Golden Tax Relief - March 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 MARCH 2018

B etter T han L uck

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, we’re bound to see plenty of four-leaf clovers, leprechauns, pots of gold, and other images of good fortune. No disrespect to the Irish, but I put little to no stock in the concept of luck. I certainly believe in one’s ability

While arbitrary “good luck” may not be a force in the world, misfortune certainly is. Most folks who come to my door have been dealt more than a few bad hands. In these situations, it can be difficult to know how to even begin breaking that downward spiral. I’ve had clients say

That’s why I founded Golden Tax Relief. There are avenues that lead to getting back in good standing, ones the IRS does a poor job of educating people on. These aren’t lucky charms, and I’m certainly no leprechaun — they are processes that exist within the tax code to help people in need. At the end of the day, it still rests on you to take action and lift yourself into good standing. Of course, my team and I will be there with you every step of the way. We’re here to give you the resources, tools, and advice you need to move forward. Those who have the most success in our process internalize this, recognizing that tax relief is a team effort. You don’t need a horseshoe or monkey’s paw to get the IRS off your back. All you need is a knowledgeable guide, good communication, and the will to change your situation.

" These aren’t lucky charms, and I’m certainly no leprechaun — they are processes that exist within the tax code to help people in need."

to change their fortune for the better, but this kind of transformation has to come about through hard work and due diligence rather than simply stumbling across the end of a rainbow. Being in my line of work quickly cures you of any illusions about silver bullets or fairy dust. When you find yourself in a hole with the IRS, the only things that will allow you to climb out are knowledge and hard work. I often get to see folks change their situations for the better when they once thought it was impossible. Witnessing that kind of success and being able to help it come about is my favorite part of my job.

they felt like they were “at the bottom of a well.” I try to help them understand that, by seeking help, they’ve already taken their first step toward pulling themselves out. Often, what leads people to the feeling that they are trapped in a hole is a lack of knowledge. As someone who was wrongly bullied by the IRS myself, I know how intimidating it can be to have agents show up on your doorstep or leave you threatening voicemails. If it wasn’t for my background in tax law, I would have been paralyzed by the thought of dealing with their astronomic demands.

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Tax Penalties Explained for Small-Business Owners

Running a small business means that there are plenty of tax- related things you need to know. Many small-business owners don’t understand some of the more complicated aspects of taxes, so they end up making mistakes filing, under-reporting their income, and a lot more. If you want to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place, you need to know about these tax penalties and how to avoid getting hit with them. The IRS wants to make sure that every citizen and business owner is paying their taxes correctly. To do this, they resort to the “intimidation” of tax penalties. They charge these tax penalties when you’re not in compliance with the tax law. There are plenty of these penalties, each with a specific purpose and severity for tax lawbreaking. What Are Tax Penalties?

percent, if you make more than $150,000) of your annual tax. Furthermore, you’ll have to pay that in quarterly installments and on time to avoid a penalty. • Not filing or not paying: The easiest penalty to avoid is the one you get when you fail to file your taxes correctly and on time. The penalty for such a simple thing can be very problematic: 5 percent and up to 25 percent interest per month. It’s also vital to file even if you can’t pay, because you’ll still get the penalty for not filing in addition to the one for not paying. If you fail to pay, the fine is 0.5 percent for each month in default, factored by the amount you owe. If you can’t pay everything that is due, you need to explain and pay as much as you can to avoid any penalty. • Inaccuracies: When the IRS finds substantial errors in your filings, they’ll end up charging you with a 20 percent penalty. They usually assess this after an audit. If you have questions or you have received penalties on your tax returns, call us to see if we can get those penalties abated on your behalf.

The Most Common Tax Penalties and How to Deal With Them

• Underpaying taxes: In most cases, if you fail to pay at least 90 percent of what you owe in taxes for a year, the IRS will charge you with a penalty. To avoid getting this common penalty for small-business owners, you need to pay 100 percent (or 110

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CELEBRITY TAX EVASION Stephen Baldwin Avoids Jail Time

Our celebrity articles often revolve around those who’ve found themselves in trouble with the IRS and the federal government. But accumulating debt on state taxes can be just as disastrous. This month, we’re examining how actor Stephen Baldwin found himself in hot water with the state of New York and facing up to four years of jail time. The youngest Baldwin brother was clearly facing some financial hardship at the close of the 2010s. He publicly auctioned his 1.4-acre Rockland County home after it was revealed he had defaulted on over $824,000 in mortgage payments in 2009 and filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly thereafter. But the payment on his $515,000 home wasn’t the only thing Baldwin was dodging. In 2012, it was revealed that the star of “The Usual Suspects” had failed to file state income taxes for the years 2008–2010. The news broke on Dec. 6, 2012, when Baldwin was arrested and the Rockland County Special

Investigations Unit formally charged the actor with failing to file his New York state personal income tax returns. These state felony charges carried with them the threat of four years of jail time, so Baldwin and his lawyers were quick to cooperate with investigators and the New York State Department of Taxation. The actor pled guilty in 2013 after striking a deal with tax officials. All told, Baldwin was on the hook for $400,000 in back taxes, but thanks to his cooperative attitude, the court waived interest and penalties and had the final amount reduced to $300,000. Beyond avoiding jail time, the celebrity was not even put on probation. Compared to fellow actor Wesley Snipes’ costly choice to fight tax charges, Baldwin’s outcome speaks to the value of cooperating with law officials and tax authorities to reach an understanding.

We may not all have the good fortune to be able to afford the lawyers available to the Baldwin family, but we can make efforts to get square with our state or federal taxes without disputing the charges. Even for powerful celebrities, sometimes playing ball with the taxman is the best course of action.

EVERYTHING POPCORN

LOL

Everything is the best bagel flavor. This is not a matter of debate. Sprinkle the seasoning on popcorn for a delicious snack that will have people asking, “What does this remind me of?”

Ingredients

• • • • •

3/4 cup popcorn kernels 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds 2 teaspoons granulated garlic

• • •

2 teaspoons granulated onion

1/3 cup canola oil

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions

1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. 2. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium- high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.

Inspired by Food & Wine magazine

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INSIDE

page 1 Luck Won't Help, but We Can page 2 Are You Getting the Most out of Your Digital Home Assistant? Tax Penalties Explained for Small-Business Owners

page 3 Baldwin Avoids Jail Time Everything Popcorn

page 4 Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning

The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning D onate W ith C are

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring- cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well- meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:

• • • • • • • • •

Expired medications

Old TVs

Cribs

Loose remote controls

Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup

Mattresses

Carpets

While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring-cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can't take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out Call2Recycle.org to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.

Tangled cords or phone chargers Any broken, damaged, or dirty items

These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations.

Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.

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