January 7 2010
by JUDY REED From the time the first U.S. Post Office was established in Cedar Springs on February 4, 1857, mail carriers have always worked out of the local office. As of January 16, 2010, that will no longer be the case. Instead, they will work out of the larger Rockford location. “The U.S. Postal Service has been looking at their finances and what would be a more efficient use of space in post offices all across the nation,” said Sabrina Todd, communications specialist for the Greater Michigan District of the United States Postal Service. “Rockford is larger. If you are not utilizing all the space, you are wasting space.” Todd did not have any numbers on whether it would save them any- thing financially. The Cedar Springs Post newspaper has received several calls and letters about other possible changes occurring, but according to both Todd and Matt Dykema, acting postmaster at Cedar Springs, no other services will be affected by the move. Window operations and hours and the location of the Post Office boxes will all stay the same. Mail is still expected to be in the PO boxes by 10 a.m. each day. For questions about the move, call the Post Office at (616) 696-1230.
With the New Year, the Humane Society of Kent County (HSKC) is launching two new adoption promotions, We Want a Home Wednesdays and Five Dollar Feline Fridays as well as a new Pet Loss Support Group. The Humane Society is now offering greatly reduced adoption fees every Wednesday on all animals who have been at the shelter longer than two months, through We Want a Home Wednesdays. Also, every Friday all cats one year or older will be available for $5 for Five Dollar Feline Fridays. All adoptions include a veterinary exam, testing for heartworm (dogs only) and FIV/FeLV, de-worming, vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, spay/neuter surgery, pet identification microchip, and a bag of premium food for all dog and cat adoptions. In addition to the new adoption promotions, HSKC is also launching a new Pet Loss Support Group. The group will be held the second Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., starting January 13 at HSKC, 3077 Wilson Dr. NW, Grand Rapids. “Losing a cherished pet can be extremely difficult,” explained Karen Terpstra, executive director at HSKC. “Too often, people who have just lost a pet may feel that no one understands what they are going through. Meeting with others who are going through the same process can be comforting and beneficial for the grieving process.” For more information on We Want a Home Wednesdays, Five Dollar Feline Fridays or the Pet Loss Support Group, please visit www.hskc.org or call (616) 453-8900. • • •
Joyous bells Here it is a new year, and for a week the news media has bombarded us with reminders of the disastrous events of the past decade. Yes, there were some bad times, but let’s look on the bright side. The economy seems to be recovering and we won’t have Great Depression II. It wasn’t as bad as 1929. We will have some kind of national health care plan in place. It will help a lot of people and it’s improvable even if it’s not perfect now. Medicine has made great strides in the past 100 years and the past 10 have seen enormous strides in medical technology. More is known about AIDS, and researchers have hopes of beating it. Chemotherapy has had major advances, with more cancer survivors to show for it. Of the new medications advertised on TV, some must be good. Global warming (not noticeable locally this week) has come to the world’s attention. Steps to combat it have been taken in the past decade. Nobody attacked anybody with a nuclear bomb for the whole 10 years. (I’m cheered up already.) Last but not least: The Enron bad guys and Bernie Madoff were thrown in jail for cheating people. First joke of 2010 A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the Chicken Surprise. The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot. Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly. She briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down. “Good grief, did you see that?” she says to her husband. He hadn’t, so she asks him to look in the pot. When he reaches for it, the lid rises. He sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down again. Perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what’s happening, and asks for an explanation. “Please, sir,” says the waiter, “what you order?” “Chicken Surprise,” says the husband. “Ah! So sorry,” says the waiter. “I bring you Peeking Duck!” Useful information for 2010 • When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it […]
New tax season presents common situations It’s finally the beginning of the tax season. I say “finally” because those of us in the tax business have been building toward this date since September. That’s when we started going to seminars and learning how all of the new laws would interact with the tax returns we will be preparing in the next few months. That’s also when we started ordering the supplies and the various software packages that we use to prepare not only the many types of tax returns we file but also the various business reports we file such as W-2s and 1099s. A tax preparation firm like Action Tax Service uses technology to the fullest extent possible in an attempt to ensure that clients get the absolute best product that we can give them. However, all of the technology in the world won’t help us prepare a return if we don’t have the needed information at our fingertips. For the most part, employed taxpayers can’t file a tax return until a W-2 is received. Most retired taxpayers can’t file a tax return until a 1099-R or a Social Security SSA-GOV is received. We can use a last check stub to create an estimated tax return, but we are not able to finalize and actually file a return without those official documents. Let’s look at three common but troublesome situations. First, the majority of all W-2s and 1099s will be received by January 31, but what happens if a taxpayer does not receive that statement by January 31 or February 10 or even February 28? Second, what happens if the statement received is wrong? Third, and even worse, what can be done if the wrong type of statement, such as a 1099, is received instead of a W-2? What’s a taxpayer to do in these situations? Let’s discuss the first situation in which the W-2 or 1099 is not received. The reporting procedures for W-2s are different than those that regulate the reporting of 1099s. It is important to remember that even though employees are required to have their W-2s available by January 31, the employer is not required to submit these documents to the Social Security Administration (SSA) until February 28. Note that I […]