Take a look at our newsletter this month.
WISDOM FROM THE BASKETBALL COURT
What I’ve Learned From a Lifetime of Competition
I don’t know about you, but it really put a dent in my spring plans this year when March Madness was canceled. I love watching the games, and even though I know the cancellation was in the best interests of the players and fans, it still bummed me out to have to miss one of my favorite stress relievers during tax season. Since that news came out, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about basketball and how important a role it has played in my life. I loved playing basketball as a kid, and I ended up being a member of my high school team. After graduation, I played recreationally in city leagues through college, and even today, I like to get away when I can to shoot hoops with my youngest son, Elliot, in Kenosha where he’s going to school. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say basketball has been with me through thick and thin. When I was in high school in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, basketball wasn’t quite as glamorous of a sport as it is today. Now, there are crazy traveling leagues that let high school players go all over the county and play year- round, but things were a lot more localized back then. My team only traveled to schools within a 50-mile radius of my hometown. Still, I really loved those travel days bonding with the guys. Freshmen and sophomores took buses to the games, while juniors and seniors on the varsity team got to ride with the coaches in their cars. Between practice, travel, and school, I probably spent more time with my teammates than I did with my family back then. Even in the summer, we kept up that connection, playing three-on-three games in my parents’ driveway or going to the gym to play five-on-five. I loved the challenge of working so closely with a few other people, trying to read one another’s minds and outwork the other team. When I had kids of my own, I tried to pass that experience on to them. We always had a hoop in our driveway, and we’d go out and play one-on-one or a game of horse on the concrete. I can’t run quite as fast as I used to, but I’m still in pretty good shape, and I’m proud to say I have stood my ground when playing with Elliot and his friends who are in high school! Beyond just keeping me physically fit, basketball has taught me some important life lessons. I think my biggest takeaway from my years on the court is the importance of persistence, hard work, flexibility, and attention to detail. Back in high school, I worked really hard to get into the right mindset
for the game, and I was always trying to hone my skills and learn new things. I’ve definitely carried those values into my work. Today, I constantly push myself to improve for my clients and add more tax knowledge to my arsenal. Basketball also taught me that you have to roll with life’s punches. As much as we’d like to win all the time, that’s just not possible. In every game in life, there is a winner and a loser, and sometimes you lose, whether that’s because you played badly or just because the other team played better. What matters more than winning or losing is how you behave when the buzzer sounds. That’s when you see a player’s true character come out. Really, running a small business isn’t all that different from playing basketball. I still find myself rolling with the punches, and the coronavirus pandemic has been a big one. That said, I know I’ll get through it, and so will you — especially if we’re teammates and help each other. If I can help you, a friend, or a loved one with anything tax-related in this tough time, just let me know. I have your back, and I’m only a phone call or email away. Paul Francetic
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THE PROS AND CONS OF BUYING A HOME IN A 55-PLUS COMMUNITY
CON: YOU’LL HAVE TO PAY A MONTHLY FEE.
Depending on your wants and needs, buying a home in a 55-plus community might be a financially savvy way to set yourself up for retirement. But is it the right decision for you? Here are a few financial pros and cons associated with moving into one of these neighborhoods. PRO: THE HOMES ARE IN EXCELLENT CONDITION. Oftentimes, 55-plus communities provide maintenance services, including housekeeping and landscaping. Also, it’s likely that only a handful of people have occupied the home since it was built, so buying in a 55-plus community means you’ll get a property in excellent condition with less wear and tear.
money by taking advantage of these programs instead of paying for a gym membership or a course at the local community college. CON: IT’S A LIMITED BUYER’S AND RENTER’S MARKET. Most people who buy in a 55-plus community plan to retire there. If this is your original intention but your plans change down the road, you might have a harder time selling your home here than you would in a community that is open to people of all ages. Make sure to budget for those potential holding costs and plan accordingly. Regardless of where you decide to buy, be sure to consult an experienced real estate agent and a financial planner. Here’s to living out your golden years in comfort and convenience!
Unfortunately, all the great stuff doesn’t come free. Usually, you’ll have to pay an extra monthly bill, similar to a homeowners association fee, to live in a 55-plus community. Some communities include all maintenance and amenities in the monthly rent or mortgage (some even cover utility bills), but make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered before you sign a contract! PRO: AMENITIES ARE INCLUDED. Most 55-plus communities include amenities like exercise classes and educational programs for their residents. They also invite community organizations and leaders to speak about local issues or upcoming elections. Some even have a clubhouse or dining hall for social gatherings. Save
TAX DEADLINES HAVE BEEN EXTENDED!
