In eight days, harmful automatic cuts are slated to take effect, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cutting vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.
Only Congress can avoid this self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families, and the only thing standing in the way of a solution today is Congressional Republicans’ refusal to even consider closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy Americans and well-connected corporations. The President and Congressional Democrats have put forward solutions to avoid these cuts and allow time for both sides to work on a long-term, balanced solution to our deficit challenges.
The President is serious about cutting spending, reforming entitlements and the tax code to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. The question is, will Congressional Republicans come to the table to get something done?
Let’s take a moment to look what we’ve done so far: The President has already reduced the deficit by over $2.5 trillion, cutting spending by over $1.4 trillion, bringing domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower era [see below]. As a result of these savings, together with a strengthening economy, the deficit is coming down at the fastest pace of anytime in American history other than the demobilization from World War I
This week, the President visited his old neighborhood in Chicago, conferred one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, met with the president of Italy, and continued to urge Republicans to close tax loopholes for the wealthy to prevent dangerous across-the-board budget cuts that are slated to take effect on March 1st.
Passing the IRS litmus test: Working from home can offer many advantages including tax deductions. Just take care what you try to write off for your home office on your return.
To meet IRS guidelines, your home office must be your principal place of business, or the place you see clients in the normal course of business. Parts of your home you use to store products or equipment for your business also count. That doesn’t mean that all your work has to be done from home. If you’re an outside salesperson, you probably spend most of your work time elsewhere. But if you do you billing and return customer calls primarily from your home, your home office should qualify.You can also qualify for the deduction if your employer requires you to work from home, as long as you don’t charge your employer rent. Self-employed workers use IRS Form 8829 to calculate the deduction, which they list on Schedule C.
Measuring your home office: The amount you can deduct for your home ofFice depends on the percentage of your home used for business. Your work space doesn’t need to be a separate room—a table in a corner qualifies. But it has to be an area that’s used solely for business. The tax break also covers separate structures on your property, like a detached garage you’ve converted to an office.
What can you deduct? Once you’ve figured out what percentage of your home you use for business, you can apply that percentage to different home expenses. These include: Mortgage interest, Real estate taxes, Utilities (heating, cooling, lights), Home repairs and maintenance (painting, cleaning service) and Home owners insurance premiums.
Don’t forget depreciation: Depreciation is based on the idea that everything—even something like a home—wears out eventually. To figure home office depreciation, start by calculating the tax basis of your home: generally the purchase price plus the cost of improvements, minus the value of the land it sits on. Next, multiply the tax basis by the percentage of your home used for work. This gives you the tax basis for your home office.
Usually, depreciation deductions for a home office are figured over a 39-year period. There are caveats. For a crash course, read IRS Publication 946 or talk to a tax pro. Keep in mind that depreciation deductions on your home office increase the amount of profit on a home sale that is subject to taxes. There’s an exclusion of $250,000 of profit if you’re a single filer, $500,000 for joint filers.
From 1932 – 1962, the Highlander Folk School provided invaluable training for civil rights activists and labor organizers. Among the school’s trainees were Rosa Parks, Septima Clark, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis.
In response to backlash against the school for its involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, the state of Tennessee revoked the school’s charter in 1962