Golden Tax Relief - January 2019

32850 US-43 STE. B, THOMASVILLE, AL 36784 844-229-8936 GOLDENTAXRELIEF.COM G o l d e n G a z e t t e JANUARY 2019

D one I s B etter T han P erfect

This may surprise some readers, but I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. For me, making a change just because of an arbitrary date doesn't make much sense. The new year may be motivating for the first few days, but unless your goal can be accomplished by Jan. 3, you’d better find another source of inspiration. After all, U.S. News estimates that a whopping 80 percent of us give up on our resolutions by February. This is not to say that I’m against setting goals. On the contrary, I think it’s necessary to have a plan you can stick to in order to make positive changes

I’ve made in my own life, I’ve noticed a pattern. Whatever our goals may be, the biggest obstacle in our way is often our own self-doubt. It’s easy to let all the “what-ifs” and “but thens” get to us if we let them. That’s why it’s important to remind ourselves that we only need to fret about the things we can actually control. I’ll use my own experience as an example. Being a graduate from ‘Bama, I’m naturally a pretty big football fan. I’m not proud to admit it, but I used to get a little too into the games. I was your classic armchair quarterback, yelling at

we can’t change and stress ourselves out over situations we can’t control. What happens if you put all that energy toward something you can change? These don’t have to be big things at first, just small accomplishments that let you know “Yes, I am in control. Yes, I can change my situation.” When it comes to the things we can control, my approach is simple: Never shy away from getting something done, and done will always be better than perfect. See, perfection is another one of those hangups we let stall us from reaching for our dreams. It’s like author Les Brown says: “The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled.” We all have a limited stay on this good earth, so let's make it count. Life’s too short to get tangled up in things we can’t control or make perfect. Whatever your dreams for the new year may be, I wish you the best of luck in making them a reality!

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled.”

in your life or business. I just feel that the driving force for this effort needs to come from yourself and can happen at any time of year, not just Jan. 1. More resolutions would be successful if we rethought how we view them. In my line of work, I see plenty of people grapple with financial goals, and I’m lucky to be able to lend a helping hand. Between this work and the changes

the coaching staff through the television as if they could actually hear me. And if we lost, I took it personally and let it affect my life. After a lot of reflection and conscious effort, I finally realized I was putting far too much weight into something I had no power over. Whether with football, taxes, or just life in general, I feel like many of us have a tendency to do this. We fixate on things

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Mom Really Does Know Best

Top 7 FAQs About Tax Season

When the tax season comes, most people have a lot of questions for their tax professional. If you are equally confused and seek answers, know that you’re not alone. Here are the seven questions our clients ask most frequently. 1. What Is the Minimum Income Level Required for Taxes? Unfortunately, we don’t have an exact answer; it all depends on factors like income source, and filing status. In the most general terms, if your total income surpasses $12,000, then you will have to pay federal taxes. The number is much worse for freelancers, who have to pay taxes if they earn more than $600. 2. When Should I File My Taxes? Whenever you want — as long as it’s before the deadline. It’s always recommended to start a month or more in advance because there’s still that slight chance something will go wrong. 3. When Are My Taxes Due? The deadline is always the same for everyone and usually falls on April 15. But if it’s a Sunday or a holiday, the day is moved to the next one. For example, in 2018, the 15th was a Sunday and the 16th was a holiday, so the deadline was pushed to April 17.

this question is undoubtedly a pervasive one. Also, almost everything can expense as long as it was purposed for business.

5. Do Tax Audits Affect My Credit? It doesn’t affect your credit if you merely owe money to the IRS, but how you choose to pay your taxes certainly does. 6. What’s the Earned Income Tax Credit and Do I Qualify? The EITC is a tax benefit reserved for low-income families and some middle- income families. You need to meet several requirements to qualify for this benefit, most of which are quite complicated to understand. As each case is different, you can always seek the help of a skilled professional who will see if you qualify or not. 7. Do I Need to Keep My Tax Documents and for How Long? Yes, you most certainly should keep your tax documents, and it’s generally recommended to do so for seven years. If the IRS decides they want to audit you, they will ask you for the last three years’ worth of documents, and they can even extend it to six years. You should keep the tax returns themselves forever. So, that about covers all the main questions most people have. If you still have questions, you can always contact Golden Tax Relief! We will be more than happy to help you and give you all the additional advice you need. 32850 US-43 STE. B, THOMASVILLE, AL 36784

4. What Can You Expense? Taxes are a bit tricky when you’re a freelancer. And since 36 percent of the U.S. workforce freelances,

