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text 2017-02-21 07:21
The Southbourne Tax Group: Get richer this tax season in 10 easy ways millennials can maximize refunds and avoid costly mistakes

By now, you've probably heard people talking about tax season — or maybe you got the hint that you'll need to start filing your taxes soon, because of that complicated-looking W-2 form that arrived at your house.


It's only natural to want to procrastinate on filling out those ugly forms (1040-what?) or to feel intimidated or overwhelmed.


Not only do most millennials say they fear filing their taxes — more so than other generations — but young Americans are also scared to make a mistake on their taxes, and are less likely to seek professional guidance.


That might be especially true for you if this year is only your first (or second... or third...) time giving it a try without help from parents.


In fact, you should remember that tax time can be a happy time — especially if you are due for a big refund in the form of a check from the government.


Here are some pointers on what to look out for as you're doing your taxes, so you avoid mistakes and maximize any money due to you. And remember: When in doubt, you can always call the free tax help line that the IRS provides.


  1. Know the deadlines — or pay the price


First and foremost, you simply must review a simple list (like this one from Mic) showing when taxes are due. Don't be off, even by a couple of days, or else you run the risk of paying a penalty for filing late.


You might want to circle April 18 on your calendar — as that’s the drop-dead deadline to file your taxes this year. And if you haven’t received your W-2 from your employer by Valentine’s Day, you might want to ring the IRS for help or to file an extension.


Speaking of extensions…


2.Don't make this common mistake regarding extensions


Time waits for no man, and apparently, neither does Uncle Sam.


There might be a reason why you choose to file for a tax extension (hopefully you get it!) that could give you six months of breathing room to get your ducks and tax paperwork in a row.


That, however, does not mean you get to simply shoot an IOU to the government, should you owe them. According to the IRS, "an extension will give you extra time to get your paperwork to the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due."


"It is a common misconception that if you file for an extension, your obligation to pay your tax bill is also delayed. This is not true!" Jacob Dayan, a partner and co-founder of Community Tax, a tax resolution and debt relief services company, reiterated to Mic. "If you don't pay your tax bill at the deadline you are delinquent, even if you've requested an extension for your return."


3.Beware tax-related identity theft


You might be dreaming about all the awesome things you plan to buy with the tax return you hope to get, and we hope you’re able to enjoy it!


But one common danger all millennials (and everyone, really) needs to look out for is tax-related identity theft. Believe it or not, there are cold-hearted people out there who are looking for opportunities to steal your Social Security number — in order to file a phony tax return and claim your bounty.


In 2016 alone, the IRS discovered thousands of fraudulent refunds and has been working on the double to reduce tax return fraud.


Alex Hamilton, a communications professional at the Identity Theft Resource Center, advises taxpayers to file as early as possible to help reduce the risk of tax-related identity theft. In addition, Hamilton told Mic, it's important to "regularly update your anti-virus software to protect you from a cyber-attack which can steal your personal data."


To prevent tax-related identity theft, the IRS also encourages tax filers to question suspicious emails and "threatening calls" from people posing as representatives of your bank — or even the IRS — and not to carry your Social Security card.


For more tips on how to protect yourself from tax-refund fraud, visit the IRS website.


4.Use student loans — to your advantage


Sadly, it feels like student loan debt is just a universal part of being a millennial.


But there's a silver lining: Millennials contending with student loans have the opportunity to deduct interest paid on student loans.


"Many millennials rush to get their taxes done online as soon as they get their W-2s and don’t wait for their 1098-Es from their student loan providers," Joseph Carpenito, a licensed financial advisor at Raymond James and founder of the financial site MyPlan2Day.com, explained to Mic. "[For] a young person with limited deductions, student loan interest may potentially be one of their largest deductions."


You can deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest paid in a given year.


There are, however, income limits for this deduction, so be sure to check out tips for claiming the student loan interest deduction on the IRS website.


5.Make the most of small business tax perks if you work a side hustle


Do you love moonlighting as a freelancer or someone who earns extra money doing what you love? Surprise!


The government might actually consider you to be a small business owner.


"Millennials are more involved in the 'gig economy' than other demographics, and many of them like the appeal of working for themselves in jobs like Uber drivers and delivery drivers," Max Robinson, an associate for Jumpstart, a research and experimentation tax credit specialist company, told Mic.


