Toph Sheldon, CPA for the Self-Employed March 2019



513-342-4000 WWW.TOPHCPA.COM



“Working hard doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have something to work for.”

My journey representing the self-employed has been an eclectic one. I’ve helped clients from all over the country overcome their financial qualms — heck, I’ve probably even helped a few stay out of the slammer after some negligence on their part. But after meeting these clients, all from different walks of life, I’ve found that we all have something in common: a drive to do right with our finances. While my professional goals in the accounting world have never faltered, my personal life has never been busier. We all want to make the most out of what we have while we still have it, and I have been pushing hard to make a better life for my family. This time around, I’d rather start off by letting you know what I’ve been up to since the last newsletter.

right now to give yourself time to

As far as life at home goes, my world changed forever last April as my wife and I welcomed our third child into the world. She did all the heavy lifting with the childbirth — bless her — and I find that I’ve never been happier with my life as a dad. Being able to watch my children mature has been nothing short of a gift, and I am proud to be a loving husband to my wife, Ashley. Juggling three young children while running a small business has been a tall order, but I am proud of the strides we’ve made on both fronts. Working hard doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have something to work for. My ever-growing business has taken me all across the country in the past year. From Atlanta to Las Vegas and Austin to Orlando, I’ve gathered some serious frequent flier miles from my patronage to business conferences over the months, all while gathering more information on changing laws and practices to better suit my clients. Tax laws are constantly on the docket for politicians, so it is a full-time job trying to keep up with the new agendas. No matter how much paperwork I’m filing, overtime I’m working, or crappy airplane food I’m eating, the future is always bright. It takes being busy

relax down the road, and I often look forward to this relaxation someday. But for now, I will continue to work to be the master of my own destiny.

At any rate, it’s good to get back to the newsletter. I forgot how much I enjoyed putting out an update to my clients and colleagues until I got too busy to do it, but that’s the way this sort of thing tends to go. This newsletter is sure to be worthwhile for my readers with its new format and refocused energy. As always, some things haven’t changed and never will; whatever your financial problem is, there is likely a positive outlook for your unique set of circumstances — as long as you address it early enough. Hope is never completely lost. Take it from a guy who knows a thing or two about new leases on life. If you’re looking for real-life solutions to your real-life problems, then please give me a call so I can protect you and your family.

-Toph Sheldon




Fret No More, It’s the Best Time to Take Control of Your Finances

Tax season seems like it’s always on the horizon, forever looming over our heads while it watches us in disappointment. The good news is that the dreaded pressure and paperwork that you’ve been avoiding all year doesn’t have to drag you down. The taxpayer has never had more leverage than right now. There’s no better time to get ahead of your problems with the IRS than while you still have the upper hand early on in the year. Putting a stop to your tax-related woes shouldn’t be something you avoid. Don’t let your problems escalate. With access to an experienced CPA who specializes in the self-employed, your problems with the IRS can easily be smoothed over. By being proactive with your planning and acting as soon as possible, you’ll be free to enjoy the things you love again without the IRS peeking over your shoulder. The unfortunate thing to keep in mind is that they mean what they say; they will try and collect what they claim you owe. This could mean losing your home or car or owing a large amount of interest on outstanding debts. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When you meet with us about fixing your situation, this can all be laid to rest. We will put together a plan that works best for you in your fight against the IRS by looking at things like your present and previous income and your requirements for payments. When we get the information we need, we can address the most pressing matters before going back to look at the previous years’ discrepancies.

4 Rainy Day Activities Enjoy Yourself! As the weather warms up, the urge to get out of the house becomes stronger. However, any plans you might have can be abruptly canceled due to rain. If you find yourself stuck inside for the day, here are a few activities to keep you occupied. Get Bakin’ A wet and chilly day is an excellent opportunity to warm yourself up with some baked goods. Bake your favorite snickerdoodle cookies or fudge brownies, and pour yourself a mug full of hot chocolate or cider to get through the stormy day. Read a Book If you have a bookshelf full of novels you’ve not cracked open, a rainy day is the perfect time to jump in. Settle down on the sofa with a cuddly blanket and enjoy some uninterrupted reading. The rain smattering against your windows creates the perfect background noise to delve into the pages of a new adventure. Create Your Own Film Festival Having a movie or TV series marathon is another great way to pass the time. You can watch some of the classics, like “Forrest Gump” or “Singing in the Rain,” fill the day with “The Lord of the Rings” series, or start a new Netflix show. If you want to involve your kids in the binge-watching, you can let them pick out one of their favorite movies too. Piece Together a Puzzle A rainy day is a great opportunity to pull out a puzzle. You can also grab your friends or family members and make the puzzle a team activity. With the whole day ahead of you, you’ll have several hours to devote to one of your favorite hobbies.

