If you’re a solo, a freelancer, or a small business owner, you know the words estimated taxes. You might have an accountant. You might not. Either way. Our accountant isn’t responsible for our taxes we are. It helps to know a little bit about what they’re supposed to say.
I know you might think the idea, the topic of taxes is boring. I, myself, have actually said the following words many times in the past. We all reluctant readers, if you don’t believe me, pick up the tax code.
Lucky for us, Kelly Phillips Erb started a blog called TAXGIRL… .
Great Find: TAXGIRL
Target Audience: Everyone who pays taxes in the US
Content: In the About Box, it says tax news, tax info and tax policy - and it’s not as boring as you think! That’s an understatement.
When I saw Kelly speak at BlogHer, she started by saying that she like the law so much she went back for her master’s degree in tax law. There’s something to that saying “Blog Your Passion.” I would have never believed someone could make tax information so compelling. I feel smarter and more interesting every time I go there.
Here’s an example of her refreshing style of tax writing.
It’s the Most Ring-a-Ding Time Of the Year
by Kelly on October 31st, 2007
You probably think that I’m talking about the fact that for some disturbing reason, retailers have packed the stores with Christmas goodies - and Halloween isn’t even over yet (who buys stuff this early anyway?).
But I’m not.
I’m talking about solicitations. It’s the time of the year when charitable organizations come calling. So far this month, I’ve received more than ten charitable solicitations from tax exempt organizations: my daughter’s school, college, law school, the arboretum, PHS, the zoo, the art museum, public radio, public television and more. We’re sorting through all of them, trying to decide which ones to support. In addition, we’re plowing through piles of summer clothes since fall has finally decided to pay us a visit in the northeast… and putting them into piles: save, toss and donate.
Why the rush? Why now? Because you only have 62 days to incur additional charitable deductions for the calendar year 2007. Tax professionals know this. Charitable organizations know this. And now you do, too.
Charitable donations are a good way for many taxpayers to increase deductions and get a warm fuzzy or two in the process. Whether you donate cash or goods (like our used clothes and toys), you can take these deductions on your tax return - but only if you itemize.
Remember, cash deductions, regardless of the amount, must be substantiated by a bank record (such as a canceled check or credit card receipt) or in writing from the organization. The writing must include the date, the amount and the organization that received the donation. In other words, loose change in the offering plate doesn’t count.
My advice when making a financial donation?
- 1. Get a receipt. Just ask. If the organization is taking your money, they ought to be able to produce a receipt.
- 2. Consider using a check or credit card.
- 3. And finally, don’t let the tax tail wag the dog. Those kids in the neighborhood who are collecting for UNICEF? C’mon, be charitable. It is, after all, the spirit of giving that should really matter and not the deduction.
When it comes to donations of items, and not money, the rule is that you can generally take a deduction for the current FMV of the items donated to charity - not the purchase price but rather what the item would sell for in its current condition. So if you can’t give that tiki bar away because it’s practically worthless, you may not attempt to take a deduction for $25 when you donate it to the qualified charity of your choice.
You can get to her blog by clicking the logo below.
Wanna know why I did this review today? Well, we all need to be reminded that the end of the year is coming — 90% of our taxes need to be in.
And I’m hoping this glowing report will convince Kelly to consider doing my taxes for me… . yeah, I didn’t think so either.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!
(via Liz Strauss at Successful Blog)