Francetic Tax Resolution LLC - January 2020

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Have You Seen These 4 Flicks?

Every year when the holidays end, I find myself falling into a bit of a new year’s slump. The cheerful Christmas lights disappear, the days are short, and more often than not, it’s cold, dreary, and dark outside. When all that starts to bring me down, though, I have a time-tested strategy to cure my winter blues: a funny movie marathon. For decades, comedy flicks have helped relieve my stress after a rough day or given me a few hours of escape from the pressures of the real world, and there are a few that never fail to crack me up. If the long winter is bumming you out, too, try movie marathoning my top four. Even if you’ve seen them already, I promise they’re worth the rewatch! 1. ‘CADDYSHACK’ Considering how much I love golf, it’s probably not surprising to any of you that this 1980 Michael O’Keefe movie tops my must-watch list. The story follows a teenager who caddies at an upscale golf club in order to get a shot at a college scholarship, and it stars Ted Knight and Chevy Chase as two of the wacky club members. It came out just a few years before I started working on a golf course, and I saw it in theaters. From then on, everyone at the country club where I worked had a bit of a laugh quoting it and comparing the snobby people we had to deal with to characters in the movie! Today, rewatching it always reminds me of old times. 2. ‘THE BLUES BROTHERS’ I love John Belushi, so of course, I love “The Blues Brothers,” which is probably his comedy magnum opus. In it, Belushi plays one of a pair of brothers who get out of prison only to find the orphanage they grew up in is closing down. Belushi and

Dan Aykroyd, who plays the brother, get their blues band back together to raise funds to save the place, and chaos ensues, including a big race through Chicago at the end that never fails to make me laugh. This movie has car chases, prison singalongs, and cameos by Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles. What more could a guy ask for? 3. ‘ANIMAL HOUSE’ The sarcasm in this movie gets me every time, and I think anyone who went to college (fraternity or no) can relate at least a little to the funny plot. In the film, two dorky freshmen end up part of a rowdy, raunchy fraternity the college dean is determined to shut down with the help of another fraternity’s president. Of course, things go hilariously wrong! John Belushi stars in this movie as well, and just seeing him makes me laugh with all his facial expressions and mannerisms. The scene in the cafeteria is classic. It has quite the cast of characters! 4. ‘NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION’ Even when the holidays are over, this movie never gets old. The tale of the Griswold family’s attempt at a perfect Christmas (which is quickly upended when their hillbilly relatives show up and park their camper on the property) is comedy gold no matter the season. Clearly, I’m a Chevy Chase fan because he makes an appearance in this flick, too! The scene where they’re trying to get the lights to work always cracks me up, and I love it when Grandpa shows up and lights the tree on fire. There are a few movies in this series, but the Christmas edition is by far the best and well worth the rewatch.

With tax time just around the corner, January is the month to give me a call or send a message to check in on any tax problems you’re having — and when you do, let me know if you’ve watched any of the movies on my list! There’s nothing like discussing comedy to lighten up a tax talk.

Paul Francetic





TAXES How much your benefits are taxed depends on your household income levels. For example, 50% of your benefits will be taxed if you make between $25,000–$34,000 individually or $32,000–$44,000 for married couples. If you’re above that income bracket, then 85% of your benefits will be taxable.

If you’re in the appropriate age bracket, Social Security may play a major role in your finances. So, it’s important to know how Social Security will be changing in 2020. TRUST FUND Unless Congress takes some drastic actions in the coming months, the current excess trust fund revenue will be depleted by the year 2034. If that happens, Social Security will only be able to pay 79% of the promised benefits from ongoing payroll taxes. You may need to think about what your financial plan would be like with 21% less income. RETIREMENT AGE If you haven’t reached retirement yet, this one is important to consider. If you were born after 1959, the full retirement age is now 67 for you. You’ll still

