Tax questions answered

30SecondMomIts another Helpful tip Tuesday.

If you are on twitter, follow me @TacomaLynette and the #30SecondMom chat on Wednesday the 5thof March for a great twitter chat about taxes.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a tip about 10 Tips for Tax Time. Well, now is your chance to speak interactively and learn even more about taxes. If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, or if you are just curious about taxes, join the chat. 8pm CT/6pm PT  RSVP for prizes: ow.ly/jcOXt

I love the 30 Second Mom group. I am honored to be a contributor, but even more so to interact with these fine ladies. What I love about this group is there are a bunch of great, kind ladies out there who have the knowledge to help one another. They do it, with tips that take just 30 seconds to read on their smart phone app. Super easy and super helpful. Its a group of ladies who help without judging and a group that has some great ideas too!

Join the chat, register for prizes, download the app. Then, you can have tips ALL day EVERY day for whatever life throws at you.

10 Tips for Tax Time

ReBlogging for Tax Time

Okay, it’s tax time. <<THE HORROR!>> Just kidding.

During my day job, I am a CPA. That required learning about taxes to pass the test. I took a class and was hooked. I decided not to do taxes for work. Now, I do taxes for fun. (Yeah, most of you think I’m weird or sick in the head). I really enjoy looking at all the numbers and different ways things can be worked to determine the best outcome for my clients.

After doing taxes for businesses and individuals for more than 10 years, here is some advice. Bookmark this list. I see this stuff come through all the time, save yourself some time by eating that elephant in the room, one bite at a time.

  1. Keep a brightly colored tax folder where you stick all your mail. If it says “Tax Document” or you think it relates, stick it in there!
  2. Add a notebook to the tax folder. Use this notebook to document questions you have throughout the year.
  3. Monthly/Quarterly (More frequently than your 1 visit to the the tax office), clean out the folder from step 1. Get rid of outdated information, e.g. statements from March can usually be replaced by April statements etc.
  4. At the end of the year, organize your folder. Put all your pay information and W2s together. Don’t mix your business expenses in with your personal interest statements. You don’t want to pay me for the time it takes to organize your things.
  5. Keep at least 1 ticket from the Goodwill or other donation box. Attach this ticket to the notebook tucked into the tax folder. Keep a running list of all things donated and the date: 12 bags of clothes on Feb 12th.
  6. Review your pay-stub during the year. Work with your tax adviser to make sure you are withholding enough, especially if you have had any job changes or raises.
  7. Review your W2. Look at the amount you got paid (box 1)- shocking how much we lose to bills isn’t it? Look at the funny codes in boxes 12 and 14. Make sure they make sense.
  8. Bring your tax adviser last years’ taxes, especially if you are using someone new.
  9. Ask questions, lots and lots of questions. Your tax adviser should have answers or offer to look up your questions for you. Don’t trust your taxes to someone who doesn’t ever need to ‘look things up’. Laws change every year, its best to verify anything that might not be totally clear.
  10. Talk. Talk to your tax adviser about all the things that went on in your life over the course of the year. Kid graduate and go to college – you might still be able to claim that kid and an education credit to boot! You never know what nugget of information will bring you more money at tax time.

Valentines Day – Take a Chill Pill

from Kreativegarden.com click for article

Just in case the men out there didn’t realize, tomorrow is Valentines Day. Whatever you do, do NOT forget the girls/women in your life. Send your mother a card (many moms feel a special ‘I love you bond’ with our sons – in a non-creepy way of course). Give your little girl a special hug or tell her how much you love her and how special she is. Remember, she will pick the men in her life based on you, and your actions. Model what you want her to look for. And for the wives/girlfriends, please remember most of us get emotional about the emotional. You know your person. You know what they like. They like traditional – break down and do something traditional, candy/flowers/dinner etc. If your person likes understated, candles at dinner with the kids. Use it as a teachable moment. We are going to show mommy that we think she is special. Whatever you do, do not make her cook and clean the dishes! (been there, done that) Do what you can afford. We have to be honest with each other. Honest about our expectations and how we can realistically fullfill them. Whatever you do, do not fall for the “I hate Valenties Day” routine, unless you know her well enough to know its true. My man knows, I appreciate him getting me flowers AFTER they go on sale. Its even better when they are a $5 bunch from the grocery store and he has one of the boys bring them to me.

