Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

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Take a Vacation from Taxes

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Entertainment,Family,Taxes on August 20, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

Rent Smart and Take a Vacation from Taxes:

Hopefully you were able to sneak away from work this summer and relax with your family at your vacation home: swimming, fishing, trying to keep up with the kids on breath-taking hikes. Unfortunately, it’s time to go home. The kids are tired of wearing sunscreen, and just want to go back to their air-conditioned rooms, and video games. Worse, your boss already sent you a dozen e-mails about what’s due next week. As you’re loading up the car, you wish you could find a renter to put the vacation home to good use for the last few weeks of summer.

Actually, that’s a very good idea. See, if you rent out your vacation home for fewer than 15 days a year, you don’t have to report it to the IRS. And if you don’t report something to the IRS, you don’t have to pay taxes on it. In other words, your rental income for 14 days or less is tax free.

14 is the magic number though (or more specifically, 14 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds). Anything over that and you must report the income on Schedule E. So if Joe Schmoe Renter is really enjoying the lake house after two weeks and wants to stay longer, you have to decide if you want to deal with the hassle of kicking him out, or the hassle of filling out Schedule E.

If you choose the latter option, things get a little confusing. You have to start looking at how much you used the vacation home for personal use versus how many days it was occupied by a renter. Then you’ll be able to figure out how much you can deduct, which expenses you can claim, and how you report them. You can check out how to do the math on Publication 527: Residential Rental Property. If only vacation could always be all play and no work… 

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Government On-The-Go:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Culture,Education,Entertainment,Family,Human Resources on July 8, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , ,

Mobile Apps for Every Occasion

Poke. Poke. Poke. Need a break from Facebook during your lunch break? Put your smart phone and mind to better use by trying out the apps your government has to offer. Oh yeah, they’re all free, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

While not everyone will find all these government apps useful, there’s something useful for everyone. For example, it’s unlikely that a teenager would scramble to download the “Budget of the U.S. Governmentapp, which provides info from the FY13 Budget book, or the “House and Senate Member Guide,” which offers a picture directory of every single Member of the 112th Congress. Exciting?! Eh?!

However, if that high school student forgot to do their homework, they might want to download “Science.gov Mobile” to find quick answers to all their science questions. Or if they think they’re too cool for school, tell them to download “SatelliteInsight” – it looks like a video game, but it really teaches kids about NASA’s GOES-R,the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, R series. If you don’t know what that is, then get the app too!

Of course, many of the apps are perfect for the average, working American. First, check the forecast with the “National Weather Service.” Then, when you make it to work and start to feel claustrophobic in your cubicle, whip out the “Tactical Breather” app and gain control over your stress level. If that doesn’t help, and you need a cigarette, use the “QuitSTART” app to become tobacco free. When you’re done for the day, use “DOL-Timesheet” to record the hours you worked. If your boss doesn’t pay up, you can always use the “USAJOBS” app to find federal employment.

Admittedly, some apps are very strange. The “MojaveDesert Tortoise” application allows you to upload a photo, take a survey, and find out more info if you happen to encounter this threatened species in the middle of the desert. Though, you’ll probably be more concerned with finding water than taking pictures.

There’s a lot more where these came from. Be aware that some apps were designed only for the iPhone, some only for Android,etc., so pick those compatible with your device. Now all you need is an app for finding apps.

On the Apps,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions

Articles

Happy New Year! Again! 新年快樂! 恭賀新禧!

In Culture,Education,Entertainment on January 22, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , ,

新年快樂!  恭賀新禧!
 
The Year of the Dragon is upon us!  Let’s take a break from numbers and taxes – at least for a little while – and welcome the Dragon. Although New Year’s Eve is January 22nd, Chinese New Year is actually celebrated for fifteen days! The first three days are the most important and then a huge party on the fifteenth day ends the New Year celebration with a bang.
 
The house needs a thorough cleaning before the party starts – it’s bad luck to clean during the first three days of the New Year. Always sweeps inward in order to sweep good fortune inside. The house décor will feature a lot of the color red, and small red envelopes filled with $1 or $2 should be scattered around. It’s bad luck to enter a new year with empty rice containers, so don’t forget to head to the market for a refill. While you’re there, pick up some fresh offerings, such as oranges, apples, orchids, etc. for the various Gods, especially the Buddha. On the way back, make sure you wash your car and fill up the gas tank.  
 
 
Similar to Thanksgiving, family members travel home to celebrate Chinese New Year’s Eve together. This holiday is especially important because it is the only time off for most factory workers in China. The traditional dinner includes all food groups, but the principal entrée is fish. Warning: never finish the fish dish, even if it’s delicious! You must have some leftover (savings) to carry food and fortune from the old year into the new year. Indeed, the pronunciation of the word “fish” in Chinese is actually the same as that of “leftover” or “save more.” 
 
Gambling usually starts after New Year’s Eve dinner, with the most popular activities being Mahjong and dice games. Next, remember those red envelopes that were left lying around the house? Well, more of these are given out from married adults to younger children and are filled with crisp, new bills. If you are single, no matter how old you are, you get a pass on handing them out; most likely you will still receive the red envelopes from your parents. By the way, the money from these red envelopes generally exchanges from hand to hand via gambling winnings and losses throughout the night…  Finally, the New Year’s Eve evening is topped off with fireworks at midnight.
 
With New Year’s Day comes freshly-prepared food. Although the dinner from the night before might look perfect for a rumbling tummy, it’s bad luck to eat the New Year’s Eve leftovers. Throughout the day, more red envelopes and food are shared with extended relatives and friends. You never know who will come visit with their children, so always have backup red envelopes. This goes on for three days…seriously, three days! 
 
Chinese New Year celebrations end on February 6, 2012 and all of the family members gather together one more time before the new year officially gets underway. But what does the Year of the Dragon actually mean for you? The Dragon historically brings water, so keep your umbrella handy and your galoshes ready throughout 2012. Legend also has it that the Dragon is coated with a mysterious color that makes it unpredictable and untouchable, and thus, something unexpected could happen in 2012. Finally, the Year of the Dragon will be marked by “excitement, exhilaration, and intensity,” so put on some red clothes for good luck and get ready for a great year!
 
Happy New Year!
新年快樂!  恭賀新禧!
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions