Cincinnati Tax Resolution - February 2020

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2020 VOLUME 4, ISSUE 2

T O P H ’ S TAX RESOLUT ION T I M E S

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Facing Burnout as a Self-Employed Business Owner

I know from personal experience what it’s like to face burnout from work. Being self-employed comes with a long list of challenges, and one of those challenges is you often don’t have anyone else to talk to about work, at least not on a

attention is focused on your inbox or phone calls. Find blocks of time that make the most sense for your workflow. The rest of the time, keep your computer or phone at arm’s length — stay disconnected for a while.

regular basis. All the problem-solving sits on your shoulders, all the communication with customers, all the bills, and so on. I want to look at that first point for a moment. When you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or to help you through work challenges, this can put you on a path to burnout. It’s a combination of feeling overworked and stressed, but you only have yourself to rely on. On top of that, you may be dealing with the roller coaster of cash flow— you have healthy months of cash flow, then the next thing you know, you’re struggling. Many of my clients, along with myself, have been in this exact situation. It’s hard.

Schedule a Vacation

When you need a break, be willing to schedule a vacation, or, at minimum, a day when you don’t look at emails, take phone calls, or respond to texts. It’s time away from work. Again, it can be hard, but you need to do it for your mind and body. A weekend away from the business can do wonders for your mental health. Like I mentioned above, you have to stay disconnected while you’re away.

Delegate

When you’re self-employed, you’re constantly wearing every hat. To add to that, many of the small-business owners I know are perfectionists; they want everything done just right. As a result, they may not delegate and decide to do everything themselves. This by itself is a major recipe for burnout. But when you delegate (which can mean hiring new staff or outsourcing), you take a significant amount of pressure off yourself. It can be remarkable how much a difference it can make, even if you’re just delegating small tasks. Delegating has the potential to open up other parts of your day and let you turn your attention to developing new ways to generate revenue. I’ll admit, taking these kinds of steps to mitigate or avoid burnout can be easier said than done. As business owners, we get busy —we want to see nothing but success for our business. But you have to carve out time for yourself and strive to avoid overwhelming yourself day-to-day. Even starting small and taking minor steps to schedule email or call time on the calendar can make a difference. It adds up. But the more steps you take to mitigate burnout, the more successful you will be in both your personal and professional life.

What I can tell you as a self-employed business owner is that burnout is normal. It’s experienced by small-business owners everywhere. There are times where you might feel it’s time to close up shop and find a regular 9-to-5 job. But then, there are times when you feel like you’re on top of the world and that starting your business was the best thing you’ve ever done, which is a feeling we would love to have all the time. So, what can you do? While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to avoiding burnout, there are steps we can take to reduce the stress that leads to burnout. Here are a few examples:

Take a Break or Disconnect

You might be used to responding to customers ASAP, or you’re always checking your email or phone. But when you’re feeling the pressure, it’s okay to set boundaries. It might mean blocking off time on your daily calendar to respond to emails. For instance, between 9 and 10:30 a.m., your

–Toph Sheldon

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WHEN THE IRS COMES KNOCKIN’ ... LET US ANSWER THE DOOR!

‘Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman’

Negotiating With the IRS Really Pays Off

A $100,000 Tax Debt is Eliminated!

By the time I met with Greg Spindle (this is a pseudonym), Greg owed a total of $100,000 to the IRS. He also had a tax lien filed against him. To make matters worse, Greg had been visited by a revenue officer, an IRS agent whose job is to go to people’s homes and businesses in an attempt to solicit the information they need to collect owed back taxes. However, before we took the case, Greg was trying to negotiate for himself, but it wasn’t going very well. The IRS gave him an offer: Pay the IRS $4,000 a month until the $100,000 tax bill is paid. $4,000 is a lot to ask of anyone, especially when they have other bills to pay. Seeing the mountain ahead, we took on Greg’s case. The first thing we suggested was for Greg to get current on his taxes. Then, with that out of the way, we went to the IRS with a counteroffer: Greg would pay back $18,000 over the next 24 months, at a rate of $750 per month. After six months in negotiations, we heard back from an IRS examiner, a person who looks at these types of counteroffer cases. The examiner told him it was unlikely the IRS would accept the counteroffer of $18,000. As Greg and I discussed the situation, I asked Greg if there had been any changes to his financial situation over the past six months since they initially sent the counteroffer to the IRS. There had—Greg had been laid off from his engineering job and was about a month into collecting unemployment, but he was actively looking for a new job. We took this information back to the IRS. We told them Greg could barely pay his bills, so paying $4,000 made no sense. We knew to convince the IRS that Greg was experiencing a hardship that we needed to give them a new, lower counter offer. So we reduced our offer from $18,000 to $5,000. And we couldn’t believe it when the IRS said YES! We took this exciting news back to Greg! All he needed to do was pay the IRS $5,000 TOTAL and it would all go away. Needless to say, Greg was on cloud nine. Even better, within the next month, Greg had found a new engineering job that paid even better than the last. Everything had turned around!

