I learned something new this past week that didn’t have anything to do with taxes. In the world of income tax, I am continually and totally amazed how often I am asked a question with a situation that I had not been asked before that moment in time. Over the years, I have become very good at answering those questions with a comment like, “That’s a great question.” as I reach for a reference book. I might also say, “You know, I have preparing taxes since 1978 and that’s the first time I have heard that question.” again, as I reach for the appropriate book on the shelf behind me. I might also say, “I contract with a reference service in Wisconsin and I can see that I’m going to have to call them with this question. It’s special and they specialize in these special questions.” as I reach for the telephone. I’m not talking about being asked a question concerning the standard deduction in 2013. That’s just a figure that I choose not to try to remember. I might actually surprise myself and it will jump off my tongue but I’m not going out of my way to remember it. Today, there are so many of those figures that we use through-out the year that one could use up all available IQ just trying to remember this year’s figures let alone last year’s or the year before that. For the regular person, it’s darned near impossible to keep them available. No, I’m talking about legitimate tax situation questions. Here are two of those special situations I have encountered over the past year. First, a taxpayer owns a home in, let’s say, the greater Lansing area. He moves in with a female who owns a home in, let’s say, the greater Rockford area. He decides to keep his Lansing area home and turns it into a rental. They aren’t married so he files his return and reports the income and expenses on a Schedule E. Subsequently, they get married. Now, they elect to file a joint return. The rental in that first year is just in his name but it is still reported on their joint Schedule E. In the second year, they visit an […]
Useful tax tips and information from Jerry Coon of Action Tax Service.
The Rockford community and the world of Rotary lost two long-time members that I knew personally this summer. Last month, Bob Boyer passed away. This month, Al Kraker also passed away. Both of these gentlemen were in their 90’s and were great contributors to the Rockford community. Bob was an educator/principal in the Rockford Public School system. Those who were students while Bob was the principal tell me Bob was a master at the job. I attended Coopersville so I didn’t have the pleasure of attending a Rockford school administered by Bob but I can imagine what kind of experience it was from my time in Rotary. Bob was a fixture at the “old guys” table. He always had a joke; stories to tell; and was fast with the quips. Somehow I don’t think many students were quicker on the draw with words than Bob was. Al also sat at the table with Bob. We all listened when Al had something to say. Of course, to be truthful, Al sold tickets to the weekly 50/50 raffle so when he read off the winning ticket number; we all listened hoping our number was drawn. Both of these guys were long-time members and contributors to Rotary and also their churches. Bob went to the Rockford United Methodist Church. Church members report that he served in almost every capacity available. Al moved to the Rockford area in the 1980’s and began attending Rockford Reformed Church (RRC). The Coons also attend RRC so over the years, I was able to serve from time to time in various capacities with Al. He was a contributor whose presence was appreciated. Sometime in the mid-1990’s, both of us began attending a Tuesday Morning Prayer Breakfast. Al showed up early and had the coffee brewing when the rest of showed up at 7am. We had donuts, a time of devotion, and then a prayer time. Without exception Al prayed for our country and asked for wisdom for our national, state, and local leaders. Both Bob and Al were patriots and proud veterans who served our country during WWII. They had stories they shared such as when Bob heard Patton giving a speech while in an olive grove in Italy. Al told the story […]
If you didn’t make it downtown on Tuesday, August 4, you missed two great events. National Night Out and the United Bank Rogue River Blues series both put on outstanding events. The National Night Out is a nation-wide collaboration of Public Safety and Service personnel, civic groups, neighborhood watch, area fire departments, Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff’s department, and ambulance services. The event brings all of the above organizations into contact, in a kid-friendly way, with children and parents. It promotes the fact that these organizations “are there to protect and care for them”. Officer Ian Graham, under the direction of Chief David Jones, deserves a special thank you for working diligently to put the show together. Great job, Ian. Next year’s event will be even better. The second event featured an outstanding musical group by the name of The Crane Wives. The United Bank Rogue River Blues series, as coordinated by fellow City Councilman Steve Jazwiec, just continues to draw bigger crowds and provides great music to an appreciative crowd. Excellent job, Steve. The first Tuesday in August might be a good day to mark on your 2016 calendar. As