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CELEBRITY TAX EVASION

Wesley Snipes Is At It Again

Your eyes do not deceive you — Wesley Snipes is making tax news again. We didn't plan to feature the same celebrity twice when we launched this tax fraud article series; after all,

back taxes and a three-year prison sentence. While Snipes may have served his time, he’s still struggling to pay back the IRS — though not as much as he’d like them to believe. Following his release from prison, Snipes sought an offer-in-compromise with the IRS, citing the astronomical costs of the back taxes. After assessing his properties and holdings, the government offered a settlement of $17.5 million. That may still sound like a whopping sum to us mortals, but hey, getting $6 million in debt swept away isn’t bad. Unfortunately, this deal wasn’t good enough for the former star of “Blade.” He offered the IRS just under $850,000. Despite this being just 4 percent of his debt, Snipes stuck to his offer, taking the IRS to court when they rejected this (relatively) paltry sum. The actor and his lawyers threw everything they could at the IRS, claiming the

agency was abusing its power and that paying even their reduced offer would create economic hardship for Snipes and his family. Despite these and other assertions, Snipes and his team could not provide any credible evidence and proved uncooperative in assisting any IRS attempts to more accurately assess the actor's holdings. Needless to say, the tax court didn’t buy Snipes’ claims and upheld the IRS’s reduced offer. For many, an offer-in-compromise can be a great avenue for a fresh start with the IRS. But as Wesley Snipes reminds us, you can’t just make a ridiculous offer and expect to get away with it. The IRS does their homework, and no matter how rich or famous you are, you won’t outsmart them.

SUDOKU Last year, we told the story of how Snipes’ willful ignorance of tax law led him to avoid paying taxes from 1999 to 2001, cheating the government of over $7 million. As most people are aware, the ensuing legal battle resulted in Snipes being saddled with $23.5 million in there are still plenty of other offenders to cover. But when the actor’s attempt to get out of his tax debt was shot down in U.S. tax court late last year, the details proved too good not to cover.

CHICKEN CHOP SUEY

For many, American Chinese food and New Year’s go together like turkey and Thanksgiving. Chop suey was one of the original items served by Chinese immigrants to their new neighbors, making it an important part of America’s culinary history. It’s also easy to make and delicious to eat.

Ingredients

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2 large or 4 medium chicken thighs

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2 teaspoons sugar

3 pounds bok choy, cut into 3–4-inch ribbons 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 tablespoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 4 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

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Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. In large pot, boil three cups of water. Add chicken and reduce to simmer, cooking for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool. Once cooled, remove skin and bones, chop, and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid. 2. In a large skillet over high heat, heat vegetable oil. Once shimmering, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute, stirring throughout. Add half of reserved cooking liquid, cover skillet, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy to a plate. 3. Add remaining cooking liquid and chicken to the pan, maintaining high heat. Heat chicken, then add oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch-and-water mixture, sesame oil, and bok choy. Season to taste, toss together, and serve over rice.

Inspired by The New York Times

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INSIDE

page 1 My Thoughts on New Year's Resolutions

page 2 3 Wives’ Tales That Are True Top 7 FAQs About Tax Season page 3 Wesley Snipes Is At It Again Chicken Chop Suey

page 4 The Best Skiing Destinations in the World

Who’s Ready for Some Powder? 3 of the W orld ’ s G reatest W inter S port D estinations

The sound of the first carve through fresh powder is the anthem of all winter sports enthusiasts. Here are three of the world’s best places to experience that powder you’ve been craving all year.

level runs, Whistler is filled with true magic, winter activities, and a town that captivates the senses. When you see the mountains of British Columbia, you’ll understand why they hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. The location’s beauty is only part of your stimulating experience, because every curve of fresh powder makes your pupils dilate. Once you’re done flying down the hill where Bode Miller took the bronze, head over to the winter wonderland of the old Olympic Village for a cozy night in a picturesque town. If you want a great location for next year’s Christmas card photo, there’s no better place than the Tyrolean Alps. Nestled in a valley between perfectly molded mountains, the Austrian landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for your winter excursions. The densely wooded areas and St. Anton, Austria

the bright reflection of the snow frame the vibrant town that’s just waiting to be explored. When you’re ready for world-class runs, hop in one of the 11 gondolas and zip down the hills that hosted the 2001 Alpine World Ski Championships.

Breckenridge, Colorado

John Denver’s anthem “Rocky Mountain High” is about the freedom he felt here. Where there are great mountains, there’s even better snow. The ski resort boasts five peaks, 187 trails, 34 lifts, four terrain parks, and a renowned cross-country trail. After a day on the slopes, head into the town of Breckenridge for dining and activities that ditch the glitz and glamour of Vail or Aspen and take you straight to the heart of fun.

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

A destination that looks like a cross between a Nordic paradise and Olympic-

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