Women, take a chill pill. It is a hallmark holiday. It is nice to feel appreciated, but lets be honest we need to appreciate back. Appreciation doesn’t/shouldn’t happen only 1 day out of the year. It can be hard between working, family and social obligations to stop and say “Thank you” to our partner, but we should. We should also be open about our need to hear it. Men cannot read our mind. We as women are slightly psyhic thanks to our natural intuition. Men do not have that. They usually have to be hit upside the head (figuratively of course) with what we want. A man once said “I told her I loved her at the wedding. If anything changes, I will let her know.” Not normally how a women things, so we need to let the men in our life know what we need. If we need to feel special because something has been planned out for weeks, remind him. If he does come up with a plan, even the day of, honor that. Know he is trying. Sometimes men think on things, and think on things, and think on things, and think on things. You want action, take action yourself. I know it is nice to have someone else in charge for a night, but if you really want to go to Restaurant X for dinner. Make the reservations. If you are flexible, be flexible and honor that he is trying.

Last night, I called my oldest son into the kitchen by saying “Archie, I need to talk to you.” He comes in with a dejected look on his face, like “What did I do now?” You know the look. I told him the teacher emailed me. He looked even more glum. He was trying to figure out what he had done to get into trouble. I told him his teacher said she could tell he was really trying to be good in class and stay focused on his work this week. The smile that lit up his little face was amazing. His chest puffed out and he said “Im trying mommy.” If we treated our husbands/boyfriends like we want our sons to be treated in the future, imagine how awesome that would be? Sometimes, going with the flow, acknowleging the try, can make a world of difference.

New Years Goals – Feb Checkup

My goals for 2014 are:

  1. Pay down our debt.
  2. I want to run (realistically: run/walk) at least six 5K runs.
  3. I want to clean out the clutter in my house, sell on craigslist 3 items a month or donate a big bag to goodwill once a month.
  4. I want to shrink 2 pant sizes.

Well, this is my update:

  1. We were able to pay an extra $500 towards debt this last month. That is exciting!
  2. No 5k this month, but we did manage to run a 1 mile on Jan 1st. However, I have managed to run an average of 6-8 miles per week on a treadmill in the gym. Not really the same as running outside, but it is something at least.
  3. Over the last month we have managed to sell some of my kids old toys they don’t need anymore and some unused clothing and shoes. We made about $250 that we were able to put towards our debt.
  4. Not down a pant size yet, but I just was able to move the lever down on the scale. This is a good thing. Its amazing how good it feels not to have to move that big weight on the bottom to where it was.

 

How are you doing?

Schools Are Leaving Boys Behind

All 3 of my children are boys. This is my point of view as a mom of boys. Our schools are broken. In our effort to encourage girls in school, we have left behind the boys. In many education chats or articles I read it is to encourage girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). As an IT Auditor, I definitely see where women can be under represented in the Technology field. But, I never see any rah rah moment to encourage boys in Reading/Writing or language, areas of struggle for many boys.

20130911-222804.jpgBoys learn differently than girls. Many boys are very tactile. They need to touch, break and destroy things physically to learn how it works. Want to know why a man doesn’t read the manual? That is because most of them don’t learn by best reading directions. Verbal cues are only slightly better, but hands on, physical tearing apart or into something seems to be the best way for many to learn. Ever notice how boys can wrestle and beat each other up and stay or become the best of friends? Ever notice how when your son runs up to hug you, he slams his body into yours. The harder the slam, the more he missed you, at least that is what I tell myself before I brace for impact. Our early childhood education system is so geared toward girls it is frightening.  Boys need to move, to touch and their way of relating to one another isn’t ‘School Appropriate.’ I can’t tell you how many times I have had to tell my boys that their normal boy-style of play just isn’t something they can do at school.

How many early childhood education experts are men? How many preschool teachers are men? What is the ratio of men to women in an elementary environment? Men are under-represented in this type of environment. Lets face it, Men are from Mars and little boys are definitely like the moons circling that planet. They think differently, act differently and our boys need better than to be pigeonholed into a label that reads “ADHD” or “Disruptive”. They are boys. That is enough. Their boy-ness is part of them, and should be encouraged, not squashed. We should encourage ALL children. We need to encourage all children to explore what they might be most interested in. We should let them experience all of it: Writing, Reading, STEM etc. and not let them give up or only follow the easiest path.

Related Articles:

The Challenge of Boys in Our Early Childhood Programs

TED Talk: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning by Ali Carr-Chellman