People who operate a business or work out of their homes can benefit from understanding the tax benefits that may be available to them.
“Many people who work out of their home don’t understand that they can deduct for the business use of their home. A home office or business is a good way to get deductions they can’t otherwise take,” said Laurie Fulkerson, a certified public accountant (CPA) who has worked out of her home in Temperance, Mich., for the past 15 years.
The owners of home-based businesses can deduct for the business use of their homes. To qualify, one must use part of the home exclusively as a principal place of business, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publication 587 “Business Use of Your Home.” One may also qualify if the home is used on a regular basis for certain storage of inventory or products or if it is used as a day care facility.
According to the IRS, a “home” includes a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat or similar properties that provide basic living accommodations. It also includes structures on the property, such as a garage, studio, barn or greenhouse that is used for business.
“Home business owners have more meaningful tax deductions to claim on their business taxes than on personal taxes,” Fulkerson said.
Home-based business can take deductions for mortgage or rent, real estate taxes, utilities, insurance, Internet service and repairs and maintenance to the property on Schedule C.
The tax deductions for business use of the home are based on the percentage of the space in the home used for business. If a home office is 240 square feet in a 1,200-square-foot home, the business percentage is 20 percent, according to an example given by the IRS.
Home business owners who file a Form 1099 return can deduct that percentage of those expenses on Schedule C. Those types of expenses are not claimed as deductions on most personal tax returns, Fulkerson said.
Business expenses not related to the use of the home, such as telephone usage, office supplies and equipment depreciation are better deducted as a separate business expenses, Fulkerson said. Those deductions can be made at 100 percent of the expenses rather than the business percentage.
If an employer provides for a home office or if a person chooses to work at home rather than commute to an office, there are no deductions for business use of the home, according to the IRS Publication 587.
However, Fulkerson said that anyone who is a W-2 employee filing Form 1040 can deduct many of those same items under business expenses on Schedule A if not taking a standard deduction. Sales representatives and other employees who work out of their homes are eligible for such deductions.
“I tell my clients that profitable is better than bigger, so businesses should control their costs,” Fulkerson said. “The efficiency of working out of their home rather than renting an office or space makes sense for a lot of small business owners.”
For more, see IRS Publication 587, “Business Use of Your Home” at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p587.pdf.
Archive for January, 2009
People who operate a business or work out of their homes can benefit from understanding the tax benefits that may be available to them.
By the time you read this column, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known at the $1 trillion stimulus, may be law. The House passed the measure Wednesday, and the Senate was expected to put it on the fast track, with President Obama waiting to sign it into law.
It should come as no surprise that I oppose this package, as I’ve done with all the other so-called “stimulus” ideas. I’ve never understood the logic that government spending (which can only come from borrowing money, taxing citizens or printing bills) can actually cause the economy to expand. It might appear to work on a short-term, but eventually the bill comes due and we’re in worse shape than before the government decided to “help.”
Democrats and liberals believe that government spending will solve the problem. Republicans and conservatives are more inclined to support tax cuts as the alternative. With these two strongly held but opposing views, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something government could do that wouldn’t pit the two sides against each other.
I had a journalism teacher in college who encouraged us, when faced with questionable uses of words, to “change the sentence entirely” to avoid the problem. In an effort to apply such an approach to the stimulus, I tried to see if there were potential actions Congress could take that wouldn’t result in additional spending and could still garner the support of both parties.
The idea of drilling for oil came to mind.
Think about it. Congress could decide to open up many areas that are currently off limits to drilling. That wouldn’t require any government spending. They could streamline the permitting process which, again, wouldn’t require any government spending.
They could pass a law that limited the number of lawsuits special interest groups could bring to try to stop the drilling. Again, that doesn’t cost anything in terms of dollars.
The immediate impact would be that oil companies — using their own funds — could begin the process of designing and building oil rigs in various places. If permission to drill were given, it would mean architects and engineers would instantly be put to work. As plans were completed, steel and other supplies would be ordered, instantly creating a demand in those industries for raw materials and goods. As structures were built, steelworkers and carpenters and other trades would find work. As the oil was extracted, shipping, piping and other distribution industries would see the impact.
Other industries, dependent upon oil as a raw material, would find increased supply from a local supplier. Plastic manufacturers, one of the biggest users of oil, would be more competitive.
In the outgrowths of the decision to drill, it is U.S. workers and companies who benefit. That means the impact of a decision that costs no tax dollars is an immediate and positive influence on the economy of our country.
Mexico and Brazil are ramping up their drilling in The Gulf. They are eagerly building new drilling platforms, even considering selling their access to other countries — like China. They are there, taking the oil right from under us — and then selling it back to us with a markup. Why shouldn’t we access that same source of oil for ourselves and, in the process, help accomplish a key goal of Democrats and President Obama to “reduce our dependence on foreign oil?”