be able to start taking some benefits at age 62, but they’ll be at reduced monthly payments. COST OF LIVING Low inflation means that Social Security benefits will only see a minor cost of living increase. This year, it’s expected to be around 1.6%. It’s not major, but if you’re living off Social Security alone, every penny is important. MAXIMUM BENEFITS Those near the top of the Social Security income scale in 2019 will see an increase in their maximum payout in 2020. The maximum payout for an individual will be capped at $2,861 per month. That translates to $34,332 per year, so consider how that may impact your finances. When I started doing the tax returns for Rob Fleming’s State Farm Insurance business 11 years ago, I could tell right away he was a trustworthy, upstanding guy. We’ve never had a single problem in our years of collaboration, so when it came time for me to switch my personal insurance agent in 2012, Rob was the one I called. He’s been a great agent for me over the years and a great friend, too. Unlike most State Farm Insurance agents, Rob is able to work with clients in two different states — Wisconsin and Illinois — because his office in Kenosha is so close to the border. He handles auto insurance, homeowners insurance, condo insurance, renters insurance, life insurance, DI insurance, business insurance, and financial services, so in other words, he’s a jack-of-all- (insurance)-trades. That said, you don’t have to take my word for it that Rob is an excellent agent. Here are just a few of the things his clients are saying about him:


Meet the Client Who Became My Agent

“I have all my insurance with Rob and have been with his agency over 10 years,” Tina Pope writes on Google Reviews. “Professional yet friendly! Don't forget SF offers much more than home and auto. Check out their car loans. I had a couple of them and received great rates!” Also on Google, Lisa Hernandez writes, “Rob's office was awesome. They saved me money and made the insurance shopping experience very painless. Very professional,” and Vincent Hubli says, “The best around. If you want good service and quality people handing your business, this is the place to go.” If you still need convincing, visit RobertFleming. biz/ to learn more about Rob and the services he offers. He certainly has my stamp of approval, and I’m looking forward to doing his tax returns for years to come!




So, you won money gambling in 2019. Are you going to report all of your winnings on your tax return even if you didn’t receive a Form W-2G from the casino? The IRS requires all gambling winnings to be included in your taxable income on your tax return, but most people take the “easy” route and only report gambling winnings on the Form W-2G. If you’re going to do that, at least make sure your W-2G winnings are reported correctly! To do that, you have a few possible options. If you’ve received this form in prior years, you’re probably already familiar with the IRS rule that says you can deduct gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings on your Schedule A if — and this is a big IF — you can itemize. However, with the new standard deductions that went into effect for 2018, many people are not able to itemize, which means no deduction for gambling losses. The standard deductions for 2019 are $24,400 for married filing jointly, $18,350 for head of household, and $12,200 for single or married filing separately. All of those deductions rise if you’re 65 or older, or blind. If you can’t itemize to deduct your gambling losses, don’t despair — you’re still eligible to net your winnings for a “gambling session.” According to IRS rules, a taxpayer can subtract their losses from their winnings for each gambling session, which is defined as the time you spent at a particular casino on a particular day. For example, say you won $2,000 playing the slots in one day, but you actually spent $1,000 that day to win the $2,000. You can report $1,000 on your tax return as your net winnings. Of course, this net will not match your W-2G amount reported to the IRS, so you must include documentation with your tax return explaining how you arrived at the net winnings. If you have a casino players club membership, it should be easy to get a report from the casino to prove your wins and losses for a specific day. Many tax preparers don’t utilize the gambling session deduction for their clients if they aren’t able to itemize, but my goal is always to save you money on your taxes. If you have any questions about the gambling session deduction, give me a call at 262-752-6992. TAKE THE TIME TO REPORT YOUR GAMBLING WINNINGS CORRECTLY!


Cabbage is in season right now, which means it’s the perfect time to try your hand at making sauerkraut. The fermented cabbage requires only two ingredients, keeps for months, and is packed with beneficial probiotics.



• •

2 lbs cabbage

• • •


4 tsp fine sea salt

Lid with airlock

Something to weigh down cabbage, ideally made of a nonreactive material like glass


1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. Grease a loaf pan with canola oil.

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1/2 cup canola oil, molasses, brown sugar, eggs, ginger, and cranberries. In a separate bowl, sift and combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until blended. 4. Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. 5. Transfer to a rack, let cool for 20 minutes, slice, and serve.

Inspired by







Listen to Paul Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. on channel 1050 WLIP-AM or stream online at!

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My Funny Movie Marathon Changes to Social Security in 2020 Client Spotlight: State Farm Agent Rob Fleming FTR Tax Tip of the Month How to Make Your Own Sauerkraut



Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer


Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to

Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need. BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important files without having to worry about how much room is left. CLEAN UP SPACE Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to forget just how much goes in there.

get your technology in order. START BY DUSTING

Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer. ORGANIZE YOUR FILES Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for



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