"However, these millennials need to realize that working in jobs like this classifies them as small business owners. This means they're eligible for certain deductions, like petrol expenses," Robinson added.


TL;DR: You might be owed cash back if you spent money on business expenses, so read up on what might count. Cha-ching!


6.Know what the 1099-MISC is for


As the IRS mentions on their website, you don’t have to have a business in order to report income as self-employed or an independent contractor on your taxes.


“In most cases, if you receive a form 1099-MISC it means you are considered self-employed by the government,” Crystal Stranger, president of the tax firm 1st Tax and author of The Small Business Tax Guide, told Mic.


“Not only does this mean you need to report your income and expenses on a Schedule C and pay self-employment (Social Security & Medicare) taxes on your net income, but also, in a lot of places, you will need to register with the city or state and may owe taxes or at least have a filing requirement on the local level," Stranger said. "Missing the local level filing can have bigger tax and penalty implications than making a mistake on your federal taxes.”


7.Use tax software to save time (and money)


Filing your taxes can be a truly overwhelming experience — especially if it’s your first time. It’s easy to feel stressed and worried you're not qualified to operate in the land of adulthood without a parent or guardian nearby.


But that doesn't mean you can't take care of business yourself.


"This may be your first time doing your own taxes, but you don’t have to take your taxes somewhere and pay hundreds of dollars to have them prepared," TurboTax Certified Public Accountant Lisa Greene-Lewis told Mic. "You most likely are one of the 60 million Americans who has a relatively straightforward tax return, so there is no reason to pay someone to do your taxes. You may even be able to file your federal taxes for free."


Companies like TurboTax, H&R Block, and even the IRS offer free tax-filing services to qualifying taxpayers that will not only make your life a little more hassle free, but also help keep some money in your pocket.


Just remember to make sure to report business expenses and other opportunities for deductions when the software prompts you. Speaking of which...


8.Dig deep for deductions


In a rush to get through your taxes as quickly — and with as few gray hairs — as possible, it becomes easy to skip over deductions that can help lower your tax bill. In fact, there are a number of overlooked tax deductions that some experts consider money left on the table.


“It’s easy to overlook the many ways you stay fabulous by helping others throughout the year,” Richard Lavina, CEO of Taxfyle, a personal and business tax filing app, told Mic.

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review 2017-01-31 15:14
How to Think About Sex (Without Overthinking It)
Action: A Book About Sex - Amy Rose Spiegel

Action: A Book About Sex is the cool guy/gal you hooked up with in high school or college who was way too attractive and confident for you but helped you find your way from theory to concept (in a sexual sense). After years of euphemisms and pseudo-psychology, and (worst of the bunch) seduction guides and self-help books, Action is the grown-up (but not too grown-up) discussion about sex we never knew we needed. It's direct, sensitive, encouraging, and mostly just a lot of fun -- alone or with friends!


Sex writing usually wavers between the sensual and the technical, Action doesn't much bother with either. It's crass and straightforward, but not demeaning. Spiegel shows that sex doesn't have to be so self-serious to be mind-boggling enjoyable, or to be meaningful for that matter. She doesn't really present any new information here, at least not to anyone buying a book about sex who isn't a 15 year-old boy, but she kind of opens the blinds on all the kind of unspoken assumptions many of us harbor about sex/dating/etc. and exposes them to the daylight. This happens in a number of ways but I wanted to focus on three themes that come out of the book. They're kind of suggestions but also demonstrated in the way Spiegel writes.


The first is openness. Spiegel says we should really be talking more about sex. About consent, about identity, about sexuality and kinks, about relationships, about positions, and everything else. Especially with your partners (obviously), but in public life too. It's kind of like talking about money, decorum tells us to hush up, but some frank discussions would do a lot of good in both realms.


Spiegel starts with a section saying as much right away, which makes openness less a theme than just a thing she says, except it continues popping up throughout the book. I mean, if the branding wasn't so bad it could be called "Talking: A Book About Sex."  Talk to new people you might want to sex! Talk with people you already sex to make sure your sex is as good as it can be (for both involved)! Talk with someone your maybe about to sex to see if they're really down with that! Talk about trying something new! Talk about a trip to the sex store! It touches on a bonus theme of embarrassment I won't really discuss, but by not talking about sex we are closing off possibilities we can really enjoy. We've all been frustrated by situations where everyone is deferring and nobody will make a decision where to go for dinner, it's like that except no one bothers to mention dinner and just hopes to happen into a restaurant and then order food for the other person.