Yes, I know, environmentalists think this is bad. But they are a special interest group — and a small one, even if they do have a loud voice. President Obama said he wanted to bring “change” to Washington. It would certainly be a change for a president to support a common-sense approach to accessing our own oil and not cater to the special interests who oppose such a plan.
My support of drilling does not mean I want the freedom to use as much oil as I can get my hands on. No, I believe we need to conserve our resources, just like most other people: I just don’t believe that “conservation” means “never using.”
I also support the private sector (not government) continuing to develop alternative energy sources. But we are decades away from being able to have those other energy sources supply more than an extremely small percentage of our energy needs.
So while we continue to conserve and innovate, let’s drill. It won’t cost any tax dollars and it would be a quicker solution to the economic crises than anything Congress had included in the stimulus.
Former Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber blogs at http://thurbersthoughts.blogspot.com.
In Eric Idle’s play “Pass the Butler,” a family gathers to mourn the death of Sir Charles, who may be the British Minister of Defense. Set in an English country estate in the 1980′s, “Pass the Butler” is outlandish. First performed in 1981, the cast and crew proved that this British comedy remains hilarious more than twenty years later. The set was prestigious and macabre.
Within the estate, the walls were littered with paintings. These paintings were of flowers, Roman architecture, and people wearing business suits. There was a stairway between two walls, which made the estate appear three-dimensional. The furniture included a red couch, a coffee table, two golden embroidered chairs, and a gray coffin attached to an IV. This coffin was a life-support machine. This machine housed Charles. Even though Charles was still alive, his relatives acted like he was dead.
After the lights went down, nothing was heard except for beeping from the IV. When the lights went on, a wealthy family was having a contest. They were playing “who can spot the most deaths in the newspaper.” This darkly comic “competition” was one of many moments which revealed how unusual this family was. Each cast member brought a unique dose of humor to the production.
Hugo (Lane Hakel), one of Charles’ sons, was pompous. As he took sips of sherry and nodded his head in conversation, Hakel exhumed arrogance. Hakel was animated in his dialogue. When bizarre revelations threatened his lifestyle, Hakel’s panicking was hysterical.
As Ronnie, a blunt inspector, Scott Dibling was entertaining. His voice was loud, and he was comically over-dramatic. He portrayed Ronnie as someone who takes his job too seriously. As he described a “tragic car accident,” Dibling’s grand gestures and wide-eyed gaze were hilarious. When Ronnie said “You people terrify me” and stuttered as he said “people,” Dibling stole the stage. James Norman also performed well. As the butler, Norman was subtle, yet astonishing.
Surrounded by zany characters, it was remarkable to see Norman maintain a straight face. When Butler would give the other characters advice or defend his convictions, Norman would do so in a straightforward manner. No matter how laughable the dialogue or situation became, Norman never broke character. When Butler was alone with Annabel (Kathryn Bodie), Norman’s transformation from “strict butler” to “madly in love” was instantaneous. Even though Butler is not as extravagant as the other characters, Norman aroused plenty of laughter from the audience.
With ruminations about life and death, Biblical parodies, and quips about passing gas, “Pass the Butler” had a joke for everyone. Some of the wisecracks were decidedly British. Jests about the British Labour party, Parliament, and the British minister of defense were more challenging for the American audience members to catch. Most of the jokes centered on “switching off” Charles’ life-support machine, and a strong dislike of journalists. There was also a humorous scene involving incest and a sex change.
“Pass the Butler” is definitely not for all ages. As with most British humor, the witticism is dry. Even though “Pass the Butler” is set in the 1980′s, many of the jokes still ring true today. For being local actors, the cast member’s performances were exceptional. Eric Idle would be proud.
Elementary and high school students have an opportunity to receive free dental services during Give Kids a Smile Day on Feb. 6, at Owens Community College.
Low-income children ages 6 months to 18 are eligible to receive the care, which includes checkups and X-rays. Members of Owens’ Dental Hygiene Program and the Toledo Dental Society will provide the care.
Dental services will be offered from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. at Owens’ Dental Hygiene Clinic, located in Health Technologies Hall on the Toledo-area campus.
Appointments must be made in advance and are limited to 150 individuals. Call the Dental Hygiene Clinic at (567) 661-7294 or (800) GO-OWENS, Ext. 7294.
If it’s determined during the visit that a child needs additional restorative care, such as fillings or extractions, an appointment can be scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 13 or 20. The Toledo Dental Society and Expanded Functions Dental Auxiliary will provide the services.
