A TAX PREPARER WHO KNOWS THEIR STUFF CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS: PART 1 FTR TAX TIP OF THE MONTH
I want to start by shouting out my client Roger Perez, an independent insurance agent in Kenosha. He does a phenomenal job helping his clients find the right insurance policies, and he also makes sure their tax return preparers take care of them properly. Roger recently referred a Spanish-speaking client to me because he felt their current preparer did a terrible job on their 2018 return, and he hoped I could prove it. Roger’s client lives in Kenosha but hired a firm in Chicago because it catered to Spanish speakers. The client thought that firm would look out for his best interests — but he was wrong! When I reviewed a copy of his return, which included a Schedule C for his siding installation business, I discovered the preparer had done an awful job of reporting his business expenses. The client is an independent contractor, and most of his work is in the Milwaukee area. He drives back and forth from Kenosha to Milwaukee every day, and he didn’t have a mileage log, so the preparer decided to estimate his business driving miles for the year. She reported 33,000 business miles and 32,000 commuting miles on his Schedule C. Talk about putting a bullseye on a taxpayer’s back for an audit! With round, obviously estimated numbers like that, the client might as well call the IRS and beg them to audit the tax return! On top of that, the preparer shouldn’t have listed commuting miles at all because the client has a home office and could have taken a deduction for that. Additionally, the preparer claimed $30,000 for the cost of goods sold (which was way too low), $5,000 for tools, $2,000 for phone, and $1,000 for uniforms — more round numbers. To add insult to injury, she also didn’t enter the amount of rent the client paid in order to compute the Wisconsin renter’s credit, which lost a $300 tax credit. Take it from a guy with clients in 14 states: If a tax preparer is doing out-of state tax returns, they need to educate themselves about all the tax laws for that state. I believe this client paid over $5,000 more in federal and state tax than they should have because of this sloppy return. Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this saga in the October issue!
EASY STUFFED SWEET POTATOES
Who says a loaded potato has to clog your arteries? In this healthy version that
serves four, a sweet potato base is topped with fiber-rich bean salsa.
Inspired by EatingWell.com
4 medium sweet potatoes
• • • •
1 tsp coriander
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sour cream
• • •
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1. With a fork, prick each sweet potato a few times. Microwave the potatoes on high 12–15 minutes, or until cooked through.
2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the beans, tomatoes, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and salt. When the potatoes are done, microwave the mixture on high for 2–3 minutes.
3. Cool potatoes slightly, then cut each potato open lengthwise. Pull the halves apart to create space to spoon the warm bean salsa inside.
4. Add a scoop of sour cream to each potato, garnish with cilantro, and serve!
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