Robinette Law - March 2020

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March 2020

DEDUCTING TO ZERO How to Thrive This Tax Season

FROM THE DESK OF Jeffery L .Robinette


All too often, we receive calls from potential clients who have been seriously injured, sometimes with permanent life-altering injuries, and there is little to no insurance coverage available from either the at- fault party or their own policy. They are in desperate need of medical treatment and compensation from lost wages, but adequate insurance coverage was not in place before the collision. Sadly, there is not much that can be done by way of financial compensation for this huge disruption in their lives. One of the most common insurance mistakes I see drivers make is not buying enough underinsured motorist (UIM) and uninsured motorist (UM) insurance for their vehicles. As many as 1 in 6 drivers are uninsured, and many more only have minimal coverage and no assets, so you must protect your family and yourself by purchasing as much of these additional coverages as you can afford. I recommend at least $100,000 in UIM/UM coverage. Protect your family’s future by ensuring you have adequate UIM and UM coverage. It is truly one of the best investments you can make.

If you’re a small-business owner, tax seasonmay feel daunting. The federal tax code and supporting documents are nearly 70,000 pages long, and you just want tomake sure you’re saving as muchmoney as possible. But how likely is it that you’ll do so? Over 93% of small- business owners overpaid their taxes in the past decade, according to Forbes. “The best taxes are the ones you don’t have to pay,”writes Garrett B. Gunderson, the financial advisor who reported the statistic. Most small-business owners are unaware of the many deductibles and strategies they can use tomake the most of their money this year. Keep Every Receipt During the year, receipts can create clutter and disorganization, which discourages most people from keeping track of them. However, you can earn plenty of deductibles by keeping each and every receipt, whether personal or business. Without spending any extra money, you canmake sure the savings you’ve already earned don’t vanish. The app 1tap receipts makes it incredibly easy. Just take photos of your receipts (even if they’re double-sided!), and it’ll automatically import the information to the app. It can sync withmost bookkeeping and tax-filing software andmakes your life incredibly easy during tax season. Deduct, Deduct, Deduct Are you aware of all your available tax deductions? All of the following are a 100% tax-deductible: salaries and benefits, telephone and internet expenses, education, depreciation, home office, interest, legal and professional feeds, moving expenses, rent expenses, business meals, business insurance, business interest and bank fees, business use of your car, and advertising and promotion. Finally, any personal expenses you can link to your business can also be deducted.


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an expert can easily help you file for typical costs associated with setting up a business.

Keep inmind that there are certain conditions for accounting things like business meals. You can only deduct 50% of the cost from regular meals, while you can deduct 100% fromoffice parties. While it may take extra time to calculate every deductible, tax software canmake it easy. It’s in your best interest to take no shortcuts. All these small savings can put more money in your pocket for the upcoming quarter. Don’t Sell Unused Property Do you have old equipment that’s not providing ROI to the business anymore? You should weigh your options. Donating it, so long as you’ve owned it for over a year, is fully deductible. Selling it wouldmake it a capital loss, which is not deductible. Find your property classification under Section 1231 of the federal tax code to help you determine the largest savings option. Deduct Startup Costs As long as you created your business, any expenses tied to starting your company can be deducted up to $5,000 along with up to $5,000 in organizational costs—but only if your total startup costs are $50,000 or less. Tax software or

SpendMoney to SaveMoney Within the right profit margin, spendingmoney on your business can reduce your taxes to zero. It’s not news tomost entrepreneurs, but the more you spend on the business, the more tax deductions you earn. Don’t spend $10 to save $3, but don’t be too stringent on savings; keep inmind that buying new equipment, hiring new employees, creating an advertising campaign, andmore can lead to cheaper taxes. Track Carryover Tax Deductions Don’t forget to keep tabs on past capital losses, net operating losses, home office deductions, or large charitable donations. If these deductions aren’t fully used in one year, they can carry over and apply to the next. Remember theTax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018 While this act did cut out deductibles available in previous years, such as travel expenses, you can still benefit from the change inmany ways. If you file as a pass-through entity for your business,

youmay already be aware that your standard deduction has been doubled. This can even mitigate the benefit of keeping track of your receipts if your spending was modest in the past year. However, this is only if your business taxes are filed individually. Be sure to double-check the recent changes before filing tomake the most of your deductions. Without spending any extra money, you can track all your deductibles and tie any personal income or home office expenses to your business to save as a small-business owner. If you do spend extra money—with tactful awareness of the profit margin—you can still make your tax season easier and less stressful.

Completely Different Roots Celebrating St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland vs. America

holiday, pubs and bars closed down on March 17 until 1961. Additionally, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage is another American addition. In Ireland, pork and cabbage was actually more common, but impoverished Irish immigrants substituted less expensive beef for pork, and the tradition stuck. Even though the most widely observed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations originated in America, many of them have found their way back to Ireland. Starting in 1996, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin now attracts over 1 million attendees with all the drinks and revelry that Americans love. You’d be hard pressed to find a green beer, though. In the hallowed birthplace of Guinness and whiskey, some traditions may be better left across the pond.

