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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Warning: Traffic Blitz in NYC!

There is a traffic blitz occurring in New York City. Any traffic ticket can lead to serious consequences. Besides the fact that there are fines and surcharges that can range in the hundreds of dollars, points may be assessed. After a number of points, a mandatory driver assessment fee will be imposed.

In addition, insurance premiums can increase as well as potential difficulties in obtaining insurance. Furthermore, many companies use driving abstracts when assessing rates.

Therefore, it is important to have representation when a ticket is received. If you receive a traffic ticket in New York, you can contact the office at (718) 317-5007.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tax Deductions for Business Expenses

Everybody hopes to minimize their tax liabilities and maximize their tax benefits. If you are planning on deducting business expenses in order to increase your tax return, there are a few important pieces of information to keep in mind.

If you wish to deduct a business expense, the expense must have two important qualities: it must be ordinary and it also must be necessary. An "ordinary" business expense is simply one that is commonly occurred in your industry. A "necessary" business expense is one that will help to grow or maintain your business. Below you can find further description of the three main categories of deductible business expenses.

Transportation Costs:
Transportation costs are the most common type of business write-offs. If you required to travel for business, the costs you incur while doing so can deducted as a business expenses. Examples of this would be plane, train or bus tickets.

Travel Expenses
Other common deductions are for travel expenses. The guidelines for deducting travel expenses are as follows: You can deduct up to 50% of your meal costs and 100% of your other lodging and travel expenses during a business trip.

Deductible travel expenses can include things like:
- Meals
- Cost of renting a car and gas once at your destination, alternatively the cost of public transportation to and from your work
- Work necessities such as computer rentals, WIFI, or secretarial services
- Cost of fax, telephone or internet usage

Entertainment Expenses:
Meals and most other entertainment expenses can be deducted at 50%, however, these expenses can not be "lavish or extravagant" and as always must be directly related to business. You can deduct business expenses while entertaining at home. Events such as sales seminars from home are legitimate business expenses even if they take place while at home.

Warning! E-ZPass E-mail Scam in New York

Our firm recently received correspondence from New York Senator Andrew Lanza. Unfortunately, New Yorkers were recently the target of a scam involving E-ZPass billing. The scammers send emails to unsuspecting people in which they claimed to work for E-ZPass and requested money for unpaid toll bills. Senator Lanza warns anyone who receives this e-mail to avoid opening or responding to it. If you have any questions or concerns about the validity of an e-mail, you should contact the sender directly by phone. You can reach E-ZPass, for example, at (800) 333-8655. I encourage you all to remain aware when you using the Internet and never give out personal information through e-mail.

- The Law Firm of Kevin P. McKernan

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Legalities of A Home Based Business

Home based businesses can be an exciting new endeavor that bring in significant profits. Of course, before you get started, you should know that home based businesses are still required to conform to some strict rules and regulations. Before you decide to open your own home based business, here are a few points you should carefully review.

1. There are restrictions on the sale of certain goods and these vary from state-to-state.
There are a variety of items that you cannot produce or sell in your home. Potentially dangerous products such as medications and sanitary products are illegal to manufacture and/or sell from home.

2. You need to register and obtain certain licenses to be legally able to do business.
Before you open up shop, make sure you register your business's name in the state that you're conducting business in. Additionally, you will also need to register for a sales tax number, since every business is required to collect sales tax.

3. You may need a Home Occupation Permit and Check Your Zoning Laws!
In some states, you will need to have a Home Occupation Permit in order to legally do business. You will need to check whether or not your home is zoned for the type of commercial activity you plan to do in your home.

4. There are additional health and safety measures you may have to take.
Certain industries require extra health and safety precautions to ensure that both the working environment and final product are safe for consumption. You should check with your State Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that your home based business is up to date with all safety standards.

5. You may want to look into sign permits.
If you have a business such as a home based daycare, you may want to place a sign in front of your home in order to advertise. If this is the case, you may want to look into whether or not you need a sign permit, since certain towns will restrict the size, type and/or location of signs.

Its important to be informed before you start any kind of business. If you have any questions or concerns about the legalities of starting your own business, its best to consult an attorney. This will ensure that your business is up to code in all areas and help you understand your legal responsibilities so that your business will get off to a great and productive start. Good luck with your new business!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Can Your Traffic Tickets Actually Affect Your Credit? Yes!

As we discussed yesterday, traffic tickets can be costly and time consuming. But can your traffic tickets actually have an impact on your credit score? Surprisingly, according to the CEO of one credit restoration corporation, the answer to that question is yes.

When it comes to credit scores, most people believe a lowered score is most commonly caused by late payments and/or a default on loans. What people may not know is that the government can and will turn your unpaid traffic tickets over to a collection agency. Once your unpaid bill is in the hands of collections, these agencies can now report your delinquent account to the credit bureaus in an effort to get you to pay up, thus negatively impacting your credit score and possibly your financial future.

