THE BLIND LEADING THE TERRIFIED How an Amazing Teacher Helped Me Overcome My Fear of Public Speaking
Up until the late 1990s, I was deathly afraid of public speaking. I can still remember how tough it was for me to get through my required speech class in high school. I was scared out of my wits! Those memories came flooding back when I learned Aug. 7 is Professional Speakers Day. I’d almost forgotten how afraid I used to be. Things are different now. Just a month ago, I gave a presentation to my Mastermind group on Wayne Dyer (one of my favorite authors), and before the pandemic I regularly stood up in front of business groups and real estate agents to talk about tax resolution without breaking a sweat. I even have a live radio show! I can’t see my audience from the studio, but I know they’re out there listening. I didn’t break free from my fear overnight. It took months of help from one amazing person: lecturer Bonnie Peterson at the University of Wisconsin- Parkside. I met Mrs. Peterson when I went back to school for accounting in my 30s. I wasn’t a sheltered kid anymore, but public speaking still freaked me out. Her communications class was a game-changer! Mrs. Peterson was legally blind but that didn’t hold her back as a teacher. Her hearing was off the charts, so she could tell right away if you were nervous, messed up your inflection, or were trying to cheat by reading off a piece of paper instead of just glancing at your notecards. The whole class helped keep people accountable, too. She relied on the students to give her feedback about having the proper eye contact with the class and any visuals that were used during the speech. Mrs. Peterson was smart, funny, and really loved her subject. She had a different approach to speech assignments than my high school teacher — she let us pick what we wanted to talk about! She just gave us a framework and let us run with it. I’ll never forget the day she asked us to give a famous person’s eulogy. I picked my favorite basketball player, Larry Bird, and pretended to be his teammate. I was nervous and sweaty when I first stood up in front of the class, but before long, I got so into the topic that I forgot about my notecards completely. I was just talking off the cuff! Me! It was definitely the best speech I had ever given in any classroom environment. I couldn’t believe how fast the required five-minute minimum time went by. The other memorable speech from the
class was when we had to demonstrate how to do something. I chose how to properly shoot a basketball, using the proper form, including body positioning and footwork; it was a piece of cake! I ended up with an A in Mrs. Peterson’s class. That was the moment my fear of public speaking flipped. Like I said, today I talk in front of people all the time. I’m glad public speaking isn’t a problem anymore, because I love my Mastermind group and it would be a bummer if I couldn’t talk in front of them. The group includes more than 20 tax resolution professionals from across the country. We meet a couple of times a year in different states to brainstorm about business problems, discuss tough cases we’ve worked on, and swap advice on things like marketing. This summer, we got together in Dallas, and I ended up presenting in the “Hot Seat.” I didn’t freak out a bit! I’m actually looking forward to getting back out there and giving presentations on tax resolution to real estate agents and business groups. During the pandemic, all of that stuff had to move to Zoom, and it will be nice to talk in person again. In the meantime, I’ll keep speaking up on my Saturday morning radio show. Tune in at 7 a.m. on AM 1050 WLIP to hear Mrs. Peterson’s lessons at work! Paul Francetic
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LINCOLN’S LAW THE REVENUE ACT AND THE HISTORY OF THE FEDERAL INCOME TAX
federal income tax dollars are spent in myriad ways today, defense remains a major category. About 16% of taxes collected for the 2019 tax year were spent on U.S. military and defense. CHANGES OVER TIME About a decade after the Revenue Act was passed, it was repealed. While it was possible to coax income taxes out of Americans during wartime, there was significant opposition to taxation following the end of the Civil War. It wasn’t until the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 that the federal government once again got the power to tax individuals on their income and to spend the money how government
officials saw fit, rather than in proportion to state populations.
Even with the extended May deadline, we’re well past tax season, so why talk tax history now? As it turns out, it was in August way back in 1861 that the Revenue Act was passed, which imposed the first federal income tax. If you’re trying to recall your American history lessons, you may have already figured out that it was President Abraham Lincoln who signed this bill into law. A LOOK AT THE FIRST TAX The Revenue Act called for a 3% income tax on Americans making over $800 a year. That’s almost $26,000 in today’s dollars. The tax was levied primarily to fund the Civil War. While
Since then, taxes have been used in three main ways: mandatory spending on programs like Social Security, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits; discretionary spending on defense, education, transportation, and health; and finally, interest on the national debt. As the old saying goes, two things are certain: death and taxes. However begrudging Americans are about paying taxes these days, income tax has become a given.
WARNING: NEW TAX SCAMS ARE HERE!
Don’t Fall for These Natural Disaster-Related Bluffs
As soon as record heat and wildfires hit the West this summer, new IRS scammers came out of the woodwork. These scammers try to take advantage of generous people like you who want to help victims of fires, heat waves, and hurricanes in other parts of the country. According to the IRS, they do this in different ways. 1. Impersonating charities. Take my word for it — the American Red Cross will not email you from the address firstname.lastname@example.org. Just because someone claims to be from a charity doesn’t mean that they really are, or that the charity itself even exists! If a charity reaches out to you via email or social media message, never donate through the link or web address they provide . Instead, do some research. Go to the real website of the American Red Cross, for example, and donate there just to be safe. The IRS also has a tool that will help you figure out whether a charity is real and eligible for tax-deductible contributions. Check it out at Apps.IRS.gov/app/eos. 2. Setting up copycat websites. Sometimes scammers will go deeper than fake emails. They might also make a fake website that looks a lot like the real one. To catch them, look closely at the details. Is the charity’s name missing an apostrophe? Is the web address something other than .com or .org? Can you find the real website with a quick Google search? Check before you donate.
