In this article references will be made to money, inclusion, nutrition and taxes because these are important components that many of us must make informed decisions about and, therefore, they must also be considered when contemplating association with a direct marketing network, group or company that distributes and promotes products through a network of ordinary citizens like you and I. It is written in a manner consistent with what is required to support and maintain a healthy and quality lifestyle in today’s society, and when given enough thought it becomes clear that these 4 topics occupy a large space in our socioeconomic dialog.
Let’s briefly touch on the subject of money which, in a free enterprise and capitalistic society, is the fuel that drives the economic engine and every independent (household and business) economic motor that exists within it, so that without money there is very little that will get done. When we have money we go. When we don’t have it we stop. It’s that simple! But as there are so many other discussions that we can have about money, ranging from what we do to acquire it to how we use it and – in many cases – how it changes us in ways good and bad, we will have to wait for some later date to write an article specifically about money that is comprehensive enough to give such an important topic the attention, time and space it rightly deserves.
When I think of inclusion what comes to mind is unity, togetherness, teamwork and the concept of “united we stand, divided we fall,” an adage used in various motivational and inspirational speeches, company slogans, and organizational presentations most often to inspire unity and collaboration. The phrase is frequently used by leaders of men and women in war, in politics, in sports and in business. It is appropriate here because of the inclusive nature of the businesses and organizations in which this writer is or was an active participant and therefore may rely on those disciplines to convey certain points of view.
As a former member of BNI (Business Network International) I was committed to its philosophy, Givers Gain, which is a loose translation of the Golden Rule. As a current member of The Edgar Group – Liberty Tax Service we practice inclusion on a daily basis in the sense that each of us picks up the slack for his fellow preparer; and the success of my direct marketing business as a independent distributor with my company of affiliation is solely dependent on the team concept, because as is often repeated during our business calls, the team is more significant than the individual and therefore requires everybody pulling together if we are to achieve the common objective.
In some circles nutrition is discussed in a manner that seems to ignore the critical role it plays in our daily lives, despite the free and available access to education, promotion and industry sponsored nutritional diets that suggest such discussions should highlight the importance of nutrition – albeit proper nutrition – instead. The fact still remains that we tend to put all kinds of different substances in our bodies without thinking about the nutritional value of each substance at the time of, or prior to, taking it in.
Of course, the body needs more than just solid and liquid nutrition to survive; as we all know it also needs oxygen, an essential element about which we really have little choice – if any at all – as to how or when we take it in, or the quality of such intake; and it seems that the more we learn about what accompanies that oxygen and other life-preserving elements as they enter our body, the more alarmed, shocked and dismayed we are about such substances we ingest involuntarily.
Perhaps the only other topic that subjects many of us to more anxiety, alarm and shock is the amount of taxes we’re expected to pay the IRS every year, or – put another way – the weight of our tax burden. And as a result of this concern we try to prepare against too heavy a tax burden by availing ourselves of such tools, techniques and loopholes that may be at our disposal to reduce it.
Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, taxpayers seek assistance from those professionals who specialize in tax preparation and accounting in an effort to to get their tax returns prepared as accurately and error-free as possible, thereby removing the possibility of over paying, under paying or even subjecting the return to IRS rejection on the grounds that it is unacceptable, after which it is sent back and, in turn, causes the filing to be late thereby creating the possibility of incurring late filing penalties.
The IRS encourages you to:
- Learn how the new changes affect you and your family;
- Change your tax filing method where possible;
- Find a professional tax preparer who can do the job for you; or
- Find a qualified person to show you what steps you need to take in order to accomplish both.
Following are a few excerpts from content published to the IRS website which are indicative of how the new law will affect taxpayers and in what ways we will be affected:
- As the IRS continues to implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) the following is true. This major tax legislation will affect individuals, businesses, tax exempt and government entities.
- Personal exemption deductions for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents have been eliminated beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026.
- For 2018, the standard deduction amount has nearly doubled for all filers.
- Deduction for personal casualty and theft losses suspended (unless incurred in federally-declared disaster area)
- Limitations to the deduction for state and local taxes
- Limitations to the deduction for home mortgage interest in certain cases
The TCJA eliminates most miscellaneous itemized deductions such as:
- Deductions for employee business expenses
- Tax preparation fees
- Investment expenses, including investment management fees
- Employment related educational expenses
- Job search expenses
- Hobby losses
- Safe deposit box fees
- Investment expenses from pass-through entities
- Eliminated the limitation on itemized deductions for certain high-income taxpayers.
TCJA and wage earners
The deductability of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes is now limited to $10,000 a calendar year.
A taxpayer who makes payments or transfers property to an entity eligible to receive tax deductible contributions must reduce their charitable deduction by the amount of any state or local tax credit the taxpayer receives or expects to receive.
The deduction for moving expenses has been suspended for most taxpayers for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 through Jan. 1, 2026.
And many other changes which you can learn about yourself or contact your local or family tax preparer.
The important thing to remember is this: Wage earners (those who receive W-2 forms) can no longer take advantage of certain deductions that allow them to reduce their taxable income, and as a consequence the taxes they can expect to pay after the 2017 year may actually be higher, unless they are able to qualify themselves for some kind of exemption or business deduction if they have an existing business or start a new part-time business.
How do these four components relate to each other? Our money is often hard-earned and if we are to maintain our independence and provide needed (and proper) nutrition for our families, it is important that we find ways to keep as much money in our own pockets and bank accounts as we possible can instead of paying it to the IRS. So when the tax law changes, as it recently did, we must be able to adapt to the change in order to be in compliance while still being able to keep our tax liability to as small an amount as we can.
If you are a wage earner and therefore can no longer deduct those expenses you so often did prior to the new law you may wish to take a look at at starting a part-time business or aligning yourself with a company, organization or network that offers an opportunity to promote proprietary products or services as an independent distributor. The tax law permits independent distributors who receive form 1099-NEC to be treated by the IRS as “non-employee individuals, such as independent contractors,” who can file an itemized income & expense – Profit & Loss (Schedule C) – form pursuant to which expenses incurred in association with the side gig can be deducted to reduce their taxable income, thereby reducing the tax burden.