Cincinnati Tax Resolution - June 2020

JUNE/JULY 2020 VOLUME 4, ISSUE 6

T O P H ’ S TAX RESOLUT ION T I M E S

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Adapting to Change

These are interesting times. We’re all dealing with a lot of changes. Some people are working from home, some are continuing to work but are dealing with severely reduced income, and some have been laid off. It’s tough. Normally, spring is a busy time for me. In the days leading up to Tax Day, which is traditionally April 15, I’m working long hours to make sure all my clients are taken care of. This year, it feels like everything has been flipped upside down. While I’m still working, which I am thankful for, things are certainly very different. With tax season extended to July 15, people have been reevaluating their situation. I’ve been on the phone with clients communicating the status of their case or answering any and all questions they may have. I’ve been walking people through various resources that have been made available by the federal government and helping them navigate newfound hardship. For instance, I’m helping them figure out the new government stimulus and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. One big thing you may be dealing with, as many of my clients are, is reduced cash flow. With reduced cash flow, many small-business owners and self-employed folks are wondering how they’re going to deal with their taxes, even with the deadline. In answering these kinds of questions and helping clients navigate the coronavirus crisis, at least as it applies to their business or tax situation, I’ve been doing a lot of work I normally would never do during tax season. Just like everyone else, my cash flow is down, but I want to make sure we make it through this. On the personal side of things, I’ve been spending a lot more time with the family. Ashley has been home along with our four kids. And because we have been unable to hire a babysitter or call in the grandparents for help due to shelter-in-place rules, I’ve been helping out as much as I can while still balancing work. I was hoping to take some “paternity leave” once tax season had wrapped up in April, but that’s another change I’ve had to adapt to. With the tax season extension, those plans have changed. Maybe we’ll do something in the coming months after the “new” tax season has come to an end.

Ashley was planning on expanding her role with the business after tax season as well. But, like many things, we’ve put that on hold. She’s been spending a lot more time with the kids and we aren’t sure how her other part-time role in the health care field will play out as of this writing. At the end of the day, we’re doing what we can to make things work. I’d say we’ve been able to adapt fairly well, and we’ve been able to make a few changes for the better. One thing I’m focusing on with the business is efficiency. I’ve been working to schedule more phone calls in advance, rather than relying too heavily on emails or text messages with clients. This keeps me on top of all of my communication with clients so that nothing slips through the cracks. As challenging as it has been over the past few months, it is important to look at things with optimism. It can be hard, but it can be a source of reassurance to know that despite the challenges, there are silver linings. Remember to take it one day at a time, and as always, stay safe out there.

–Toph Sheldon

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WHEN THE IRS COMES KNOCKIN’ ... LET US ANSWER THE DOOR!

Getting Ready for the New July 15 Tax Deadline On the Pulse of the IRS

Normally, we like to share a tax success story in this space, but this month we wanted to do something a little different. Many clients have had questions about the IRS, but the main one is this: What is the IRS doing right now? As you know, the federal government extended the tax deadline from April 15 until July 15, but there are many other things that go along with this. What do they mean? The IRS is effectively “shut down” until July 15, which means they’re up and running at a limited capacity. For example, the IRS is continuing to process tax returns, but only if those tax returns were filed electronically. If you sent any documents to the IRS by mail between April and now, then they will likely not be processed until after July 15. The IRS is also only processing refunds for those with direct deposit set up through the agency. Like paper mail, the IRS is waiting to send out paper checks until after July 15, so if you are expecting a refund, then you still have to wait a little bit before that is sent out. Tax returns aside, the IRS has put a hold on opening new collection cases. If a case was already open and active from earlier in the year, then work on that case will continue, but no new cases are taking place. That said, they can’t close cases either. If a case has been “resolved” between April and July, then they can’t officially close the case until after July 15. This can add a layer of uncertainty if you have a case open with the IRS. But there is good news. The IRS is completely understanding of the current situation because they know what the taxpayers are going through. They have been very helpful over the past couple of months, and even though they are working at a reduced capacity for the time being, they are still doing what they can to move things along. Now is a great time to get caught up on things and to hand over relevant documentation the IRS needs to process your case. That way, come July 15, you’re ready to go and they have what they need to get to work. Basically, if you’re behind on your taxes, then this is “free time” to get things done. If you can get things taken care of now, on July 15, then the IRS will see the effort you have put in and that will reflect positively on your case!