land. When Catholic Irish immigrants first came to the United States, they faced persecution from a largely Protestant population. In response, Irish Americans began using March 17 as a day to publicly declare and celebrate Irish heritage with parades and demonstrations. The observation of St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, NewYork, and Chicago. Then, in the booming post-WorldWar II economy, various businesses aggressively marketed the holiday to Americans of all heritages. Thus, it became a day when anyone could celebrate Irish American heritage, or at least it gave everyone an excuse to drink like they believe the Irish do. Ironically, imbibing was not a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland until relatively recently. Due to the religious nature of the

From extravagant parades to green-dyed rivers, something about St. Patrick’s Day feels quintessentially American—despite its Irish heritage. That’s because many common St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated in America, evolving beyond their roots in the Emerald Isle in a few key ways. On March 17, Irish folks commemorate the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to pagan Ireland during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Historically, these religious origins make for a more somber observance of St. Patrick’s Day. Many Irish families go to church and eat a modest feast as the extent of their celebration. However, St. Patrick’s Day in America is not so much about venerating Ireland’s patron saint as it is about celebrating Irish heritage in a foreign

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On National Mom-and-Pop Business Owners Day Giving Back to Local Companies

With that big of a returned investment, your community can support even more small businesses that generate a wealth of jobs and keep the cycle going. In addition to the economic boost, products from small businesses are usually higher quality, which makes them a better value for your dollar. Take this day to shop for birthday and holiday gifts for your loved ones that will bring them great joy and last a lifetime. While small businesses utilize every form of marketing available, social media is essential for their success and growth. After shopping at your favorite mom-and-pop business, share that experience on your social media! When you write a post on Facebook or take a picture for Instagram, be sure to tag the Get social and spread the word!

March 29 is National Mom-and-Pop Business Owners Day, which is huge for small businesses everywhere. Mom-and-pop businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy; Small Business Trends reports that mom-and-pop businesses account for 64% of gross domestic product (GDP) and generate 78% of all new jobs. Furthermore, no matter what turns the economy takes, small- business owners are less likely to lay off their employees than big corporations. Mom-and- pop businesses support all communities, and you can support them by celebrating this unofficial holiday!

business and use relevant hashtags so your friends, family, and everyone else in your community can shop there too. Writing reviews on Google Reviews and Yelp helps establish validity for the company. When another potential customer looks for reviews, they know they’re getting quality products and services from a well- established pillar of the community. The local businesses that are active on social media may post deals and sales for that day only, so keep your eyes peeled and be sure to follow all your favorite businesses!

Give your local economy a boost!

Shopping locally has a massive impact on your community. Local businesses return three times the amount of money to the local economy than larger corporations do.

Take a Break!


Inspired by

Ingredients Irish soda bread is a staple of many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but it was born out of necessity for the impoverished citizens of Ireland way back when. Celebrate their ingenuity and grit with this easy, modern version. Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a large baking sheet. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and margarine. 3. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg, and mix until dough comes together. 4. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Form dough into a round before placing it on baking sheet. 5. In a small bowl, combine melted butter and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. 6. Brush the raw loaf with this mixture and cut an “X” into the top. 7. Bake loaf for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted into center of loaf. You may need to continue brushing the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

4 cups all- purpose flour

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4 tbsp white sugar 1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cupmargarine 1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided

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1 egg

1/4 cup butter, melted

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Jeffery Robinette PAGE 1 Making the Most of Small-Business Tax Deductions PAGE 1 The Evolution of St. Patrick’s Day PAGE 2 Celebrating National Mom-and-Pop Business Owners Day PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Easy Irish Soda Bread PAGE 3 Bringing Love, Joy, and Life Back to Kishi Station PAGE 4

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Tama, the Calico

The First Feline Stationmaster in All of Japan

original owner had asked the railway workers to care for her before he moved away — he couldn’t bear to take her from the station she loved to visit so much. So, Kojima decided to go meet Tama. He liked her immediately and adopted her. A year later, Tama was officially named the Stationmaster of Kishi Station, the first cat stationmaster in Japan. To complete her look, Kojima gave her a small conductor hat to wear as she greeted commuters from her window perch inside the ticket gates. As an official stationmaster, Tama became wellknown all across Japan and throughout the world. She appeared in the media and on promotional materials that soon brought much-needed foot traffic to Kishi Station. Thousands of tourists came rushing to Kishi to see Tama for themselves, ride the Tamaden

During the mid-2000s, the Kishi Train Station in Japan began to deteriorate. By 2006, Kishi Station was left completely unstaffed because of low ridership and financial problems. However, one last resident still remained after everyone else was long gone: a black, white, and tan cat named Tama. Tama first appeared at the station as a young cat in the late 1990s. She lived near the train station and would visit commuters daily to receive affection and the occasional treat. But, as it turned out, her continued visits to Kishi Station would end up playing a much bigger role for the station. The same year it became unstaffed, residents living near the station asked the president of the Wakayama Electric Railway, Mitsunobu Kojima, to revive the station because the cat’s survival depended on it. It turns out Tama’s

carriage, and pick up Tama merchandise inside the station.

Tama brought joy to all commuters for the next several years before passing away in 2015. Nearly 3,000 people attended her funeral, and her legacy lives on. Tama’s successors continue as stationmasters: Nitama, who serves as Kishi stationmaster, and assistant Yontama at Idakiso, five stations away. Tama’s friendly and loving nature impacted many people around her, and she will always be affectionately known as the cat who saved the Japanese train station.

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