the old saying goes, “God willing and the creek don’t rise”, we will have a fantastic National Night Out and a phenomenal Blues group putting on a nice show. From time to time, as tax professionals, we receive the results of Internal Revenue Service audits and the subsequent Tax Court cases that result from some of those audits. If the audit results are agreed upon by the IRS and the taxpayers, those results are not made public. However, if the taxpayer disagrees with the IRS and decides to appeal the audit results to either the Tax Court or District Court, those results are open to the public and are published are they occur. For these people, God is not willing and the creek has risen. Those results can be both interesting and instructive to those of us who prepare tax returns professionally. For example, recently a couple, Robert and Pamela Redisch, sold a Florida vacation home at a substantial loss and deducted the entire loss on their 2010 tax return. The IRS audited the 2010 return and disallowed the loss. The Redischs appealed […]
In my position as a tax professional and as the Mayor of the City of Rockford, I get to see both sides of the current and future tax issues facing us in America. As a tax professional, I see day to day how taxes affect all of us. Changes to tax laws are certainly beneficial to the tax preparation business but they affect me personally as well. I have to be able to separate the “business” side of me from the “personal” side of me. Allow to me say it is an interesting inner struggle. As a member of the Rockford City Council, we are all non-partisan but our revenue pre-dominantly comes from taxes-either from our residents directly through their property taxes or passed back to us from the great State of Michigan or even from the federal government. We have a budget and it takes X amount of dollars to run our City. A large percentage of our income comes from levying 10.9 mills of property tax. A smaller amount comes from Michigan sharing their revenue with us. If the amount of revenue sharing is cut, it causes us to scramble to balance our budget. Michigan’s tax revenues can change by a number of events. First, Michigan can cut or increase its tax rate. The last few years, it has been very difficult to get enough votes in the Legislature to actually support a tax increase. Right or wrong, I believe it’s a Tea Party thing. We saw this up close and personal when the Legislature forced us to vote on Proposal One to fix the roads because they couldn’t muster enough “yes” votes to actually pass a proposal themselves. Second, Michigan can increase or decrease deductions or credits on their tax returns. Governor Snyder has taken this approach previously when he supported eliminating the Michigan Business Tax while decreasing the amounts taxpayers can deduct as pensions on their individual tax returns and decreasing the amount of homestead property tax credit taxpayers might receive on their individual tax returns. Michigan also eliminated many of small $50/100/200 deductions and credits available for making contributions through a variety of programs such as the College credit. Third, Michigan revenues are affected when the federal government changes its […]
As the current Mayor of Rockford, earlier this year, I was afforded the opportunity by the American Legion to give the “keynote” speech at the conclusion of the annual Memorial Day Parade. We met around the flag pole at the Rockford Cemetery and after a program that included singing by a combined Rockford Schools’ choir and the traditional six-gun salute, I was invited to the podium by Steve Gerencer, the Legion’s long serving Finance Officer. My speech concentrated on the history of Memorial Day; the great privilege we all have to live in this great country; the debt we owe to those who have defended that privilege with their lives through-out our nation’s history; and Mr. John Sjogren, our only local Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. We haven’t forgotten John and plans are moving forward to honor him in the future. As part of composing that speech as well as writing a subsequent Squire article, I did some research on the City of Rockford’s history. I was interested in who had served as the first Mayor of Rockford and also the City’s management arrangement, i.e. City Manager-City Council. What I had not really paid that much attention to was the date the City of Rockford started. I knew the year was 1935 but didn’t put two and two together at the time that Rockford was 80 years old this year. According to the City Charter, the first City Council meeting was called to order on Tuesday, June 18, 1935 by the City’s first mayor, Dr. Crawford Young. When I was honored to call the Monday, July 13, 2015 City Council meeting to order; ask for the roll call of attendance; repeated the timeless words of the Pledge of Allegiance; and asked for City Manager Michael Young’s report, Rockford had 80 full years under its belt or perhaps I should say, in recognition of WWW, under its “shoes”. In those 80 years, the number of residents who have served and currently serve on the various councils and committees as well as those who have worked and currently work for the City of Rockford number in the thousands. We have a great history in this City of looking out for the betterment of all. That is one […]