Exploring the Universe

Posts tagged ‘travel’

10 Random Facts

There is a fun little game of tag going around the blogging community right now, and I’ve been poked by the lovely Merry Farmer (@MerryFarmer20). To play, you simply need to be poked by someone. Then you list 10 random facts about yourself and tag four more people. Here are my random facts. Hope you enjoy!

1. I recently took a workshop by Kristen Lamb on blogging. Several of us are umm…older…so we formed a sub-group called Zoomers which is a Canadian term for retirees.

2. I have lived in Arkansas, on and off, since my father was transferred here more years ago than I will admit to.

3. I am planning a trip to Glacier National Park. I have WIP on hold that concerns glaciers and I want to experience being by or on a glacier.

4. I lived with my son and granddaughter for a year when she was between the ages of 6 to 18 months old. I taught her baby sign language starting when she was eight months old. My son made fun of me for thinking it would work. When she started signing to him at age nine month he was astounded. Then he had to learn to sign. She is four now. I sent a text to my son when I left my house. She waited at the front door until I got there…four hours later

5. Gene Lempp stated on his blog that he collects dragons. I’ve collected a few myself. Mine are mostly oriental.

6. I have lived in Germany, Japan, Okinawa, Texas, Washington state, Washington, D.C., Mississippi, and Arkansas.

7. My father was in the Air Force so I was raised in a city/town environment. When I was sixteen, my parents bought a farm. We had cows, horses, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, parakeets, pecan and pear orchards, hay fields, and soy beans.

8. I three-dog-sat for daughter and son-in-law when they took a four week trip to Australia and New Zealand several years ago.

9. My sister raised rabbits for her 4-H project. They kept multiplying. We had to kill and dress the rabbits before freezing them. I haven’t been able to eat rabbit since then.

10. I am remodeling my house, slowly. The kitchen is almost complete. One bathroom is almost complete. Two bedrooms are almost complete. Replaced all the windows. Still need new patio doors and front doors. I did say slowly, right? The ceilings need to be painted and floor replaced. The master bedroom and bathroom need the most work so we haven’t done anything there, yet.

I was supposed to tag four more victims but I only had three brave souls who graciously accepted my invitation: @patricia_sands, @cheryelhutton, @kerrymeacham (who actually got tagged twice). Thank you for participating.


Tax Facts: What Car Expenses Can A Writer Claim?

For tax purposes, car expenses are divided between local (called transportation) and travel (when away from home). I am discussing transportation this time.

Business Mileage:

Unless you meet the qualifications for office-in-the-home, you cannot claim mileage expenses from your home to the first business place.  I will discuss this later.

Therefore, let’s say you are going to the post office to send off a manuscript or two, then you go to a store to buy paper and toner for your printer, some tablets/notebook paper, pens, paper clips, staples, etc., before going home. And you do not qualify for or claim office-in-the-home expenses on your tax return.

You can claim business mileage between the post office and the store. Period.

If you drive to the post office and return home, you cannot claim any business mileage.

The mileage between your home and the post office and between the store and your home is considered commuting, which is a personal expense.

If you qualify for office-in-the-home, you may claim all business related miles – from home to post office to store to home.

Two Methods:

If you do have business mileage for 2011, you may use either the standard mileage rate (51 cents per mile) or the business percentage of actual expenses and depreciation.

Actual expenses includes everything you spend on your vehicle – gas, oil changes, new tires, taxes, garage/parking, tags – everything. You can also claim depreciation on your vehicle (to be discussed later). However, you may only claim the business percentage of these expenses. If your business mileage is 4,000 miles and your total mileage is 10,000 miles, you may claim business percentage of 40%.

In order to claim depreciation on your vehicle, you must not have claimed standard mileage rate for the same vehicle in a previous year.

Regardless of which method you use, you can claim toll fees and parking costs in full if they are business related.

Record Keeping:

If you are ever audited, you will need a way to prove the business mileage claimed. This usually means either a tablet or calendar where you record your beginning and ending odometer readings for each trip and why you made the trip. If you make the same trip several times and know exactly the mileage, you can skip the odometer readings after the first one.

Regardless of which method you select, you must keep records showing business mileage and total mileage for the year so you can determine business percentage.

IRS Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses

Any questions?

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