Don't let unpaid traffic tickets affect your financial wellbeing! The first and most important step is to respond to your tickets within the allotted timeframe. Whether you decide to fight the ticket or simply plead guilty and take the fine, it is very important that you respond to the ticket so you can avoid several negative consequences, such as paying late fees and/or a forfeiture of your chance for a plea bargain. The second step you can take to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible is to hire a traffic attorney. An attorney will ensure that the process of dealing with your ticket is done correctly, thereby eliminating the pesky possibly of your unpaid ticket getting sent to collections!

If you or a loved one have tickets and would like to speak with an attorney, feel free to contact this office at (718) 317-5007.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Traffic Tickets in New York

We all know that traffic tickets can be pain, especially for busy New Yorkers. Getting a traffic ticket can be both costly and time consuming. If you wish to fight your ticket, the process can be arudous and paper work intensive.

The first and most important thing you can when you get a ticket in New York is to know your options. The first option is you can plead "Guilty" or "No Contest" to the ticket, which means you will have to pay the fine and/or the Driver's Responsibility Program. The consequences of this option include receiving a certain numbers of "points" on your license (which could led to the suspension/revocation of your license) and a possible increase in your insurance premiums. The second option is to fight the ticket and plead not guilty. If you choose this option, you will have to contest the ticket during a hearing. The potential consequences of pleading "Not Guilty" is that if you lose, you might not be offered a plea bargain for a lesser penalty.

An important thing to remember is you should absolutely respond to your ticket within the allotted time. If you do not turn your response in by the scheduled date, you will forfeit your chance to plead Not Guilty.

If you have multiple tickets, or tickets that could rack you up enough points to suspend or revoke your license, it's wise to hire an experienced traffic lawyer. There are several advantages to hiring a traffic lawyer. The primary advantage is that these attorneys handle these types of cases on a daily basis, so they have most likely dealt with a situation similar to yours, no matter how unusual or difficult your particular case seems. They should be familiar with the types of defenses work best with individual judges and any paperwork or "red tape" that you will need to get through. Another major benefit associated with hiring an attorney is that you may not have to appear in Court.

If you or a loved one is in need of a traffic attorney, feel free to contact the office at 718-317-5007.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What You Need to Know About Obamacare and Your Tax Returns

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as "Obamacare", requires all U.S. citizens and legal residents to enroll in health insurance. The effects of the Obamacare program on American society is plain to see, but what about the potential effects on your taxes? Below are three of the most common ways the Affordable Care Act can affect your tax returns.

1. If you are penalized for failure to enroll in a health insurance plan, the penalty will be subtracted from your tax return. Generally speaking, the penalty is calculated by taking the higher of two calculations - either the penalty is $95 per adult in the household and $47.50 per child in the household or it is 1% of the family's overall household income. The IRS will use whichever formula produces a higher number to calculate your penalty.

2. Families are able to qualify for financial aid in order to purchase their health insurance, though their household incomes first must meet federal poverty level. If your family qualifies for financial aid, you will receive the funds through a tax credit. This refundable tax credit is called a "premium assistance credit" and is variable based on family income.

3. You can receive an advance subsidy in order to reduce your health insurance premiums. However, the subsidy is based on your estimated income, so be careful when you calculate your estimate. If your estimated income results in a larger subsidy than your actual credit, the difference will be collected through your tax return.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Charitable Deductions

Charitable giving can be a great way to help the less fortunate as well as save on your taxes. The first rule of charitable tax deductions is that your donation must go to a legitimate and government qualified organization. Charitable organizations must file an application with the IRS in order to be qualified. The IRS website
has an useful online search tool
for finding qualified charities.

If you have already donated your time, money, or services to a charitable organization and are interested in filing for a charitable deduction, the first step is to turn your attention to the tax form 1040. You should itemize your deductions on Schedule A of that form.

If your charitable donation is a purchase, such as a ticket to an event or memorabilia item, you should deduct the market value of your ticket from the total amount of your donation. For example, if you purchase a ticket to a charitable dinner for $100, of which the market value of the dinner is only $60, you are permitted to claim only $40 of that donation. "Fair market value" can be defined as the price at which the item would exchanged at by a willing and fully aware buyer and seller. You cannot claim a deduction on any item you derive financial benefit from.

In addition, if you wish to claim a deduction in excess of $250, you must have bank statements, a written acknowledgment of your donation from a qualified organization, or other financial documentation. You will not be allowed to claim a deduction without the proper documentation.

Below are some other circumstances in which you can claim charitable deductions.

- You may be able to deduct your expenses if you have a foreign student living with you through a qualified organization.
- You may be able to deduct your expenses for uniforms if the charity or volunteer organization you donate your time to requires them.
- You may be able to deduct the cost of your gas and oil if you directly use your car while in commission for a charitable organization.

Enjoy your charitable giving!