS Audit
    Here is a list of the TOP 10 things TO do, or NOT do, in order to avoid an audit with the IRS.  As many of you can imagine, an audit can be expensive and time-consuming, not to mention, emotionally draining experience.  Please take these to heart and I promise if you follow them you can reduce your chances of an IRS audit dramatically.    1.File your tax returns on time (even if you owe and can’t pay).  One of the quickest ways to get into an audit is to not file your tax returns. Many taxpayers that don’t have the money for taxes, or don’t think they have enough money, don’t file.  They hide and avoid filing. This only causes more problems down the road and personal stress levels you can’t imagine.  I highly encourage you to STILL file even if you don’t owe anything or don’t have any ... Read more
  • The SUV and Truck Deduction in 2018 – An Unexpected Loophole
    Remember the good old days when you could write-off 100% your new SUV or Truck under the 179 deduction?  That was the wild wild west (pre-2006), and then we all became quickly familiar with the $25,000 cap on writing off these gas guzzling vehicles. However, the game has changed with possibly an unintended loophole under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  The silver bullet: Bonus Depreciation. A little history lesson first Section 179 allows certain assets to be deducted in one year if a section 179 election is made, but places a maximum deduction of $25,000 on what it classifies as sport utility vehicles (any four-wheeled passenger automobile between 6,000 and 14,000 pounds). This deduction was formerly known as the Hummer Deduction as business owners flocked to buy large SUVs as soon as it was enacted. However, most large SUVs cost a lot more than $25,000, so the ... Read more
  • The SUV and Truck Deduction in 2018 – An Unexpected Loophole
    Remember the good old days when you could write-off 100% your new SUV or Truck under the 179 deduction?  That was the wild wild west (pre-2006), and then we all became quickly familiar with the $25,000 cap on writing off these gas guzzling vehicles. However, the game has changed with possibly an unintended loophole under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).  The silver bullet: Bonus Depreciation. A little history lesson first.. Section 179 allows certain assets to be deducted in one year if a section 179 election is made, but places a maximum deduction of $25,000 on what it classifies as sport utility vehicles (any four-wheeled passenger automobile between 6,000 and 14,000 pounds). This deduction was formerly known as the Hummer Deduction as business owners flocked to buy large SUVs as soon as it was enacted. However, most large SUVs cost a lot more than $25,000, so the ... Read more
  • Writing Off Meals Expense in 2018 – Master Chart of Options
    Well, things have changed in 2018 when it comes to writing off meals and food expenses in your small business…and frankly, that’s for any size business.  Large or small, business owners have to reevaluate their budget for the food they were able to deduct in the past. Dining, meals, food in the office, food while traveling, eating with employees, eating with partners or clients, whatever you call it, there’s one thing in common:  Confusing.  Yes…most of it is still a write-off, we hope, but what percentage and how to stay out of hot water with the IRS- that’s a whole other question. First, let’s examine the ‘types’ of meals and I’ll try and ‘set the table’ with 4 main options to consider and what you should be tracking in your books. Type 1: Dining with a Prospect or Important Client Obviously, this is the most common meals expense we have ... Read more
  • A Renewed Look at Rules for Foreigners Investing in Rental Property in the U.S.
    Foreign investment in U.S. real estate has continued at a quickened pace since the “Great Recession.”  The opportunity to pick up a piece of the American dream at a reduced price (especially in the years immediately following the crash) has stoked the flames to a resurgent market which has almost replaced all lost value. More and more foreign investors have taken advantage of the opportunity to invest in U.S. real estate because the gains in value, but also because the U.S. has a lot of land to house all 3.25 million of its residents. While people move closer to larger American cities, more people have begun to acquire real estate in urban areas, including both foreign and domestic investors. For foreign investors, the rush to capitalize on millennials moving from mom and dad’s in the suburbs back to the city deserves a new look at some old issues discussed ... Read more
  • A Renewed Look at Rules for Foreigners Investing in Rental Property in the U.S.
    Foreign investment in U.S. real estate has continued at a quickened pace since the “Great Recession.”  The opportunity to pick up a piece of the American dream at a reduced price (especially in the years immediately following the crash) has stoked the flames to a resurgent market which has almost replaced all lost value. More and more foreign investors have taken advantage of the opportunity to invest in U.S. real estate because of the gains in value, but also because the U.S. has a lot of land to house all 3.25 million of its residents. While people move closer to larger American cities, more people have begun to acquire real estate in urban areas, including both foreign and domestic investors. For foreign investors, the rush to capitalize on millennials moving from mom and dad’s in the suburbs back to the city deserves a new look at some old issues ... Read more