How Patagonia’s Founder Set a New Standard for Environmental Responsibility From the very beginning of his 2006 memoir, “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” it’s clear that Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, is not the typical entrepreneur. As a kid, Chouinard wanted to be a fur trapper, and rather than going into business with dreams of getting rich, he started making climbing gear to fund his passion for scaling cliffs and adventuring in the outdoors. “Let My People Go Surfing” follows Patagonia’s meteoric rise through its victories and rough patches — including the stalled growth that led to layoffs of 20% of the staff in the 1990s — but its main focus is on the company’s ideals. In plain, forthright, and sometimes irascible language, Chouinard lays out Patagonia’s growth goals, culture aims, and environmental stewardship efforts. The last of which is truly the core of the brand. Patagonia prioritizes minimalism, function, durability, and reparability in all of its products, from backpacks to jackets. It tracks the energy and water use of its facilities, works to eliminate pollution, focuses on recycled and recyclable materials, participates in environmental activism, funds environmental organizations worldwide, and even encourages shoppers to send in worn-out apparel for reuse and repair. In short, over the course of 272 pages, Chouinard proves he not only talks the talk but also walks the walk — and has made millions championing his cause. He encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same, laying out Patagonia’s footsteps and philosophies for readers to follow. Many already have. “Let My People Go Surfing”was updated and rereleased in 2016, but either version will make entrepreneurs think twice about their environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Whether you’re a manager or business owner looking to motivate your employees and create a sustainable business, or a fan of Patagonia, or someone curious about how to live a life you can feel good about, this book should work for you.”

–Toph Sheldon

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Bringing Different Perspectives Together

I’ve been a nurse for 13 years and have always worked in hospitals run by major companies. Needless to say, it’s very different from what Toph does as a CPA for the Self-Employed®. More recently, and with kid No. 4 on the way, I’ve been working as a PRN nurse — a nurse “as needed”— picking up hours that fit with our family schedule. This gives me more time to manage our kids and our home, and it’s something Toph and I discussed as we get ready to welcome our new little one to the world.

involvement. What that looks like, we don’t know yet, but Toph is always looking for new perspectives when working on cases. Oftentimes, when Toph and I talk about work — while we leave the confidential stuff out — we find that we can relate to one another on this professional level. Many of his clients are going through high-stress situations. The

IRS is knocking on their door and threatening to take away property or money in an effort to pay back taxes or other penalties.

Throughout my career as a nurse, I’ve stood beside families going through high-stress situations. I’ve worked as an ICU nurse at a children’s hospital and it’s not easy. Everyone has a different story and everyone just wants to get through their tough situation. They’re looking for hope.

For a long time, I worked 12-hour shifts, meaning Toph was responsible for much of our morning and evening routines. Our current schedule, however, gives him more time to work — and more time during weeknights and weekends for family time, which is always a plus. In the mix of it all, we’ve talked about me becoming more involved in the business. I’ve done some work with Toph, mostly behind-the-scenes here and there, but we’ve talked about taking a more client-facing approach to my

My perspective as a nurse brings a lot to the table. Sometimes when Toph is navigating a tough situation with a client, he just needs to talk it through or bounce a few ideas around. While we have different personalities, we work well together, and after our new baby comes, it might be something we further explore as our family grows and our business continues to grow in the new year.

– Ashley Sheldon

Easy Shrimp Scampi

TAKE A BREAK

Make date night simple with this easy shrimp scampi recipe.

Ingredients

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4 tbsp butter 4 tbsp olive oil

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1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup lemon juice 8 oz cooked linguine

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup parsley

1/2 tsp oregano

Directions

1.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil.

4.

Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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Solution on Page 4

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Inspired by The Blond Cook

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Cincinnati Tax Resolution Powered by Toph Sheldon 9200 Montgomery Rd., Ste. 7B Cincinnati, OH 45242

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INSIDE 1

Coming Face to Face With Burnout

2

Yvon Chouinard’s Rise From Wannabe Fur Trapper to Billionaire Entrepreneur

Toph Strikes an Incredible Deal With the IRS

3

Two Different Perspectives Come Together

Easy Shrimp Scampi

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Lionel Richie Is Stuck on the IRS

Toph’s Tax Nightmares

The IRS Says ‘Hello’ to Lionel Richie Lionel Richie is one of the most successful musicians of all time. Not only does he have multiple Grammy Awards, but he’s also one of the world’s most best-selling artists. So, when someone with Richie’s credentials gets in trouble with the IRS, the rest of us can’t help but raise an eyebrow. In 2012, the IRS placed a tax lien on Richie’s Beverly Hills estate for $1.1 million. The lien was in response to unpaid income taxes in 2010. Though Richie has been consistently employed in Hollywood and has a number of projects in the works — not to mention the royalties he earns from his many hits in the 1980’s — he still managed to find himself with a huge IRS debt. So, why was that? Why does it seem that many wealthy celebrities go head to head with the IRS? Well, there are two primary answers. Most commonly, celebrities hire the wrong accountants or other financial professionals. This was what happened in Richie’s case; he was working with the wrong crowd. In response to the tax lien, Richie told the media, “I was recently made aware of the situation by my new team, and it’s being handled immediately.” Most celebs aren’t going out of their way to not pay their taxes (though there are some who deliberately choose to ignore the law). They hire accountants and wealth managers to take care of it all for them. Unfortunately, like so many of us, celebs don’t have time to focus on all the details of who they’re hiring or who is ultimately preparing their taxes.

Plus, there are some “accountants”who are more than happy to take advantage of celebrities and their wealth. These are people who just don’t put in any effort for their clients and basically take the money and run. Of course, the IRS isn’t interested in excuses, which is why they put a $1.1 million tax lien on Richie’s home. Hiring a competent and experienced accountant can change that. They’re going to do things right to make sure their clients avoid audits, tax liens, and other issues. Once Richie was made aware of the situation, he worked with his new accountant and resolved the situation.

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