The sooner you take that first step, the sooner you gain the peace of mind and financial security you need to get back to the more

important things. We understand that your tax documents are disorganized and that dealing with the IRS is overwhelming. However, we deal with self-employed clients in this situation often and know how to navigate your paperwork (or lack thereof) to help you get a fair result and the peace of mind you deserve. Take control of your own financial destiny. There’s no time like the present because waiting until tomorrow isn’t going to make you feel better today.

Don’t let the rain keep you down! Instead, take advantage of the weather and enjoy a cozy day at home.

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When I showed up to a blind date in January of 2011, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. But today, six years, three kids, two dogs, and one cat later, I know that I was taking a leap of faith that would land me exactly where I was supposed to be. Originally from upstate New York, I came to Ohio to get a little shelter from my hometown after graduating from nursing school. I found that shelter and so much more. From the very beginning of our relationship, I knew Toph wanted more in his career. My whole adult life, I’d always done what I loved by working with those in need at children’s hospitals, but Toph never wanted to be a part of the corporate world; he couldn’t find peace in that. I always saw beauty in paving your own way and working to build something up until you can be happy with your work. Today, we’ve done just that. Toph has always been the financial planner in our lives, and I was happy to leave him to it. We’d made an unwritten rule early on where I’d handle most of the homestead while he took on the numbers. Whether it was our accounting or our dealings with the IRS, we were both happy to find that compromise. It wasn’t always so set in stone though. At the start of our relationship, he was working under someone else and couldn’t stand being unable to spread his entrepreneurial wings. So, after many long talks about our family’s future, he pulled the trigger and ventured out on his own. There was never a moment of doubt in my mind that he would make something out of his newfound freedom. That was just the way he worked. He has the brain of a businessman and the skill set to back it up. After paying his dues and finding his niche, he’s made it easier for us to enjoy the life we want. The transition is always rough, but the ultimate destination is a sight to behold.

Today he’s able to choose his own hours to fit my routine. When I’m not at the hospital, we revel in our ability to do what we love together

every single day. We strap the kids in their strollers and carriers and take them to enjoy the outdoors with our dogs.

Frankly, we can’t tell who enjoys it more. We’ve grown to love hiking together, and our personalities give just the

right amount of push and pull to make the most out of our leisure time. Toph loves playing golf, so I’ll drive the cart and read a book while he’s at it. He’ll watch the kids if and when I need a seldom moment of rest. We find ways to make it work. There’s never a wrong time to take a leap of faith. Whether it’s finally deciding to get your finances together, leaving your dead-end job, or even going on a blind date, I’m sure glad we did.

–Ashley Sheldon



Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine.


• • • •

3/4 cup popcorn kernels 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds

• • • •

2 teaspoons granulated garlic 2 teaspoons granulated onion

1/3 cup canola oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking

and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.



Solution on page 4


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Updates of a Journey in Accounting and Life


Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Spirits The Best Time of Year to Solve Your Tax Problems The Give and Take of Marrying an Entrepreneur Everything Popcorn



Celebrities Who’ve Gotten in Trouble With Their Taxes

Telltale Tax Nightmares

Hot Water as Far as the Eye Can See Everybody is human, even if we forget that sometimes. And,

with committing numerous offenses that landed him in and out of jail. It came as no surprise then that in July of 2017, DMX was charged with 14 federal counts of tax fraud. He was charged with felony counts related to his failure to file income taxes from 2010 to 2015, during which time he made at least $2.3 million. The cumulation of these charges resulted in him being ordered to pay $2.29 million as restitution to the government in 2018 — oh, and spend a year in jail for good measure. Willie Nelson Country music superstar Willie Nelson couldn’t sing his way out of trouble when he was slapped with a whopping 16.7-million-dollar bill in 1990 for unpaid back taxes. Unfortunately, the icon, whose career has spanned over six decades, couldn’t fork over the cash and lost many of his possessions in the ensuing squabble with the IRS. However, many assets that were repossessed ended up being his saving grace, because they didn’t end up taking him to prison. He released an album titled “The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories” in an attempt to raise the finances to pay off his debts, and by 1993, he had done just that.

just like the rest of us, celebrities can land themselves in some serious trouble

if they make the wrong choices regarding their taxes. All the glitz and glamour in all the king’s kingdom can’t save you from the taxman, and these poor souls

had to find that out the hard way.

DMX All he did was try to have a party up in here — and who can blame him? — until it all came crashing down. American rapper DMX knows just as much about running into the wrong side of the law as he does about success. When he wasn’t busy selling nearly 75 million records in his lifetime, he was preoccupied

The lap of luxury isn’t always luxurious.

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