Second: Spiegel reminds us that there are two people (or three) in the bed. Note the emphasis on people. Gender always comes second to humanity in this book, because this is obviously the treatment we've needed for a very long time. Action is a book about sex, largely for entertainment but with a lot of practical content too, and that content is about having a better sex life. What it is not is a book about seducing women, or pleasing men. Spiegel is always working under the assumption that the other party in this matter is a thinking, feeling person and would like to be treated as such.


Of course, Action gets more specific when it comes to handling genitalia, but when it comes to seduction technique or being better in bed it's not about some technique or trick or pseudo-psychology, it's about respect and openness (see above). Success isn't about who you have sex with, it's about how you feel about that person and both of you having a good time. There's no shortcut there, you just have to think about it and work it out. Actually, there's one technique she says will make you as insightful as Mel Gibson in What Women Want but you'd have to go back and read point 1. (Edit: more insightful than Gibson, he mostly uses his gendered mind-reading in that movie to be a manipulative dick.)


Lastly: Spiegel grounds the discussions in real terms and situations. Some jargon does appear here -- intersectionality, non-binary, cisgender, BONE-A-ZONA -- but Spiegel uses it sparingly and playfully. Like I said above, she is unflinching, as it should be: she's writing a book about sex, now is not the time to get coy. Her candidness makes everything better and more clear because she describes something real and specific. Here she talks about just meeting people:


"Eight times out of ten, if you introduce yourself to a new person, assume some air of great purpose about you, and tell them something honest and enticing in its irregularity (especially if it also happens to be funny), that person will talk to you."


Spiegel then spends most of the chapter on talking: good pick-up lines, having something to say, asking questions, pushing when they answer "good" or "not much." It's five pages on what is essentially you're time-tested, basic script hook up, but she demystifies it. Here's where you are, here's what you do, there's no script, just some prompts, because the biggest problems are getting the gumption up to talk with someone and have the grace to move on when it doesn't pan out. Again, it's not about seduction, it's about meeting people (see point 2). If you're open and outgoing, opportunities will arise, but if you fixate on someone you forget they are a real person with their own feelings and tastes that has no obligation to return your attraction.


When Spiegel does share tips they are broad and she doesn't claim universal, though they seem like a good idea. Spiegel admits she's into good posture, or how she digs getting oral sex while lying on her stomach, but everyone has their own preferences, it's what makes the world go 'round.


Then it all cycles back to point 1, or maybe they're all one point: talk respectfully about sex in clear terms, you wild lovechild.


SUMMARY: This was kind of a weird review, but this was also an unusual book and I was really interested in the way everything was presented. The result was something about style and about what spoke to me, but also recounting some messages from the book. This makes some sense because form is important and the way Spiegel presents the information reflects the approach she is advocating: direct, unashamed, sensitive and curious. I hope this review made sense is all I'm saying. Thanks for reading!



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review 2016-12-20 14:36
Maybe the Sky isn't Falling, It's Awfully Big You Know
The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism - Kristin Dombek

Nearly halfway through this book-length essay Kristin Dombek admits to using the kind of shallow depictions she is criticizing in other books and articles, but then it is a problem inherent to the form. How does one capture a person in 1,600 words, or even 70,000? 


The problem Dombek is exploring in The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism is a rash of lazy pop psychology online diagnosing pseudo-celebrities, ex-boyfriends, and an entire generation (spoiler alert: it's millennials) of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If Dombek isn't able to adequately sum up the lives of the people she brings into her arguement, it only serves her point. She may not be able to prove someone isn't a narcissist but the takeaway is that it is a very difficult thing to sum up a life, to throw a label around is a dangerous thing to do unless you can really back it up.


The thinness of internet diagnoses is almost comical, but Dombek, being a more serious essayist than myself, gives them an honest hearing and delves into the history of narcissism from the Greek story of Narcissus through Freud and finally to the DSM. It's a troubled history, based on misunderstanding and often reflecting as much on the diagnostician than on the diagnosed.


