Mileage As a Deduction (Guest Blogger: Arlene Perry )

Hello to all my entrepreneurs who are happily making that time-consuming commitment to creating a business for themselves and a legacy for their loved ones.

You’re busy running around, from client to client or location or location while running up all those miles on your vehicle. Well I have some good news for you. Those miles can be tax deductible. And in turn, will help decrease your taxable income. Because who in their right mind wouldn’t want to have less income to report to our best friend, Uncle Sam?

Business owners, including the self-employed, are allowed to deduct the mileage used for business. To do so, they have to use either the current IRS rate of 54 cents per mile or the business portion of their actual auto expenses. Expenses like gas, car payments and insurance. Whatever method they decide to use, they must have good, accurate, written records maintained and produced if ever the IRS should audit them.

The IRS does consider mileage deduction an easy target for auditing because there are strict restrictions on the type of mileage that qualifies as a deduction.

Individuals may also deduct their mileage if they are an employee who uses his or her car for business. Keep in mind though that the mileage Can’t Include Commuting To And From Work And Can’t Be Reimbursed By Your Employer. Here’s what Mileage can be deducted:

 Travel between 2 different work locations
 Travel to temporary work location (less than 1 year) from your home
 Travel for business related work errands, (ex. Banking, Purchasing Supplies, Setting up work events)
 Travel for clients’ meetings, both self-employed and employees
 Travel for business meetings or clients’ entertainment
 Travel to airports if related to clients

*****SELF-EMPLOYED PERSONS WILL CLAIM THEIR MILEAGE AS AN EXPENSE ON SCHEDULE C RATHER THAN ITEMIZING ON SCHEDULE A LIKE EMPLOYEES WILL DO****

In addition to the above rules, there are a few other things that can be beneficial to the tax payer. Here they are:

 People who are unemployed and traveling looking for work may deduct mileage to find a new job in their current occupation. BUT NOT traveling seeking employment in a new industry. They can deduct expenses paid traveling by public transportation.

 Those working full-time 39 weeks in the last 12-month period and have relocated at least 50 miles for work are entitled to claim a smaller deduction of 23 cents a mile

 For those working from home, usually the self-employed, there is no commuting mileage. So you claim all mileage traveling to business locations such as a second office or the clients’ locations.

As stated earlier in this post, it’s vital for individuals to keep accurate records when deciding to claim mileage. Audits by the IRS are unpredictable and have absolutely nothing to do with tax preparers.

Taxpayers are responsible for the upkeep of their own records. Which is why I also highly recommend they meet with a Bookkeeping or Accounting professional at least once a year. Twice for optimum benefits.

Additionally, I suggest investing in a travel log that can be obtained from any stationary store. And if individuals are technologically savvy, there are plenty of Apps available like QuickBooks Self-Employed. These will allow them to keep the records needed for the IRS if need be . They will need to show the number of miles for each trip, the date and time for each trip, the location they went to and the purpose of the trip which would include a client’s name if appropriate.

Mileage is a deduction/expense the tax payer is entitled to, but many bypass it because of the work involved. I say take every deduction you can and put in the effort because it can be worth it.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SUBJECT, REVIEW IRS PUBLICATION 463 at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p463.pdf

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Arlene Perry, Bookkeeper, MBA
Arlene@ArlenesUnlimitedServices.Com

Arlene Perry, MBA is the owner of Arlene’s Unlimited Services; a full service tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll business. Having had the business since 1998,  she serves the Manhattan and Bronx areas of New York City.

Within this time, Ms. Perry has worked with a variety of small businesses in different industries. They include security and retail as well as the bookkeeping of non-profit organizations.

Arlene graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in Business from Monroe College in New Rochelle, New York.

Prior to returning to college, Ms. Perry worked for the City of New York as a Police Officer. While serving, she prepared the tax returns for many of her co-workers and kept the financial records of a non-profit youth group that she was a part of.

Presently, Ms. Perry is working for a great non-profit organization focusing on keeping our youth out of the prison system. She’s also creating a side Baking Business. She’s a proud member of Real Sisters Rising, M & M Projects and Administrator of a Bookkeepers and Food Groups on FaceBook.

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The Financial Costs of Civil Rights Leadership

Martin Luther King Jr. is an American and global civil rights icon. His impact has reverberated for decades and will continue to do so. He is a man that made a difference.

But as a civil rights leader and a family man, he had bills. Something not often talked about. People needed to stay in hotels, lawyers in certain cases had to be paid. His children needed food, clothing and a home to sleep in.