Give Kids a Smile Day was started by the American Dental Association (ADA) to provide education, preventive and restorative care to low-income children who do not have access to care. The national event is held yearly on the first Friday in February during National Children’s Dental Health Month.
“Give Kids a Smile Day is a wonderful opportunity to raise the importance and awareness of preventive dental care such as flossing, brushing and regular dental visits,” said Beth Tronolone, chair of Owens’ Dental Hygiene Program. “Our goal is to give each attendee a positive dental experience and help them feel comfortable smiling again.”
According to the ADA, more than 12,000 dentists and 32,000 other volunteers have signed up to participate in this year’s Give Kids a Smile Day. At least 450,000 children are expected to receive dental services.
Owens has participated in the event for the past several years.
The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority announced Jan. 29 that Eric Frankl, Airports Director, will resign effective Feb. 13 to accept the position of Interim Executive Director with the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. Interim Port Authority President Paul Toth will oversee operations on a temporary basis in conjunction with Steve Arnold, Director of Maintenance, Operations and Safety. Toth was the Airports Director for several years prior to Frankl taking the position in November 2006.
“Eric brought a wealth of aviation knowledge to the Port Authority and to our community and he set many policies and business practices that our airports will benefit from for years to come,” Toth said in a news release. “We wish him great success on this new and exciting endeavor.”
During his tenure Frankl completed a master plan for Metcalf Field and a conceptual plan for industrial and air cargo development at Toledo Express. He also oversaw the completion of the last terminal improvements at Toledo Express along with a number of taxiway and ramp improvements at both Toledo Express and Metcalf Field. Frankl developed a new business arrangement with the fixed base operator at Metcalf Field, renegotiated a number of corporate leases including an operations agreement with the Air National Guard and made a number of changes to the organization structure of the Port Authority’s aviation operations.
The Lexington Airport has been troubled lately by a criminal investigation. “The Kentucky attorney general’s office has contacted Blue Grass Airport officials and informed them of an ongoing criminal investigation related to ‘the practices of staff at the airport,’ ” according to the Lexington Herald Leader.
The University of Toledo will celebrate Black History Month with the theme “Our Story, Our People, Our Destiny.”
“The theme came about organically as the Black History Month Committee members sought a phrase that would pull together the enthusiasm, hope and collective joy over the election of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States and still pay homage to historic figures and events that have taken place in the past,” said James Jackson, director of the Office of African-American Student Enrichment Initiatives Office. “The theme was a product of collective imagination with a desire to express to the world that African-American people have a history that is important but at the same time are active participants in their future.”
Starting this week and during February, offices and student organizations have planned several events. In addition, there will be art exhibits on Main, Health Science and Toledo Museum of Art campuses.
Marc L. Neal, author of The Heart of a Champion: Winning the Battle Day by Day, will visit the University Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. in Student Union Room 2592 on Main Campus. He will talk about the keys to fighting and winning the spiritual battle and sign copies of his new book, Keys to Identifying Your Call: A Ministry of Opportunity Awaits You.
The First NAACP Distinction Awards will be held Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Rocky’s Attic in the Student Union. UT faculty, staff and students will be honored, and there will be special performances throughout the evening.
Ritter Planetarium will pay tribute to Black History Month with two shows during February. “The Skywatchers of Africa” will take place Fridays at 7:30 p.m., and “Follow the Drinking Gourd” will take place Saturdays at 1 p.m. Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and children 12 and younger, and free for children 3 and younger.
Listed by date, other events will include:
Thursday, Jan. 29
Discussion on the historic Obama election, 1:45 p.m., Student Union Rooms 2582-2584.
Saturday, Jan. 31
25th Annual Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Union Auditorium. Keynote speaker Hill Harper, an actor best-known as Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on “CSI: NY,” will talk about the value of an education. Harper is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School.
“The African-American Experience and the Community,” artistic reflections by UT students, Mulford Library Glass Corridor on Health Science Campus.
“Comics in Color: African-American Superheroes,” exhibit of black characters in comic books, Carlson Library Information Commons on Main Campus.
Wednesdays, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25
R.A.A.P. Sessions, noon to 2:30 p.m., Student Union Rooms 2582-2584. Information sessions for African-American students; topics cover personal development‚ financial aid‚ academic assistance and career planning.
Friday, Feb. 6
Movie‚ Food and Conversation: What’s Race Got to do With It? 7 to 10 p.m., Student Union Room 2582. Watch John Singleton’s “Higher Learning,” which explores racial politics on a college campus.
Soul Food Theme, 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Skyview Food Court on Health Science Campus.