Unsure of How to Lead Your Business Through a Crisis? ‘The Agony of Decision’ Has Answers When business coach and scholar Helio Fred Garcia published“The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis”back in 2017, he had no way of knowing that a pandemic would break out just three years later. Now, his book about how tomake tough calls under pressure is more relevant than ever for entrepreneurs. “The Agony of Decision” teaches that when your company is on the line, it’s quick thinking—more than smooth communication, effective execution, or even expertise— that can save it. The book offers a framework to guide you through the decision-making process, helping you identify and weigh each outcome, then choose the right one. Answer that first big question, Garcia teaches, and the rest of the tumblers will click into place, allowing you to lead your company forward. To prove it, he weaves his personal experiences and decision-making scaffolding with notable stories of past business failures and successes. As one Amazon reviewer writes, “Helio Fred Garcia provides a thorough discussion of the do’s and don’ts of crisis response with both current and historical events (remember ExxonValdez or Tylenol?) that clearly demonstrate the right way to respond…and the gateway to disaster.” Withmore than 30 years of experience mentoringmassive international companies and nurturing business leaders at top American universities under his belt, Garcia is the perfect person to give voice to these tough lessons. His prose is self-assured, knowledgeable, and easy to read, which makes“The Agony of Decision”a surprisingly comforting book for an entrepreneur going through hardship. There’s a reason BookAuthority named it one of their best crisis management books of all time! In the last fewmonths, the coronavirus has proven to be the ultimate test of crisis management. If you’re in the process of figuring out how to lead your business effectively through the turbulence and could use a decision-making toolkit to help you when the phone rings with bad news, “The Agony of Decision”might be your ideal summer read.

–Toph Sheldon

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Taking It One Day at a Time

At the beginning of the year, I was making plans. I figured that when baby Tess arrived at the end of February, I’d be on maternity leave for a while and then everything would go back to normal. I’d go back to work, the kids would be at school, and Toph would be getting into high gear as Tax Day arrived. Boy, how things change. Instead, I’m at home with four kids on extended leave, and Toph is working remotely. Like many families, we’ve been taking it one day at a time. It’s been good to have all this time together, but I will say, as soon as things start to return to normal, I will be giving many babysitters a call. I’ll single-handedly put one segment of the economy back to work!

been coming down the pipeline. With the tax deadline extended to July 15, a lot of people have had questions.

On the one hand, a three-month extension gives people breathing room, especially as they deal with everything going on in their own businesses and as they try to keep themselves taken care of. On the other hand, many of Toph’s clients have been on top of things and just want to get their taxes taken care of sooner rather than later. That’s good to see.

As for me, I’m anxious to get back to work. Originally I was going to be expanding my role working in the business, but now everything is in limbo. Additionally, in my other role as a part-time nurse at a children’s hospital, while I want to get back to work, I also don’t want to risk bringing anything back home. At the same

Last month, I mentioned I had come down with the flu — in fact, I was diagnosed with the flu just before baby Tess was born. It was tough for a while, but thankfully, I got through it. And no one else got sick after I did, which was a blessing!

time, I know health care workers are needed right now.

We’ll see how things go. It’s all about taking this one day at a time. In the meantime, however, we’ll continue to bond as a family in our daily walks around the neighborhood, as we wait to see how things shake out.

Since then, Toph has moved from his work office to his home office. He’s been hard at work keeping his clients in the loop and updating them on everything that’s

– Ashley Sheldon

Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes

TAKE A BREAK

You can’t go wrong with grilled chicken and tomatoes on a warm summer’s evening. It’s a simple recipe that packs a flavor punch.

Ingredients

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2 tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

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8 Roma tomatoes

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)

Directions

1. For marinade: In blender, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and basil. Cut 2 tomatoes into quarters and add to mixture. Cover and process until blended. Halve remaining tomatoes for grilling. 2. In bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Reserve remaining marinade. 3. Heat grill to about 350–400 F. Lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until internal temperature reads 165 F, about 4–6 minutes per side. Grill tomatoes until lightly browned, about 2–4 minutes per side. Discard remaining marinade. 4. Serve chicken and tomatoes with reserved marinade.

Solution on Page 4

Inspired by TasteOfHome.com

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Cincinnati Tax Resolution Powered by Toph Sheldon 9200 Montgomery Rd., Ste. 7B Cincinnati, OH 45242

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INSIDE 1 Change Is Never Easy

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The Secret to Leading in a Crisis

Take Advantage of This ‘Free Time’ From the IRS!

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Dealing With the Unexpected

Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes

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Johnny B. in Trouble With the IRS

Toph’s Tax Nightmares

The IRS Isn’t Ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll With Chuck Berry In the 1950s, Chuck Berry skyrocketed to fame as a hit rock ‘n’ roll artist with hits such as “Maybellene” and“Johnny B. Goode.”His music swept across the airwaves, and by the 1970s, he was still a household name, but his star had lost its luster. He was still playing concerts and making good money, but he had a fall from grace of sorts.

In 1973, the IRS accused Chuck Berry of tax evasion. This marked his third major run-in with the law. His first run-in was in the 1940s when he was in high school and was arrested for armed robbery. He was arrested again in the ‘60s for transporting a 14-year-old girl over state lines. He went to prison for three years for that offense.

Then he had the IRS breathing down his back. Wanting to avoid a drawn-out trial, Berry pleaded guilty to evading $110,000 in taxes he owed for the 1973 tax year.

At the time, it was reported that Berry had earned just $374,983, according to a joint filing with his wife. This report, as you may have suspected, was false, and their income for the year was much higher. As a result, Berry was sentenced to four months in prison and 1,000 hours of community service. He got his taxes squared away, served his time, and completed his community service. But what exactly did Berry do for that community service?

The best thing he knew: music. He performed a number of community and charity benefit concerts. After a thousand hours of music, he was golden. He continued to play music until he passed away in 2017 at the age of 90.

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