You Have Until July 15 to Pay Your Federal and State Taxes
As you might have already heard, the Trump Administration’s goal with the extension was to keep as much money as possible in the economy, which meant keeping it in taxpayers’ pockets. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes Mnuchin announced and what they mean for taxpayers around the country. You now need to file your taxes (or file for an extension) by July 15. That said, if you’re expecting a refund it’s recommended that you file as soon as possible (see Page 3 for filing tips). You’ll receive your refund as soon as the government can turn it around! There may be some delays, but it shouldn’t take significantly longer than any other year. If you owe, you don’t need to pay your federal and state taxes until July 15. This means you have three extra months to send in your payment to the IRS and state without worrying about accruing interest or penalties. The extension applies to payments of up to
$1 million for individuals, sole proprietors, and small businesses, and up to $10 million for corporations. If you’re going through hard times personally or professionally due to the coronavirus, hopefully this helps keep you and your family secure. The first and second quarter estimated tax payments for 2020 are due July 15. When the IRS extended the deadline, it also extended the due date of the first quarter estimated tax payment. Then the IRS also moved the second quarter estimated tax payment that was due June 15 to July 15 as well. If you’re confused about these changes, don’t have the money to pay, missed a deadline, or have a loved one who is struggling with their taxes because of the coronavirus, please reach out to Francetic Tax Resolution! I have been negotiating with the IRS on behalf of taxpayers for years, and I can help you get the time and peace of mind you need.
For months now, the coronavirus pandemic has hovered over the country like a huge, dark cloud. But as difficult as it has been dealing with school closures, shelter-in-place orders, and shuttered restaurants, there is at least one silver lining: On March 17, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the IRS was extending the federal tax filing deadline by three months, from April 15 to July 15, and all the states have followed the new deadline.
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FTR TAX TIP OF THE MONTH
If you haven’t filed your tax return yet because of the IRS extension (see Page 2), I have a crucial tip for you: Whenever possible, always file electronically. Why is filing electronically the way to go? Well, when you send in your returns by mail, you open yourself up to three possible outcomes — and all of them are bad. First, the IRS or state could misplace your return, causing an unneeded delay getting back the money you loaned them the previous year. Second, your refund check could get lost in the mail, forcing you to call the IRS or state and request another one. Third and worst of all, any out-of-the-ordinary items on your return could trigger an audit. The latter can happen much more easily when you send in a paper return because instead of it being accepted and processed by a computer, someone with the IRS or state has to look at it and manually enter numbers into the system. If you have questionable items on your return (like above-average deductions on Schedule A or Schedule C, for example), then your tax return can be flagged by the person entering the numbers. If that happens, the IRS or state might want to take a closer look — in other words, do an audit — and that could cause you some problems. ELECTRONICALLY FILE YOUR TAX RETURN IF POSSIBLE!
SPRINGTIME CACIO E PEPE
You can avoid most of these issues by e-filing. When you e-file, instead of having your
Inspired by Eating Well
refunds mailed to you, you can set up direct deposits so that you’ll receive the refunds within seven to 10
6 oz multigrain spaghetti
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 1/2 tsp black pepper
8 oz fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
business days. Currently, only original 2019, 2018, and 2017 tax returns can be e-filed to the IRS. The IRS does not accept e-filed amended returns, but the state of
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup baby arugula
1 tsp lemon zest
Wisconsin does. If you have tax returns from before 2017 that need to be filed, you unfortunately have to send them in by mail. You’ll want to be careful if you are reporting business income and expenses on these older tax returns, because they will warrant a closer look and may turn into a potential audit. If you or a loved one have questions about filing delinquent tax returns that can’t be e-filed, please contact me! I can help mitigate any unnecessary scrutiny by the IRS or state and make an audit less likely.
1. Heat oven to 425 F.
2. In a large pot, cook spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of water before draining and put spaghetti in a covered pot to keep warm.
3. Line a 15x10-inch baking pan with foil and toss in asparagus and olive oil.
4. Cook asparagus for 5–7 minutes and sprinkle with lemon zest.
5. Add 3/4 cup of the reserved water, Parmesan cheese, and pepper to the spaghetti. Stir until creamy.
6. Toss in asparagus and arugula before serving.
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Wisdom From the Basketball Court Is a 55-Plus Community Right for You? Tax Deadlines Have Been Extended! The Hazards of Filing a Paper Tax Return Springtime Cacio e Pepe Bird-Watching for Beginners
BIRD-WATCHING FOR BEGINNERS
Bird-watching is like a lifelong scavenger hunt that you can play anywhere on Earth. The activity provides a mixture of science, travel, and beauty, and it’s a chance to get outside for feathered adventures and quiet reflection. The month of May is a great time of year to go birding because rising temperatures prompt spring migration. So if you're eager to begin bird-watching, there’s no better time than now. Here are some tips to get started. EDUCATE YOURSELF Thousands of species of birds span all corners of the globe. That’s why finding them is an exciting prospect — there’s no end to the hunt! Start by researching birds that are native to your location. Purchase a field guide with pictures of each bird and maps of their range and use it to figure out where different birds live. From there, it’s easy to pick your first spotting goal. You can even get yourself extra excited by watching a few bird documentaries. GEAR UP One of the best things about birding is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it. As long
as you’ve got your field guide and comfortable walking shoes, the only other thing you’ll need is a pair of binoculars. And they don’t have to be fancy. As long as they can zoom in on faraway trees and perches, they’ll work for now. You can always upgrade later. GO EXPLORING Your very first birding excursion is important because you don’t want to be overwhelmed or underwhelmed. So use your field guide to home in on a single bird and go find it. It may be local, or you can plan a trip to a specific bird’s natural habitat. Stay focused and don’t get distracted by other species. The thrill that comes with spotting your first bird will keep you coming back to find the rest. Bird-watching is a wonderful hobby because it’s easy to get started and can last a lifetime. As long as you can walk, drive, or look out a window, you can be a birder. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find some birds!
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