I could have been satisfied with just her chapter "The Millennial" which goes into the story of Allison, whose callousness on an episode of My Super Sweet Sixteen has become legend in books and essays and in the popular conception of the narcissistic millennial. Except, of course, she has a whole life, almost none of which was the one sentence where she insisted on closing down a street that goes past a hospital for the sake of her birthday party (and I think we've all known since at least 2005 that reality shows have naught but the thinnest relation to the reality they depict, much less any reality we know).


"It takes only a brief Internet search, though, to flesh out a bit more bout Allison's life," Dombek says, as if no one had considered to look past the surface before judging that there was nothing behind it.


She's married, Dombek reports, she and her husband run a foundation to help impoverished school children in Atlanta. She got her bachelor's degree in psychology. She may be a narcissist, she may be a sociopath for all I know, but casting a diagnosis based on one moment, or on any one appearance on MTV, must necessarily be more about our own assumptions about a group than about that group itself.


I don't think our tendency to play armchair psychologist is all that novel or dangerous, but I think Dombek has produced a thoughtful work here that hopefully reminds us that when we decry people who live on the internet we're judging people by what we see on the internet. It's well researched but is grounded in the experience of the writer who has been thinking of these things, witness as we all are to selfies and food pics and the other wonders of social media.


The Selfishness of Others is a slim book for all it contains, it is focused and can be gone through quickly. Be ready for some dense psychology stuff when you get into the thick of things, but it is worth getting through.

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url 2016-10-21 06:57
Travel Tips for Millennials in the Philippines

Children born between 1982 and 2002 are who we call the millennial generation. This age group will eventually replace the Baby-boomers as they retire. These most organized generations ever are true multi-taskers, who are expected to have 6-8 careers in their lifetime and are captivated to diverse environments.


With the emerging power of the “millennial market” the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) expressed trust that local tourism will further increase and surpass projections because of them. With the growing numbers of millennials traveling every year, here are tips that could help them maximize their “wanderlust.”


Look for a Local Travel Agent that can help you

As an excited traveler, millennials tend to be overwhelmed about the prices that they see, whether online or offline. To look for a reasonable promo, you should know that getting in touch with a travel agent will help you have better understanding thus, arriving to a wise decision making process.


For millennials who will be traveling for the first time, an experienced tour operator in the Philippines can help you address important issues such as cheap bookings, fun-filled itineraries and accurate travel dates for a hassle-free journey.


Pack Less, Travel Smarter

Packing and traveling light means putting all the important things in your bags and luggages. To be prepared, one must secure a checklist on what to bring like enough number of clothes, travel devices, toiletry basics, important documents, sufficient cash and medicine kit just when you need them the most. The tip is to have atleast 2-3 luggages which include one main bag to save you more money on checked baggage.


Smarter packing will also help you compartmentalize things and where you should find them. Moreover, lesser risk of important items being stolen can be assured. Just pack those that you’ll know you’ll need and use. Traveling light can help you tour comfortably making everything handy and not all over the place.


Share Your Travel Experience on Social Media Properly

Social media is definitely everywhere. With the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram, travel-savvy millennials can capture and share their travel pictures online while showcasing the beauty of famous local travel destinations like Boracay, Palawan, Baguio and many more.


Always keep in mind that sharing your travel experiences on social media is not a way to brag, just to say the least, but to educate all your friends and family about the hidden beauty of the place, what it offers and the unique culture it possesses. With this, you can be a great travel ambassador of your country by simply taking pictures using a good camera phone, a lot of creativity and realness in storytelling.


Learn to Socialize with the Locals


When traveling, the most ideal thing to do is to spend your time with the locals. It is then you can familiarize yourself with their culture and tradition. Socializing with the locals can build connections with new people along with new set of experiences and insights in life.


Keep in mind that traveling does not need to be expensive as some people thought it to be. At this day and age, millennials have the freedom to travel knowing that they have it all planned out. Therefore, setting a good travel expectation and looking forward to new experiences will make your trip memorable. Finally, create a lasting impact for more lessons that you’ll learn as you go on in life.

Source: www.unotours.com/travel-tips-millennials-philippines/?utm_source=lb&utm_medium=submission&utm_campaign=ng
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