32850 US-43 STE B, THOMASVILLE, AL 36784 844-229-8936 GOLDENTAXRELIEF.COM A Time for Family WHAT I ’M GRATEFUL FOR THIS CHRISTMAS G o l d e n G a z e t t e DEC 2017
For my family, Christmas means a trip to the country. For the past 10 years or so, we’ve driven to my dad’s farm to spend the holiday with him and my siblings. On Christmas Eve, we roll out Dad’s 1928 John Deere, hitch a trailer to the back, and take the grandkids on a good old- fashioned hay ride. I’m glad to give my kids a sense of the rustic lifestyle I had growing up. Dad bought the farm in 1986. Of course, back then, it wasn’t all tractor rides and climbing on hay bales. I did just about every kind of work you can imagine needs doing on a farm. I mended fences, bush- hogged, baled hay, fixed equipment when it broke down, and yes, mucked out the stables. It was hard work, but rewarding. Still, I found myself drawn to the kind of work my mom was doing. I can still see her in my mind’s eye, green journal books spread across the kitchen table, mechanical calculator at her side. She’d gotten her associates degree in accounting and had worked as a bank teller before my older brother was born. Every month, Mom would take Dad’s loose bundle of receipts and pay stubs and make those numbers work. I was so impressed that, by the time I was 8 years old, I told my dad “You better start University of Alabama, and I’m gonna be an accountant! Bold thing to say in grade school, but I kept my word.” “You better start saving up, because I’m going to the
saving up, because I’m going to the University of Alabama, and I’m gonna be an accountant!” Bold thing to say in grade school, but I kept my word. My mom was a big inspiration who got me into the world of accounting, and having her to turn to if I ever needed help with my math homework was always a plus. When I was in college, personal computers began to revolutionize accounting. One Christmas break, I got Mom a copy of the very first edition of QuickBooks. I taught her how to use the program and how it could simplify her bookkeeping. She took to it quickly, and I felt proud to have been able to tutor her in something for once. I went on to get my undergraduate degree in accounting from U of A, and received my M.A. in taxation from Golden Gate University. While working in San Francisco, one of my coworkers got a flat tire and planned to call AAA. To my surprise, this city boy had never changed a tire before! Didn’t matter that I was in a suit and tie, I picked up a jack and a lug wrench and helped him out. Turns out my dad and his farm gave me some pretty darn useful skills, as well.
I came back to Alabama when Mom fell terminally ill. Saying goodbye was tough, but at least she’s in a better place than any of us. Now all I gotta worry about is making sure I get there when it’s my time! Sitting down for the big feast on Christmas, I look around at the family Mom and Dad built together. I’m thankful for how much they’ve given me. So many people go into accounting and tax advising for the money. I did it because I had a passion, fostered and supported by my parents. They raised me to be an Alabama farm boy who says what he does and does what he says. They taught
me more than just accounting
and basic “farming skills.” They taught me that a man’s word is his bond.
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3 Creative Gift Wrap Alternatives
who attempt to file for an OIC on their own often put themselves at risk of not qualifying for a settlement, or they end up paying more than they have to. There are three general conditions under which the IRS will accept a compromise. Doubt of Liability If there is genuine reason to dispute the existence or amount of taxes you owe, the IRS can compromise to the corrected amount. This defends taxpayers from errors made in the tax filing process. Doubt of Collectability If your tax bill is proven to exceed the value of your combined assets and incomes, the IRS can compromise to an amount that is actually collectable. If you owe more in back taxes than you make and own, this is your chance for relief. Old Maps and Calendars These days, pretty much every phone has a built-in GPS, so you probably won’t need the map from your 1999 road trip anytime soon. If you still have an old map, why not use that for wrapping? The unusual designs guarantee your gifts will be one of a kind. And don’t worry if there are notes scrawled across the paper. Old events or directions will add some unique flair to the presents. Furoshiki Fabric is an excellent substitute for wrapping paper. You can use a scarf to create two gifts in one or pull out scraps of fabric from old projects. The traditional Japanese practice of furoshiki is all about wrapping goods in fabric. Described as “functional fabric origami,” you’d be amazed at how a few well- placed folds can turn your gift into a work of art. Learn how to wrap anything, from boxes to bottles, at ceas.ku.edu/furoshiki- instructional-videos.
There’s something magical about seeing a stack of presents wrapped in bright, multicolored paper. However, that enchanting scene quickly evaporates a few hours later when all those wads of wrapping paper and plastic bows are chucked unceremoniously into the garbage. What if we told you there are countless ways you can still enjoy wrapping and unwrapping presents, without all the waste? Here are a few creative gift wrap alternatives to consider this holiday season. Brown Paper Bags With the holiday season comes holiday shopping, and if you opt out of plastic grocery bags, you’re sure to have a surplus of brown paper bags in the pantry. Drop a present into the bag, tape it shut, and you’re good to go. Add some simple lace or a ribbon for an old-timey feel or get creative with stamps and hand-drawn artwork. This wrap job lets your imagination run wild.
You don’t have to follow the same gift wrap habits year after year. After the effort you put into finding just the right present, you should be able to make your gift wrap just as special. Find a method that’s uniquely you and get started!
