HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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because they tend to take more deductions and give to more charities. Be cautious if you choose to claim business use of a vehicle. Keep a log of your mileage so you can validate where you have gone.


People tend to feel more confident about their filing if they work with a certified public accountant. All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. The American Institute of CPAs defined the job as “a trusted financial advisor who helps individuals, businesses and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals, whether it is saving for a new home, opening a new office or planning a multi-billion dollar merger.


If you are audited, there is no reason to panic. It simply means the IRS will send you a notice requesting specific details about your return because it is looking for clarification on something. Do not ignore the notice, hoping the situation will go away. That will not happen. A trained tax professional will be glad to meet with you and address any questions or concerns you have prior to the audit.

All taxpayers dread it: the possibility of being audited. An audit is not as common a practice as you may believe. Kentucky Planning Partners found in 2015, the IRS audited 0.8 percent of all individual tax returns. The IRS defined an audit as a formal review of a tax return to ensure information is being reported according to current tax law and to verify the information itself is accurate. It does not necessarily mean you have done something wrong.


The best way to avoid an audit is to file a legitimate tax return and have accurate documentation to support it. Always double check your return and make sure you don’t make any careless mistakes. Make sure you have all of your paperwork, including bank statements and income reports, handy before beginning. A computer program such as Turbo Tax can be just the helping hand you need to avoid errors. While filing on paper versus electronically is a personal preference, studies show fewer errors are made when filing electronically, making it less likely you will be audited.


Tax attorney Ken Sheppard Jr. says a common cause for the Kentucky Department of Revenue to run an audit is failure to report income. People don’t fail to report on purpose. Often it is because a W2 or 1099 was lost or arrived late. If you forget to report something, you can always ask for an amended W2 or 1099.

AVOIDING AN AUDIT

In general, honesty is the best policy. AARP says people should avoid round numbers such as $1,200 or $1,500 because it suggests you may have been estimating. The IRS targets people it suspects may not keep the best records, so don’t flag yourself. One of the most common myths about taxes is if you forget to put your signature on the form, you will be audited. However, the reality is the form will be returned to you and you will just have to sign it and return it. It is a common mistake to overlook certain places on the form, such as the boxes for your Social Security number. Do not leave anything blank.


Kentucky Planning Partners says whether a tax return will be audited comes down to random selection; information matching or comparing reports filed from payers to taxpayers; related examinations; or having a transaction with another taxpayer whose return was chosen to be examined further. Save all your records so if you do need to reference anything you will be able to find it easily. It is always better to be prepared.


If you are self-employed, have receipts for all the business deductions you claim. Ordinarily those who earn a high income are at the greatest risk of an audit

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

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