Even today that’s the case for civil rights leaders and organizations. The fight for civil rights cost money. Both for it’s leadership and the overall organization.

So TaxAssurances put together a list of expenses that may show up on a non profit civil rights organization’s 990 tax form or expenses they simply have to pay to move the purpose of their organization forward.

Here is that list:

  • airline tickets
  • cabs/taxis
  • hotels
  • meals
  • conference/convention fees
  • cell phone
  • employee salaries
  • office rent
  • office phone
  • electric bill
  • office supplies
  • office paper
  • office ink
  • subscriptions to publications
  • computer equipment
  • office furniture
  • bail money
  • subcontractor payments/professional contract services
  • attorney’s fees
  • research staff
  • court fees
  • accountant’s fees
  • media training
  • public relations consultant
  • insurance
  • postage and shipping expenses
  • printing, duplication and artwork for flyers and other marketing material
  • donated materials and services
  • misc. expense
  • Oh yeah, and family expenses

So as we celebrate the life of an American treasure, it’s worth noting the real dollar costs that were laid out for his efforts. Efforts on so many levels that were not free.

Artist: Derek Russell
Titled: MLK
Media: oil on board
Size: 12″x16″
Painted in 2013
Commissioned and Collected by GSV Capital
Art Exhibited at the GSV Gallery in Woodside, CA

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Parents Should Have Life Insurance

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Once a person becomes a parent, there is no reason for them to go without having some sort of life insurance policy in place. Improving the life of a child is a parent’s primary responsibility. With a policy, a parent can continue their legacy even if for some reason they are no longer around.

Insurance Can Be Budget Friendly

Many parents may think they can’t afford a life policy. However, there are a number of options that do make it affordable for almost any budget. There are pros and cons with each choice, but having something basic in place is much better than not having anything at all. Especially since a child’s future depends on it.

Whether it’s simply keeping a roof over their head or paying for their potential college education, parents want to make sure the future needs of their children are taken care of. Again, it’s their primary responsibility.

So what types of policies are available to a parent?

Term Life Insurance

For starters, a term policy can be set up so that it cost nothing more than a Whopper meal sandwich from Burger King for the month. This makes it much more budget friendly then a cell phone, Netflix or cable TV. Common creature comforts parents find themselves spending money on each month. Under tough financial constraints, a term policy is a great alternative.

One of the downsides to a term policy however, is the fact that it only covers a parent for a certain period of time. That’s the term.

So for instance, if a parent buys a 10 year term policy and something happens to them 11 years after they bought the policy, then their children won’t get any money. The same holds true for a 20 and 30 year term policy. The insurance in essence expires and would no longer pay benefits to the children.

Also, unlike a number of other insurance policies (namely permanent policies) it would not accumulate any cash value. Cash value that could be used for any number of plans or emergencies that may come up in the future.

Permanent Life Insurance

Term insurance can be converted into a permanent life insurance policy. Permanent life insurance policies can also be bought on their own. They are called permanent policies because they are just that, permanent. Meaning, as long as the parent pays the monthly premium, they will have insurance for the rest of their life. Something not available with term life insurance policies.

There are a number of options to choose from when it comes to a permanent policy. They fall under the following categories; universal life insurance, variable universal life insurance and whole life insurance. Each selection has benefits many parents find attractive.

Like I said before, one of the more attractive benefits of a permanent policy has to do with the fact that it accumulates a cash value along with being a pure life insurance policy. Any parent that owns a policy like this has the best of both worlds. An available cash value and life insurance.

The main shortcoming with permanent insurance is the monthly cost. Typically it’s going to be more expensive on a month to month basis than term insurance. Once more, not attractive to some budget weary parents.

Buy Insurance When You’re Young

Buying life insurance at an early age is like giving a gift to your future self. The younger you are, the less expensive the payments every month. And the payment in most cases stays the same throughout the life of the policy. Imagine if you could pay the same amount for gas at the pump that people paid 20 years ago. That’s the idea.

And if budgets aren’t constrained, it makes sense to purchase life insurance even if someone doesn’t have any children. Why should they wait until they’re older and it becomes more expensive? Also, why should they wait to develop a medical condition that might prevent them from getting any insurance at all?

So if you’re a parent, make sure you somehow work life insurance into your budget. And yes, you may need to stretch yourself a little thin. In addition, you may never use it. But you can rest assured, that if you ever do need it, it will help secure the future needs of your child.

 

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