What You Need to Know The Offers in Compromise Program
Effective Tax Administration This last consideration exists for those who can pay their legally owed tax debt, but who would be put into economic hardship by doing so. If any of these circumstances apply to you, it is worth considering an OIC. The process is formal and prolonged. After filling out IRS Form 656 and paying the $186 fee, the IRS will follow up with requests for what NOLO. com calls “rafts of financial documentation.” There are plenty of people looking to magically get out of their tax debt. You need to have enough organized evidence to prove your claim is legitimate.
The IRS accepts less than half of the OIC applications they receive. Expert consultation can help make sure your case is strongly documented. If you are considering filing for an OIC, come talk to us at Golden Tax Relief. 32850 US-43 B THOMASVILLE, AL 36784
If you can’t afford to pay your taxes in full, the Offer in Compromise program provides taxpayers the opportunity to pay a small amount as a full and final payment. Taxpayers
FAMOUS TAX FRAUDS How Al Capone Got Caught
Al Capone was an expert at getting away with murder. When he came to power in the mid-1920s, gang killings reached new heights in Chicago. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, gang murders went from 16 per year in 1925 to a whopping 65 at the height of Capone’s reign. These weren’t just rival gang members, either. Innocent civilians, police officers, and public prosecutors were cut down by Capone’s cronies. Despite being declared Public Enemy No. 1 by the Chicago PD, nothing ever stuck to Capone. He was meticulous in everything he did, always careful to create plausible deniability and coerce witnesses into silence. He tried his best to hide his ill-gotten gains, too, but not even Capone was smart enough to get away with tax fraud.
See, Capone thought he could live a cash- only lifestyle and avoid leaving a paper trail. But he slipped up and cut a single check, traceable to one of his many gambling rackets. From that one check, the FBI brought down the most famous criminal in American history. Capone was convicted of tax evasion in 1931 and was sentenced to 10 years in Federal prison. He died while serving his time. It just goes to show that what they say about death and taxes is true. Even if crime does pay, you better give the IRS their due. A mastermind like Capone had a hard-enough time maintaining a cash- only lifestyle back in the 20’s. It’s boggling that people think they can pull it off now. Regardless of what side of the law you’re on, take our advice. Pay your taxes.
Easy Holiday Party CHEESE FONDUE
HAVE A LAUGH
• • • • • •
¾ cup dry white wine 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 (8-ounce) package sliced Swiss cheese
1 clove garlic Salt to taste
Foods to dip (apple slices, bread cubes, roasted vegetables, etc.)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together wine and cornstarch. 2. Chop cheese slices into small, uniform pieces. 3. Rub clove of garlic all over the sides and bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot, then discard. 4. Heat wine mixture over medium- low heat in the pot until thick and
bubbling. Add some cheese and slowly whisk. When nearly smooth, add more cheese and whisk gently. Repeat until all cheese is melted. If mixture seems too tight, add 1 tablespoon wine.
5. Season with salt and serve
immediately. Keep pot on low heat to keep the fondue dippable.
32850 US-43 STE B THOMASVILLE, AL 36784 844-229-8936 GOLDENTAXRELIEF.COM
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page 1 What I’m Grateful for This Christmas page 2 Stop Wasting Gift Wrap! When You Owe the IRS More Than You Can Afford page 3 How Al Capone Got Caught page 4 Santa Tracking Goes High-Tech Santa Tracking Goes High-Tech INSIDE
It’s almost Christmas, and if you have small kids, you know what that means: prepping for the arrival of a jolly man in a red suit and his confusingly named reindeer. Some of us may remember spending Christmas Eve curled on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa as radio reports tracked Santa’s trip around the globe. But these days, kiddos have gotten a little more high-tech in their search for up-to-date, GPS-driven Kringle updates. First, there’s the Google Santa Tracker (santatracker.google.com), a full-fledged holiday hub for your browser powered by Google Maps, including, of course, an up-to-the-minute GPS tracker for the big man. The application arrived in 2004, and it’s been updated every year since. During the countdown to Christmas, there’s a col- orfully animated advent calendar of sorts, where buildings around Santa’s village “thaw out” and reveal a host of fun games and activities. There’s even a section titled “Santa Tracker for Educators,” which includes kid-friendly coding games, infor-
mation on international holiday traditions, and a translation app to “learn the Santa lingo from around the world.” When the eve of the big day finally comes, Google promises a showcase of Santa’s “dashboard, the technology that powers his sleigh during his around-the-world journey.” Featuring “the latest and greatest … in sleigh engineering,” the app displays a Google Maps window that tracks each of Santa’s stops, gives status updates from Old Saint Nick, and tells kids how far he is from their city. It’s a colorful, fun adven- ture for the whole family. Of course, Google’s not the only kid on the Santa-tracking block. There’s also NORAD Tracks Santa, operated by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the same organization that tracks nuclear missiles for the government. Similar to Google, noradsanta.org includes a variety of fun games and activities leading up to Christmas. But unlike Google, NORAD has a dedicated Santa-tracking app for your
phone, where you can see a 3-D view of Santa’s location during his trip. The app also features videos, so you and your little ones can see clips of Santa flying around major landmarks and world cities. Just don’t stay up too late watching them. You don’t want Santa to skip over your house!
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