“The wisdom acquired with the passage of time is a useless gift unless you share it.”
– Esther Williams

It sometimes seems to me like this country is torn up with envy.

(By the way, I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was nice and slow at home and outside with the family–enjoying the fall weather. Only a few more weeks until things start to really change…and then indoors we go!)

With this economy still not yet recovering, there are still plenty of families that are doing just fine–even thriving. But it’s not considered very kind to demonstrate one’s prosperity in this environment, which is perfectly understandable.

But, whatever your specific situation, I suggest that you make a clear and sustained effort to keep your eyes off the situation of those around you–and continue to focus on what YOU can do to grow your family’s wealth and joy. Really, it’s the only thing which you can actually control.

Envy truly sucks the joy out of your life…but it could be much worse than it is in this country. We could live in Norway.

Last week marked the annual release of EVERYBODY’S tax records to the general public in Norway–giving any interested party a precise picture of their neighbor’s annual income and wealth.

(Story here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091022/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_norway_money_roll )

How do you think that would be for feeding envy, huh?
Now, before I move on to this week’s Strategy Note I couldn’t help but show you this:

The IRS’ program to assist people in their taxes at no charge wasn’t very effective. Certainly, we can all get behind the *concept * of helping low-income families, but is it really “helping” when errors abound? Further, many upper income families availed themselves of this service–often to their detriment.

Sometimes it’s best to stick with a professional…

And, on to my Personal Strategy Note. I’ve put together a list of often-overlooked deductions. This is one to forward to your friends.

And, as usual–we’re here to help. Call us for any questions or concerns.

(And, again–please do feel free to leave comments. I read every one that comes my way!)

“Real World” Personal Strategy
Little-Known Tax Deductions & Credits!

Next Friday trailer

Here is a handy list of items to make sure you’re covered on this upcoming tax season…

1) Military Reservists’ Travel Expenses: Military reserve forces and National Guard troops are allowed a deduction for travel expenses attending drills or meetings provided you travel more than 100 miles and stay overnight for the training exercise. This deduction includes mileage reimbursement at 55 cents per each mile traveled. Parking toll fees also qualify. You receive this deduction whether or not you itemize your deductions.

2) Charitable Volunteering: If you volunteer for a charitable organization you may have deductible expenses. Did you purchase supplies or required equipment? Perhaps you volunteer in a hospital and need to purchase a uniform. The costs for the apparel AND the costs to clean the uniform can qualify as charitable deductions. And don’t forget mileage, it too can often be deducted.

3) Child and Dependent Care Credit: Did you know the popular Child and Dependent Care tax credit also applies to summer day camp costs? As long as the camp is a day-camp and camp officials supervise the child while the parents work you can claim the credit for the camp costs.

4) Moving Expenses: While job related moving expenses are a well known deduction, many clients don’t realize moving expenses for a first job may also be deducted if the job passes a 50 mile distance test from the place the newly employed person has been living.

5) Mortgage Refinancing Points: If you refinance your house or buy a second residence, any “points” you pay for the loan can be deducted proportionately each year over the life of the loan. If you sell your home or refinance before you have deducted the full cost of your “points”, you can then deduct the remaining amount in the year of the refinancing or sale. Warning: The lender in the subsequent refinancing must be different to deduct points this way.

6) Job Hunting Costs: Workers can often deduct job hunting costs provided the expenses are associated with looking for a new job in your present occupation. Qualifying costs include resume preparation, printing, postage, phone calls and outplacement/employment agency fees. Remember these costs, along with other miscellaneous itemized expenses, must exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income before they produce any tax savings.

I hope this helps!