3. Pretending to be IRS agents. These scammers pretend they’re helping natural disaster victims file casualty loss claims to get tax refunds. They might reach out to you by phone, over email, or even through social media messages. Don’t fall for any of these tricks! Remember, 99% of the time, the IRS will only contact you by snail mail. If you get a weird phone call and the person on the other end can't verify they’re an IRS employee, report it at Treasury.gov/tigta/Contact_Report_Scam.shtml. If someone contacts you, or someone you love, pretending to be the IRS and you’re not sure whether they’re legitimate, you can always ask me. Thanks to my job, I can always tell what's real from a fake.
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FTR TAX TIP OF THE MONTH
DEDUCT THE MILES YOU DRIVE TO SAVE BIG THIS TAX SEASON
One of the beneficial deductions a business can take is the use of a vehicle by the business. Since the IRS knows vehicles are a popular deduction by a business, you want to make sure you know the rules for taking this deduction so you are not subject to a disallowance or adjustment of this deduction during an audit. If you are using a vehicle for a trade or business, it is important that a mileage log is kept proving the legitimacy of
SUMMER VEGETABLE GREEK SALAD
the deduction and number of miles that can be used. Many cellphone apps can track business miles, and I have several clients who use an Excel spreadsheet. I want to focus on vehicles that are used for a mix of business and personal, like a car, SUV, or pickup truck. If you are self-employed and file a Schedule C and use your personal vehicle for business, it will be most beneficial if you are able to claim the home office deduction, even if you commute to another office location for your business. If you do not have a home office in this scenario, then all the miles commuting back and forth to another office location are not deductible. Let’s say you have to drive to a meeting, or go to the bank, post office, or office supply store after you get to the office, then these miles will be deductible. If you have a business entity — corporation or partnership — then the business entity can reimburse you for your business miles and take a deduction as an expense on the entity tax return.
Inspired by CookieAndKate.com
For the vinaigrette: • INGREDIENTS
You have three options for that:
1. In a medium bowl, whisk
2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 garlic clove, minced 1 tsp dried oregano
together vinegar, mustard, garlic, oregano, honey, and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until well combined. 2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, parsley, olives, and feta (as well as the chickpeas or salami, if desired). 3. If you plan to serve all the salad at once, drizzle the dressing over
1. You can multiply the amount of business miles by the allowable cents per mile (56 cents for 2021).
• • • • • •
2. If you have lease payments, you can take the amount of business miles driven during the year and divide by the total miles driven to arrive at a percentage you can use for the calculated deduction. For example, let’s say you drove 5,000 business miles and 10,000 total miles for the year — 50% of the lease payments, gas, insurance, and maintenance can be deducted. 3. Finally, if you are purchasing a vehicle and have monthly payments, you can depreciate the vehicle over the allowable number of years, then deduct the loan interest, gas, insurance, and maintenance using the percentage of business to total miles from the last example. If you or someone you know has any questions about deducting a vehicle for business, please reach out to me. I can make sure you are following all the guidelines for an allowable deduction.
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad: •
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped 1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled Optional protein choices: 1 cup cooked chickpeas or 6 oz Genoa salami
• • • •
the salad to lightly coat, then toss to combine. Otherwise, store the vinaigrette and salad separately, then dress each portion before serving.
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5429 DEERFIELD ROAD MOUNT PLEASANT, WI 53406-1919
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Listen to Paul Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. on channel 1050 WLIP-AM or stream online at WLIP.com!
Meet the Teacher Who Helped Paul Face His Fear
Do You Know Which President Imposed the Federal Income Tax?
3 New Tax Scams to Watch For
Deduct the Miles You Drive to Save Big This Tax Season
Summer Vegetable Greek Salad
The Best International Dishes That Require No Electricity
MEXICAN BARBACOA Earth ovens are one of humanity’s oldest ways of preparing food. They’re created by digging at least a 3-by-3-foot hole in the ground, adding hot coals, tightly wrapping food (with burlap or foil in modern day), and replacing the dirt to conceal the fire and food. The pressure of the heat essentially bakes and steams your food over 12 hours, and it’s best when preparing enormous batches of food, like Mexican barbacoa! Use boneless beef chuck — beef cheeks and tongue also work! — and add crushed garlic cloves, white onion, black peppercorns, salt, and fresh Mexican oregano to achieve the classic barbacoa flavor. SPANISH GAZPACHO This is a great, refreshing soup for summer! Get 2 cups of tomato juice, 4 medium peeled and finely chopped tomatoes (feel free to use canned), 1/2 cup peeled and chopped cucumber, 1/3 cup finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it together in a bowl, and you’ve got a classic, easy gazpacho. Thanks for reading, and we hope you pick up a new family-favorite recipe from these ideas!
Around the world, electricity can be difficult to come by. But that hasn't stopped people from creating beautiful, innovative dishes. Here's how you can explore world cuisine in your home without electricity — and for this article, we’ll skip things you can make with a wood-burning stove or oven, too. INDIAN INSTANT MANGO PICKLES Want to add an interesting, sweet-and-sour condiment to your toast or family barbecue? Prepare these fast, pickled mangoes by using either jarred or fresh mangoes. Cover mango strips with salt, then add an equally small amount of asafoetida (can substitute with onion powder, garlic powder, or fresh fried garlic), turmeric powder, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, chili powder, and mustard oil. Mix well and enjoy this incredible flavor bomb immediately! MEDITERRANEAN HUMMUS No need for tahini — just smash canned garbanzo beans until smooth! Add olive oil, ground cumin, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste. You can even mix in fresh crushed garlic. It is delicious with crunchy vegetables or flatbread!
THE BEST INTERNATIONAL DISHES THAT REQUIRE NO ELECTRICITY
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