Monday, Feb. 9
“Struggles and Triumphs of Our Past: Barriers That We Had to Overcome as African Americans,” 7 p.m., Student Union Room 2592.
Tuesday, Feb. 10
Introducing the Diversity Circle and the History of NAACP, 6 to 9 p.m.‚ Rocky’s Attic in the Student Union. Learn how the NAACP began and the differences between ethnicities.
Friday, Feb. 13
Movie‚ Food and Conversation: What’s Race Got to do With It? 7 p.m., Student Union Room 2582. Watch “Crash” and discuss racial experiences from diverse perspectives.
Feb. 15-March 15
“Converging Aesthetics: Paintings and Drawings” by Imo Imeh, Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on Toledo Museum of Art Campus. Paintings and drawings by Imeh‚ a scholar of African art and aesthetics, with accompanying poems by David Ragland. Gallery hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 15
Black History Month Jeopardy and Game Night, 9 to 11 p.m., Student Union Room 3018.
Tuesday, Feb. 17
Black Man Wake-Up Call, 2 p.m., Student Union Room 3016. Forum to discuss changes needed on college campuses and in the black community.
Wednesday, Feb. 18
“Whites in Black History: A Choice of Legacies” with Marshall Rose‚ director of the Bowling Green State University Office of Equity and Diversity, noon, Health Education Building Room 103 on Health Science Campus. RSVP: 419.383.3438.
Thursday, Feb. 19
ALMA Dance and Drum Performance, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Skyview Food Court.
Multicultural Jeopardy, noon to 1 p.m., Student Union South Lounge.
“Why Did I Get Married?” forum on black marriages and relationships, 2 p.m., Student Union Room 3016.
“Hot Chocolate After Dark,” 6 to 9:30 p.m., Student Union Room 2591. Watch a movie and have some snacks with Miniya and Student African-American Brotherhood.
Friday, Feb. 20
Soul Food Luncheon, noon to 2 p.m., Student Union South Lounge.
Feb. 20-22 and Feb. 25-March 1
“Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre on Main Campus. Lynn Nottage’s play set in 1950s Brooklyn follows a widower who pressures his daughters to follow strict spiritual teachings in a story that explores race, gender and society. Tickets: $13; $11 for faculty, staff and alumni; and $9 for students.
Monday Feb. 23
The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Benefit Dinner featuring keynote speaker Ohio State Sen. Ray Miller, 7 p.m., Student Union Auditorium. Silent auction from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets: $60, $30 for students. RSVP: Office of Institutional Diversity, 419.383.3438.
Tuesday, Feb. 24
“From Black Power to Black Studies: Jimmy Garrett Speaks on His Role,” 3 to 5 p.m., Student Union Room 2592.
Thursday, Feb. 26
Diversi-Tea, 3 to 4 p.m., Student Union Room 2500. Take a break with Caribbean tea and crumb cakes.
Dr. Lancelot C.A. Thompson Achievement Program, 7 p.m., Student Union Auditorium. African-American students who have cumulative grade-point averages of 3.0 and higher will be recognized.
Friday, Feb. 27
Black Student Union Fashion Show and After-party, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., Student Union Auditorium.
Saturday, Feb. 28
Saturday Nite Alive, 7 to 10 p.m.‚ Rocky’s Attic in Student Union. Celebrate Black History Month: Present poetry‚ slam poetry‚ spoken word‚ dramatic readings and other talents. Sign up: (419) 530-4944.
For more information, contact the African-American Student Enrichment Initiatives Office at (419) 530-7264 or the Office of Multicultural Student Services at (419) 530-2261.
FOX Toledo will again hand out free smoke detectors, from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Menard’s on 1415 E. Alexis Road in Toledo. Up to 100 smoke detectors will be given away, according to a news release. Proof of Toledo residency is required.
Jan. 23, FOX Toledo and Toledo Fire and Rescue teamed with the help of the Red Cross Toledo Area Chapter and Home Depot to distribute over 150 free smoke detectors to those in need.
Check back throughout the day for weather-relaetd event cancellations.
- American Red Cross Blood Drive at Whiteford Elementary has been canceled.
- STRS Retirement Seminar at the Burnham Administrative Offices have been canceled.
- Knight Academy winter open house is postponed to Feb. 4. The open house will be from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The University of Toledo will host a viewing of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s State of the State address in Doermann Theatre Jan. 28 at noon, according to a news release.
In the address, which will be broadcast live from Columbus, Strickland is expected to make announcements regarding Ohio’s next biennial budget.
Following the address, UT President Lloyd Jacobs will be on hand to offer insights into how the expected announcements will likely impact higher education in Ohio and the future of The University of Toledo.
Doors for the free, public event will open at 11:30 a.m..